"Elected officials must stop adding straw to the camel's back," said Michael Sullivan, candidate for the County Legislature, "each and every tax increase, even under the two percent cap, together with water and sewer rate increases adds to the burden of doing business here. No one knows, and many elected officials don't seem to care, which straw will force a closing or relocation of a business, and with that, more families leaving."
The status quo has failed us resulting in ever increasing spending, refusal to consider modified or reduced services constantly higher taxes and water rates all forcing employers to leave and then people and families follow them. "This cycle must stop," Sullivan said. "The camel's back will break. We continue to support multiple governments layered upon each other providing services we can't afford while expecting large employers to foot the bill. Unfortunately the large taxpayers are not able to pay these ever increasing costs and rather than foot the bill, they move."
The former mayor of Fredonia said he would take the same approach to government spending as he did as mayor. "I will continue a need versus wants analysis of all spending. People have to do that in their homes and businesses, and government can be no different," Sullivan said.
During his tenure as mayor, Sullivan proposed four budgets which each called for cut taxes in the village.
"While going around the district I have been dismayed by the number of vacant properties and the numerous houses for sale.
We worry about losing our children to places with better paying jobs but we don't do enough to find ways to keep them here. High taxes and the resulting job losses are forcing our friends and families, to leave for places with better jobs and lower taxes," he said.
"First industries left, then a young generation of people and now their parents are relocating with their adult children. For those of us still here, we live with the highest property taxes in the nation. Politicians blame Albany or 'the economy.' But the blame game does not fix anything. We need to elect leaders who aren't afraid to say 'enough is enough'; taxpayers need a break. Young families are struggling in two-income homes, retired residents have fixed incomes. Pensions and Social Security don't go up. We need to provide relief to the taxpayers ... we needed to do it years ago."
Sullivan also pledged to continue the work toward a regional approach to providing water. "Seven years ago, the idea of a regional water system, was all but dead. While mayor, we moved forward toward the goal of providing a reasonably priced water supply to homes, business and industry. Our industrial backbone today is a major user of water. We need to guarantee a quality supply and a competitive price to assure our economic stability and to secure jobs in the future," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said his experience with water issues will be a benefit as legislator as the county becomes more involved in the process of regionalization.
"I'm proud to be a fourth generation Fredonia resident. But this race is about more than the past and nostalgia. It is about our future, and I hope the voters will share my belief that we can build a better future with new directions today," Sullivan said.
He has practiced law in New York since February 1985 and has maintained his law office at his current address, 7 E. Main St. in Fredonia since 1991. A graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio. He is a member of the Northern Chautauqua County and the Erie County Bar Associations. He is the Attorney for the Child Liaison from Chautauqua County to the Fourth Department Appellate Court program.
Sullivan served as a member of the SUNY Fredonia College Council from 1997 until 2011. He is a 25-year member of the Dunkirk-Fredonia Salvation Army Advisory Board. He continues to be an active member of the Fredonia Volunteer Fire Department having served the community in that fashion for nearly 30 years.
Sullivan is a member of St. Joseph's Church in Fredonia. He resides at 108 Cushing St. with Valerie and their grandson, Joshua Kneitinger.