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Holzer named interim Wilmington supervisor

Roy Holzer (Provided photo — Roy Holzer)

WILMINGTON — The Wilmington town board appointed Roy Holzer, a former town supervisor, as interim town supervisor on Tuesday.

In the November election, Holzer will face off against Xiao Yan Saunderson, who is running as an independent candidate on the For the People party line.

The town’s supervisor seat was left vacant by the death of Randy Preston, the sitting supervisor, on July 18. Preston died following a long battle with cancer.

Holzer was appointed unanimously with the exception of town Councilwoman Dawn Stevens, Holzer’s older sister, who abstained.

“I’m honored and humbled,” Holzer said of his appointment.

The circumstances that led to Holzer being appointed are difficult, he said. He served with Preston on the town board and on the Wilmington Fire & Rescue squad.

“Coming back into the office I sat in 20 years ago, it’s something. It’s hard to describe,” he said. “It’s heart-wrenching at times. I’m going to give (the job) 100%.”

Holzer, 54, will fill the interim supervisor role until the end of the year. The candidate who wins the election on Nov. 5 will be sworn in after the new year.

A local committee — which included Deputy Supervisor Darin Forbes, Robert Hockert and Preston’s widow, Michelle — nominated him to fill the vacancy Preston left on the People’s Party line last month.

Holzer is a lifelong resident of the town of Wilmington. He was elected to the town council in 1983 at the age of 18, was elected supervisor in 1996 at the age of 31 and served in that capacity for four years. He also served as a member of Wilmington Fire & Rescue for 25 years. He and his wife Becky owned the Little Super Market on state Route 86 for 22 years. In 2014, the couple opened the town’s lone gas station at the market following the closure of the Wilson Farms convenience store the year prior. They sold the business to their niece and nephew, Cliff and Sarah Holzer, this May.

Holzer currently owns Whiteface Corners, a multi-purpose building with lodging and the location of the Pourman’s Tap House.

Saunderson could not be reached for comment on Holzer’s appointment.

Supervisor race

Saunderson is a housewife who has lived in Wilmington for the last 15 years. Before that, she was a painter in China. She’s married to David Saunderson, a retired police captain, former Wilmington town assessor and former owner of the Handlebar bar and restaurant in Lake Placid.

In the past, Saunderson has said she believes “the important thing is taxes for the people of the town.”

“I’d like to have an open office,” she added in an interview following her petition filing, “not just stay there and no one can say anything. Sometimes the town, they don’t listen to people, what they want, if they have some suggestions.”

Holzer has said if he’s elected, his first priority would be forming a Wilmington 2020 committee dedicated to reviewing the town’s history and planning strategically for the town’s future. He said he’d ensure that some of Preston’s key projects, including planning for a wastewater treatment plant, move forward.

Holzer also said he’d look closely at potential impacts on the town’s housing market as a result of short-term vacation rentals and the town’s affordable housing needs.

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