Niagara Gazette

Opinion

February 23, 2014

GLYNN: Mayors say their efforts are slighted

Niagara Gazette — Mayors from towns and villages across the Empire State aren’t exactly enamored with Gov. Cuomo’s proposal for that two percent tax freeze over the next couple of years. Under the Cuomo plan, local governments that adopt austerity measures to contain their growth under the cap would be entitled to property tax rebates.

At a glance, that seems like a deal that hard’s to turn down. Some attending the recent New York Conference of Mayors in Albany, however, came away unimpressed. In fact, Minoa Mayor Dick Donovan told a public radio reporter for central and northern New York that the governor and the Legislature just don’t appear to get the message.

Several local governments in Niagara County (e.g. Porter and Lewiston) already work closely together when the need arises and they continue to explore even more ways to share services.

Donovan contends that some local communities are discouraged because they have been pursuing the right course to keep taxes down and adhere to their budgets, but they’re not getting credit for what’s already been accomplished. East Aurora Mayor Allen Kasprzak charged that Cuomo was treating states and towns as “low hanging fruit.”

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TAKING ITS TOLL: By now most area residents are fully aware of their higher heating bills for this winter compared to a year ago. There’s another side to the weather story that perhaps draws less attention: those frigid temperatures have made it virtually impossible for many honeybees to survive. Will they be up to the task to pollinate all those cherry, apple and other fruit trees in the spring? In an interview last week, Mike Martino, a farmer in the Syracuse area, estimated he will lose about 30 bee colonies of the 100 on his orchard. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has asked the federal Department of Agriculture to provide more assistance to orchard growers and bee keepers.

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