Legislators Should Help Forestville

Anyone who pays a tax bill understands full well the angst Forestville taxpayers are feeling right now.

The village’s 2014-15 budget exploded due to debt repayments of $150,000 for a waterline project and $250,000 for an emergency demolition. Taxpayers who were already at a breaking point can’t fathom the thought of their taxes increasing by more than 400 percent, with some realistically admitting there is simply not money in their household budgets to pay such an increase.

Asking the county for help is a request of last resort on behalf of taxpayers who have dutifully paid their county taxes year after year. The $237,344 package being discussed includes a $150,000 loan from the county’s surplus and the reimbursement of $87,344 in landfill tipping fees paid by Forestville in 2009. In exchange for the tipping fee reimbursement, Forestville would not receive demolition credits from the county it would receive for the next 14 years.

Legislators on the county’s Audit and Control Committee had few qualms about the loan portion of the package. Charles Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, raised questions about the reimbursement of tipping fees given the decreased usage of the county landfill. Those concerns are valid – hurting the landfill’s financial position helps no one in the long run.

We may have divisions in our county based on issues or political affiliation. The Chautauqua County Home springs to mind as a recent example. We are all, however, Chautauqua County residents. What is happening in Forestville could just as easily have happened in any town or village in the county. Our county is known for helping each other in times of need – whether that be a natural disaster like the flooding of Silver Creek, a house fire or a family who is going through a tough time. This situation in Forestville is no different.

County legislators should fund a package that, in one way or another, gets Forestville the $237,344 it needs to aid its taxpayers in this time of need.