Trustees allow misinformation to flow

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Mayor Wilfred Rosas, County Executive George Borrello and Richard Tobe, deputy director of state operations for special projects watch as Chairman Don Steger pulls the lever powering up the pump station on Route 5 and officially bringing the North Chautauqua County Water District on-line.

Without the assistance of the village of Fredonia, neighboring municipal entities have become part of a historic and desperately needed cog to the region’s economy: a North County Water District. It is a shining example of cooperation that is being hailed by New York state officials, including those in Albany.

Now, after more than nine years of not being involved in discussions, the village wants to get back in. To her credit, Mayor Athanasia Landis sees the benefit of the village being a part of the effort.

But that does not mean it will not be smooth sailing. Trustees, despite their willingness to be only a supplier, are not correct when discussing the village and the district’s past.

“One of the problems that previous boards had is (the district) kept changing the terms of the contract,” said Trustee Kara Christina at a September board meeting.

For the record, Christina has not been involved in any previous discussions or meetings regarding the district. Her comments ring hollow.

The village, which backed out of discussions on the water district in 2009, was not presented with any contract. In fact, former County Executive Vince Horrigan tried again after he was elected in 2014 to work with the previous board and allow Fredonia in — as a supplier. Each time, the village said “no.”

Also, current Village Board members do not attend water district meetings — now or in recent years. How would they possibly know anything that is going on? Seems they would just rather parrot misinformation to their constituents.

To make matters worse, the village is the one that is talking about joining. They have no leverage.

Memo to Fredonia: your acceptance into the district is not going to happen on your terms. While other municipalities took a chance to make this happen, you sat back arrogantly thinking you would be just fine on your own.

That is not the case — for the municipality or your residents.

Joining the district means becoming a partner and doing so by negotiating. That is something the village needs to improve upon or continue on as an outsider.