Tax bill disappointing to Lewiston resident
I received my Niagara County tax bill the other day; I was expecting to see a reduction because it was reported in the newspaper that Niagara County had reduced the tax burden for the fourth consecutive year.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed because my taxes actually went up from the previous year and there was even a new tax -- the Lewiston refuse tax.
Speaking to friends and neighbors, I soon realized that the new tax, along with the various increases to our water, sewer and other fees, were all associated with the Town of Lewiston and not Niagara County. The Town of Lewiston has its own section on the bill mailed out by the county. They set the rates for town-provided services.
Why so much? You should ask Supervisor Fred Newlin and board members Sean Edwards and Michael Johnson because they all voted for these new fees and taxes within the 2009 town budget. Board members Al Bax and Ernie Palmer opposed the new taxes by voting against the budget.
During the budget hearing, Supervisor Newlin stated that there was "no town tax." I'm sure I don't understand what he's thinking because we certainly do have town taxes, and they all increased this year thanks to Mr. Newlin.
Even more shocking, Mr. Newlin also included a 37 percent pay raise for himself in the 2009 budget. He then voted for his own pay raise. This is no different than the greedy Wall Street executives we see now every day on TV.
This is not prudent or ethical in times like these when families, businesses and the state and local government are struggling financially.
Obviously, Mr. Newlin is out of touch with what going on in our community. You would think that our elected officials would "lead by example" and tighten their belts instead of feathering their own nests.
Lewiston property owners shouldn't be fooled. Demand accountability from your elected officials for their fiscal mismanagement.
Falls natural history deserves special tour
With the great increase to ecotourism, there should be made available a comprehensive yet attractive tour regarding the natural history of Niagara Falls and its gorge.
The tour should begin at Artpark, by the Niagara Escarpment, the place where the falls began at the end of the Ice Age. Actually, as far as it is known, two falls began at the escarpment, the Lewiston/Queenston Falls, about 12,000 years ago, and the St. David's Falls, many thousands of years earlier.
At the mouth of the gorge, the sedimentary strata clearly exposed there can be observed and discussed.
The second stop would be Devil's Hole State Park, where the view from the dry river bed overlook of the Lewiston Gorge, Old Narrow Gorge and the Smeaton Ravine is spectacular. There it should be mentioned how the level of postglacial Lake Ontario dropped more than once, deepening the gorge.
A short walk along the top of the gorge upriver provides a view of the Niagara Glen, where nature had two falls on either side of a narrow island. The larger falls slowly captured all the water in the river, drying up the smaller falls.
The third stop would be Whirlpool State Park, the place where the Lewiston/Queenston Falls died about 4,200 years, and where a large part of the buried St. David's Gorge was cleaned out, forming the Whirlpool and Whirlpool Rapids. A short walk along the top of the gorge to the source of the rapids will provide a view of the place where the St. David's Falls was born again, 4,000 years ago.
The fourth stop would be at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, where the natural history of the falls and gorge are showcased. Outside the center are views of the Upper Great Gorge and Hubbard Point, the place where the height of the falls began to decrease about 3,500 years ago.
The fifth stop would be Prospect Point, where the history of the American and Bridal Veil falls can be discussed, as well as rockfalls and ice bridges.
The sixth stop would be the Parting of the Waters, on Goat Island, where the history of the Upper Niagara River should be discussed.
The seventh stop would be the Three Sisters Islands, where the history of the Horseshoe and American Rapids can be discussed.
The eighth stop would be Porter's Bluff and Terrapin Point, where the recent natural history of the falls can be discussed, as well as the future of the falls, if nature had her way.
The last stop would be Stedman's Bluff and Luna Island. This is the place to discuss not only the recent natural history and future of the American and Bridal Veil falls, but also the impact of human activities on all three of the Niagara Falls.
The part of the tour from Devil's Hole State Park to Whirlpool State park can be done on the trail at the bottom of the gorge instead of the top. This would only be for people capable of enduring the physical challenges encountered in the gorge.