Politicians, it is said, are often guilty of speaking out of both sides of their mouth. And if state Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to cut property taxes is any indication, then residents here are definitely receiving a good deal of doublespeak.
Cuomo was joined in Albany last week by a number of area leaders who support the proposal to deliver property tax relief and called on other local government leaders to find ways to consolidate and share services in order to reduce the burden of government on New York's taxpayers. As of Monday, more than 150 elected officials signed on and joined the governor's push to cut property taxes.
Some of those officials - from this area - included: Dunkirk Common Council members Mike Michalski, William Rivera, Stephanie Kiyak, Andy Gonzalez and Stacy Szukala; Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce; Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe; and Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo.
On the same day Piccolo's name was listed, he was critical of the concept. "In theory it is a great plan, but who really benefits from this are big corporations and the people with big pockets. There is nothing in there for the middle class," he said.
Right, Mr. Mayor. Big corporations, many of which have left this area, are the ones that provide the jobs to residents, help support community initiatives and assist with charitable events. All they are looking for in this region is a fair shake - lower taxes, fees and a less hostile environment from too many taxing entities.
That, apparently, is too much to ask from Silver Creek.
So how about Mayors Dolce and Keefe? Are they doing anything that seems to agree with Cuomo's plans for consolidations and mergers other than the minor stuff, like sharing cable access?
Ooh! Just think of the big savings that will bring, property owners.
Not surprisingly, both mayors are still overly apathetic when it comes to a water district, something area industry has been pleading for in recent years. How many more businesses and jobs have to leave due to the current stall tactics?
Cuomo's proposal calls for tax cuts, sharing and consolidation. It's that simple.
You're either for it or against it. Local leaders cannot be both.