Having served on the Mount Hope town board for almost eight years, Brian Carey is running for mayor of Otisville to improve infrastructure, keep taxes stable, and bring the two municipalities together.
Over the past years, he saw how the relationship between the two regions diminished as the village of Otisville pulled out from joint summer programs and moved to host activities on its own.
He told The Epoch Tims that he is in a unique position to fix it, having built up good relationships with several board members in both the town and village.
The village mayor carries an annual salary of about half that of a town councilman.
“If you are involved in any politics, you are not in it for the money; you are doing it to make where we live a better place,” Carey said. “That’s why I feel you get involved in politics, whether it be at a county level, a town level, or a village level.”
If elected, Carey said he would immediately resign from the town board to focus on village affairs.
He faces Democrat candidate Isaac Palmer in the mayoral election, which will take place between noon and 9 p.m. on March 21 at the Village Hall.
Long-time Mayor Brian Wona is not running for reelection after serving eight terms.
Son of a former Monroe village clerk, Carey grew up immersed in politics and government, doing his homework in the village hall and helping stuff envelopes during tax seasons, he said.
About 25 years ago, he moved up to Otisville, where he used to camp as a kid with his father.
After his son was born, Carey got more involved in town activities, such as the little league, youth football, and cub scouts.
He made a living as a private investigator and owner of a surveillance camera business.
In 2015, Carey ran for a town board seat and lost in the Republican primary by less than ten votes.
“I always had an interest in politics. I grew up with it all my life,” Carey said. “That’s why I ran.”
Town Government Experience
After the primary loss, he was endorsed by the Democrat Party, won the general election, and became a councilman on the four-member Mount Hope town board.
Even so, he never changed parties and has remained Republican since he turned 18, Carey said.
Following the election, he went on to become the vice chair of the Mount Hope Republican Committee and an executive member of the Orange County Republican Committee.
As a town councilman, he worked with supervisors and other board members to improve town infrastructure, including upgrades to baseball fields, a new dog walking park, and a new youth center.
The youth center was converted from a former indoor pool for sewing workers from a nearby factory; with a price tag of around $600,000, the center was largely made possible by state grants.
Meanwhile, town taxes remained stable, with seven of the past eight years having almost zero increases, thanks to the town leadership and the reserves built up by former supervisors, he said.
Carey also opened a town Facebook page and is responsible for managing it, which has become almost the No.1 way of communicating with town residents, he said.
After each town board meeting, he was also the one who uploaded the recordings online for residents to view.
He manages the town’s summer concerts, which the village used to be part of but pulled out about five years ago.
As Wona decided to retire at the end of his eighth term, Carey saw an opportunity to improve what he calls an almost non-existent relationship between the two municipalities.
If elected village mayor, Brian said his top priority would be to secure grants to improve the downtown sidewalks, which are unleveled and pose a safety risk.
He also hopes to get grants for upgrades to the water main and fire hydrants.
His second priority would be to keep taxes stable while maintaining basic village services, such as garbage pickup, streetlights, fire services, and police protection.
The village pays the town for police protection and vice versa for fire protection.
He plans to rebuild the relationship between the two municipalities, starting by showing up at various town functions as a village representative and then bringing back joint programs.
Carey also wants to give the village fire chief more latitude in managing his budget, considering that it is an all-volunteer operation doing a valuable service to the community.
“I’m not saying that the chief should get a bigger budget. I am saying, ‘Here is your budget. Come up with your own game plan,’” he added.
He has several ideas on how to improve the Veterans Memorial Park, perhaps adding veteran-themed fixtures, baseball or soccer fields, and a paved walking path.