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The agreement reached by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and staffs of five other agencies on a uniform policy on projects eligible for tax abatements is one more reminder that more and more of our decision-makers finally get it. This area needs to conduct the public's business with an eye toward the betterment of the entire community and not just their individual towns and villages.

The uniform policy -- covering Amherst, Clarence, Lancaster, Hamburg and Concord -- is encouraging both practically and symbolically. The proposed new policy will be presented at public meetings between now and mid-October.

Thomas A. Kucharski and James J. Allen, who are at the helm of the ECIDA, have developed a plan that could benefit all towns. The plan should be viewed as the start of a more collaborative economic development environment, with all of the possibilities that encompasses. This should involve more than just the idea of agencies getting together on tax abatement issues. What's more important is developing a common strategy toward economic development.

Towns and villages in Erie County, and Western New York in general, should not be competing against one another. They have to understand that the competition involves Western New York against Charlotte, Cleveland, Phoenix and every other part of the country battling for new jobs and the economic growth they bring.

Hopefully, coming up with a common strategy on tax abatements will be a step toward that goal.

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