FREDONIA: Officials do little to control costs
We do not disagree with Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek at all. What happened with the village concerning its legal fees with Webster Szanyi, LLC during COVID-19 were somewhat beyond its control.
“The costs that the OBSERVER had quoted (provided through a Freedom of Information Law request) for the past two years were due to unusual circumstances that have never occurred before,” he said during a meeting last month. “We had COVID … which drove up a lot of legal costs. We had four collective bargaining agreements in one year that we don’t normally have, we had two water and sewer and one town of Pomfret fire contract negotiated during that time period, and we had numerous department heads and employees that created a lot of costs.”
But let’s look at the bigger picture. Government and school districts in this region are addicted to spending your money.
Fredonia, for example, barely considered any consequences before purchasing a new vehicle for its new fire chief last month that costs $52,000. Sure, they’ll make some money on a trade-in, but the reality is the residents are paying for a new vehicle when the current one truly has no major issues.
Dunkirk’s Common Council members, almost as quickly, had no problem last fall rewarding themselves with a $2,000 bonus because they did their jobs and worked during COVID-19.
No government — or school district — has a budget plan that is on the decline. Some of that is due to inflation, but another component is very few elected officials are working to control spending.
Attorney fees in Fredonia were absolutely way out of hand in 2021. We’re glad, as of now, they are not expected to top $234,000 again this year.