Publisher’s remarks are a lot of hot air
In a recent Publisher’s notebook (Nov. 30), John D’Agostino chastised local towns for not doing enough to improve efficiencies through participation in shared services with other towns. From my perspective — as an elected official in the town of Arkwright — I see that unless you border Lake Erie or Chautauqua Lake, there are very few opportunities to share with other municipalities which will benefit the town residents.
Arkwright was never asked to be a part of the North County Water District, it was never approached as a site for a new Athenex Plant and has received nothing but ridicule and scorn for embracing EDP Renewables in the building of a wind generating project. This project has provided the means for the town of Arkwright to blacktop nearly four miles of town roads and has provided the gravel to improve another two miles. All this without any added expense to the taxpayers in the town.
Going forward, we have been able to pass a budget that will provide $200,000 toward the commencement of a Town Hall replacement building, long overdue because of a lack of funding. The board has been fiscally responsible in not spending money that the taxpayers could not afford.
Also, in this 2019 budget is something that I seriously doubt any of the communities graded A or B by Mr. D’Agostino can boast of: an 8.5 percent tax reduction for 2019 while still providing services to the taxpayers at the same level as 2018. The towns of Villenova, Charlotte and Stockton have also found that embracing wind development is a way out of their financial woes.
It seems, as I stated earlier, that towns that don’t border a lake are the orphans of the county and are never included in any municipal shared services plans or capital development projects.
In Mr. D’Agostino’s grade rating of C for the town of Arkwright, he states that “some property owners are cashing in while other residents are moving out.” Did he ever stop to think that residents are moving out of not only Arkwright but the entire area because of the loss of jobs through companies downsizing or closing? Yes, there are houses for sale in Arkwright, but houses are also being bought and new houses are being built in Arkwright because, regardless of some individuals opinions of wind turbines, it’s still a beautiful place to live. I maintain that with a new town hall on the horizon, town roads being improved and an 8.5 percent cut in taxes, all of the taxpayers of the Town of Arkwright are “cashing in” and only the fools are moving out.
The County Legislature has recently voted encouraging the Industrial Development Agency to never approve another wind project in the county. To my dismay this was even embraced by the legislators from these small towns. How are these orphan towns that are left out of lucrative projects which can reduce taxes ever going to be able to survive? Do these lawmakers not realize this legislation is a like a death sentence to these towns??
The OBSERVER also recently published a political cartoon depicting an individual labeled as a wind sound level tester, saying “I can’t hear anything” with his pockets bulging and overflowing with money. This left the impression with the reader that the town of Arkwright may have been engaged in some sort of pay off to get a desirable wind sound report. I took great offense at this because it attacked the integrity of the town officials.
We have worked diligently to be nothing short of upright in all of our dealings. I left a voice mail stating my displeasure and my contact information to an editor. To this date, I have not been given the courtesy of a reply.
In the Dec. 17 edition, the OBSERVER’s View stated “Don’t build up small town.” It is their opinion that the town of Arkwright “is trying to fortify its kingdom” by building a new town hall. Their line of thinking is that since Arkwright’s population represents less then 1 percent of the county’s total population that the residents of the town are not worthy of having any money spent to develop a new meeting place to cast their votes, handle judicial court cases or conduct town business. Their solution is “dissolution of the town.” If this were to happen the revenue from the wind turbines would go to benefit another town and the voice of the residents or Arkwright would be drowned out by the larger town that absorbed them.
Arkwright isn’t asking the other 99 percent of the county to spend any of their money to finance a new town hall. We are and will continue to think of what will best benefit our residents.
Dissolution is not always a solution to the problem. Just ask Hanover officials what their feelings are as they had to absorb Forestville and all its problems. So often the individual gets lost in big government.
Larry Ball is an Arkwright Town Board member.