Trustee battles mayor for leadership in Bayville

A battle for control of Bayville pits an incumbent mayor calling for investment in storm preparation against a trustee who says village finances have been mismanaged.

Aside from the mayorship and three open trustee slots, also at stake in next week's election is the long dominance of the Taxpayers Party, aka TIP.

Mayor Douglas Watson, who is running on the Taxpayers Party line, said his main issues are pursuing federal funds to mitigate storm risks, maintaining water quality, upgrading water meters, and preserving the village's small-town quality. "We're committed to being prepared for storms and dealing with the aftermath," he said.


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His challenger, trustee Paul Rupp, who broke away from the mayor's party this year to form the Bayville Revitalization Party with three others, said he wants to draw on village residents to form committees on finance, roads and aesthetics.

"Doug and the TIP party do not foster that type of feedback from the residents, and that I plan on doing," Rupp said. "There's a lack of open and transparent government."

The village has faced a stream of bad fiscal news in recent years. Moody's Investors Service downgraded the village's bond rating in 2010. An audit by the state comptroller's office in 2012 sharply criticized the village's financial practices, and last year the comptroller's office cited the village as being in "significant fiscal stress." The village is seeking a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service over an apparent violation of tax laws regarding bonds.

Watson said those problems have passed. "The village is in fine financial shape," he said. "These opponents don't have anything so they're bringing up the same old things again."

Rupp said fixing the village's finances and reputation would be his priority. "The problems aren't solved," Rupp said, suggesting that deferred infrastructure investments have created budget risks.

Rupp denied Watson's suggestion that his opponents want to rezone the village to allow condos and townhomes. Rupp says the village should competitively bid all its contracts, a process Watson says the village handles according to the law.

Watson, 60, the retired former owner of an auto-body shop, served as trustee from 1992 until he was elected mayor in 2010. He has lived in Bayville since 1980.

Rupp, 54, who works as an administrator for a defense company that he asked not to be identified, has served two four-year terms as trustee. He said he has lived in Bayville for 27 years.

Trustee candidates running on the Taxpayers Party ticket are: Kathryn E. Caulfield, 52, a middle school teacher; Gregory H. Reisiger, 59, owner of a construction company; and Joseph M. Paniagua, 51, a financial business consultant.

The Bayville Revitalization Party trustee candidates are: Tim Charon, 31, a waterfront construction project manager; Joe Russo, 53, a retired information technology manager; and John Taylor, 62, an advertising executive.

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