Village justice is the only office up for grabs in March village election

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    WARWICK-The only race in the Village of Warwick this March is for village justice. And that's not a race at all because incumbent Richard Farina is unopposed. In 2002, the Village Board increased the mayor and trustees' terms from two to four years, matching the village justice term. Earlier that year, the town also increased the supervisor's term of office to four years. Democracy comes with a price, though. One reason the village made that move is so that there would only be an election every other year, instead of the way it was before the change. Then, two trustees ran each year for a two-year term. The mayor also ran every two years. The village had to put on an election every year. Changing the terms meant having half the elections. That's not going to be the case. Next month, on March 15, there is a village justice election, but no other office is being filled. Last year's election was the first to give trustees a four-year term. The 2003 mayor and trustee election was for three years, putting the village on the new, every other year schedule. The village justice position fell right in between, and there is nothing the village can do to change that. Village attorney Michael Meth said the state sets the term for village justice. So, while the village could make the change to the mayor and trustee terms, it can't do the same with its justice. The price of holding an election is not cheap. Village Clerk Jacqueline Mongelli said there are seven election inspectors and a machine inspector hired for each election. They are paid around $8 per hour for the 16-hour day. Plus, the village holds a voter registration day on a Saturday as the election draws near, hiring an inspector for that day as well. Then there is the expense of making up the strips for the machines and mailing to all of those requesting absentee ballots. In all, the cost for the election is over $1,000. Mongelli said the only cost-saving measure the village could impose is shortening the hours the polls are open. Elections in the village used to run from noon to 9 p.m. That changed in 1999 when the village expanded polling hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. And it is too late to make that change for this election even if the village wanted to. The upcoming village election will be held on March 15 at the Excelsior Hose Company on Church Street Extension. Absentee ballots are available at the clerk's office at Village Hall. With no competition, Mongelli said she doesn't expect a very big turnout.