Both candidates campaigning to lead the city of Gloversville as its mayor cite the need for jobs as the biggest issue facing city residents.
Mayor Dayton King, who will be found on the Republican and Conservative lines and independent People’s line on the ballot, faces a challenge from James Handy, a member of the city’s Planning Board who represented the city’s Fifth Ward on the Common Council in 2004 before serving as deputy mayor from 2006 to 2009.
Handy, 74, lost the Conservative line on the ballot to King in September; he will be found on the independent Working for You line on the ballot.
Handy, who served as an information technology technician at Grandoe Corp. and UNISYS Corp. before retiring, said residents in the city need good-paying jobs. Getting those jobs to Gloversville is a task he’d take a trip to Albany to accomplish.
“Jobs are certainly a priority,” Handy said.
“If I get elected to this position, I’m going to rap on the door over there at the governor’s office. We need help,” he said.
He said the city has critical services — water and wastewater — that could better serve the city while it’s helping neighboring towns, so he would work on improving relationships with them.
Handy said he thinks there was a better relationship between the city of Gloversville and the town of Johnstown when he was on the Common Council. “We need to go back and bring it back to fruition here and work closely together to make things happen,” he said.
Handy said improving the quality of life is another important goal that can be accomplished if the city is successful bringing in jobs. Lessening the tax burden, he said, could go a long way to help the city’s most frail residents, its senior citizens.
“They’ve been the backbone of the community,” he said.
King, 35, said the city has been bleeding revenue to neighboring municipalities for more than 40 years.
If re-elected, he said he wants to develop a better revenue-sharing plan and pursue annexing developable land into the city of Gloversville — then higher sales tax and property tax revenues would help lessen the tax burden placed on residents.
The city’s collects $21.71 per $1,000 of a property’s value to support its $15 million budget.
“It’s way too much,” King said of the tax rate, which places the city near its state-imposed taxing limitation.
He said crime is another issue on the minds of residents, one he believes adding police officers would help address.
While acknowledging the importance of firefighters, King said differences in union contracts have led to greater numbers of firefighters on duty than cops, and there’s more crime than fires.
“There’s not enough police officers,” King said.
Union contracts are under negotiation, and one point he hopes to bring to the table is comparing roughly $300,000 the city spends on overtime for firefighters compared with $100,000 for police.
“We should be spending more money on police and less on fires,” King said.
He said he offers voters a fiscally conservative approach, as demonstrated by the city’s fund balance.
Early on in his first term, King said, the city’s budget situation was ugly.
“We thought we were going to lay everybody off. It was bad.”
But after nearly four years, the city is saving money, and has more than $2 million now available in reserves.
King said he sees himself as an accessible mayor who is responsive to people’s concerns.
“If I don’t have the answer, I’ll find it,” he said.
He said in the past, mayors haven’t worked full time at City Hall, and he believes residents in the city deserve a full-time mayor.
The Gloversville mayor is paid an annual salary of $39,839.80.
James E. Handy
PARTY: Working for You
EDUCATION: Associate degree, information technology, Hudson Valley Community College
EXPERIENCE: Information technologist, Grandoe Corp. and UNISYS Corp., retired; Gloversville Common Council, Ward 5, 2004; deputy mayor, Gloversville, 2006–2009
FAMILY: Married to wife Sharon 24 years, three grown children, nine grandchildren
PARTIES: Republican, Conservative, People’s
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, psychology, SUNY-Oneonta
EXPERIENCE: Gloversville mayor, 2010-present; former employee, Wal-Mart Distribution Center
FAMILY: Married to Chanda, two children aged 10 and 8