Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Watered down advice to officials

Our taxes are high. Too high. We've had the distinction a couple times now of having the highest property taxes in the country based on a percentage of our homes' values.

Add to that the fact that we have a boatload of special districts and usage fees and it's amazing we can find two nickles to rub together when we need to.
So any effort by local government to save us money should be looked upon kindly.

Niagara County's three cities are looking at possibly doing just that for it's residents.

Lockport, North Tonawanda and Niagara Falls each have their own water system and their own wastewater treatment plants. And they're looking at possibly sharing services and reducing costs.


Between the three of them, annual costs for their water and wastewater endeavors total $30 million.

Apparently a plan called the Tri-City Regional Water and Wastewater Optimization and Consolidation project came out of a three year old study that could create a blueprint to save you some cash.

If that $30 million annual price tag for operations is reduced to $29.9 million, that would be a good thing. And it would be even better if it were less than that.

The mayors of the three city's all say they are cautiously optimistic that saving will occur.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says the project may not result in a “silver bullet,” but that it looks positive.

I would hope that our elected officials would understand that anything is better than nothing and reject the notion that there is any silver bullet out there.

Oftentimes is seems to me like our elected officials – and even we – seem to only want to find one solution to all our problems and in doing so, we look over several other smaller solutions. This is true in government as well as the private sector.

I can't tell you how many people I hear scoff about a new business opening up. “What? It's going to create 10 jobs,” they'll say, not seeming to recognize that those 10 jobs are 10 we didn't have before.

We need to stop searching for a panacea and just stop the bleeding. And once the bleeding has stopped maybe we'll get better.
I know many of you think I'm just a pessimist who only finds reasons to complain about everything and everyone. Sometimes that's true. But when I hear of something good, I like to promote it.
Saving money is good. Let's do that. And let's appreciate it when it happens.

I'm pretty jazzed about the upcoming concert series. The last two have been brilliant in my opinion and this years' lineup looks great.

That said, what's with the banners downtown with the concert series sponsors names on them?

I hear we lost last years' banners that said “Historic Lockport” and replaced them with these.

In a city that has a fit over signs, it's kind of amazing that our city fathers would be willing to cheapen the look of our downtown like that.

Dear Mayor Tucker: Find the old banners. Put them up. These ones are tacky.

I have to give a quick special note of thanks to the Tonawanda Fire Department for their speedy arrival at my home on Sunday.

What started out to be fried eggs turned into “stove flambe.” And I'm told it was a very short while before it turned into “kitchen flambe” followed shorty by “Homeless Leffler surprise.”

I didn't actually time them on how long between when I called and when they arrived, but it seemed like seconds. Once on scene, they quickly assessed the situation and put out the fire.

As a result, I only had to get a new stove on Monday. Not an whole new home.
Firefighters: Whatever your salary is, you're worth it.