AfterlightImage.JPG

City of Watertown City Hall. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — With Election Day just a few weeks away, four City Council candidates are in the final push of their campaigns.

Councilwoman 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.

The top two vote-getters on Nov. 5 will be elected to four-year terms in the non-partisan race.

It’s been a quiet campaign, with little happening during the summer.

It wasn’t until after Labor Day that candidates again started going door-to-door to see what voters were talking about.

Many 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.

“A lot of people are concerned about the city’s finances because of the pool,” Councilwoman Compo said.

Out 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.

0616_wdj_watertown-candidate-jesse-rochia_SS1.JPG

Jesse C.P. Roshia speaks during an editorial board meeting at the Watertown Daily Times office in June. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

While meeting with voters, Mr. Roshia said about 70 percent of the people he’s talked to say that they oppose the pool.

He 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.

robert-1.jpg

Robert T. Schorr speaks during an editorial board meeting at the Watertown Daily Times office on Oct. 2. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Mr. 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.

“It’s just using common sense,” he said.

Mr. 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.

As 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.

Each time a vote has come up, Councilwoman Compo has voted against the project. She vehemently opposed using the fund balance.

It’s just too much to pay for a luxury item, she said.

She was appointed to the council last January to fill the vacancy created when former Councilman Mark C. Walczyk was elected a state assemblyman.

sarah-1.jpg

Watertown City Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo speaks during an editorial board meeting at the Watertown Daily Times office on Oct. 9. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Ms. 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.

The 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.

For the most part, the four candidates agree with each other on those issues, however.

In 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.

They trudged through the snow when they first went out on the campaign trail.

As 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.

The others did almost all of their door-to-door efforts before the primary and then started up again in recent weeks.

patrick-1.jpg

Patrick J. Hickey speaks during an editorial board meeting at the Watertown Daily Times office on Oct. 3. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

While it’s a nonpartisan race, Mr. Hickey said he’s the only Democrat in the race.

It’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.

If all three win in November, it would create a three-vote majority on council and they will set the agenda.

Mr. 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.

But 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.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(1) comment

rdsouth

The pool is irrelevant at this point. It's a done deal.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.