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New Albion mayor expects smooth transition

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 March 2014 at 12:00 am

London

ALBION – The village’s new elected mayor is no stranger to the Village Hall, and the village departments and employees.

For 21 years Dean London worked in the Albion Police Department, retiring as chief about two years ago. The Republican was cross-endorsed by Democrats for Tuesday’s election. He was unopposed on Tuesday and received 233 votes.

London takes office on April 1. He said there won’t be a big shake-up in the village government, including people who serve on committees. He will make those appointments in early April, and will assign the four trustees to departments and committees, trying to match their strengths with the opportunities to serve.

“We’re going to take some time to assess,” London said Tuesday night.

He wants to see the replacement of the Clarendon Street bridge move forward, as well as continued upgrades to the water and sewer plant.

The village should look at forming a local development corporation that could own some derelict properties in the village and then either sell them to the highest bidder or find a partner for redeveloping the land. London sees two deteriorated houses on Liberty Street near the new library as good candidates for the LDC, which would then work to find a buyer to have the land redeveloped.

London said the village faces many challenges, namely a shrinking tax base and many demands for services and infrastructure upgrades.

He said the trustees elected on Tuesday bring strengths to the board. Eileen Banker has been on the board for more than four years. She works as Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s chief of staff.

“She brings experience and a history,” London said.

Banker said she was disappointed by the low turnout for the election. Village elections typically draw 800 to 1,000 voters. Albion needs more community involvement, Banker said.

Banker led the trustee candidates with 170 votes. Stan Farone received 147 for the other four-year position and Gary Katsanis received 148 votes for a two-year position. The Republicans defeated a Democratic Party team that included Terry Wilbert, Patricia Cammarata and Sandra Walter.

Farone made his first run for elected office. A Kodak employee for 33 years, he is a long-time member of the Albion Fire Department, serving as a past president. He was a co-founder of the Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance about four decades ago and remains on the group’s board of directors.

Farone wants to see improvements to Bullard Park, and a plan for reusing vacant sites and cleaning up run-down houses in the village. The Village Board also needs to work with the towns of Albion and Gaines to promote tourism and economic development in the community, Farone said.

Katsanis worked in medical data analysis for Strong and then Blue Cross. He managed a staff that stretched from Buffalo to Utica. He praised the outgoing board led by Mayor Dean Theodorakos for working hard on the budget.

That spending plan needs to be approved by April 30. The current board didn’t leave all of the work on the budget for the new team that starts April 1.

London said the board will have the benefit of experienced trustees – Banker and Pete Sidari – plus some new members.

“Gary Katsanis and Stan Farone bring a new perspective,” London said.