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ELECTION PREVIEW: Seneca Falls supervisor contest focuses on landfill negotiations, infrastructure issues, and Cayuga Nation relationship

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

Who will be the next town supervisor in Seneca Falls? That question has loomed large over politics there, as two candidates face-off in a rematch from a Republican Primary in June. Yesterday, we featured a closer look at the Town Board contest there — featuring four candidates vying for two spots. 

While the future of Seneca Meadows Landfill has dominated the Town Board contest — it has had less impact on the race for supervisor. This supervisor’s race in Seneca Falls is unique, because for the first time in roughly 10 years — it doesn’t feature an outwardly- pro and anti- landfill candidate. Both have described themselves as pro-business. 

Challenger Frank Schmitter, who will appear on the Democratic and Republican lines on Election Day, says Seneca Falls needs to address infrastructure, prioritize a good relationship with the Cayuga Nation, and get the most money possible out of Seneca Meadows should the DEC grant it’s permit expansion. Schmitter also says his administration would be a notable tone shift from the current one — which he contends is dominated by disagreements among those on the Town Board.

Incumbent Mike Ferrara, who will appear on the Conservative Party line, touts experience — noting his accomplishments in securing $14+ million in grants over the last four years, development of a micro-enterprise project that should see eight new businesses in Seneca Falls by February, and extensive work on improving the Town’s infrastructure. Ferrara also cites himself as the reason why the relationship between the Town and Cayuga Nation has improved so dramatically over the last four years. 

When asked about the landfill directly, Ferrara said establishing a host agreement before the DEC grants a permit (which is undecided at this time) provided the Town with leverage. Something it would lose once the DEC grants that permit to continue operating until 2040. His controversial MOU, negotiated behind closed doors — largely by Ferrara, his brother David, and a few others — grants the Town up to $10 million annually from Seneca Meadows. 

Schmitter said the host agreement fell well short of what  residents need. He called for an agreement with upwards of $20 million annually coming to the Town and a deep look at Seneca Meadows’ corporate books. The challenger notes that while the $10 million number touted by Ferrara is big — there aren’t any guarantees about that money in the existing MOU. That’s why he says the Town needs to go back to the drawing board with Seneca Meadows; and will do so if he’s elected and the DEC grants a permit extension.

Frank Schmitter

Mike Ferrara