by Dave Warner

Local voters can head to the polls on November 5th and in Little Falls, there are some contested races to consider in both Wards Three and Four.

Ward 3

In Ward Three, there are three candidates vying for two open seats. Nick Regan has decided to not run again, while Democrat Mark Ruffing is seeking re-election. Democrat Brian Marhaver and Republican Roger Stock are both seeking to fill one of those two-year seats.

Brian Marhaver

Brian Marhaver (Democrat) Ward 3 is 59 years old and has a four-year accounting degree from Syracuse University and Utica College. He’s currently the Executive Director of auxiliary services for SUNY Cobleskill, overseeing an $8.5 million budget and 120 plus employees. He is single with no children.

Where do you see Little Falls 5 years from now?
I can see Little Falls as a city that people look up to in the years to come. More people have moved to our city in the past 5 years. They have seen the positive changes in the cultural activities and with some new businesses coming we have a bright future. People like you Dave, who puts so much effort into this publication – along with Main St First, POP, Historical Society, Rotary and the clubs, organizations, and Not-for-Profits who support our youth and schools makes Little Falls a vibrant, active city. The people are our strength. I see this continuing and growing.

What are the challenges in getting there (or if you think we’re on the wrong track, what will change that track?)?
There are always challenges. Money is always the key issue and the city needs to get the tax base increased and work on more grant funding. Unfunded mandates from the state, high personal taxes, and expensive infrastructure repairs are roadblocks. A big challenge is so many people move away from the state because of weather, high taxes and lack of jobs, volunteers become hard to get. I think we have talented people in our city as employees, elected officials and who volunteer on boards and independent groups who can – and will guide the city to prosperity.

Housing is another challenge. We have a need for quality housing. It is good to see the Land Bank working on zombie properties but replacements for them will be needed.

Mark Ruffing

Mark Ruffing (Incumbent Democrat) Ward 3 is 60 years old and graduated from Notre Dame High School and Utica College. He has been at the House of Good Shepherd for nearly 35 years, 33 of which have been in management. He is a member of the Little Falls Rotary and Little  Falls Elks Lodge. He is married to his wife Judy.

Where do you see Little Falls 5 years from now?

Where do I see Little falls in 5 years? Hopefully, Little Falls would have a vibrant main street. I would like to see our vacant properties either taken down or rebuilt. I would like to see our services as strong as they are now. I would like to see new businesses thrive in Little Falls. I would hope that in 5 years we would have a stronger tax base with people wanting to relocate to our great city.

What are the challenges in getting there (or if you think we’re on the wrong track, what will change that track?)?

The challenges facing Little Falls is to reverse population shrinkage and to keep taxes at a reasonable level. I believe we are headed in the right direction. I see young adults wanting to stay in our city. I witness groups of people reinvesting in our city. When people visit our city they rave about what it has to offer.

Roger Stock

Roger Stock (Republican) Ward 3 is 69 years old and graduated from Little Falls High School, went to Herkimer County BOCES for mechanics and took college classes at Mohawk Valley Community College. He has been self-employed since 1972 with Stock’s Garage. He was an alderman in 1983-1984, mayor from 1992 to 1995.

Where do you see Little Falls 5 years from now?

It definitely depends on how we act over the next four years. If we stay on the path we’re on, I see us being very prosperous. The road has been laid out and we just have to find the avenues and turns to take. I think we’re missing the boat on expanding the great historical treasures that we have here. I see four or five people running off in different directions doing their own thing. The city needs to know what’s going on and promote it as a city, neighborhood, friend, and family. I think everything is there, we just have to get it lined up with everyone working together. There’s a lot of money being spent in Fort Herkimer and the Town of Danube to try and preserve their history. And, there’s a new trend in genealogy. We have so much to offer, that we just need to organize it and fall into place with like the cheese celebration, which brings thousands of people here, the canal celebration and garlic festival, we need to focus all of that into events that can carry on in the other months that are available. There are so many things that we can offer, we just need to get on a page and have a focal point. I remember 20 years ago when we were going to do long-range planning. It’s great as long as you have the goal, but you have to be flexible enough to go from where the goal is taking you.

What are the challenges in getting there (or if you think we’re on the wrong track, what will change that track?)?

Basically, the openness. The newspapers and radio, they’re too expensive, too time-consuming. They take too long to get them out there. We need to get the instantaneous things, for example, if we hear that Chuck Schumer is visiting the city tomorrow or whomever, we need the communication with the community and a network set up. Facebook is great, websites are great, but we have to have somebody that’s keeping them up to date now. Not two or three days from now. That’s what our problem is, lack of communication, lack of unity, and coordination. We just don’t have the coordination for things. The government seems to forget that it’s their job to keep the people informed.

Ward 4

In Ward Four, two incumbents are facing a challenge from a Republican candidate. Pater Atutis Jr. and Daniel Carter, both Democrats, are being challenged by David Carpineti.

Peter Atutis

Peter Atutis (Incumbent Democrat) Ward 4 is 69 years old, went to Little Falls Schools and took some courses at Utica College. He has been a member of IBEW Local 1249 for 41 years and is a member of the American Legion and Little Falls Elks Club. He is married to wife Janet and has eight children, ten grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Where do you see Little Falls 5 years from now?

Still a quaint little town struggling to survive. Keeping all our services and taxes down the best we can!

What are the challenges in getting there (or if you think we’re on the wrong track, what will change that track?)?

Trying to make as many changes as we can without overtaxing our aging population. Continue to look for any grants that could assist our city.

David Carpineti

David Carpineti (Republican) Ward 4 is 61 years old, went to Little Falls High School, Herkimer County Police Academy, and schooling at the New York Conference of Mayors Department of Public Works. He is a retired street foreman for the City of Little Falls Department of Public Works and has been married for 37 years to wife Catherine.

Where do you see Little Falls 5 years from now?

Five years from now I see Little Falls with continued growth. This is not only in population numbers but in the growth of groups willing to work together.

What are the challenges in getting there (or if you think we’re on the wrong track, what will change that track?)?

The challenges in accomplishing this are right on track. The City is succeeding in getting residents of all ages and local businesses and organizations to work together. We are a small city, yet we have so much to offer. A golf course, a movie theater, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, Vets Park, waterfront that includes fishing and boating, a museum, a YMCA and YWCA, great schools, and residents that likely know their neighbors. We also have great public services that cannot be beaten. We have business people who grew up here that are reinvesting in our city because they can see a positive outcome. We have three renewable energy sources – a hydro plant, windmills, and solar fields. We now have social media in Little Falls that is positive for our whole valley through the Little Falls Information Page and My Little Falls. If we continue to promote our city and its assets as we have been, I believe we will be in a great place in 2024.

Dan Carter

Dan Carter (Incumbent Democrat) Ward 4 has stated that he has 20 years of experience in city politics in varying positions.

Where do you see Little Falls 5 years from now?

Busier and an enviable place to live. I think with the climate changes and the stuff I watch on TV, I can see upstate New York coming back because of the climate issue amongst other things.

What are the challenges in getting there (or if you think we’re on the wrong track, what will change that track?)?

I don’t think we’re on the wrong track completely. I think our governor has taken a couple of detours that weren’t helpful with some of the economic incentives he advertised all over the United States. It didn’t really work out well at all. This issue you hear about people separating the state into two parts is crazy. I think we’d be in big trouble financially if that happened. I like living here, I think it’s a great area to live in. I’ve lived in other places. Look what’s happening in California with the fires. I can’t believe that people would want to stay in a place like that. I can’t imagine leaving upstate New York and I don’t imagine many people up here do either.

EARLY VOTING

Early voting is still available and will be held in room 301 of the Herkimer County Office Building, 109 Mary St., Herkimer. The poll site is accessible to voters with physical disabilities.

‒ Saturday, Nov. 2 and Sunday, Nov. 3: 9 am to 2 pm.

All registered voters in Herkimer County are eligible to vote at this site during designated hours.

Anyone with questions is asked to contact the County Board of Elections 315-867-1102 or hcboe@herkimercounty.org. More information can also be found on the county website at https://www.herkimercounty.org/government/board-of-elections/.

WHERE WE STAND POLITICALLY

According to published data, Herkimer County is overall more conservative – 30.8% of the people voted Democrat in the last presidential election, and 63.6% voted Republican, while the remaining 5.6% voted Independent. However, in Little Falls, the voting tends to lean more liberal and Democrat than Republican.

In Little Falls in the last 4 years (2015-2018), there were 250 contributions totaling $18,170 to Democratic and liberal campaigns, averaging $73 per contribution, and 26 contributions totaling $7,735 to Republican and conservative campaigns, averaging $298 per contribution. (source: Federal Election Commission)

SAMPLE BALLOTS

Here are Sample Ballots from the Herkimer County Board of Elections.

WARD MAPS

If you aren’t sure what Ward you live in, you can find that in the maps below.

WHERE TO VOTE

Voting will take place at the Holy Family Parish Hall, located just behind the Academy Apartments at 637 John Street from 6:00 am until 9:00 pm on November 5, 2019.

ELECTION DAY DINNER

Main Street First will be holding their 2nd annual election day dinner at the Elks Club at 60 North Ann Street from 4:30 pm until 7:00 pm or until sold out. Ruth Petkovsek will be cooking the dinner which will consist of roast pork and all the trimmings and homemade pies for dessert. The cost is $12 and local deliveries are available by calling the Elks at 315-823-2371.