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July 2014 Column - Connecting with the community through business tour


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

In the wake of ongoing traffic and pedestrian safety issues, Legislator Ted Morton (R-Cheektowaga) recently wrote Governor Cuomo and state officials asking for the widening of NYS Route 78 (Transit Road).

As we have just celebrated Labor Day and all our students are now back to school, I wanted to discuss a recent legislative issue that you may have read about in the newspaper.

Legislator Ted Morton recently visited Como Lake Park to observe the rapid deterioration of the lake.

Erie County Legislator Ted Morton (R-Cheektowaga) began his yearly summer listening tour this week that will have him visiting with residents in Lancaster, Cheektowaga, Depew and Alden.

A few weeks ago, the Legislature approved changes to the Erie County Charter that were recommended by an all-volunteer citizens committee. With County Executive approval, the measure would have gone to the ballot for the public to have their say and vote on in November. Unfortunately the County Executive chose to veto the recommended changes. As a result, the Legislature anticipates voting on an amended version later this month, including some changes suggested by the County Executive. While I’m disappointed that the original package was vetoed, I’m optimistic that a revised version will be passed and that the public will have the opportunity to vote on it this November.

Small businesses are a large part of our community. By providing employment, contributing to the tax base, and reinvesting dollars into the economy, local businesses are the foundation of our villages, towns and cities.

Our local businesses are also a sense of pride. Every time I look through the Chamber’s announcements or read the local papers, I see that another establishment is marking an anniversary milestone. The small businesses in our community are known for their longevity, perseverance and passion for supporting their hometown. For local business owners, it’s not just about their company succeeding but also about their hometown booming.

To celebrate and support local commerce, I have launched my “25 Businesses in 25 Days Tour” to meet with owners and employees throughout my district to learn more about their operation, as well as offer any assistance from the county that I can. From cafes to industrial factories, my district, which includes Alden, Cheektowaga, Depew and Lancaster, boasts several businesses that are very important to our local economy.

As a county legislator, I am committed to assisting businesses with their mission and to help them thrive. At the county level there are various ways that we can assist businesses. I am also always willing to work as a facilitator to connect businesses with the help they need. When I first learned that Nutrablend in Lancaster was facing hurdles with its plans to expand, I met with the company and we discussed its issues. The two biggest concerns were a lack of skilled workforce and inadequate public transportation. To address these concerns, I suggested a meeting with Erie Community College to discuss how it could prepare students for a future with this great company. I also arranged a meeting with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to discuss options for adding a new bus stop close to the company’s Walden Avenue office. Government and public agencies can be an asset to private businesses but beginning the conversation is the critical first step.

I am looking forward to meeting with many businesses throughout the district during my tour. At each stop I hope to learn about the establishment’s history, its future goals and challenges it faces. If you would like your business to be added to the agenda, please contact my Legislative Office at 858-8856 or email ted.morton@erie.gov to arrange a meeting. You can follow my “25 Businesses in 25 Days” Tour on Facebook at www.facebook.com/legislatortedmorton. If your business has a Facebook page, please connect with me there. Together, government, chambers and private businesses, can succeed and make Erie County even better.