Billionaire Tom Golisano has decided to use some of his vast fortune to fund initiatives to reduce the size of government, beginning with the West Seneca Town Board.
There is way too much government for the communities that lie in Western New York. I have covered enough town boards over the years to know that you simply don’t need a lot of board members; most of them go along with whatever the supervisor proposes, and those who dissent usually get a story written about them but lose out in the end.
I have also seen enough self-serving politicians to know that this fight will be difficult. Too many people in elected office pull strings for themselves or their buddies, making it nearly impossible to find an opposing view (just look at some of the school districts/town employee rosters some time to see how many identical last names there are).
But the time has come for true change. Kenmore has roughly one village trustee for every other block; is that really necessary? And what in the world does the Niagara Falls School Board need with nine members? Granted, they serve for free, but there are administrative costs involved with each person that aren’t necessary.
The Tonawanda Town Board reduced its numbers by two a couple years ago, and the town has yet to disintegrate to the disarray seen in “The Warriors.” If they can do it, so can everyone else.
You could start with reducing the size of government bodies, but you could move on to eliminating bodies altogether. Back to Kenmore, you have a village board, that recently reduced town board, a school board and the Erie County Legislature. That’s enough red tape to tie up even The Incredible Hulk.
Perhaps dissolving the village layer of government would be the way to go. Many villagers in Kenmore or Lewiston enjoy the perks they receive, such as extra police, but we have to eliminate some government somewhere sooner or later. We could also consolidate school districts and perhaps some towns (is the Town of Niagara REALLY necessary, or does it exist mainly so its residents can say, “At least I don’t live in Niagara Falls”).
It’s not 1875 anymore, and a half-mile trek to the village square is no longer the social event of a person’s week. Nor is it the population boom of 60 years ago; fewer residents need fewer people in the government, period. Let’s evolve.