One City Council member will not be looking to return to his current position at the end of his term.
During a recent poll conducted by WRFA, nearly every member of the Jamestown City Council confirmed they would be running for re-election this year. At the time of the survey, Councilman Michael Taylor, D-Ward 3, was the only member who did not announce a plan to look for re-election. Taylor has since finalized his decision not to seek re-election at the end of his current term.
"I can say with a clear mind and a clean heart that I will not be seeking a fifth term for the 3rd Ward City Council seat," said Taylor. "A lot of consideration went into this decision. Since I became councilman, I've personally seen opportunities and resources become more limited. Not all of this was directly related to being a councilman, but at this time I need to finish my education and get my master's degree so that I have the ability to sustain myself and those around me."
Taylor, who has served four terms on City Council, found himself in hot water last year after being charged with several crimes following a series of incidents in April. Following the incidents, Taylor stepped down as the chairman of the Public Safety committee, saying that he felt that it was best to step away from the role for the time being.
"The dark cloud that's hanging over everything is still my legal issues from last year," said Taylor. "Some of those have not totally been resolved, but I can honestly say that those things played a very small part in my decision."
Once the current term is finished, Taylor told The Post-Journal that he would be looking to find opportunities that would allow him to take care of his family, as well as spend more time focusing on Kickball Versus Cancer, a charity that he runs.
"I need to finish my education and get my master's degree so that I have the ability to sustain myself and those around me."
"I'm at a point where I want to regain the means to take care of myself, my family and my charities," said Taylor. "As I look to pursue my education, which may take me out of this area, I'll also be working to expand Kickball Versus Cancer."
According to Taylor, there are parties currently interested in bringing the Kickball Versus Cancer tournament to cities including Philadelphia and Chicago.
"The positive side to this is that a percentage of the proceeds will come right back to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation," said Taylor. "Even if I leave the area, I'll still be working for this community and doing what I can to bring resources back to Jamestown."
With Taylor not seeking re-election, that will leave the 3rd Ward open for a new face to represent. The 3rd Ward covers the entire downtown corridor, including the core area that holds the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, Reg Lenna Civic Center, Lucy-Desi Center, Gateway Train Station, Lucile M. Wright Air Museum and many of the area's other attractions, including bars and restaurants.
Mayor Sam Teresi, who has worked closely with all of the current members of the City Council during his tenure in office, said he would encourage any of the current City Council members to run again, and that he looks forward to working with any who do through the balance of their terms. It will be up to the Democratic party to look for viable candidates for the 3rd Ward seat.
"I'm sorry that Mike is leaving us because he's done a good job representing the people of the 3rd Ward, and he's been important to the council," said City Council President Greg Rabb, D-At Large. "He's the youngest member of the council and we need young blood here. He's more connected to the younger people in town than some of us are, so he provided a critical perspective."
According to Rabb, there are residents who have expressed an interest in running for the 3rd Ward seat in the past.
"There are a lot of qualified people in the 3rd Ward," said Rabb.
The City Council is the policy-setting and long-term strategic planning arm of the city government. It has the authority to enact legislation for the government of the city, for the safety and well being of its residents, and for the security and protection of their property. The board consists of six ward council members and three at-large council members. Each member serves for a two-year term.