Town Supervisor Elections
by Aaron Pentheny | published Oct. 17th, 2013
The Henrietta Town Supervisor position is up for local election, and the two candidates, the incumbent Michael Yudelson and the GOP candidate Jack Moore, have the potential to greatly impact Henrietta residents and the RIT student population.
During his six years in the position, Yudelson has worked to make the Henrietta Town Hall more transparent by creating a welcoming atmosphere in town meetings, revamping the town’s website and social media, as well as making it easier for the public to access records. For instance, the minutes for Town Hall meetings are now available online. In the future, Yudelson plans to continue the current policies being implemented, and to create more areas in Henrietta that can be a source of civic pride.
In a phone interview, Moore, who is championing fiscal responsibility in his policies, said he plans to hire a professional finance director, as the town has been without this position for three years. He would also promote enforcement of existing property codes in an effort to increase property values, and maintain senior and youth library programs. Moore said he will work to foster good working relationships with the town’s public safety organizations, such as the fire department, and ambulance services. He would also propose increased participation by RIT in supporting the town services the institution uses.
Henrietta Housing Ordinance
The candidates’ opinions on the Henrietta housing ordinance, which limits the number of unrelated people in a single household to three, is an important issue for many RIT student. Currently, RIT has a student population of 17,000 but only 7,400 on-campus housing spots, according to Student Housing Planet. The ordinance was prompted by complaints of raucous behavior from Henrietta residents who lived near homes rented to RIT students.
“Where [residents] do have complaints, it represents a small percentage of the students who are living in their neighborhood,” Yudelson stated. He elaborated on the issue further by saying that the problem is exacerbated in some areas where housing lots are smaller and homes closer together. As far as enforcing the code, Yudelson said that the town will not even begin to work that out until the issue has finished being disputed in court. “Even with that law in place, we don’t have the authority to go into somebody’s house and say ‘well we’re here to see how many people are living together.’ We just don’t have that kind of authority. So if a neighbor calls us and says there are five students living there, we can go and ask.”
According to Moore, the main properties that generate the issue are owned by one individual. He explained the point of view of those living in houses with many college students next to them: residential neighborhoods are not meant for student housing, and it is a big problem. “It has disrupted the lives of people that have put their life’s savings in probably the single largest investment that you have in your lifetime: a home,” Moore explained. “It will be my job to help people eliminate those problems, and RIT should be taking a larger role in helping the neighborhood too.”
Moore stated that RIT should share more in the cost of services provided by Henrietta. “They have over 1,200 acres of tax-free property over there that are taking a lot of services from the ambulance and fire districts, and the residents are baring the cost of that,” Moore explained, indicating that other universities in New York and around the country have helped their municipalities with these costs. “I don’t mean all of the costs, but they should at least try to help the community shoulder the costs that are going to the University.” However, he stressed that he still has a good opinion of the university. “I’m glad RIT is here,” Moore said. “There are a lot of huge positives coming out of there, and don’t think that the housing problem or the costs of the services provided are any major blemish…”
Yudelson shared similar sentiments about the school. “I feel that RIT is a huge asset to this town,” Yudelson said. “Not everyone is aware what a presence and what an effect it has, and what an economic driver it is in the community.” He cited times that he has met with administration from RIT, including President Destler, and said he hopes to continue good relations with the Institute in the future. Yudelson also expressed interest in creating easier modes of transportation for students trying to get off campus, but said it was not likely that the town would be able to aid in that issue.
Jack W. Moore will be on the ballot for the Republican Party, and Michael B. Yudelson will be on the ballot for both the Independence Party and the Conservative Party. The Monroe County General Elections are November 5, and students that are registered to vote are encouraged to participate, as local issues can have even more effect on them than national ones, according to Yudelson. To learn how to register to vote, visit our supplementary article Registering For Local Elections.