David Hayes says that communication is a big reason for his candidacy in the Town of Romulus. The longtime resident defeated incumbent David Kaiser in June’s Republican Primary for Romulus Town Supervisor; and while Kaiser will still be on the ballot in November after being tapped by Democrats — the process isn’t changing.
Hayes has been talking to residents in Romulus and around Seneca County. He says the common thread of concern among them has been communication. “Things aren’t being communicated well,” he said. “A lot of residents have the same questions, and while I understand that some of them may be repetitive—to answer them by email or through conversation so that those questions can be addressed is important.”
It’s been a tough stretch of years for the Town of Romulus. Two polarizing issues—the proposed trash incinerator at the old army depot and the ongoing investigation into the former County supervisor—have sat at the front of the table, and Hayes says that it’s time for new leadership and ideas. Those are the two things he says that will be brought to the table if he’s elected this fall.
“Whether it be the incinerator, or depot, people just weren’t happy,” he explained, speaking to the current administration and leadership. Between the issues of the day, or recent years—and that communication element—Hayes thought now was the right time to jump in to the race. “Sometimes all you need is a fresh point of view,” he added. “The Town has a great opportunity in front of it, and I want to bring people to the table.”
Whether it’s the big issues or little ones, there is undeniable opportunity for Romulus and Seneca County. “We need to know what happened with the [former] County Manager,” Hayes said, speaking to one of the County’s biggest issues presently as the ongoing investigation and legal issues surrounding John Sheppard’s exit from County employment.
But that gets back to the leadership issue, according to Hayes. “I took a little bit of a poll, and spoke with some different people about the County,” he explained. “A lot of people tend to think that the County Manager is in charge of the County, but the Board of Supervisors is supposed to lead.”
Hayes says it’s their job to provide guidance and leadership to the County Manager. If things don’t go to plan, then it ultimately rests on the shoulders of the supervisors. “We also need accountability when it comes to taxpayer dollars in Romulus and Seneca County,” Hayes continued. “It’s very important that we know where the money is, where it’s gone, and where we’re investing future taxpayer dollars.”
Hayes says that a reinvigorating committees at the Town-level could also be a game changer for local residents. “They kind of died off,” he explained. “I don’t know why exactly, but they need to get back on track.” In his view, those committees should be comprised of officials and incorporate a lot of public view. “That’s the only way you’re going to create real dialogue between the community and Town.” He says it’s also an important way to glean information from individual departments within the Town or County.
In this case, he feels it would be valuable information for officials to work with moving forward.
What does a community like Romulus do moving forward, though? Hayes says that the Town, like many in South Seneca, are heavily reliant on agriculture. While that must remain a focus — he says that showcasing Romulus as a place for young people to live needs to be a priority.
“Young people want quality of life. They want work-life balance. They want to see a community that is reflective of them,” he explained. At present day, communities like Romulus struggle in this category, but Hayes says it starts with getting some of those folks back at the table. “They need to be involved in the process,” he explained. “We need more young people, but residents also have to be welcoming.”
That’s something Romulus has, according to Hayes. The community is welcoming; and there’s significant opportunity to bring residents back. “We’ve got to find the balance, and that means taking advantage of the assets Seneca County has as a whole to attract young workers—even those who work remotely. A place like Romulus can be a great place to live for them—we’ve just got to get a few things worked out in the process.”