County Legislature races are on the ballot for voters in parts of Greece and Irondequoit this year.
In Greece's 19th district, Democrat Mike Bertolone and Republican Kathleen Taylor are running for an open seat. In Irondequoit's 17th district, Democratic incumbent Joe Morelle Jr. faces a challenge from Republican Ed McClenathan.
It's a relatively low-stakes election year for the Legislature. So much of the agenda depends on who controls the majority. And with only two seats in play, Republicans will retain their edge, even if they lose both seats.
Morelle was appointed to office earlier this year to fill the vacancy left when Ted O'Brien was elected to the State Senate. Morelle says that his main goal is to bring jobs to the community, and he's proposed a tax incentive for homeowners who make environmentally-minded improvements to their properties. Encouraging those investments would mean jobs, he says.
His opponent, McClenathan, is an attorney focusing mainly on family law. He says that he wants to work with other legislators and the county administration to keep the tax rate "relatively flat," and to keep the community attractive to residents and businesses. He says that he's a critical thinker who's focused more on policies and solutions than on political divisions.
In Greece, Bertolone is a retired sheriff's deputy who worked in the courts division. He says that he's concerned about the county's budget gap and that he wants to encourage small business development to help plug that gap. He also says that the county needs a centralized point — or a point person — to help prospective business owners navigate the paperwork and legal requirements.
Attempts to reach Kathleen Taylor were not successful. Her website says that she's been Greece's receiver of taxes for the past 28 years. It lists her priorities as keeping the tax rate flat, supporting job creation programs, and funding Greater Rochester Enterprise.