I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me in my recent campaign for mayor, and all those who helped with the campaigning. Let me start with my number one cheerleader, my wife, Darlene, and especially the following: Julie Blair, Bill Reims, Dennis Abraszek, Laura Valone, Lydia Delano, Jim Hammer, and Donna Ulrich, those who helped spread the word to vote for me, and all those who let me put signs in front of their homes.
Thank you to all who voted for me, you showed that you are true believers and you stand behind a person who wants a community with better services, stable infrastructure, someone who will listen to the residents' concerns and needs and put them first, and who knows what the real priorities are.
I walk with my head held high knowing that I ran a clean and truthful campaign.
Just because I'm not mayor doesn't mean your needs can't be met. You pay the salary of the village employees and have the right to be heard and satisfied with how your village is being taken care of and by whom. It used to be that village employees were supposed to live in the village, but it isn't so now. For instance, the people of Gowanda are paying a part-time treasurer almost $50,000 a year who doesn't live in the village. So, how much are we paying our lawyer and where does this person live? And so on. . This is one good example of what I mean about not having a return on our investment.
In a recent news report, it says the board approved a 2 percent increase on our taxes - we certainly aren't getting better services out of it and nobody made any comments about standing up for our village rights and not allowing the state to give us heavy penalties, instead they just let the state walk all over us and give into them.
Funny how weeks after being elected it looks like things are already not being followed - on their flyer the current mayor and a trustee said, "We are working to keep costs down by seeking new revenue sources to keep tax rates low. The village planning board is cooperating with the New York Department of State and Cattaraugus County Business Development office to create a Regional Comprehensive Plan. To make this a true regional endeavor, surrounding municipalities in both counties have agreed to participate. Through this effort we can promote business and economic development within our village." How is raising our taxes by 2 percent keeping our tax rates low?
There are many things that could be done to better Gowanda but we are told we don't have the money to do it or we have to pay insurance but if our money was spent efficiently we would. Insurance has to be paid for the new park that's going to be built on Palmer Street and the only part of the park to help pay for it is the commercial area I only know of the vendors section for this. So, who's paying for the rest? If they can build something like this in the village then why can't other things people want be built like a water park or go carts. These ideas would bring in more revenue than a vending section. If other towns can do it then I don't see why Gowanda couldn't too. It's all about priorities.
To me, the park is a lot of wasted ideas. How many baseball fields does a small village need? And what's going to happen to the other two we already have? What does Gowanda need an Amphitheater for? When we have music in the park night it's at Chang Hu Park. It seems like nowadays people are always trying to upgrade things instead of being content with what they already have. If something isn't broken then why fix it? Gowanda isn't a city with many wealthy people living in it but it seems like people in charge are trying to turn it into something we're not we're a small quaint town.
I'm sure there's many other issues going on within the village so I encourage you to attend the village meetings and take a stand to get your community back on track and let your employees (Village Board) know your concerns you want taken care of and they're required to do by taking on their positions.
I haven't given up, I won't give up, so don't you give up. I promise I'll continue to fight for the people of Gowanda in every way I can.
Pete Johnson is a Gowanda resident.