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July 2012 Column - Hot Summer Topics – Bills lease and ECC development


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that Town of Tonawanda resident Ron Hoeltke has been named the April 2014 Citizen of the Month in recognition of his service to local youth sports. Hoeltke, a longtime supporter of the Tonawanda...

Let me add my voice to the chorus of others praising Ralph Wilson upon the occasion of his passing.  There was a misperception in some quarters that Mr. Wilson came into Buffalo and took a ton of money back to his home in Detroit.  This...

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick reminds residents that on Saturday, April 12, electronics will be collected at GM Tonawanda Engine Plant No. 1, 2995 River Road, between Sheridan Drive and Edgar Avenue. Items will be collected from 9 a.m. to...

The devil is in the details.  I could not help but think of this old saying as I sat watching County Executive Mark Poloncarz deliver his State of the County Address a couple weeks ago.

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick has planned two District Outreach Meetings on Tuesday, March 4 to meet with residents and discuss County issues. 

oneilj - Posted on 11 July 2012

Several important items are occupying the attention of the Erie County Legislature in this hot summer. The one issue receiving the most media attention is the Buffalo Bills lease.  The team’s lease for Ralph Wilson Stadium expires next year and many people are worried about the future of the Bills in Buffalo.  Others are worried about the cost to taxpayers to keep the team here.  Both groups have valid concerns.  Several people have asked me for information regarding the ongoing negotiations.  In each case my response has been that the county executive is conducting the talks and has said he hopes to have a new lease by the time training camp begins. 

 

I believe this is one of those times when the county should speak with one voice and that voice should be the executive’s. As long as he is making substantial progress, therefore, I will remain silent so as to not compromise his efforts.  There will be plenty of time for me and the other 10 legislators to air our opinions before we cast our votes on the new lease.  There will also be time for you to weigh in once the details of the proposed lease are made public.  I value your input and look forward to discussing this issue with you later this year.

 

Another topic that is heating up concerns the location of a new academic building for Erie Community College.  Since I last wrote on this subject, there has been more discussion about putting the building in the City of Buffalo.  My view has not changed, though.  The new building must be constructed on the North Campus.  Every time an Erie County resident goes to a community college, other than ECC, the host county sends a bill, commonly referred to as a “chargeback,” to Erie County.  The county then passes this bill along to the taxpayers of the community in which the student resides.  In recent years this has added hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to the property taxes of my constituents on Grand Island and the Tonawandas.  This is not surprising, given our proximity to Niagara County Community College.  Putting the new building in Buffalo will do nothing to improve this situation.  Closing the North Campus, as some are suggesting, would make matters a lot worse.  That is why I continue to fight for improvements to the North Campus.  Only by upgrades at this site will we make ECC more attractive than NCCC and cut down on those excessive chargebacks.

 

If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you.  I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.