When it comes to sorting out fire contract talks between the town of Arkwright and the village of Forestville, it comes down to two things: fact and opinion.
In making the case for not agreeing to a new contract with the village for fire protection, Arkwright supervisor Frederic "Nick" Norton has said he will not agree to a 5 percent increase in the contract from 2010 on inflation numbers alone. Norton also points to the fact that the town is subsidizing the village - so trustees do not have to raise taxes on those who live in the village of Forestville. Norton, of course, uses facts.
Forestville, in a written rebuttal on our front page Jan. 15, did not really dispute anything Norton said. They just sent in their comments stating basically "this is only a response."
OBSERVER file photo
Forestville responded to this fire in Arkwright last November.
In the strange ways our local and "most representative" governments work, Forestville's response made sense to some. Why would trustees want residents to pay more in taxes - they raised taxes 20 percent last year - for the board's continued mistakes?
Last year, the village also increased the wages of its workers by 8 percent. That's not bad when you consider the first proposal was to raise worker salaries by 12 percent.
An 8 percent increase for municipal workers, who already receive good jobs and excellent benefits, during a recession in a village with a population of 730 people?
Yes. Those Forestville raises came when the U.S. unemployment rates were a source of concern (they still are) and U.S. inflation - with the exception of fuel prices - was nonexistent.
Of course the village wants one of its customers to ante up more. Trustees cannot control their own village spending, so reach out to your next-door neighbor and make them pay the penalty of poor local decisions.
According to New York state numbers - since Forestville frequently breaks the law with Freedom of Information requests - from 2005 to 2009, revenues from the Fire Department totaled $350,831. Expenses by the village totaled $193,092, leaving a surplus of $157,739 in the village coffers.
Is it any wonder why Arkwright is skeptical of Forestville's offer - and has reached out to Cassadaga for assistance?