As we get closer to Christmas and the New Year, it will also be the time that I will be leaving office come Jan. 1. It has been a remarkable 24 years with 10 years as a town councilman and deputy supervisor, and 14 years as town supervisor, with both terms being the longest in Webster’s history.
While some are happy with a change in leadership, which I totally understand, many supporters wish the election outcome would have been different. To them I say all good things must come to an end, and we had some outstanding accomplishments in the past 24 years which are going to be hard to match in the coming years.
The town board and department heads, along with very dedicated town employees, oversaw many interesting projects for the residents of Webster simply upgrading the quality of life for all Webster residents. Here is a list of a few things that took time and effort to do for the Webster community:
Built a new community recreation building to serve Webster residents.
Design and construction of the First Responders Park (2013), playground (2014), spray park (2015) and restrooms and changing facility (2016) as a memorial to all of our first responders.
My fingerprint has been on every acre of open space we have in the town of Webster since the passing of the $5.9 million bond. We have over 3,000 acres that will not be developed in the town. Show me another town that has more.
Recently acquired 48 acres from New York making North Ponds Park a property under control by the town’s parks management.
Oversaw the building of Liberty Lodge at Finn Park.
Instrumental in the development of the Challenger Miracle Field and playground.
Brought the Waterfront Art Festival to Webster.
Moved Justice Courts to its own home in the old library building.
Expansion of the Webster Public Library, twice.
Renovation of the Curry Building at the Webster Arboretum.
Kept tradition by having the Webster Summer Celebration every June with fireworks.
Development of an outdoor skating rink at the Parks and Recreation Center.
Renovated the new Town Hall building and built a Town Hall board room at the courthouse.
New parks building on state Route 250 to house parks employees and their equipment.
New cell tower at Recreation Building to serve Webster with Wi-Fi and emergency access.
Received $118,000 grant to make improvements to Sandbar Park.
Received $1.4 million grant for sidewalks along Ridge Road, with construction to start in 2020.
Started $12 million upgrade of the Wastewater Sewer Plant to improve capacity, which is currently ongoing.
Member of the Webster Economic Development Alliance to foster new development and jobs in Webster.
Instrumental in supporting of the Friends of the Trails since inception and the great trail system Webster has.
Partnered with the Webster Central School District to bring two police resource officers into the Webster schools.
Founding member of the Finger Lakes Health Care Trust establishing lower health care rates for town employees, down 4% this year alone.
First Webster hybrid police SUV coming in 2020.
All meetings of the town board, planning board, zoning board of appeals and electronic town meetings shown on Cable 1303. Not many towns provide that kind of transparent information to their residents.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea that for 24 years we had a plan to inform and provide outstanding services to Webster residents and we did just that. But I would have to say my biggest and proudest accomplishment had to do with the Webster town budget. I ran a tight operation providing services to the residents at the lowest tax rate we could. I always felt that you, the residents, can spend your money better than the government and you should keep that money for your needs.
In the 24 years I was a member of the town board, the town tax rate went from $4.32 in 1996 to
$5.21 in 2020. That is 89 cents in 24 years or 0.037 cents per thousand over that time frame. (I must say, for Mr. Wohlrab’s sake, that there were two townwide revaluations in 2000 and 2004 that adjusted home assessments.) I hope residents understand that I worked very hard to control the tax rate over a very long period of time.
I will miss the day-to-day encounters with residents and most of all I will miss the hard-working town employees who give their heart and soul to Webster residents to provide them with outstanding services. I will not miss the fabricated daily stories on social media that many made up because they didn’t want to spend the time calling Town Hall for the truth about an issue. They would rather post what they thought happened or what they might have heard instead of getting the truth about issues involving the highway, police department or any planning and zoning issue. Town Hall and its employees are there to help you and give you truthful information, not to lie, as some have claimed.
I would also like to clear up some of the recent inaccurate gossip topics about me. No, I did not sell my place in Florida to buy the lettuce property. No, I am not co-owner of the lettuce project, and no, I am not getting profits from the project to buy back my store. Anyone that knows me will recognize that the idea of me working in close proximity to vegetables of any kind is absurd. I am concerned about the negative turn this town has taken in recent months, as this behavior doesn’t reflect the character of the town in a positive light to others in Monroe County and around the state.
Why would anyone want to move to Webster when you have this filth on Webster social media
pages, for the sole purpose of destroying someone’s reputation and bringing a cloud over the town of Webster? The recent attacks I have seen against board members, town employees and even my family, including direct threats, is appalling. Police officers should not be needed at meetings to ensure the safety of the town employees. We can do better Webster! Thus, it is my hope that this town can move forward in the new year on a positive and more respectful track.
I have lived in the town of Webster for over 59 years and nothing means more to me than making Webster a better place to live, work and raise a family. I will be retiring and doing some family events I missed as supervisor, but I will still be involved in Webster events and politics.
I thank the Webster community for the great opportunity to lead this town for the past 14 years as your supervisor, and I wish all of you the best as Webster continues to be a leader in Monroe
County.
If you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact the newly elected supervisor at (585) 872-7068.