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Familiar Names In Carrol Supervisor Primary Race

A homeowner in Frewsburg is supporting both candidates in the Carroll Town Supervisor primary between incumbent Russell Payne and challenger Laura Smith. The primary election is Tuesday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

FREWSBURG — Familiar names will be facing off once again in the town of Carroll.

On Tuesday, Laura Smith, former town of Carroll supervisor, will be challenging incumbent Russell Payne in the town supervisor Republican Party primary. The two faced each other in the 2019 general election, with Payne defeating Smith by 232 votes — 719 to 487.

Each candidate was asked three questions: What is the biggest issue facing the town; what is your proudest accomplishment when you were supervisor; and why do you want to be supervisor.

Smith, town supervisor in 2018 and 2019 and town clerk for 15 years prior, said the biggest issue facing the town is the lack of continuity by the town’s leadership.

“Residents are frustrated with the lack of consistency and follow through,” she said. “With the experience I have with the town, we will bring (more consistency) to the table.”

Laura Smith

Payne, a retired law enforcement officer, said the biggest issue facing the town is the ongoing feud for 16 years with Sealand Waste LLC., which has long sought to expand the former Jones-Carroll Landfill into a construction and demolition landfill. The landfill is currently closed, but the case was heard in state Supreme Court Fourth Division Appellate Court in Rochester earlier this month. Sealand Waste is opposing the town law passed in 2007, which prohibits any new landfills in the town. It’s not known when the Appellate Court will announce its decision.

“One of the major factors is the landfill. It would greatly impact life in the town of Carroll negatively,” he said. “It would have a profound impact on the town of Carroll.”

As for his proudest accomplishment, Payne pointed to his work trying to bring economic development to two former commercial sites in the town. One site is the former Vac Air/Keywell property located at 300 Falconer St. in Frewsburg. Payne said the state Department of Environmental Conservation is working with the town on the Brownfield site to return a viable commercial business to the location. He said negotiations to find a site developer are ongoing.

The other is the former Ethan Allen site on Institute Street in Frewsburg. Payne said it would be a significant boost for the town’s tax roll if the site could be redeveloped into a commercial operation.

“It would be a huge financial opportunity if those parcels could be redeveloped,” he said.

Russell Payne

Smith, who is the clerk for the Frewsburg Central School District, said her proudest accomplishment while being the town supervisor was instituting and updating policies for the town including cell phones and credit cards.

“I was also working on an employee handbook. I wanted to bring that into the town so as a board we would be consistent with what we are doing,” she said.

Smith said she wants to be town supervisor again because the town of Carroll is her home.

“I’m really proud of our town,” she said. “I want to make sure our town is run the way it should be.”

Payne said the town of Carroll has a bright future going forward.

“People are seeking property in the town of Carroll because it’s an excellent place to live,” he said. “We do offer many things in a close-knit community you may not have in a larger setting. We have an excellent school system here, which is attractive to many people.”

No matter the results of the Republican Party primary election Tuesday, Payne and Smith will also face off during the general election in November because Smith has also been endorsed by the Working Families Party and Payne has been endorsed by the Democratic and Conservative parties.

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