April 10, 2008

County Legislature Needs To Wake Up On Greenway

Sometimes I just don't understand what the members of the Niagara County Legislature are thinking. Quite frankly, my blood is boiling this morning over these ridiculous protocols our friendly legislators are poised to support for spending Greenway money that was part of the NYPA relicensing agreement.

According to today's Buffalo News article, the Power Coalition has developed protocols for spending their Greenway money. It takes six votes of the members to agree that a project is consistent with the Greenway plan. The members are the Power Authority, the county, the City of Niagara Falls, the towns of Lewiston and Niagara and the Niagara Falls, Niagara-Wheatfield and Lewiston-Porter school districts.

Now, getting six municipalities in Niagara County to agree on anything is hard enough. But here's the galling part. If any member who voted against the project doesn't like the ruling, they can challenge it in an elaborate arbitration process.

So, basically, we have just given the New York Power Authority, which never has treated this region particularly well, the opportunity as a voting member of the committee to kill, or at least jam up for long periods of time, any project that they don't like.

What if they just don't feel like spending the money? Challenge the project and hope you win or delay it long enough to kill it.

So, let's say Niagara Falls has a project and it has the six votes needed to spend the money (why other members even need to vote on each other's projects is beyond me), that should be enough. But wait, the know-it-alls from NYPA in Albany or White Plains or NYC or wherever they are hanging their hats decide that they don't like the project. And hence, the inertia that has plagued this community for half a century continues. What I am missing here that would make our elected leaders agree to this?

We are calling on the full Legislature to reject this set of protocols until NYPA's veto power is removed.

To read the full Buffalo News article go to:

http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/niagaracounty/story/319884.html

17 comments:

rob clark said...

Hobbes… Here is one topic that we can agree on. Why does it seem that the Power Authority is changing the game after the agreements are already in place. You would think that these protocols would be part of the original agreement. I have a feeling that there was to much of a rush to get this agreement into place so the Power Authority could get there License.

Anonymous said...

This legislature must be dumber than a box of rocks. Can't they see that the Power Authority is just trying to stall payment and obstruct projects from going forward. They need to show some courage and stand up to the almighty Poer Authority and make something good happen for our community.

Frank DeGeorge said...

From what I've heard, NYPA pretty much told the coalition members the Greenway money was there's to spend as they see fit, but there needed to be a consensus and some meausre of consistency with the overall Greenway plan. It sounded nebulous enough that the coalition members agreed.

Now that the license is in place, NYPA is being very difficult about greenlighting projects and the locals are shaking in their boots that NYPA will hold the money.

Well, I say screw that. The County should reject these protocals, tell NYPA we have an agreement in place and we'll see you in court if you don't fund our projects.

I'm tired of our community being the doormat for NYPA.

Big Daddy said...

I have a big problem with this from another perspective. Let's just say Niagara County wants to do a project and the towns of Niagara, Lewiston and the City of Niagara Falls vote no. The project doesn't go forward.


Yet people in Lockport, North Tonawanda, Newfane, Pendleton, Cambria, etc. etc. have no vote in this. To me this is a clear violation of the one man one vote provision. Certain towns have veto power of the county's expenditure of funds while other towns have no voice.

Bill Ross, you have some major explaining to do.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Niagara County Legislators asleep at the wheel...go figure. These guys get so outclassed by people they are negotiating with it makes think the Music Man is going to come to town and convince everyone we need a band. (Yes, that's a fifty year old reference.)

Anonymous said...

Rubes...a bunch of damn rubes.

rufus said...

Considering the legal fees this group has paid, you'd think they'd be getting some good advice.

Lewiston alone has kicked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills throughout this process, retaining multiple firms. And still they make bad decisions.

Anonymous said...

RUFUS you are a nit wit.

rufus said...

I'm a nitwit because I would think all the money the coalition has paid for lawyers would yield some measure of sound advice?

Do you normally expect bad guidance from your attorneys?

dark knight said...

Just read the article. I'm going to be naively optimistic that the legislators will read some of these comments and come to their senses before Tuesday's meeting.

Anonymous said...

The way I understand the process for communities like N. Tonawanda, Wheatfield is as follows:
* Any funds the city or town's waterfront gets can ONLY come from Niagara County's portion of the allotment, which is $390,000/yr, to be spread throughout the entire county.
* The municipality first must APPLY to the county.
* Then an Ad-Hoc county legislature committee makes a recommendation to the entire legislature to vote to proceed or not.
* If recommended, the proposal goes before the Niagara County Standing Committee which is comprised of the seven Power Coalition members for a concensus yeh or nay.
* Then it goes before the Greenway Executive Board to make sure that it is in line with the "Greenway concept".
* The trouble is that some of the same people influence all three bodies. If the whole system is based on concensus, one "uncooperative" person can foot-drag at every step of the process. (Personally, I wouldn't relish the thought of trying to convince Mr. Ross, for instance, that the sun will come up in the morning.)
That's alot of hoops to jump through for what are usually volunteers developing the concept proposals. (to capture a relatively small amount of money - when spread around to other communities that may, or may not even have waterfrontage)
It is understood that the approval process is intended to be a pre-screening device that encourages sponsorship from other sources of grants and development dollars. That's fine, and appreciated but
right now, it is less than clear how to take the first step.
Nobody said it would be easy, but in Niagara County, it will be downright tough!

beverly said...

Depending on who you talk to, you get a different version of the protocols you should follow. Some say go to the legislature first and the Greenway Commission next; others say the reverse. What is really ridiculous is that the municipalities that can only go to the County are precluded from going to the Tn of Niagara or Lewiston for instance unless their proposal directly affects the Tn Niagara or Lewiston....phooey! That is so ridiculous. All programs affect everyone. I go to the park in the Tn Niagara and Artpark in Lewiston. They come to the canal concerts in North Tonawanda. Also, Lewiston, Niagara Falls, Tn Niagara etc are all part of the county who will vote on projects before the Legislature so they definitely carry more power than Royalton, NT or Barker. Something stinks and this entire process was not well thought out before being implemented. I have yet to see anyone receive any money.

Anonymous said...

I see you are all reading George's talking points.

Hobbes did write George's talking points?

Or are you just mouthing his blather?

gop shill said...

Maybe the Senator read this site and our opinions on the topic and agreed and acted accordingly. Why is that so hard to believe?

My question is where are Francine and Antoine in all of this?

Anonymous said...

The bullited items I wrote about are ones that I have personally experienced in trying to advance a proposal as a volunteer only trying to get something/anything going for the waterfront. Everything we try to do involves kissing political butt to allow the politicos (both sides) to affix their stamp on it. It is quite sickening. This party crap can't get out of its own way!

berto said...

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Beverly said...

The Niagara County Legislature was very responsive to the North Tonawanda Committee who presented a proposal for monies for Gratwick Riverside Park. My concern is that the general legislature populus does not understand that certain areas must request monies for specific Power Coalition Members. If Legislator Kimball understood that then she would not have been concerned about other areas of the county requesting money from Niagara County's $390,000 piece of the pie. North Tonawanda probably will request money for proposals every year from Niagara County and that should not be a concern of the legislature. The proposals are completely within the scope of the Niagara River Greenway plan.