Friday, August 26, 2016

Pay Raises for Everyone!

It must be the change of seasons. First there was a proposal to give raises to State legislators. Then to Utica officials. And Now to the County Executive and County Legislators!

And the pay raises are in the double digit percentages... About 60% for county legislators!

The money we pay them now certainly has not bought good government. We have some of the highest taxes in the country. Our area continues to bleed population and jobs. What reason is there to believe that better pay will produce better results?

In Saratoga County, which is increasing in population and doing well economically, they do not pay legislators ... Because they have no "legislators." Rather they have a Board of Supervisors who are paid by Town taxpayers ... Supervisors: people with direct responsibilities for day to day town operations, rather than people who merely vote and can point to their collective actions and executive recommendations as cover for poor results. A Board of Supervisors is the kind of government Oneida County had when it was booming.

Enough is enough.

Perhaps the solution to our poor local government, which seems to operate on behalf of a local elite rather than the average citizen and taxpayer, is to CUT LEGISLATOR PAY TO ZERO!

Simply put, paying legislators is a way to control their votes.

Maybe if legislator pay is cut to zero we will at least see government acting on behalf of the average citizen and taxpayer instead of special interests.

P.S. Our State legislators could use a "haircut" too! Texas, which is larger than NY geographically and in population, only pays its legislators about $33,000, and most of that is for expenses. New York pays 3-4 times as much. In Texas the legislators apparently see their job in the nature of doing the public good, rather than a career for themselves. The result: State policies that for years have made Texas a haven for people and businesses. Cut the pay of New York legislators and you cut the people acting in their own self interests.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New MVWA Transmission Line: 3 Things to Know . . .

Once the Mohawk Valley Water Authority received its state permit to expand throughout several towns surrounding Utica, you knew that the headline posted yesterday on the WKTV website would follow: New, larger water transmission line to help feed development, Nano Utica.  The story is spun as positive -- that the line would protect us from drought and provide water for "development."

Here are 3 things to know that you are not being told:

1) Current MVWA customers and the planned Quad-C and AMS projects do not need a larger transmission line, as there is already enough capacity to serve them.

Both the population and number of industries served by MVWA have declined from their peak several decades ago, resulting in a decrease in water demand from about 23 MGD to just under 19 MGD.   The current system is capable of producing up to 32 MGD with about 8 MGD lost to leaks.

2) Current MVWA customers are being forced to pay for someone else's water infrastructure needs. 

Since we customers do not need the larger transmission line for our own needs, and since MVWA's primary source of income is our water bills, we are being forced to pay for the infrastructure needs of the local elite who run the MVWA and their friends, including the speculative "build it and they will come" dreams of our local politicians.

3)  People in Herkimer County will pay in lost recreation and associated business income, lost power generation, and infringement of common law water rights.

Hinckley Reservoir was built to serve Canal purposes, not be MVWA's reservoir. Of all the non-Canal uses, only MVWA removes water from the Hinckley Reservoir - West Canada Creek system. Formerly MVWA was required to replace what it removed from Hinckley during dry weather with water from its own reservoir-- a reservoir that was required to be expanded to almost 1/4 the size of Hinckley itself as MVWA increased its water withdrawals. Since the State has eliminated this requirement, as MVWA ramps up its water withdrawals, water levels on Hinckley Reservoir will be low more frequently than they are now interfering with recreation, water uses and related business income on the West Canada Creek likely will be curtailed, hydropower generation will be reduced, and landowners along the creek will not have the amount of water flowing by their properties to which they are entitled by common law.

In sum, the politicians and elites who control the MVWA are using it to prey upon individuals and businesses to benefit themselves and their friends.