This is a guest blog post. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the blog’s author. Members of the community are encouraged to submit guest blog posts in order to help identify issues and discover solutions to matters affecting Chemung County.
This post was contributed by Anthony Pucci, a member of the Town of Veteran’s Zoning Board who taught English at Notre Dame High School for 40 years before recently retiring.
In his response to my “Your Turn” piece appearing in the Star-Gazette on December 7th, Joseph Sartori, Chemung County Treasurer, would have us believe that “County administration and the legislature do recognize the issues facing the county and are continually working to address these problems.” A link to the Sartori response is here.
That sounds reassuring, but what have they done? Sartori points to changes in the sales tax formula. Yes, the formula has changed. The County now takes more and more of sales tax revenue, leaving less and less for the City of Elmira and the surrounding towns and villages.
Sartori points to “a myriad of other cost-saving steps” that the County has taken. At their meeting of December 11th, members of the Legislature voted 12 – 3 to give themselves and other County officials a salary increase to take effect as of the first of the new year. If our legislators are so diligently working to address the County’s fiscal challenges, does a salary increase seem justified? I think not.
Sartori complains of a distortion of facts. However, he continues to twist Sonsire’s plea that we, as a community “start talking about” the fiscal problems the County faces into a desire to increase taxes. No reasonable person should accept that faulty logic. It is nothing more than a fear tactic.
Sartori echoes the comments of Legislator Milliken in dismissing those taxpayers and concerned citizens who are asking legitimate questions as merely “casual observers.” The very defensive responses made by Sartori and Milliken are regrettable. How do they contribute to a clearer understanding of these complex issues? How do they contribute to open and honest dialogue?
Sartori suggests that “hope is not a plan.” What exactly is that plan? Why not share it with the voters? Perhaps, working together, we can improve it.