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The fledgling Village of Hamburg Taxpayers Association hopes to be up and running by January, and has scheduled a fourth organizational meeting for 7 tonight in Town Hall.

While various issues through the years have prompted special-interest groups to form in the village, none has evolved into a taxpayers association.

"It's unbelievable when the Town of Hamburg has seven taxpayer groups," said Raymond L. Waterman, one of those interested in forming the group. "I don't know if people aren't aware of it or attuned to it, or maybe they think their government is doing a good job."

The new Hamburg group is receiving assistance from the United Council of Hamburg Taxpayers, an umbrella organization of the town's taxpayers associations.

Waterman, a 25-year resident of the village, was one of those who sued the village in State Supreme Court over its requirement for clear plastic garbage bags. He ran for village trustee in March, as did Matthew Reynolds, 18, who has spearheaded the initiative for the taxpayers group.

"A lot of people have lost trust in village government. I don't feel that way," Reynolds said. "My goal is to make every single person happy and proud to live in the village."

Reynolds has attended most, if not all, board meetings for the past year. He frequently signs up to speak first during the public expression portion of the meetings, sometimes criticizing and praising village officials on the same night.

"I applaud Matthew for his interest," Mayor John S. Thomas said. "I think it's important that there are taxpayer groups, but the taxpayer groups should be looking at the larger entity."

Among the issues to be discussed by the group tonight are the controversial Country Meadows apartment and housing proposal, which may involve the sale of a piece of vacant village property. Reynolds said other issues the group will look at include the sewer odor on Oak Hill Drive, Route 62 reconstruction, snowplowing and regionalism.

The mayor said that there may be some residents looking to build a base of support from a taxpayers group but that he would be willing to work with and listen to any thoughtful suggestions and comments.

He said the village can learn from the Town of Hamburg's relationship with the United Council.

Reynolds said the group plans to meet again at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 in Town Hall.


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