CHEERS - To overdue action. Gloversville Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam has been given the green light to seek bids for a ladder truck. Although the city may have to borrow for the possible million-dollar price tag, there appears to be no alternative. The need for the truck has been an issue for more than two years. It may take another year to buy the truck. The city submitted federal grant applications for the past five years and was denied each time. The federal government has given no reasons for the denials. The mayor, council and taxpayers should not give up on a possible reimbursement for the cost. Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Bill Owens stated, while visiting his new office at Gloversville City Hall, "We talked about a ladder truck today and we are going to be looking around to see if there is anything we can do to assist in that area." Please look harder, Congressman Owens.
JEERS - To buried provisions. A story by The Associated Press regarding New York's passage of a minimum-wage increase stated, "A hike in New York's minimum wage is a big win for Democrats, but a provision buried inside the tentative state budget shows taxpayers will be paying much of the bill." Legislators were quiet about this provision before the vote. The "minimum wage reimbursement credit" can be found at the bottom of a revenue bill in the budget separate from the minimum-wage measure. The credit would reimburse employers for part of the difference in wages from the current $7.25 minimum wage as it rises to $9 an hour by 2016. When it reaches $9 an hour, employers would pay 40 cents and taxpayers $1.35 of the extra $1.75 an hour workers are paid. If you legislate an increase in the minimum wage, then realize a subsidy is needed to offset it, was something not quite thought out? The credit will burden the taxpayers, who not only foot the bill for the increasing number of people on public assistance, but now will supplement some minimum-wage earners and businesses. How deep are your pockets?
CHEERS - To a nomination. The Sanford Stud Farm in the town of Amsterdam has been nominated for a position on the national and state registers of historic places. For the past seven years, a small group of people who make up the not-for-profit Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm have worked tirelessly to get the nomination. If accepted, the listing on the registers would be a victory in the efforts to keep the legacy of the legendary thoroughbred farm alive. To Lou Hildebrandt Jr., John Lesniewski, Tom Foster and many others, thank you for not giving up.