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Concord Town Supervisor Election: Interview with the Candidates

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By Elizabeth Riggs

This November, Concord residents will head to the polls to cast votes for the positions of Town Supervisor and Councilmen. On the Democratic ticket are current Springville Mayor Bill Krebs, who is running for the office of Town Supervisor, and Jon Hamann and Matt Mayer for Concord Board. On the Republican ticket are Clyde Drake, running for the office of Town Supervisor, and Jim Krezmien and Phil Drozd for Concord Board.

This week we caught up with both of the Town Supervisor candidates, and asked them to discuss their qualifications and goals for Concord’s future if elected to office.

Interview with Bill Krebs

ST: What is your professional background and experience?

I am a retired teacher with 39 years of experience teaching. I retired five years ago, and I’ve been mayor for 12 years, and involved in local government for 26 years. I have a lot of experience and municipal leadership and I believe all the experiences I have as mayor and all of the projects and well-managed village government we have qualifies me to be the best leader for the town of Concord.

ST: What are your goals for Concord if elected to office?

I think that by listening to town residents, we can move the town forward in ways that it has not been led by the present Republican government. We have listened to residents complain about the community park and the needed improvements that have not been addressed year after year.

We are aware that because of lack of partnerships, the programs have gone down. Recently, I just had a budget meeting and the town has appropriated more money for the senior programming.

We believe that, through partnerships with Springville Chamber of Commerce and Erie County Development Agencies, the town can look at ways to develop its agribusiness and its residential, business commercial environment. There are many absent or empty retail stores in the village and I think that spreads throughout the town. We believe that through careful planning, and the town is in the middle of its comprehensive plan, that residential, business and agricultural can coexist peacefully and there should be a plan for future development of these future areas of life in Concord.

ST: What made you want to run for the position of Supervisor?

We believe the master plan should address recreation uses also and total quality of life programs for the town. All of these areas the town of Concord has not addressed in the past many years.

We are also running because in 15 years or more there hasn’t been any opposition. The Republican committee has selected the people who get into office unopposed and we do not believe that’s the best way for the government to exist. There should be a choice.

ST: Would you like to share any information about the Councilmen candidates on the Democratic ticket?

Jon Hamann and Matt Mayer are family-oriented; they have children in school, and they are going to spend the rest of their lives growing their families and raising their kids in Springville. They are very interested in our community. They are both businessmen, and they bring that kind of experience to the ticket.

ST: Are there any final comments you’d like to make?

We will not campaign negatively about our opponents; they all bring what they bring to the ticket. We have issues and plan, and I bring a wealth of leadership that no other candidate has.

Interview with Clyde Drake

ST: What is your professional background and experience?

I went to college as an accountant and graduated out of UB with a BS in accounting and a MBA from UB as well. I’ve passed three professional exams, including a CMA and CPA. I went right into the industry working for General Motors, which later became American Axle, and after I retired from American Axle, I worked at Carlton Industries, which is an aerospace industry. Also, I passed enrolled agent exam given by the IRS and I have had my own tax business for about 40 years.

ST: What is your personal background and involvement in the Village?

My wife and I have four children – the first two were boys so I got involved with little league baseball, soccer and football and I ended up being the commissioner of Springville Little League football for about three years.

That led to me running for the school board. I was on the board for 10 years; I was actually president of the board for seven years and vice president for one year, from 1995-2005. I ran for the town board four years ago in 2013.

ST: What are your goals for Concord if elected to office?

I want to keep the programs going that we have right now. We have actually managed to stay under the tax cap for the last three years, which protected our citizens’ rebate checks and all the while we did that, we built a senior center, we replaced a senior van, we bought highway equipment.

What Krebs talks about trying to do in the future, we are already doing now. We just passed a budget for next year — there is no tax increase for next year. While I was on the board for the last four years, we have talked about green energy – we have passed the wind law, the solar law and I basically wrote that myself. We fought through bringing a new ambulance service to the town.

There’s going to be more growth in the senior center because we’ve increased out budget for next year. Things are moving in a positive direction there.  One thing I’ve heard from Mr. Krebs is that he thinks the senior center should be more of a community center. My personal opinion is, we have people paying high school taxes, it seems to me the schools should be the ones boosting up the facilities for those types of activities. We built the senior center with a grant saying that it was going to be a senior center and we don’t envision backing away from that.

One of the things on our radar is that we have 50-year-old sewer districts at Kissing Bridge and Crane Ridge and we are trying to see what it would take to modernize those facilities.

Also, one of the issues we are hearing out in the country is the desire to have a better broadband and right now the town is doing research on that. The town got a $40,000 grant and we are trying to see how we can get broadband out to these areas. We’re seeing that as a real need and we are going to push for that.

ST: Would you like to share any information about the Councilmen candidates running on the Republican ticket?

Jim Krezmien has been on town board for 30 years. He brings a big history of what has gone on in the town and he owns a business right here in the village. It makes government a whole lot easier when you have somebody that can tell you why you did this or that off the top of his head.

Phil Drozd was previously county engineer for the highway department. He knows the town roads very well, and the county roads. He’s got a lot of knowledge there and we expect that he’s going to be a good addition to our team.

ST: Are there any final comments you’d like to make?

Here’s the bottom line for us: We want to make improvements to the town, but we want to make them as we can afford them. There are two types of people in our town – the people in the country and people in the village. The town has to encompass both of those needs.

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