By Raleigh Reynolds
My name is Raleigh Reynolds and I am currently serving as the Village of Youngstown mayor, and am seeking reelection on May 17. I also serve as a fireman with the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co., and am a Vietnam veteran.
My wife and I have been residents of the village for the past 50 years and raised our two sons here. We love our quaint little village and the people who live here and help make it the welcoming place that it is. I will do all that I can to preserve and improve the quality of life that we all enjoy here.
I have always been open and honest with everyone, and I am always available to everyone. I strive to ensure that every decision made is in the best interest of the taxpayers and the village, both in the short term and long term. For example, we had to replace the very old waterline coming into the village down Lockport Street because it was continually breaking. In order to finance the project, we had to take out a bond anticipation note. To pay the BAN back, we had to institute a $13 charge on everyone’s water bill. We were able to pay the BAN off early and, as soon as we paid it off, we dropped the $13 charge from everyone’s bill.
In addition, we have kept the streets paved, maintained and plowed. We replaced the old street lighting with new LED lighting for energy and cost savings. And we also updated the computers and programs in the office for increased efficiency and productivity.
The village is financially sound. We have had modest tax increases, but have managed to stay below the tax cap each year while still maintaining services.
To improve transparency, in my first year as mayor, we instituted a yearly independent financial audit with the results readily available to the public. To improve communication between the board and the public, we installed the electronic sign and have improved our website and added a Facebook page. To improve convenience, we installed a drop-box on the outside of the building for payments, etc., and we instituted a program for online payments via credit card.
We are currently working with the state on a REDI grant to protect our infrastructure along the waterfront from future flooding as we experienced in 2017 and again in 2019. We are also working with Niagara County to update our portion of the County Hazard Mitigation Plan, which identifies potential hazards (snow/ice storms, windstorms, chemical spills, terrorism, etc.), and a plan to address them should they occur.
We are working with the Lions Club on regenerating Lions Park, and working with the businesses on the Labor Day parade, as well as looking into possible grants for our businesses to improve our business district and make it more appealing and inviting.
Looking forward, we are working with the Greenway Commission on a bike path that would connect to bike paths along the water from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and eventually connect with the bike path across New York state, and we are also working with our neighboring towns and villages to promote our region and bring more visitors to our region where they can stay longer and enjoy the variety of things that each of our towns and villages has to offer.
It’s been my honor to serve as your mayor, and I would sincerely ask for your vote on May 17 so that I can continue in this work for all of us.