VESTAL, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – There’s a Democratic primary for Vestal Supervisor next week pitting a longtime incumbent against a relative newcomer.
The race, whose origins can be traced to a controversial housing development, has both sides accusing the other of lying.
John Schaffer has lived in Vestal for 53 years after growing up in Endicott. He’s been Supervisor for 12 years. He says he’s kept taxes low, improved streets and parks and presided over the construction of new EMS and fire stations. Schaffer says there’s a reason people moving to the area want to live in Vestal.
Supervisor John Schaffer says, “Vestal is, by far, the safest town in Broome County. We’re the economic engine for Broome County. I’m very proud of that. New York State has labeled us a town of distinction for the last few years. What more can you do?”
Maria Sexton moved to Vestal 5 years ago to be near her parents. She had spent 20 years with the NYPD. She says she will work for the residents.
Candidate Maria Sexton says, “It’s just helping people. My entire career has been like that. And I just happen to have this unique background. I have administrative, I have practical, I have field experience.”
Sexton says she was motivated to run by what she sees as a board and supervisor that are unresponsive to their constituents. Much of this stems from the debate over The Retreat at Bunn Hill, a housing complex that opponents claim will ruin the rural nature of the area. Sexton says Schaffer is rude and condescending when residents express their concerns.
Candidate Maria Sexton says, “Enough of this. Enough of being disrespectful to people. Enough of not listening to people. Enough of not exploring how to help people.”
Sexton says that if elected she will involve the community, through committees, online surveys and greater transparency. Schaffer says the town is transparent and that Sexton can’t get her facts straight. He claims she’s been recruited by Bunn Hill opponents and fed misinformation. Schaffer says that includes a lie that the town plans to ban dogs from the Rail Trail.
Supervisor John Schaffer says, “She’s attended one meeting. No idea how many employees we have. She knows the budget, she knows the end line, but she doesn’t know how to read the budget. It takes a little while to figure it out.”
Schaffer says Vestal needs economic growth to keep taxes low. Sexton says she supports development but not at the expense of residents.The primary is next Tuesday although early voting has already begun.