Hopeful touts growth

Mahr faces four longtime council members in race
Shawn Foucher
Oct 30, 2013
Things are kind of quiet in Bay View.

“That’s how we want it,” Bay View Mayor Barb Wobser said.

Election Day has other things in mind. Four incumbents are looking to hang onto their seats Nov. 5, as a lone newcomer vies for a spot on the Bay View village council.

Larry Gwinner, 58, is one of four incumbents seeking re-election. The longtime union rep and storeroom worker at CertainTeed said sewers and infrastructure are among the bigger issues in the village these days.

The lake waters around Bay View are among the most polluted in this region, a problem tied to faulty septic systems. The challenge comes in finding money to make the fixes. The village has been working with Erie County and state officials to secure grant money, but it’s a long haul.

“It seems to be progressing as well as can be expected,” Gwinner said. “We have a ways to go before we secure everything.”

The other three incumbents on the ballot are Shelda Robbins and husband-and-wife team James Wahl and Joni Wahl.

“I’ve been on village council for more than 25 years” Robbins said, also identifying the septic and sewer issues as the big items on the agenda.

The challenger: Paula Mahr.

“I love Bay View and I think there is a lot of potential for growth while maintaining our village charm,” Mahr said. “I want to be a voice for our residents and make sure that their concerns are being addressed fairly, honestly and openly. I want to be a part of promoting community spirit and a sense that we all belong, that there are no second-class citizens in Bay View.”

The village police department, meanwhile, is hoping voters will approve a new levy to fund police services. The 4-mill issue would generate about $57,000 a year, used almost entirely for part-time wages. The village employs nine part-time officers who work at a starting hourly rate of minimum wage, earning up to a grand total of $10.50 an hour.

“We’d like to increase the hours,” Bay View police Chief Helen Prosowski said. “We wouldn’t be able to be full-time, but we could cover almost 24 hours a day. We’d like to have more coverage.”

The police department’s $47,000 operation is currently covered by the village’s general fund.