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LETTERS

The School Board has obligation to Lockport

(Editor's note: the letter above also was presented to Lockport School Board members)

As a representative of the people in the Lockport School District you have an obligation to listen to the people who elected each of you. It is at critical times like these when you will need to do what must be done, and should have been done a long time ago.

Cut the fat.

I would like to be perfectly clear, personnel must be cut out of the system, starting at the top with administrative positions, all the way down to teaching assistants.

Closing one school building and repurposing another is nowhere near enough. Labor is the largest percentage in any budget and it must be cut in yours.

You may also want to rethink your position in regards to who is to blame for the situation we are all in now.

We are all to blame, the superintendent, you the board, the teachers' union, and me the taxpayer, for letting these irresponsible budgets get passed year after year.

I can't believe that any self-respecting elected board member, let alone the president of the School Board, would attempt to put the blame on Albany alone!

"If it wasn't for the people in Albany, we wouldn't have to do what we're doing right now," board President Marietta L. Schrader told parents during a meeting in Lockport last month. "We are at their mercy. It would behoove every single one of you to direct your passion toward contacting our elected officials," as quoted in The Buffalo News.

Let us all be adults and admit to our failures, apologize for them and take the necessary corrective measures.

An 11-plus percent increase in the school tax rate is not a corrective measure, it is an insult and an injury to the taxpayers of this district.

If you really want to "do it for the kids," be an example, take ownership of this fiscal mismanagement and do what needs to be done. Make the tough decisions, the right decisions.

Jack L. Smith Jr.,

2nd Ward alderman

City of Lockport

***

Thanks for investing in North Tonawanda

To quote our mayor in his State of the City of North Tonawanda address, "Every moment is an opportunity." The Downtown Merchants Association views the securing of the former GC Murphy building as a permanent location for the North Tonawanda History Museum as being a "moment of opportunity."

An important attribute to maintaining a vigorous downtown business district is directly related to the variety and quality of the various businesses located there. NT is fortunate to have the Webster Street business district with its great mix of services and business offerings. We help the city by providing local jobs as well as property and sales tax revenue along with a wealth of entertainment of opportunities, not the least of which is the Riviera Theatre.

Webster Street is somewhat unique in that we avoided the wrecking ball called urban renewal. We are seeing a resurgence of building renovation and pride of ownership that is transforming the downtown area.

One of the important contributors toward this renaissance is the addition of the North Tonawanda History Museum, located in the Old GC Murphy building. The completion of this ongoing project will assist in the overall successful revitalization that is taking place.
The museum is a major draw of people to the downtown area. There is considerable outside interest created already. We have new shoppers inquiring about the museum and its location. There has been a resurgence of people activity downtown, and we attribute much of it to the History Museum. We are grateful, as well, for the help of the many entrepreneurs investing in our continued success downtown.

The Merchants Association is supporting the History Museum because we are a historical area and believe the history of our city is deserving of a place where North Tonawanda can showcase its heritage as well as provide a wealth of historical facts and information for future researchers.

It is critical that all history buffs and others who support local businesses will get involved in the current drive to raise the necessary funding so that the museum can survive its start-up financial difficulties.

Jay L. Soemann, president,

Downtown Merchants Association

North Tonawanda

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