Five hundred dollars.
That is all the village of Fredonia needed to come up with to celebrate National Night Out last week. But instead of looking for donations from the community and businesses - as they have in the past - the police chief decided to cancel the program and blame it on the budget.
"Last year, as you know we lost a police officer in the budget," Fredonia Chief Brad Meyers told WDOE-AM in July. "This year, the budget was just slash and burn. We're not getting a vehicle we need badly. I just don't see where the funds would come from, so this year, we're going to take a break."
Sounds like sour grapes to us.
In dropping an annual program, which was put on by both Dunkirk and Gowanda police departments locally this year, Meyers, whose salary hovers around $90,000 annually, spotlights the cuts of a police car, which costs at least $25,000, and an officer, another $45,000, to end a program that costs $500 that involves and celebrates the community
Where was the Village Board and the mayor in this decision. Doesn't the chief answer to the board?
Whether the chief realizes it, taxpaying residents in Fredonia are doing more with less while consistently paying more for village services through their taxes and water fees.
In the end, however, it was not about the village and its residents. The chief was upset his budget was cut.
We understand. Residents have the same emotion when taxes and fees increase.
But ending a program that costs $500 because $70,000 is eliminated from a budget is not a sound or responsible financial decision.
It is temper tantrum.