Local board veterans seek 2 seats in Dansville
Two former village trustees and a former town councilman are vying with an incumbent for two open seats on the Dansville Village Board.
Trustee Don Sylor, a Republican, is not seeking re-election.
Two former trustees, Republican Lynn Regal and Democrat Andrew Kirshner, have thrown their hats into the ring, along with former town councilman Dick Lebar, a Democrat. Incumbent Richard Whitenack, a Republican, seeks a return to the board.
The Dansville ballot is also featuring two separate justice elections with both candidates running unopposed. Incumbent David Werth is running for the full four-year justice term. Josh Weidman is running for an unexpired term.
The election is March 19.
Here are profiles of the trustee candidates:
Republican Richard Whitenack has served as trustee for the last four years. He said he is seeking re-election because he hopes to see some of the current projects, including the waste water treatment plant, through to completion. He believes his background knowledge gives him an advantage over the competition.
If re-elected, Whitenack hopes to focus on the village budget, cost-control, and growth in the community.
The construction of a new wastewater treatment plant will likely be the most significant issue affecting the village in the coming year.
Originally, the wastewater treatment plant was expected to cost $19 million dollars at 5 percent to 6 percent interest. Since that time, the village board has managed to lower the cost to $13 million and 0 percent interest. While Whitenack acknowledges that it will still be “a very costly operation”, it would be “foolish” to not take advantage of the rates.
“If we get this online, it will be a great asset to our community…” said Whitenack. He is hopeful that it will lead to more development, business, and/or residents.
In addition to his experience as a Village Trustee, Whitenack participated in the Main Street Revitalization grant.
Outside of Dansville, he served as West Sparta Town Justice for five years.
Along with his involvement in local government, Whitenack is an active member of the community. He has been involved with the Council for Alcohol and Substance Abuse and the Dansville Historical Society.
Whitenack has been in the Dansville area for the majority of his life.
“I am here in my community and I’m not leaving,” he said.
Whitenack is dedicated and willing to work with the residents. “I will do whatever I can to help the community,” he said.
Lynn Reagle is the second Republican candidate seeking a seat on the Village Board. Reagle previously served one term as Village Trustee, lasting just more than three years.
Reagle elected to join the race for trustee after receiving support from both Democrats and Republicans in the community.
While previous boards have had problems, Reagle praises the current administration for working to correct the situation.
Reagle said he can be an asset to the Village Board, particularly as the new wastewater treatment plant gets underway. As Superintendent for The Pike Company, Reagle has years of experience in the construction field managing multi-million dollar projects.
Along with his construction background, Reagle has experience as a Main Street business owner (AJ’s Mercantile partnership).
If elected, Reagle would like to focus on village finances and pursuing grant money through NYSERDA, such as for the sewer plant.
In addition to his previous experience on the Village Board, Reagle served nine months as the code enforcement officer.
Reagle is a 35-year member of the Fire Department, where he served as a past chief, a 30-year member of the American Legion, and a 5-year member of the Dansville Lions Club. Reagle has also coached youth sports and been involved with Camp Good Days.
If elected, Reagle’s vision for the community involves a “community working together again”.
“The one thing I don’t do is make promises I can’t keep … but I do my best to look at all options before any final decisions are made,” he said.
“I’m not a party person,” said Reagle. “I want to do what’s best for tax payers.”
Reagle stressed the importance of not losing more people from the community.
Reagle and his wife are both life-long members of the community. He graduated from Dansville Central School in 1973 and went on to serve in the United States Air Force. Reagle also takes pride in the fact that his children have served in the military.
“I believe in doing what’s right,” said Reagle. “I am committed to the betterment of this community and its residents.”
Andrew Kershner is one of two Democratic candidates seeking election in Dansville’s Village Trustee race. Similar to other candidates, Kershner has previous experience on the Dansville Village Board.
Kershner served one four-year term as Village Trustee. However, the Hatch Act prevented him from seeking re-election due to his employment with the county.
Since Kershner is no longer employed by the county, he is free to return to local government/politics.
If elected, Kershner hopes to improve the village board’s relationship with the community by being more accessible and engaging.
“I believe there is a lack of communication with the community,” said Kershner. He said this lack of transparency has led to many unanswered questions.
“I would do everything I can to be accessible,” he said.
Construction of the new waste water treatment plant will be one of the primary issues facing the new village board.
While he acknowledges the current plan is different than the original proposal, he believes “we need to break ground.”
In addition to the new plant, Kershner said taxes will be an important issue for the board. Furthermore, Kershner hopes to improve the board’s relationship with village employees by encouraging more communication. He believes the village employees are an asset to the community.
“The village is a big operation,” Kershner said. “Thus, it is important to have an understanding of how it works and be willing/able to listen to what is being said.”
Kershner said his previous experience as a trustee will serve him well if elected.
Kershner’s philosophy is that village officials are “the stewards of the finances and the policies and procedures … the rest belongs to the community.”
Along with his experience in government, Kershner continues to be active in the community including volunteer youth programs and sports. While he hopes to win one of two open trustee seats, he plans to be involved in the community regardless of the election’s outcome.
Dick LeBar is the second Democratic candidate seeking election in the Dansville Village Trustee race.
LeBar has not previously served as a village trustee, but he did serve two years as a Town Councilman.
After losing his bid for re-election, LeBar turned to village government. He has been attending village board meetings in order to get up-to-speed on current issues.
LeBar has also been speaking with members of the community. Those conversations led him to believe there is a lack of communication between the village government and community.
Some of those conversations revealed a “general feeling of mistrust” and the belief that the “board isn’t acting in unison.”
LeBar, with his background and experience, felt he could help improve the current situation.
He said he was also encouraged to seek election by some village residents.
LeBar is semi-retired – currently working as a realtor and substitute teacher.
In addition to serving as a Town Councilman, LeBar has spent six years on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He is involved with the Lions Club, the American Legion, Project Christmas, and more.
Going forward, LeBar realizes construction of a new waste water treatment plant will be a huge issue for the community.
“While I can’t say it was the best decision, it was a decision,” said LeBar. “Now we need to look forward to the future … make sure this is done right.”
LeBar said it will be critical to look at sewer rates and make sure they are “fair and equitable” for all.
Along with the waste water treatment plant, LeBar hopes to improve the relationship between the village board and service providers such as police, fire department and ambulance corps.
“I believe there is an opportunity to work closer … to be more supportive,” noted LeBar.
LeBar, a lifelong resident of Dansville, takes a lot of pride in the community. He believes he would be an appropriate choice for Village Trustee, because he doesn’t have a personal agenda.
LeBar said, “I feel I have the experience, dedication, and people skills.”