Tonawanda News

Opinion

November 1, 2013

OUR VIEW: City of Tonawanda candidate endorsements

Tonawanda News — For mayor

Again, we have an interesting — and hard-fought — campaign for mayor of the City of Tonawanda. Again, we have Ron Pilozzi, the two-term incumbent going up against challenger Rick Davis.

Four years ago we recommended voters stick with Pilozzi and that they did. 

Four years ago we were arguing about whether to build homes on Little League Drive. We were debating what to do since Spaulding Fibre was finally dismantled. There were questions about downtown development and city taxes.

And here we are, four years later still having those same debates. Groundhog’s Day, anyone?

For that reason alone voters would be wise to change course. In fact, we suggest they do — and that’s why we’re endorsing Rick Davis for mayor.

We would be remiss if we didn’t address head-on the questions over the Little League Drive development proposal. The mayor’s administration has hired a smart and well-versed development lawyer, Larry Rubin, to hammer out a deal that, on paper, will benefit the city’s bottom line. 

The deal does not, however, address a basic question of fairness: In a city with a median home value of $90,000, how can you ask residents here to allow the owners of new homes, some worth triple the existing ones, to pay only 65 percent of the real property value in local taxes?

We share in some of the reservations Davis and his Democratic ticket have expressed when it comes to the cost savings the city will see by virtue of making the developer pay to install the necessary infrastructure and turn over the eventual repair costs to a homeowners’ association. Fixing a sewer line is one thing but residents in the development won’t be using 35 percent less police and fire protection. Their children won’t attend 35 percent fewer classes in our schools.

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