Tonawanda News

May 21, 2007

READER LETTERS: Our readers speak May 21

A few more words of thanks

On behalf of Community Missions, I would like to thank all of the many donors who made our recent fundraising activity a huge success.

I recently reported that all food and financial donations received during the months of March and April up to a total of $50,000 would be eligible for a percentage match by the Feinstein Foundation; a grass-roots philanthropic organization dedicated to fighting hunger. Well, you did it! The Mission collected funds and food during these two months enabling it to receive the maximum match available. Your gift means more now than ever. It allows the Mission to serve that many more meals to the hungry and provide so many varied needs of the homeless and those in crisis. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

Mark your calendar for the Community Missions Golf Classic which will be held on Sept. 24 at the Niagara Falls Country Club. 

Mary M. LeFevre, Board of Directors Community Missions

Suspend the AES PILOT

Was not the original deal in order to determine “tax certainty” for AES the issue of dropping the assessment lawsuits?  

Why should Niagara County take them off the tax roll if they have not met the original bargain and withdrawn in their entirety their assessment lawsuit claims for three taxing years. By holding those open they can go back and continue to hold the county and town hostage with those lawsuits. 

With AES off the tax rolls, neither the county or the school can go back in time and reclaim the tax revenue lost if the appeals go in the county’s favor. 

If AES attorneys insist on keeping their lawsuits on the books pending the PILOT litigation, then there is no certainty for the county, town or school which was a primary reason given for accepting the PILOT. 

The IDA should therefore at a minimum suspend the PILOT and keep AES on the tax rolls until the PILOT lawsuits are settled. Once those are settled and AES drops its original assessment lawsuits then, and only then, should they be removed from the tax rolls and the PILOT agreement started. 

An additional condition for the PILOT and the issue of tax certainty going both ways is the pending environmental litigation between AES, DEC and the town of Somerset. which should also be settled for “certainty.” That requires AES excepting the two-judge panel report in full with no further litigation. 

Stop hiding behind the PILOT lawsuits and allowing our community to be savaged in taxes. There is something you can do. Please act.  

Suspend the PILOT pending all litigation being settled. 

Merrill Bender - President Tax Reform Niagara Inc.

Protect your food supply

The contaminated Chinese protein powder that has sickened some 17,000 American dogs and cats has now turned up in the human food supply. The U.S. Department of Agriculture admits that 6,000 pigs and more than 2.5 million broiler chickens were sold for human consumption after being fed contaminated pet food.

This was a disaster waiting to happen. After all, animal feed mills are generally regarded as dumping grounds for all kinds of garbage: Cat and dog carcasses from animal shelters, cancerous tissue and other slaughterhouse discards, food processing waste ... Why the fuss about some slightly toxic Chinese protein powder?

Our government and agribusiness will not protect our food supply, but we can. By purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables grown close to home — at farmers’ markets and local food co-ops. By avoiding garbage-fed meat and dairy products.

Norm Lewis - Niagara Falls resident