Niagara Gazette

Opinion

June 6, 2014

GUEST VIEW: Lewiston officials need to get to work on town's finances

Niagara Gazette — What would you do if you had $700,000? I’m sure the list would include vehicles, homes and vacations but if you’re a Lewiston taxpayer what would you want $700,000 used for. Could it be used to repair our aging infrastructure like roads? Or maybe to repair an aging senior center, town hall and water treatment plant? Possibly to purchase transportation for our seniors so they can keep a medical appointment or receive a daily meal? The $700,000 is the deficit the Lewiston Town Board put the taxpayer in according to a recent Brown & Company audit. About $250,000 is what was removed from a rainy day fund so that numerous capital accounts placed in deficit and mismanaged could be closed. $60,000 is what a department head spent on an unapproved vehicle he purchased to go to his office and meetings. $260,000 paid to a consultant not under contract paid to file state mandated paperwork and that paperwork has yet to be filed. $1 million dollars spent to cut grass, plow snow and damage the environment on land the Lewiston taxpayer don’t own. $48,000 paid to cover up the gasoline stolen by town employees. $25,000 spent on diesel fuel for generators powered by electricity and to cut grass in the middle of winter. So, what would you do with $700,000? It’s quite oblivious what the Lewiston Town Board did with it in 2013.

With all this going on I found the recent question paused by Chief Christopher Salada interesting, why do people live in Lewiston? For me the answer is simple, my husband was born, raised and educated in Lewiston. Having lived in Lewiston over 30 years my love isn’t just for the scenery but for the hard-working people who make Lewiston a great place to live. So when I hear about seemingly intelligent people mismanaging the public’s money in an irresponsible and cavalier way I become concerned. When I read editorials from former elected officials saying it’s more important for candidates to have vibrancy and vitality rather than a plan and fiscal experience I wonder about hidden agendas.

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