Falconer, Fredonia Look To Move Village Elections

To save money, two more villages are looking to change their spring elections to November.

The county Board of Election commissioners, Brian Abram and Norm Green, have announced the villages of Falconer and Fredonia are looking to join Celoron in moving their elections to be held with the general election in the fall. The two villages have referendums on their March election ballots on the proposal. In March 2010, residents in Celoron voted for the village Election Day change.

David Krieg, Falconer mayor, said the Village Board, which approved the proposal in January, voted for the change to save money. By holding a separate election in March, the village pays the county Board of Elections to host the election each spring. By holding the village election in conjunction with town, state and federal elections in November, village taxpayers won’t have to pay the extra expense.

”By running a special election in March, you have to pay for the election (inspectors) to be there, to rent the hall and to have the ballots printed. We have to pay for all that,” Krieg said. ”We do it another time, we save money.”

Krieg said the village pays between $600 and $700 on average for each spring election. According to the county Board of Elections, Falconer residents paid $457.36 in 2012 for a spring election.

Along with saving money, Krieg believes more people will vote during village elections if they are held with other elected offices in November.

”Occasionally, we have elections where one person will run unopposed for the board, and we have to pay for 25 people to vote,” he said. ”It doesn’t make sense. Why not combine it all, and get more of a turnout and reduce costs?”

In Celoron, one of the main reasons they switched from the spring to the fall was to have more people voting during a village election.

”Mainly, we wanted more people to come out to vote, and they do when there is a national ticket on the line,” said John Keeney, Celoron mayor. ”We wanted people to come to the election. We wanted people to know there was an election taking place. We had elections that would only bring out 22 people.”

Keeney said some county village officials may want to hold on to the tradition of a village election in the spring. For Celoron officials, that wasn’t an option anymore.

”It is one thing to keep a tradition, but keeping it alive at an expense … that is not a realistic thing to do,” Keeney said. ”If you don’t have to pay anything for a function you were paying for, and you get more people to use it, that makes sense. The idea of moving the election to November was justified in our minds then, and even more justified in our minds now.”

Krieg said he has only spoken to a few village residents about the proposal. He said they all think it is a good idea if it will save money.

Along with the referendum, three candidates will be running unopposed for Falconer trustee positions. The incumbent candidates include DeEtte Dispenza, Timothy Dunn and James Rensel.

Dispenza was first appointed to the board in November 2011 when Stephen Garvey resigned from the board because he moved. Dispenza was then elected to finish the last year of the term in March 2012.

Dunn was appointed to the board in April of last year to fill the position vacated when Louis Schrader passed away in January 2012. Dunn will finish the two years remaining on the unexpired term.

Rensel was re-elected to the board in March 2009.