By ROD ROGERS
There was an interesting cartoon on the Opinion page of the Dunkirk OBSERVER (May 18). The wording was: "If you're a Californian and want to start a small business, there are a number of different routes you could take." The picture had arrows with different route numbers pointing out of California.
Based on a resolution passed by the county Public Facilities Committee Monday, May 14, we could draw a similar cartoon talking about Chautauqua County. The resolution authorized an agreement with the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District for timber sale services. What this does is take business away from a private business and give it to a county-funded organization. The other fact that bothers me about this action is that there is a statement in a Soil and Water document entitled Communicating Your Value that says "It is important not to compete with local business in providing district services."
Although it may be technically legal to encourage a county supported organization to compete against a private business, is it the "right" thing to do for either the county or the Soil and Water District? Is it sending the right message?
The county spends thousands of dollars a year in efforts to keep existing businesses in the county and attract new businesses and then it plans on awarding a contract to a county funded organization rather than the private business that has been doing the work for years. There is no indication that the private business has not been doing a satisfactory job, or that there was a concern that the pricing was out of line.
The rationale is that it will save the county money. Let's be realistic. It appears from the statements made at the committee meeting, that the difference between what the county funded organization bid and what the private business bid amounts to, at most, a few hundred dollars a year. No, it is not a big issue in terms of the dollars, but it is a huge issue in terms of the image the county is presenting.
I personally am not familiar with the private business and I only even know one person from Soil and Water, and that is only in the last few months. I am making this statement to clarify that my comments have nothing to do with the specifics. To me this is not about the specific businesses or county funded organizations. It is about who we are and how we fulfill our responsibilities. If a for-profit business has been doing the work in a satisfactory manner at an acceptable price, I must question the true motivation for change.
Rod Rogers, a Forestville resident, is a county legislator.