SILVER?CREEK: A correct call on fire truck

When representing small towns, villages – and cities for that matter, trustees hardly ever want to make the smart call on a tough decision. Making that tough decision, in reality, is uncomfortable.

What it means is you have to tell volunteers, municipal workers and neighbors “no” to something that will upset the applecart, bringing disappointment and leaving plenty upset. Those trustees, who made the right choice, will then be harshly criticized by those who work for the municipality and every attempt will be made to vote them out of office.

It is the danger of small-town politics, which thrives in this region and has led to the area’s demise over the past 40 years.

Where things are changing – of all places – is in Silver Creek. This year the Village Board for all intents and purposes eliminated its village Police Department and last month, it rejected a purchase of a fire truck from Falconer because money is tight.

“This was a difficult decision for everyone,” village Trustee Thomas Harmon said of the decision impacting the department. “It wasn’t a rash or fast decision. We worked hard to make this happen, but we can’t afford it.”

Silver Creek is the hardest hit area in this region when it comes to job losses in 2013. Already, some 230 jobs have been eliminated at the former Petri plant and another batch of area jobs is in jeopardy at the Lake Shore Health Care Center.

Trustees in the village know people are not moving to Silver Creek because it is a friendly, tightly knit village that will bring out hundreds to help in a moment’s notice. Instead, people are moving out due to the lack of jobs in the highest taxed entity in Chautauqua County.

Things, however, could be changing under the leadership of this board and Mayor Nick Piccolo. There have been decisions, which are unfortunate, but based on common sense.

A village of 2,800 residents has the potential to grow again, based on its proximity to the lake and its rich resources, including grape country, that surrounds it.

We have seen the destruction caused by local elected officials in failing to make common-sense decisions in the past throughout the region – they still continue today. Saying “no” is not easy. But saying “yes,” far too often, is the easy way out.