Cooperation. It makes a big difference. I saw plenty of evidence of this last week. On Monday I had a meeting with about 15-20 Erie County, Town of Tonawanda and Village of Kenmore officials. Those present included my colleague on the county legislature, Lynn Marinelli; Supervisor Tony Caruana, Councilman Dan Crangle and Highway Superintendent Bill Swanson from the town; Mayor Patrick Mang and Clerk/Treasurer Kathleen Johnson from the village; a number of representatives from the county’s public works department; and several other local government officials interested in improving service to town residents.
The idea was to get everyone in one room so we could all be on the same page in our efforts to solve problems. It was modeled after similar meetings I’ve had on Grand Island over the course of the last two years. In the Tonawanda meeting we discussed everything from sidewalks and trees to street sweeping. Along the way we talked about a number of county roads that are in dire need of attention. I was impressed with the “can do” attitude of participants. A number of ideas were forwarded for dealing with the county roads within the town. We agreed to meet again next month to discuss the progress in implementing those ideas.
On Wednesday I attended the biweekly meeting of the Spaulding Commerce Park working group. The cleanup and redevelopment of the former Spaulding Fibre property should be the poster child for what governments can accomplish when they cooperate. This is a huge success story made possible by cooperation among Democrats and Republicans, elected leaders and appointed agency administrators from the federal government, the State of New York, the County of Erie and the City of Tonawanda. More recently, the project has been helped by other local governments via a mutual aid agreement. Last month a number of neighboring towns loaned the project several pieces of heavy equipment to aid in the movement of mountains of dirt. This saved the City thousands of dollars and kept the project on track. The end result will benefit our entire Western New York community, as the project will generate scores of new jobs.
In the coming months, I will be working to keep the cooperation and progress going in these two areas. I will also be looking for more opportunities to work with others in both the public and private sectors to continue to realize our potential as a community. Together, we can make Erie County a better place to live, work and raise a family.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.