Forestville: Bad decisions bring in cash

Struggling municipalities, get in line!

It appears that if you knowingly mismanage funds, paperwork, make bad financial decisions and allow for a 12 percent pay hike for your employees, the state and the county will be willing to bail you out.

And if you think that is far-fetched, it has already happened.

Twice in the last four weeks, the village of Forestville has received word of a bailout from Chautauqua County and a “grant” from the state. This funding totaled $200,000.

Forestville, of course, was the village that had proposed a 445 percent tax hike in March for its residents. Since coming into the newfound money, however, the village will only increase property taxes by about 112 percent.

What a bargain!

Now the county and state officials both have the same excuse for the handout: they are doing this to help those on fixed incomes and cannot afford the steep increase in their property taxes.

But that brings up the big question: if residents cannot afford to maintain the village and its services, then why should county and state residents be on the hook for Forestville’s follies?

“Families already are struggling to pay their bills and Forestville has many seniors living on fixed incomes,” state Sen. Catharine Young said. “The situation is not the residents’ fault, and they need help.”

That is not totally correct. Residents do have a hand in the Forestville mess. They allowed it to happen right before their eyes. They also elected leadership over the years that was not capable.

Maybe the bigger – and scarier lesson here – is that the county and state are standing by to help entities with a cash loan or grant in the future when they continue to make bad decisions.

Remember, Forestville is the tip of the iceberg for municipal mismanagement. Other municipalities will soon be following in the footsteps of the bashful village.

Get the tin cans ready.