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Watertown council candidates heading to Election Day

pWATERTOWN — With Election Day just a few weeks away, four City Council candidates are in the final push of their campaigns./ppCouncilwoman Sarah V. Compo, Patrick J. Hickey, Jesse C.P. Roshia and Robert T. Schorr got through a crowded field of eight candidates in the June 25 primary./ppThe top two vote-getters on Nov. 5 will be elected to four-year terms in the non-partisan race./ppIt’s been a quiet campaign, with little happening during the summer./ppIt wasn’t until after Labor Day that candidates again started going door-to-door to see what voters were talking about./ppMany voters are talking about spending $3.1 million to replace the pool and bathhouse in Thompson Park, they said. It’s the biggest issue of the campaign./pp“A lot of people are concerned about the city’s finances because of the pool,” Councilwoman Compo said./ppOut of the four candidates, only Mr. Hickey supports the project. The others think the city cannot afford it. They also oppose the way it will be paid for. In a controversial 3-2 vote in August, council members decided to use $2.9 million from the city’s fund balance to pay for it./ppWhile meeting with voters, Mr. Roshia said about 70 percent of the people he’s talked to say that they oppose the pool./ppHe compared it to going to purchase a BMW for that much money and then finding out it would only be enough money for a Mini Cooper. Then you learn it would not even cover the cost of a Mini Cooper, he said./ppMr. Schorr thinks the $3.1 million should pay for infrastructure projects, like roads and sidewalks. He has noticed that streets in neighborhoods near his home on the north side have not been fixed in years./pp“It’s just using common sense,” he said./ppMr. Hickey, as the lone candidate backing the project, calls pool opponents “naysayers.” He remembers going to the old Thompson Park pool when he was growing up, and says it will now be a draw for park-goers to the historic city park. /ppAs for using the fund balance, Mr. Hickey doesn’t have an issue with it. The city keeps too much in its reserve account, he said./ppEach time a vote has come up, Councilwoman Compo has voted against the project. She vehemently opposed using the fund balance./ppIt’s just too much to pay for a luxury item, she said./ppShe was appointed to the council last January to fill the vacancy created when former Councilman Mark C. Walczyk was elected a state assemblyman./ppMs. Compo said cutting city costs and working for city taxpayers are her biggest concerns. The city needs to market itself better and work on keeping young people from moving away for jobs elsewhere, she said./ppThe loss of hydroelectric revenues in 2030, getting back to the negotiating table with the firefighters and the state requiring the city to spend as much as $5 million for another courtroom in City Hall are other issues in the campaign./ppFor the most part, the four candidates agree with each other on those issues, however./ppIn the past, council primaries were held during the first week of September. This time, however, the primary was on June 25, making it a long campaign for the four candidates./ppThey trudged through the snow when they first went out on the campaign trail./ppAs a result, their campaigns were not at full speed during the summer. Councilwoman Compo had a few campaign events and did some sporadic door-to-door canvassing./ppThe others did almost all of their door-to-door efforts before the primary and then started up again in recent weeks./ppWhile it’s a nonpartisan race, Mr. Hickey said he’s the only Democrat in the race. /ppIt’s in reference to criticism that Councilwoman Compo, Mr. Roshia and mayoral candidate Jeffrey M. Smith, all three Republicans, have been working as a team./ppIf all three win in November, it would create a three-vote majority on council and they will set the agenda./ppMr. Roshia acknowledged that Councilwoman Compo and himself have been supportive of each other, rather than looking at each other as opponents. He’s also appreciates “the strong support” from Mr. Smith./ppBut the councilwoman said that it’s not about party politics. It’s about looking at their experience and backgrounds and that their views are in alignment with her’s, she said./p


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