Four candidates are running for two Gates Town Board spots.

Four candidates are running for two Gates Town Board spots. Here's more about each candidate (in alphabetic order):

Name: Chris DiPonzio
Party lines: Republican, Conservative and Independence
Hometown: Gates
Age: 46
Family: Wife, Nancy DiPonzio; and daughter, Merrill, 10, and son, Tyler, 9
Occupation: Licensed Funeral Director
Past Commissioner, Gates Recreation and Parks. Serves as Liaison to Zoning Board for the Town of Gates
Vice President, DiPonzio Funeral Home, Inc.  ( family -owned small business in Gates); member of the National Federation of Independent Business, member of Gates Amita Club, member of Gates-Chili Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of Gates Youth Soccer, Little League Baseball and Hockey
Sponsor of the Dictionary Project; and member of the Italian American Sports Club

What are you running for town board?
I am running for re-election because I have a vested interest in the Town of Gates where I have lived all my life and now raising a family.  I believe in this Town and feel that we have great services, quality schools and friendly people. I have enjoyed serving the Town and  feel that my experience of running a business  has given me a perspective from the private sector that helps me make  sound fiscal decisions while not sacrificing the quality of life for the residents.  I will continue to strive to make Gates family friendly and business friendly. My wife and I are very proud to call Gates home.

What is the most important issues facing Gates residents in the next few years?
Keeping taxes stable. By attracting more businesses to the Town, we add to the tax base, promote job growth and help keep the Town affordable to the elderly, middle age and young families that make up our population.

Name: Mark McIntee
Current residence: Gates
Age: 52
Wife, Diane; and four children, Jessica, Shelby, Brittany and Brendan
Occupation: Building material sales and management past 24 years; last four years at Morse Sash and Door (inside sales)
Organizations/affiliations: Gates Town Councilman, elected 2006 (1-year term ,first Democrat in over 30 years); re-elected 2007 for a 4-year term

Why are you running for town board?
I am running for re-election because we need checks and balances on the Town Board. If a board is all one party, the Supervisor will do what he wants without being questioned. Yes partisan politics exists even at the town level ... Take the selling of the Public Safety building. The Town owned the building and could have put in another bay for Gates Volunteer Ambulance. In stead we sell the building, can't pay off the bond and then the Ambulance goes and borrows $3.6 million dollars that the tax payers will be paying back. I am a fiscal conservative and believe we should pay as we go. If we
need a new truck for the Highway department let's budget for it and not borrow with interest. When I was first elected to the Gates Town Board, the Town had a deficit over $2.2 million. Through 2011, we should have a surplus of just over $4.2 million.

What is the most important issue facing Gates residents in the next few years?
I think it will be taxes. Many people have lost jobs or not received a raise in years but property  taxes keep going up. In 2001, the Town tax rate was 4.45 per thousand and the amount raised by taxes $5.4 million . In 2011, the
Town tax rate is 6.33 per thousand a 30 percent increase and the amount raised by taxes, $9.7 million, a 45 percent increase. We have a large senior population on a fixed income who have not seen a social security increase in a couple years. The rate and amount raised by taxes may be close to the same for 2012 but  is that doing enough. While the amount raised for the Town maybe the same, you have to look at the total including the
Ambulance and Fire district to get a true picture. Then what about the future. The HVAC at the Town Hall is over 40 years old and what will it cost to replace it and when? It wasn't even mentioned  in this years Capitol Improvement plan.

Name: Francis (Frank) A. Muscato
Party lines: Democratic and Working Families
Hometown: Rochester
Age: 64
Family: Married, wife Fran Quercia Muscato, three daughters: Aimee Muscato Bateman (husband: Ken, grandsons Alexander and Andrew), Lisa Muscato and Stephanie Muscato
Occupation: Retired
Gates Democratic Committee (Team Leader/Chair), Gates-Chili Chamber of Commerce (Vice-President), Volunteer for Honor Flight Rochester

Why are you running for town board?
I am running because I do not feel that the public affairs of the town are being run in an open and fair manner. Over the last two years, too many decisions have being made with little or no pubic discussion  or adequate Town Board review. For example, the final contracts for the sale of the Public Safety Building and the lease on the new private building housing the Gates Town Library were never reviewed by the Town Board in a public session.  Only after the supervisor had signed the final contract were details revealed, such as a 20-year extension for the Gates Volunteer Ambulance Service and an upfront payment of $1.2 million to the builder of the building to house the library, which was made over six months before the library had access to the building. Another example of an unfair or closed issue was the hiring of the Deputy Town Clerk. This position was never publicly or internal posted and the newly hired Town Clerk was not consulted on this key support position. These involve great commitments on the part of the Town and deserved more discussion. It is the Town Board’s responsibility to see open and fair processes are used in the carrying out of the public's business. It has been said that,” In politics, perception is reality.” If actions are taken that appear to be favoritism or patronage, this does a dis-service to all.

What's the most important issue facing Gates residents in the next few years?
Besides the issue of open and fair governmental processes, the budget process needs to be fully reviewed. The Town has had surpluses over the last few years, with 2010 ending with over a $4 million surplus. With little public discuss of the budget, it is difficult to know if this is due to excessive over estimation of expenses or tax rates that were too high. The tax rates have come down and are projected to decrease again next year, but if this is the result of surplus and not good fiscal practices, than we may find that we are having short term gains with long term pain.

Name: Richard Warner
Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence
Hometown: Gates
Age: 60
Family: Wife, Gail; three children, Melissa, Michael and Matthew; and three grandchildren
Occupation: Retired town clerk and tax receiver

Why are you running for town board?
I’ve always enjoyed working for the Town of Gates and the interaction that I have had with the residents of the town. In my position as Town Clerk and Receiver of Taxes, I was able to assist residents on a daily basis. As a councilman providing constituent service will be an extension of what I did for nearly four decades for the citizens of the town. I consider it an honor to be a candidate for this office in the Town of Gates.

What is the most important issue facing Gates residents in the next few years?
The burden of state-mandated costs, e.g. pension and health care costs, are growing at a rate that far exceeds the rate of inflation. It will be increasingly more difficult to prepare a reasonable budget with these costs being so far out of line.