Meeting is opportunity

A meeting of the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. is an opportunity for members of the group – our area leaders – to expedite consolidation talks.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the city of Dunkirk Mayor’s conference room on the second floor of City Hall, a number of mayors from villages, supervisors from towns and municipal trustees will gather. Though a majority of the discussion is expected to center on the important regional water initiative, recent economic events have forced these leaders to take quick action.

On Jan. 3, Ralcorp officials announced that the Dunkirk Carriage House facility would be downsized and the Petri Baking facility would be shut down by the first week in April. Already, however, a number of layoff notices have gone out.

Though Ralcorp blames the layoffs on its recent sale to ConAgra, high Western New York taxes and fees are a part of the equation that led to the decision to eliminate 375 jobs in our region.

This is no small hit – and area representatives in Dunkirk, Fredonia and Silver Creek have already squirmed enough in the last 10 days.

Continuing to put forth separate budgets, run separate governments and employees is no longer efficient and cost-effective.

How many of these laid off workers and their families are going to relocate? Many, we know, will not have discretionary income.

Municipalities – and even school districts – must be part of the solution to this major economic crisis. If future consolidation plans are not discussed with plans for the water district, we will advocate for the end of Chadwick Bay.

Leaders must represent the region’s best interest. Continuing to make cowardly excuses of each individual government’s importance to its residents represents a failure to be honest with constituents.

If those entities were that important, the population numbers for this area would be increasing, not declining.