Two candidates launched a write-in campaign over the weekend, turning an uncontested election in Garden City into a race for village trustee.
Using e-mails and the Internet, Ron Tadross and Ray Rudolph on Sunday decided to mount a last-minute challenge, asking voters to elect them as village trustees by writing in their names Tuesday.
The pair, running on the same slate, said they jumped into the race late largely over concerns about the budget and only recently discovered that residents share their concerns.
"We didn't know if the support was there," said Tadross, a financial analyst.
Four seats are up for grabs in today's election and the top four vote-getters win, said village administrator Robert Schoelle Jr. Each winner will serve a two-year term.
The village is divided into four sections, each of which nominates a candidate. Historically, the nominees run in uncontested races, Schoelle said. A write-in campaign is rare, he said, but has happened.
The four candidates chosen by their respective associations are incumbents Donald T. Brudie, Nicholas P. Episcopia, and John J. Watras. The fourth seat is vacant and Brian C. Daughney is the nominee. Those four names will be on the ballot.
If elected, Tadross and Rudolph, owner of a contracting business, promise to vote against any budget that calls for a tax increase above 3 percent. They say they're opposed to taking on new debt.
Episcopia, 63, a real estate consultant who has served in various positions in the village since he was elected in 2005, said he would vote against the village's proposed tax increase of 8.6 percent. As for the village's debt level, Episcopia said it is "low."
"Garden City uses 1.98 percent of its borrowing capacity," Episcopia said.
Daughney, 48, a corporate lawyer, said he has been involved in village affairs for the eight years since he moved there. A zero tax increase is not realistic, he said, particularly when revenues are down by about $2 million.
"I have a lot more depth and knowledge about issues facing the village" Daughney said.
Brudie and Watras could not be reached Monday.
Polls are open today from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 351 Stewart Ave.