By DALE FURMAN
I feel compelled to write and try to express my disappointment with our current situation - not just in local government but in government politics as a whole.
After reading this month about the possibility of our county tax rates climbing 20 percent in 2014, I wrote to our county executive and explained my frustration. A couple days later, I received a phone call from him.
We discussed the County Home and other problems within the county. He answered each of my questions without hesitation.
Here's my take on the situation: First of all, I am of the opinion that no municipality or government is capable of running a business or company efficiently. There's just too much bureaucracy and red tape, and let's face the facts, no sense of urgency in the structure of any government. The County Home runs a deficit of $9,000 per day. That is ongoing debt that the county cannot continue to handle. There is a buyer willing to purchase the Home that will ensure it will continue to operate, keep all employees and pay the county a good price. I say, what's the problem? Please call your local legislature and ask the question?
We as county taxpayers also have another problem in the Highway Department in the Sherman area. I believe that there is three employees with one supervisor, I believe the supervisor did or is about to retire. Instead of attaching the three employees to another department that has current supervision, some of the legislators are trying to replace the supervisor with pay and benefits this will cost the taxpayers close to $100,000 per year. This doesn't make sense. If this was a business, there wouldn't be any question on what needs to be done.
Take a look around the county. Are any new buildings going up? Are there any new companies coming in to hire employees? The answer is no. I see a threat of a lot of companies leaving our area, Carriage House, cutbacks at NRG. What will be left? Once these companies leave, who will cover the lost tax revenue?
The answer is you and I. But we sure did get a beautiful new building in Dunkirk for SUNY on Central Avenue, and a wonderful new stadium for soccer and day care center for SUNY. These are things that should be built when the economy is strong and prosperous, not when each and every municipality is in the red or very close to it.
Another topic I am frustrated with is Brocton Central School. It is obvious that in the near future the state will force Brocton to merge with another school, Why is there millions and millions of dollars being spent on additions and other projects? I can understand if its maintenance issues like roof leaking or structural issues, but what I see is a lot of waste of money.
Why did the district even approve the new addition? We have fewer students now than in the past. We have a new football field and no football team. What was wrong with the old bus garage? It wasn't that old. Where did the money came from? I was told that it didn't come from taxpayers, which I believe is wrong unless New York state is now printing U.S. currency.
My point is that we the voting taxpayers are somewhat at fault. We allow our elected officials, federal, state, city, village and even school boards to spend our tax dollars frivolously. All governments are oversized and burdened with useless mandating and selfish spending.
I would like to urge everyone to question your elected officials, ask them how they stand on every issue possible. Ask them what plans they have on bring more employment into the area.
Don't just elect someone based on popularity. Look at the shape we are in now and what type of future we are giving our children and grandchildren.
Dale Furman is a Portland resident.