Niagara Gazette

February 23, 2014

GLYNN: Mayors say their efforts are slighted

By DON GLYNN don.glynn@niagara-gazette.com
Niagara Gazette

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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A CLOSE CALL: Firemen rescued two race horses last week from a large pond in Stevensville, Ont., close to Crystal Beach. One of the horses was coaxed out of the freezing water but the firefighters used a winch to pull the second one free. Witnesses praised the efforts of the firemen. The good news: a vet confirmed the horses emerged in fine shape, On a related noted, the Fort Erie Race Track will resume operations this spring, contrary to earlier reports there would be thoroughbred racing at the once-popular oval.

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SIGN OF THE SEASON: As you might expect with a break in the weather, those potholes are back to haunt motorists. Public works employees in countless Western New York areas will have their hands full. And, of course, some people argue that the pothole they struck is worse than any other around.

At present, on Whirlpool Street close to the exit at the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, there are holes where you could easily damage or destroy a tire. Fortunately, the worst section is blocked by cones but it still creates a real eyesore for motorists entering the U.S. and turning right toward downtown Niagara Falls. 

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HELPING HANDS DEPT.: If you’re planning on attending the St. Patrick’s Day Party March 17 at the Conference and Events Center Niagara Falls, remember the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies AOH will be collecting non-perishable food items at the door. Kathleen G. Florence, a spokesperson for the AOH celebration that will include one of the world’s shortest parades, said all donations will go the Heart, Love & Soul Food Pantry, 939 Ontario Ave., Niagara Falls.

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TRIVIA QUIZ: Name the New York-based magazine that ceased publication in 1972 after 36 years of publication. (Answer Thursday).

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “He talks the talk — but won’t walk the walk” — a New York Post reference to New York City Mayor de Blasio caught on camera in a blatant jaywalking violation. The new mayor has been preaching pedestrian safety from the day he took office.

Contact Reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.