One of the candidates for Utica Mayor is defending his previous tenure as mayor more than two decades ago.

Louis LaPolla, the city's longest serving mayor in the city's history, will face Ernie Sanita in a primary for the GOP line on September 10, 2015.

LaPolla, a current member of the Utica School Board, defended his administration's position on the possible sale of the water board to what is now the Mohawk Valley Water Authority, saying the sale wasn't approved until the Ed Hanna administration, rebutting accusations made by Sanita on the Keeler show a day earlier.

''I never signed off the water system, it was Hanna and the common council after...Listen, when you're mayor you have to explore all means to determine what is best for the city at that particular time,'' LaPolla said.

''I was always listening to negotiate to get more for the water system, but on the other side, listening to regionalization - how can we cooperate, how can we consolidate. That $14 million dollars that the city was given up front, that sad part is that the city used every bit of that money. The original task [recommended] the city would only use interest on that money - from the selling of the water board - to be utilized for repairs and paving. The past few mayors have used every bit of it to balance their budgets,'' LaPolla said.

LaPolla also said incumbent mayor Robert Palmieri, a democrat, shouldn't be taking credit for the ongoing arterial project or funding for a new hospital. Adding that the city's recent budget surpluses don't take into account money owed to the school district, claiming delayed payments have cost jobs within the district.