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The Amherst comptroller recently announced that he will not seek re-election. In addition, he stated that he feels this position should be eliminated because it is not needed. This is an admirable gesture from a sitting politician. But still, I am perplexed by his statements considering Amherst's fiscal situation.

It was reported in The News that the Pepsi Center costs Amherst taxpayers about $1.5 million a year, far greater than the original $400,000 threshold mandated by the Town Board. Independently elected comptrollers can do what legislators have not.

A comptroller should not only watch over and report on the day-to-day financial operations of government, but also take further steps and compare revenues and expenses of services to those of other municipalities to determine where inefficiencies exist.

By comparing the Pepsi Center to similar facilities that are economically viable, ways to improve its operations can be determined. By discovering potential issues in their early stages, ways to counter them can be undertaken to ensure financial goals are still met. Obviously, this has not been done.

With Amherst's taxes already having increased 10 percent this fiscal year and the possibility of an additional 20 percent increase next year, now more than ever we need to retain this financial watchdog position, expand its authority and elect someone with a suitable financial background who can envision goals for the town and then do what it takes to accomplish them.

The effectiveness of an elected office is only what the person holding that office considers his responsibilities to be.



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