FREDONIA: There are ways to help business

On an evening when the Chamber of Commerce in Fredonia honored businesses and individuals for their service to the community, a trustee made a plea to those in attendance: sign her petition.

Just like she did March 20 at the village board meeting, Trustee Kara Christina is making an effort to get residents to put their name to keeping the Dunkirk JCPenney open in the D&F Plaza. It is a noble, well-meaning attempt.

It also is likely a waste of time.

Penneys, the corporation, has unfortunately decided to close its shop here for whatever reasons. It bums us out as well.

But, government cannot sway for-profit businesses to not close or relocate. They can, however, create a friendlier environment and be proactive in a number of other ways for the future. Some of these suggestions include:

¯ Working as partners with neighboring communities to reduce costs and become more efficient.

¯ Having stable sewer and water rates.

¯ Not adding to the tax burden.

¯ Listening and treating the constituents they serve with respect.

But that’s not how Fredonia’s Village Board currently works. Most of its leadership thinks it is smarter than the residents. Heck, it was below them to even hold a public hearing on a grant for a fence that has since been axed as part of the Barker Common plan.

In fact, with its 27-percent hike in water rates looming, what positive impact will that have on businesses, the college and its residents? There’s plenty of worry for users.

Fredonia trustees have enough issues without grandstanding about a national JCPenney decision. The petition is one that Mayor Athanasia Landis would criticize, as she has in the past on Facebook, as one of the “trivialities when actual troubles are looming.”

Quit worrying about what’s been done — and out of our control. We need trustees who are seeking solutions for the future that do not involve higher costs and burdens on its residents.