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LOW-COST MUNICIPAL POWER WOULD HELP REVIVE AREA

Yes, we need a citizens committee to study the power issue, but not to get more handouts from the State Power Authority. We need a legitimate study on instituting municipal power.

As a former county legislator and former city councilman, as well as a member of the Regional Planning Board from 1975 to 1985, I was intimately involved in the power issue. While heading a special county energy committee, I traveled to Plattsburgh and other areas to study their municipal power setup.

What benefits we could reap!

We could save tons of money on electricity for street lights, municipal buildings, sewer and water plants. We could provide sewage treatment to industry at 10 percent over cost. We could give at least 25 percent electricity cost savings to our businesses and residents.

Yes, we need a committee to study this matter, but we do not need self-serving politicians on it, nor do we need people making decisions on overtaxing our taxpayers. We definitely do not need another committee run by elected officials who know nothing about what they are studying.

In 1975, the county committee I headed was trying to get cheaper power in order to benefit the entire area. Cheaper power will help create jobs and ease the burden on overtaxed property owners.

Let the people who are paying have something to say!

What right did a school board special committee have to receive $6 million or $7 million to spend its way? Do we as taxpayers have anything to say -- or must we be constantly ripped off?

As an elected official, I advocated public power that I saw work well in other communities. Years ago we could have saved and attracted business and industry by giving them power at 25 percent less cost. Water and sewer charges could have been a mere 10 percent over costs.

If this had been done years ago, we would not have had the industry loss, we would not have had the drastic population drop, and there would be no need to have that stupid nonhomestead property tax. We would have decent paying jobs and a fairer tax structure. Municipal power would be run by the citizens in a fair and impartial manner. They, not the politicians, would have control over the energy charges and hiring.

There would be no political plum jobs. And the benefits would go to our residents, not for politicians to increase spending for pet projects.

Yes, I say we need a break on power costs, but we don't need self-serving committees making decisions on getting the poor taxpayer overburdened even more.

It's time we had a true citizens committee to study the energy situation and work toward getting municipal power. It will be a tough fight because of opposition from know-nothing officials and power brokers who want to line their own pockets. But it can be done. The voice of the people, if combined into one strong note, is a powerful one.

Citizens of Niagara Falls, let's hear from you. Let us take our destiny in our own hands. It is time something was done for the taxpayer!

LEO MARTEL

Niagara Falls

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