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Dedicated to good, local government for Penfield

Penfield Republican Committee

Dedicated to good, local government for Penfield. Supporting the ideals of fiscal responsibility, sound values and that local government, with elected representatives being closest to the people is the best solution.

Tony Lafountain
Town Supervisor

What are the two hottest topics in town today?


The first is taxes. A week does not go by without a phone call, email, or someone dropping by my office or stopping me out in the community to let me know they are watching taxes closely. The message is always the same: “Taxes in Penfield are too high and you need to do something about it!”

 

There are three components to property taxes: town tax which is 8 cents of every tax dollar; county tax at 23 cents per dollar; and school tax at 69 cents per dollar. Given that, local government has control over the smallest amount to maintain roads, sidewalks, sewers, parks, drainage, library, open space, recreation, and more. Historically the town rate has remained relatively flat over the last 10 years. Actually, the town tax rate today at $2.78/$1,000 of assessed valuation is lower than it was in 1988 at $3.74/$1,000 of assessed valuation.


The second hot topic is traffic and speed. It seems as though everyone is in a hurry to get where they are going as fast as possible. With each passing day this issue continues to grow and posted speed limits are generally ignored. While I hear from many residents that they never see a sheriff, enforcement has indeed increased and the number of traffic tickets issued has doubled. Education, enforcement, and court action are all key to addressing this matter and changing behaviors.



Public safety and connectivity – what would you do to improve pedestrian and bike safety in town?


Over the last five years we have been very aggressive in our efforts to extend and connect sidewalks adjacent to schools and businesses throughout the town. The Penfield Trails Committee has been actively working to connect our trails system along creeks and vast acreage of town-owned land and open space. The NYS Department of Transportation has been installing traffic control devices at major intersections to allow greater safety to pedestrians crossing major roadways. Finally, the town is undergoing a conceptual master plan for Shadow Pines following up on the Shadow Pines Land Use Advisory Committee’s recommendation of adding bike trails to the property in a way that pedestrians and bikes may co-exist safely on the property. The town’s new Mixed Used District zoning specifically requires developers in these districts to design projects that are walkable and bike friendly, de-emphasizing the use of motor vehicles.



Why does the Town benefit from sharing services with the county/other communities?


Shared services have been a long standing practice in this county well before New York State recently recognized it might be a good thing to consider! Decades ago, Monroe County and the 19 towns and 9 villages recognized that they could not afford to have all the same equipment and services to provide support to their respective communities due to impacts on local tax rates. Equipment is regularly shared by towns and the county to pave and plow roads, maintain storm and sanitary sewers, and uphold public safety. 

Centralized services for public health, human services, emergency management, civil service, veterans services, and much more is managed by the county for all levels of government. The community of Monroe has been a leader and benchmark across the state for shared services.



What does this job take on a weekly basis including estimate of hours?


The supervisor’s position is considered a full time job in most towns. While the work week schedule is 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday or 35 hours per week, most weeks average 50-55 hours taking into account early morning meetings with department that start their day at 7:00 AM; several night meetings each week; weekend events for various groups, organizations, and businesses; and regular phone calls after hours from residents. The supervisor is on-call 24x7 for emergencies that involve police, fire, and natural disasters.



What is the role of a Supervisor, (including responsibilities) in the community?


The town supervisor is an elected position with a two-year term in most towns including Penfield. Supervisors are considered the legislative branch of local government; they sit on the town board, where they preside over town board meetings and vote on all matters, having no more legal weight than that of any other board member and they have no tie-breaking or veto powers. In most towns, the supervisor is considered a full-time position.


The supervisor also functions as the Town Executive and Administrator, carrying out decisions that have been made by the town board and running the day-to-day operations of town government. The supervisor usually receives the majority of the suggestions of citizens, and complaints as well. Further, the supervisor is the treasurer of the town and generally represents the town in the conduct of its financial affairs as the Town Fiscal Officer.


As for the supervisor’s role in the community, I make an effort to support the many organizations in town and I enjoy being out and about. When I am attending events; supporting teams; visiting schools, businesses, and neighborhoods—or just going about my day—I strike up conversations with residents and learn about their likes, dislikes, and aspirations for Penfield. Every conversation is a chance to share information or learn something new!



Why I chose to run:


When my wife and I moved to this area in 1975, my first job was working for the Town of Penfield as a public works inspector. This eventually led to positions with Planning/Zoning, followed by Deputy Director of Public Works. After 5½ years, I took a position with Eastman Kodak Company; however, I wanted to continue working with local government in Penfield. I was appointed to chair the Zoning Board of Appeals and served in this position for five years.


In 1985 I had an opportunity to run for elected office. This was an easy decision to make as I enjoyed working with residents, neighborhoods, and businesses on all aspects of town government including problem solving, improving infrastructure, local development, and planning for the future of Penfield. Since that first election, I was elected five times to the town board, four times to the Monroe County Legislature representing Penfield, and I am now running for my sixth term as town supervisor.


Penfield has been our home for 44 years now. My wife and I raised our two daughters here, and now our two granddaughters also call Penfield home. By example, my parents instilled in me the importance of being active in my community. When I came to Penfield I quickly knew this community was a place I cared about and wanted to connect with as a neighbor and public servant. The Penfield community has wonderful people and resources that, together, create a small town, big family feel—a significant reason so many people choose to live and raise their families here.


Debbie Drawe
Town Council

As a town board member what would I like to see myself/town board doing differently?


Great question and one I will continue to give much thought. I especially am proud of the transparency that the Town board emphasizes at each town meeting-- and we need to continue to look for ways to improve our transparency in government.


I would like to explore the possibility of taking our town board meetings “on the road” to different areas of our town. Not everyone can watch the Town Board meeting on cable television or make it to the Town Hall for their meeting. Government is for the people, and I would like to make it as accessible as possible for our residents to participate in their town government.


Also, it is important to sustain a welcoming and healthy community by continuing to look for connectivity among residential and business areas with sidewalks throughout the town of Penfield.


As I am knocking on doors and visiting Penfield residents, this is a question I am posing to them too: what can we do better to make your town an even better place to live, work, and raise your family?

I would love to hear your ideas. You can reach me at 585-217-1928.



What does a Town Board Member do in their role as a department liaison?


All Town Board members have department/board liaison responsibilities, where each member is assigned to one or more department(s) or board(s) in town government as the elected representative. Assignments might be based particular interests one has or knowledge that could assist with concerns, improvements and opportunities in serving town residents.


I have served as the past liaison to for EPW-Environment and Public Works. I took an active interest in all public works projects impacting our town residents. From my visiting town pump stations to following a project in East Penfield known as “commission ditch”, I helped resolve any issues that arose and addressed concerns from Penfield residents.



What is the role of a Board member (including responsibilities) in the community?


I was elected to the Penfield Town Board in 2006 and served there for four years. In 2009 I was selected to fill a vacancy on the Monroe County Legislature. I was re-elected as Legislator District 9 in 2011, and again in 2015 with my term ending in 2019. I will have served the full 10 years allowed for this term-limited position.


The role of an elected official/ town board member, is to adopt, enforce and formulate laws, ordinances and policies that will affect the welfare, safety and health of the residents and the community and to support the continued growth and development of the community.


There is a fair amount of committee work in addition to Town Board Meetings as all Board Members serve as liaisons to other Town of Penfield Committees. For example, in my prior service as Town Board Member, I served on the Penfield Comprehensive Plan Update, Bike Master Plan, and was Town Board liaison to Public Safety, Public Works, Watershed and Historical Boards. Being transparent and having open communication with residents is critically important, as Town Board Members are elected to represent all the people in their community.



Why I chose to run for Penfield Town Board:


I was on elected to the Penfield Town Board in 2006. I have been your County Legislator for the 9th district since 2009 when an opportunity arose for me to continue to serve the residents of Penfield at the county level. My service in the County Legislature will end this December due to the 10-year term limit for this body.


I am honored to be given the opportunity to run for the Penfield Town Board. My decision to do so came after careful discussion with many of the residents who encouraged me to continue to serve the residents of this wonderful town by returning as their town board representative.


I have always tried to do my best for the people I represent and can truly say that I have always been a bi-partisan representative, working with both sides of the political aisle while serving in the Monroe County Legislature.


I would be honored if elected to continue to serve all the people of the Town of Penfield, with open communication, no matter what their political, race, ethnicity, and gender, social or religious beliefs.


Linda Kohl
Town Council

What are your goals to improve communication with and transparency for residents?


Communications continues to be a concern of mine, and I am often asked questions by residents about things happening in the town. They want to know about current events, and issues that affect them. Currently, residents will ask me questions at my monthly community chats, through email, or in person. I will find the information they are looking for and get a response back to them. While I enjoy communicating with residents directly, I do recommend promotion of a centralized location for residents to ask questions and request information with reliable, timely responses. That would directly further the communication between the Town of Penfield and the community.



As a town board member what would I like to see myself/town board doing differently?


Timely and more thorough communication between town government and community is always something upon which we can improve. We are currently making upgrades to the town’s communication network with a new website design. Additionally, I believe we can upgrade the town’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.) to further enhance communication to residents.



What does a Town Board Member do in their role as a department liaison?


The Town Board members are assigned positions as liaisons to departments and committees. I am presently liaison to the Recreation Department and the Penfield Public Library. In this capacity, I keep in communication with the department directors and employees. I am liaison to the Penfield Library Board, attending its monthly meeting to learn what is happening with the Library while keeping the Library Board informed about what is happening from a Town Board level.


My most recent involvement with the Recreation Department was serving as a town board liaison to the Penfield Parks and Recreation Master Plan Committee. A Parks and Recreation Master Plan is updated every 5 years. It is put together by the Penfield Recreation Department with the assistance of a citizens based Advisory Committee.



What does this job take on a weekly basis including estimate of hours?


A town board member represents all the residents of an entire town. All Penfield Town Board members respond to concerns of residents and helps them to resolve their concerns. We answer emails and phone calls from residents and put them in touch with the appropriate staff person or organization to help them resolve an issue. The Town Board meets on a weekly basis and in addition to attending these weekly meetings, each Town Board member attends other board and department meetings as a Town Board liaison. This helps improve communication among all the different components of town government and the Town Board.


While the town board position is considered a part time position, time spent in the role depends upon each individual Board member. As I do not have a full time position, I spend the remainder of my time as a community representative and volunteer for several different community organizations.



What is the role of a Board Member (including responsibilities) in the community?

 

The Town Council is the legislative branch of local government. Council members are elected to 4-year terms of office. The council member serves as a representative of all town residents, making decisions in the best interest of the community.


The council member role includes working on and adopting the annual town budget, land use planning, and strategic planning.  The 4 council members each chair one committee: Law & Finance, Public Works, Public Safety, Community Service and serve as liaison on town committees and ad hoc committees.


Council members respond to resident’s questions and concerns in person, by telephone and through email. Council members participate at events throughout the town promoting the local business community and service organizations and their projects supporting the community.



Why I chose to run for Penfield Town Board:


I have always had a strong desire to participate in government. After graduating from Penfield High School, I went to college to study government at the State University of New York at Fredonia, majoring in Political Science and minoring in English. I received my Masters in Public Administration from SUNY Albany, and then returned to Rochester to work in the Monroe County Legislature and then the Monroe County Parks Department.


I always wanted to participate in Penfield government, using what I learned in college to give back to my community. I applied for a volunteer position and was appointed a member of the Penfield Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. Later, I was appointed to the Penfield Zoning Board of Appeals and finally the Penfield Planning Board. While serving on the Penfield Planning Board, an opportunity arose to run for the Penfield Town Board. I ran for the Penfield Town Council and was elected in 1992.


It is an honor to represent Penfield and give back to the community in which I grew up and where my husband Ken & I chose to raise our family.

Paula Metzler
Town Justice

For more information about Paula please use the following links:


https://metzlerforjudge.com/


https://www.facebook.com/paulametzlerforpenfieldtownjustice/