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September 2017 Column - Como Lake Dredging a Long-time Coming


We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.

At a Legislative session held on September 21, 2017, Legislator Ted Morton honored Lancaster resident, Dick Young as the September 2017 Citizen of the month.

Today, in response to the County Executive’s offer to work with Legislator Morton to develop a compromise Made in America Act, Legislator Ted Morton wrote to him to begin the process.

Legislator Ted Morton first introduced the Made in America Act in support of local manufacturers and local workers in Erie County. After passing the Legislature by a vote of 9-1, the County Executive vetoed the law after instructing the County Attorney to draft a legal opinion.

As many regular readers of my monthly column are probably aware, for the past three years I have been a major advocate of dredging Como Lake. Many residents recall years ago ice skating or boating on the lake, some even remember swimming in the lake, if you can believe that.


Unfortunately, years of neglect has resulted in a rather large island developing in the middle of the lake, and even after the heavy rains we had in July, the island still remained, proving to be a potential hazard by increasing possible flooding. For years, we watched time and time again as the project got pushed to the side, resulting in the island growing larger. After years of advocacy and in close cooperation with local officials from the Town and Village of Lancaster, along with the Village of Depew, I’m pleased to report my recommendation to dredge the lake, which was unanimously approved by the County Legislature, was included in the Erie County Shared Services Panel’s approved Master Plan.


The Erie County Shared Services Panel, comprised of every mayor and supervisor in Erie County, was created by New York State to encourage intergovernmental cooperation to increase efficiencies and reduce taxpayer costs. The Legislature was given the opportunity to make recommendations to the panel, and at my request, lake dredging was the only recommendation the Legislature made.


I want to thank Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the members of the Shared Services Panel for adding this recommendation to the plan. This proposal has the potential to save taxpayers a significant amount of money while improving a key asset in our community. I’d also like to thank Supervisor Johanna Coleman, Mayor William Schroeder and Mayor Jesse Nikonowicz for your willingness to join with us to get the lake dredged. Most importantly, I want to thank all of the residents, led by Gwen Cassidy and Frank Maddock, for your advocacy in bringing all of us together to do the right thing and dredge the lake. This would not be possible without your determination.


You will soon see the lake drained so that the dam’s outlet can be repaired. During this process the sediment will be tested to see what we can do with it. At that point, the county will develop a plan with the Town of Lancaster and Villages of Depew and Lancaster to dredge the lake. The hope is that the lake will ultimately be dredged sometime next year.


As always should you have any questions on this or any other issue, please give me a call at 858-8856 or send an email to