When this newspaper makes the case for consolidation of governments and school systems, we normally hear of how valuable and receptive small local governments are to its residents. If that point is so true, then how is the situation working out for the village of Forestville?
With the population of around 750 residents, the village government has:
Raised taxes 48 percent the last three years - while handing out very generous pay raises to its favorite stakeholders - its employees.
Held illegal executive sessions.
Lost a clerk, who abruptly resigned for no reason.
Silenced the public during meetings.
The latter was the most recent abuse on Friday when "Mayor B" Charles Brewster told the audience at the special meeting to be quiet and then pushed through two items that were questioned by Trustee Linda Aures. "Well this is why people wonder about this board, and the lack of character on this board," Aures said at the end of the meeting, which led to applause from the crowd who attended.
Which brings us to the question: is this then the type of receptive local government that status quo proponents in Chautauqua County are so quick to applaud? Raising taxes. Hushing concerns. Illegal meetings.
And Forestville is not alone. Other small governments - and some school districts - operate the same way then blame Albany after their inclusive boards approve employee pay increases while the pension and health care costs climb, which cause them to run out of money and lead to annual tax increases.
Receptive and responsible small government for the people by the people? Not really. Especially when it is being run by "Mayor B."