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November 2012 Column - Death and taxes at the forefront of district issues


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that a grant has been awarded to the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns in a continued effort to support youth programming.

The Erie County Legislature’s Majority Caucus sponsored a resolution at Thursday’s session in support of proposal that would eliminate fees charged to veterans and/or their next of kin to obtain records. The bill, H.R. 4325...

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that HEAP applications are being accepted. HEAP is a federally funded program to assist income eligible Erie County residents with the costs of home heating, electricity, and...

This past Tuesday our annual experiment with democracy continued, as voters cast ballots for a number of offices including Erie County Sheriff, Comptroller and Clerk.  In addition, all eleven seats in the County Legislature were up.  At...

I pay a lot of taxes.  Many of my neighbors do, too.  In fact, a number of studies have concluded that residents of Western New York pay some of the highest state and local taxes in the nation.  As both a county legislator and a...

oneilj - Posted on 14 November 2012

Occasionally the system works the way it should.  Such was the case recently with the controversy surrounding Amigone’s proposal to relocate their crematory from Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda to Cooper Avenue.  To Amigone’s credit, they were attempting to relocate their crematory to a less densely populated area of the town.  It appeared they had found a satisfactory location on Cooper.  The property was zoned industrial and seemed to meet their needs.  Amigone petitioned the county legislature to designate the property a “cemetery zone,” in order to meet a state requirement, and a public hearing on the request was scheduled.  Unfortunately, the property bordered a residential area on Two Mile Creek Road.  Although more sparsely populated than their Sheridan Drive location, it quickly became obvious there were still problems.

 

What strikes me about the situation is that everyone involved behaved responsibly.  The neighbors organized and contacted elected officials.  A citizens’ interest group, the Clean Air Coalition, assisted the residents, and public officials listened.  It was like a civics lesson come to life.  In the end, Amigone did the right thing and withdrew their petition and the public hearing was canceled.  My hope is that Amigone finds a suitable location for their crematory and is rewarded for their conscientious decision.  In the meantime, I have to marvel at the fact that everyone from the residents to the Clean Air Coalition to Amigone, acted responsibly. 

 

I hope this type of constructive citizen involvement carries over to our consideration of the county executive’s 2013 budget.  The executive has proposed a 3.4 percent property tax increase, an amount I find excessive.  The Legislature’s Budget Committee, of which I am a member, is currently in the midst of departmental budget hearings.  A public hearing on the 2013 Budget is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 19 at 5 p.m. in the legislative chambers in Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St., Buffalo.  I would encourage everyone who has concerns to come and share them with us at this time.  I realize, however, that many people cannot make this meeting.  That is why I have designed a brief survey for my constituents.

 

You can access this confidential survey on my website, www.erie.gov/legislature/district04.  Your answers are important and will help me get a sense of your priorities. You can also contact my office with specific questions or concerns.  By working together, we can make this a better budget than the one the county executive proposed.  Ultimately, this will make Erie County a better place to live, work and raise 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 kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.