Groff challenges Kemper in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON – Incumbent Town Supervisor Linda Kemper faces an election challenge from another established local official – Republican and Conservative candidate James Groff, the longtime Northville village mayor.

Kemper has served several terms as supervisor and has had roles in town government since 1995.

Groff has served as village mayor since 1994 and has been on the Village Board since 1977. Over the years, he also has served as a volunteer firefighter and as an officer with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.

In September, Kemper was beaten by Groff 211-92 in the Republican primary. She also lost in the Conservative primary, 11-3. Both candidates also are on independent lines, Kemper on the Wisest Choice line and Groff on the Unite N’Hampton line.

In a previous faceoff in 2009, Groff lost to Kemper in a race for supervisor.

Groff said his goal, if elected this time, would be to try and work as much as possible on consolidating services between the village and the town, hoping to save costs.

“We need to consolidate every [support service],” Groff said, noting the two municipalities could eliminate redundant equipment with consolidation.

Groff said another major goal would be doing his best to control the tax rate. With state-mandates raising county and school taxes, Groff said, it is important to keep the town tax rate as low as possible.

“That is the one we can affect the most,” Groff said.

Groff said officials will have to continue to push for mandate reform from the state.

Kemper said her loss in the primary could have resulted from low voter turnout, but she was confident in her chances for the November election.

Kemper said her main goal if re-elected would be to keep the town safe fiscally.

“The biggest issue, obviously, is trying to maintain and keep within the confines of your budgeting,” Kemper said.

According to Kemper, during her time as a supervisor, she has succeeded in lowering the tax rate of the town to 96 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, and she initiated a lot of conservative spending decisions.

“One of the biggest problems is lack of funding sources,” Kemper said.

She said she has sought to search for grants and other sources of revenue.

Kemper said she has served on almost all the Board of Supervisors’ committees and has aggressively lobbied the state on behalf of her town and county.

According to the New York State Board of Elections’ Campaign Finance website, neither Groff nor Kemper have reported any campaign contributions.