By ALISSA SCOTT
Two Republican candidates will fight for Amsterdam's 3rd Ward seat on the Common Council during the primary election Sept. 10.
Ronald Barone, 68, current Amsterdam 3rd Ward Supervisor and acting chairman of the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency, will face Anthony Leggiero, 46, current foreman of the Department of Public Works.
"I think I would be a better influence in the city of Amsterdam," Barone said. "I said if Gina [DeRossi]'s not going to run, I'll talk to Gina and see if she's going to run. She said she wasn't going to run, so I decided to throw my hat in the ring."
Current 3rd Ward Alderwoman Gina DeRossi decided not to run for re-election earlier this year.
Leggiero, who is also the son of 5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero, announced his candidacy in late May after a federal law previously disallowing state and municipal authorities from holding public office was amended. Leggiero said being involved in the DPW would benefit him as an alderman, because he has inside knowledge.
"Who better to run than someone on the inside that sees the way departments run and who sees the way budgets are handled?" Leggiero said after he announced his candidacy.
The two candidates each said they would like to work with the Common Council to help lower taxes.
Barone, who has worked with the county for 17 years, said he thinks with his experience, he would be a strong voice for the taxpayers.
"First of all, the concern of everybody, and it should be a big concern, is taxes," Barone said. "Let's not kid each other. Taxes are high. Service fees are high. Everything is high."
But most important, he said, is that solving a problem like high taxes is something that needs to be done in a group -- something he said he has experience with.
"This isn't my first day in the game," Barone said. "I've sat around with a lot of different people that had a lot of different views and finally we come to one perspective of it. ... There's a lot of good ideas out there. You have to put them all together and go from there."
Both Barone and Leggiero have worked with large budgets and think each experience has prepared them to work with the city's budget. Barone said with the county's budget committee, he helps handle a nearly $100 million spending plan. Leggiero, having served previously on the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education, worked with a $23 million budget.
Leggiero wants to establish personal accountability for taxpayer money, but he is also concerned with a slew of other problems he has witnessed and problems he has heard from his constituents -- like economic development and bringing in revenue for the city.
"I talked with a few hundred people over the past 25 years working for the city," Leggiero said. "People don't invent problems when they speak to, or have spoken to, me. They share the same concerns as I do and they do not want the same old crap elected in again."
He said he believes he knows what the people of the 3rd Ward want better than his opponent.
"When Ron Barone goes door-to-door like I did, then I will believe he can relate to residents of the 3rd Ward," Leggiero said.
Leggiero has composed an "Elect Anthony D. Leggiero 3rd Ward Alderman" Facebook fan page where he posts regularly about his goals and things that concern him. The page has 29 likes.
Barone said he has scattered about a dozen signs around the city and will soon be going door-to-door to Republican households, trying to avoid "overwhelming people."
Barone has also petitioned for the Conservative party line, giving him a second chance in November if he isn't successful during the primary election. He said he just hopes voters make it out to the polls.
"It's very, very tough in primaries to get people to vote," Barone said. "I hope that people understand that this is very serious and if they want a good voice in the city, they have to get out Tuesday and vote Ron Barone, without a doubt."
If he doesn't win the Republican seat, Barone said he's not sure what he will do next.
"I would be very, very disappointed to have all this knowledge thrown away," he said, noting his work with AIDA, the county supervisors, the United Way and various negotiations and management boards. "It would just be mind-boggling. But, hey. This is why you have voters. If they feel that someone is better than you, then so be it. Then you get up and live another day."
Debra Barnello has filed a petition to run on the Democratic party line. The winner of the Barone-Leggiero race will compete against Barnello in November.