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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 the 2014 Road Project List includes funding to repair Brighton Road in Tonawanda this year. After being pushed back last year, Legislator Hardwick has advocated strongly to get crews on the...

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.

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.