Village residents elected Larry Woolbright as the first new mayor in nearly a quarter-century on Tuesday, and Democrats swept the two open village trustee seats.
Woolbright, who is a Republican, received 651 votes for mayor, according to final results. For the two trustee seats, Democrats Christine Fitzpatrick and Liz Kormos received 512 votes and 500 votes, respectively. Republicans Peter Martin and Rory O’Connor received 434 and 398 votes.
Following the wins for village trustee by Democrats Sean Raymond and Noah Shaw last year, the result means Democrats will now hold all four Village Board seats. For decades before that, the village was under solidly Republican control.
Kormos called the result a victory for open government and accountability, as the village has struggled with its finances in recent years.
“Together we will steer Ballston Spa toward the goals of financial health, repair our infrastructure and redevelopment of existing properties,” Kormos said. “We will address public safety and make Ballston Spa a place welcoming for all people of all ages. The future is bright for a better Ballston Spa.”
Due to retirements, residents were filling three open seats, making it the most significant village election in a generation. In the end, Republicans will control to have a 3-2 majority over Democrats on the five-member Village Board. The new officials will take office as the village continues to struggle with criticism and questions about its finances.
Woolbright, 66, a retired Siena College biology professor who chaired last fall’s Citizen Budget Advisory Committee, will succeed retiring mayor John Romano on April 1. Woolbright easily fended off a write-in campaign from former mayor James Capasso.
“I’m pleased the voters elected me mayor and I will do the best job I can to see that the village is run reasonably and responsibly and transparently,” Woolbright said. “Everyone who was in this race was in it for the right reasons and I’m certain all the candidates can work well together.”
He said the village owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Romano, a Republican who retired after 28 years in village government, the last 24 as mayor.
Kormos and Fitzpatrick, who also had the independent A Better BSpa ballot line, will replace Republican board members Robert Cavanaugh and Stuart Hodsell.
Kormos, 67, is a business consultant who has written more than $100 million in grants for non-profit housing and other projects. She has been active in planning and zoning issues in both Ballston Spa and New Scotland, where she previously lived.
Like Martin, O’Connor and Woolbright, Kormos served on the citizen budget advisory committee, formed last fall after a series of increasingly critical state audits and the revelation that mandated annual financial reports hadn’t been filed with the state since 2014. The village has had to borrow $500,000 or more short-term for the last three years to cover operating expenses.
Fitzpatrick, 68, is retired after working in employee relations and health care management for private companies, non-profits and in the governor’s Office of Employee Relations — experiences she said give her skills in both problem-solving and working with people.
While Woolbright had no party-supported opposition, former mayor James Capasso ran a write-in campaign for the position he previously held from 1991 to 1995. Capasso’s write-in total wasn’t immediately available Tuesday night.