Tompkins Weekly

Incumbent town supervisor faces challenger in general election


Incumbent Town of Dryden Supervisor Jason Leifer (D), left, will go up against Republican candidate Tom Corey in this year’s general election.

Incumbent Town of Dryden Supervisor Jason Leifer (D) will go up against Republican candidate Tom Corey in this year’s general election.

Election day is Nov. 7. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

DRYDEN DISPATCH
By Kevin L. Smith

Jason Leifer

Leifer is looking to be reelected for a fifth term. He’s been the town supervisor for eight years and a member of the town board since 2008.

One of the main reasons he’s running again is to complete projects such as Dryden Fiber and the Dryden Rail Trail.

Leifer added that Dryden Fiber is for “quality of [internet service],” while the rail trail project is for “quality of life in town.”

“We have all different projects we’re in the middle of working on,” Leifer said. “The goal is to get them completed.”

If reelected, Leifer looks to continue the process and purpose of the town’s affordable housing committee.

“We’re trying to figure out how to attract more workforce-type housing, not [housing] directed at students,” Leifer added.

Currently, Leifer said, local development is taking place in the hamlet of Varna.

“The developer is making sure the primary market isn’t students,” Leifer said. “So many people work in Tompkins County that just don’t go to school here. They want to live here, too.”

Plans are being put together to create a recreation area behind the Dryden town hall. The rest of the land, Leifer added, could also be used for affordable housing. Leifer hopes that if the town can get more jobs, it will have a “ripple effect” in the area.

“We’re trying to address things that the town has talked about doing for years,” Leifer said. “Now, we’re in a position where we can do some of it.”

With the town “in good shape,” Leifer said that the success of projects like Dryden Fiber, Dryden Rail Trail and others makes his record as supervisor “speak for itself.”

“We had more development in the town during my terms than any other terms,” Leifer said. “Financially, we’re strong. We have well-kept roads, and we made it through the pandemic. We’ve always been willing to try new things to solve problems that crop up.”

Tom Corey

Corey, a longtime Dryden resident, previously served on the village’s board of trustees in the 1990s and was part of the water/sewer and human resources committees. 

He ran against incumbent Tompkins County legislator Mike Lane (D-LD-14) in 2021 but lost by eight votes. Corey was also a mayoral candidate in this year’s village of Dryden election, but he fell short against incumbent Mike Murphy (D).

Corey said he is running for Dryden town supervisor “to make better choices for Dryden.” He noted how “disappointed” he is in the vision of the town, noting the Dryden Rail Trail and Dryden Fiber projects.

“I believe that local government is where the values, concerns and expectations of the people are shared and put into concrete action. My sense is that the Town of Dryden government has lost its way, and the choices it has made in recent years do not reflect the needs and expectations of its constituency,” Corey said. “Bad choices result in the poor application of time, money and energy, which are all in limited supply.”

Corey called the incoming $3.25 million pedestrian bridge for the rail trail “unnecessary and duplicative on its face” and “environmentally inappropriate.” He added that Dryden Fiber is putting the town in “direct competition” with private companies, saying that doing so is “wasting our tax dollars.”

If elected, Corey wants the town to be more active in promoting the arts, theater and music, especially with the area as “a center of education.” This is in reference to Tompkins Cortland Community College, the Dryden Central School District and other local schools.

Corey noted that commercial development zones should be “created, plumbed and ready for opportunity.” He added that he wants the town to be an area where people stay and build a future.

If Corey obtains the town supervisor seat, he will begin a project to bring a multiage recreation center to the town. He added that the multiuse facility will include an ice arena, indoor meeting and exercise rooms, indoor playing surface and, eventually, a pool.

“I have a proven record of service. I am committed to transparency in government. I am ready to work full time to address the needs of all the residents of the town without favor. I am not a member of a ruling clique or party. My obedience is to people and their concerns,” Corey said. “Don’t be satisfied with the status quo or be jaded by your past experience with the government. It’s yours to use for the public good. Make it work for you.”

Dryden Dispatch appears every week in Tompkins Weekly. Send story ideas to editorial@vizellamedia.com.

In brief:

Thrive Church’s Fall Carnival Fest is Sunday

Thrive Church’s third annual Fall Carnival Fest will take place Sunday, Oct. 29 from noon to 3 p.m. at 318 Johnson Rd. in the village of Freeville.

The free-of-charge family event will include a bounce house, a petting zoo, archery, a cupcake- and pie-eating contest, pumpkin smash, carnival games and more.

A celebration service will be held prior to the event from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m., with special kids’ activities included.

For information, visit thriveny.org/events.

Dryden HS Garden Club’s Harvest Festival is Saturday

The Dryden High School Garden Club’s Harvest Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the high school greenhouses at 118 Freeville Rd.

The free-of-charge festival will include baked goods, pumpkin carving, face painting, games and contests. Other activities include hay bale toss, dress the scarecrow and a guess-the-number jar.

Festival organizers are accepting $5 individual or $10 family donations.

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