Forestville: Do The Right Thing

Chautauqua County taxpayers and state Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I-Olean, have done the right thing and helped Forestville residents in a time of dire need.

The Chautauqua County Legislature took the appropriate course of action recently in approving a five-year, $150,000 loan to the village of Forestville. State Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I-Olean, did her part as well by securing a $50,000 emergency grant. Both provide relief to village taxpayers who cannot afford the initially proposed 445 percent property tax increase that resulted from the double whammy of debt repayments for a waterline project and an emergency demolition and necessary emergency building repairs.

Forestville officials and residents should similarly do the right thing and dissolve the village as was called for recently by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. The county’s loan package requires the village to seek grant funds for a study to determine the feasibility of dissolving the village, but we fear dissolution will never happen.

That fear is generated in part by Forestville residents who rejected a dissolution plan last year. Residents immediately spoke out against dissolution in 2013 with the same old tired arguments trotted out every time such action is considered – streets won’t be plowed, leaves and trash will go uncollected, concerns over paying for police protection, harm to the village fire department and lack of representation if the Forestville Village Board goes away.

Is Forestville really so impossible to run that the town of Hanover can’t handle governance for 700 additional people? We think not. Such protectionist parochialism must be set aside, especially in light of the commitment from the rest of the county to help Forestville out of a mess caused largely by its own ineffective government.

Village residents have a choice – the failed status quo that left the village in dire straits or to serve an example for the rest of the county and show that less government is a positive thing.

The decision is theirs.