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Amherst will reap benefits from project aided by IDA

The Jan. 21 News article titled "Amherst complex wins IDA tax break" focused solely on the tax incentives involved in the six-story, mixed-use project and did not mention the benefits accruing to the region as a result of the development.

While the tax incentives did total $1.9 million, the project will pay during the abatement period an estimated $2.7 million, or $270,000 per year. The parcel that the project is being built on currently pays $40,000 per year in taxes. Even with tax abatement, the parcel will pay nearly seven times the amount of taxes currently being generated on the site. Therefore, there is no tax loss to the town, the county or the school district but rather a substantial increase in revenue gained.

Additionally, the project will create 50 new jobs with an annual payroll of $1.25 million and it is estimated that those employees will generate an additional $18,000 in new sales tax and $22,000 in new property tax. The project will also generate 235 jobs from new construction and construction services, with a value of $14 million. The new operation will also have an estimated $3.8 million impact on the community in terms of sales in restaurants, stores, entertainment, transportation and service providers.

Based on the IMPLAN -- economic impact analysis modeling software -- the $1.9 million incentive to encourage the redevelopment of the existing site on Main Street in Amherst will generate a community benefit of nearly $22 million in new taxes, payroll, sales and services. That is a return on investment of more than $10 to $1.

James J. Allen

Executive Director, Amherst Industrial Development Agency


Politicians misbehave, then blame the media

When politicians get in trouble, their inclination is too often to blame the media. When they say or do something stupid, or take money from someone they shouldn't, or cheat on their wives, it gets reported by the media. The problem isn't the media, it's the reprehensible behavior of politicians. Maybe if they were more careful about what they say, or how they behave, or weren't so greedy, or so immoral, the media wouldn't be reporting it. I guess rather than take responsibility for their words or actions, it's easier to blame someone else.

Don Grosso



Rural/Metro provides high-quality service

I write regarding recent articles published in The News about Rural/Metro Medical Services, which daily saves lives in Buffalo and Erie County and is the only nationally accredited prehospital care provider in the region.

For decades, Rural/Metro's paramedics and EMTs have been there for our citizens 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We take great pride in the quality and proficiency of the services we provide. We also take exception when our values are questioned.

We take our responsibility to this community and to our patients and customers very seriously.

We met with The News reporter and explained our position clearly. Yet we were made out to be an uncaring behemoth driven only by the bottom line. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We maintain a comprehensive compliance program that is modeled after federal guidance for the entire ambulance industry. We are confident in our compliance program and in our employees' ability to provide high-quality patient care and ambulance transportation services. We will continue to defend our reputation and the exceptional work performed by our employees.

We were surprised and dismayed by the accusatory tone of these articles. We believe the allegations raised by the individuals interviewed are unfounded.

Rural/Metro strives to operate successfully, fairly and efficiently. The regulatory framework under which we operate is highly complex, with the government continually looking for ways to recoup revenue. Competitors deal with this issue as well. We strive to abide by all regulatory guidelines and bill for our services at appropriate levels as either set by local authority and/or as allowed by the individual payer.

Our employees have multiple avenues to bring concerns to our attention. We make the process simple, accessible and anonymous for those who wish to report an issue. Every matter that is brought to our attention is reviewed and proper action is taken.

Jay Smith

Division General Manager

Rural/Metro Medical Services


State must stop cutting tobacco control funding

As a lifelong resident of Western New York, I have witnessed increasing taxes the past few years, including taxes on cigarettes. I am proud of New York for implementing the highest cigarette tax in the nation, yet disappointed how poorly the $10.5 billion in tobacco revenues raised over the past six years has been spent in our community.

According to the American Cancer Society, less than 4 percent, or two cents of every dollar raised by tobacco taxes, is spent on tobacco control programs. While sky-high taxes may prevent some from picking up the habit, cutting funds for tobacco control programs is cutting off support to help those addicted to tobacco use.

Tobacco control program funding has been cut nearly 60 percent the past three years -- experiencing more cuts than any other state program. Limited funding makes it nearly impossible to reach the most vulnerable populations, as well as prevent and reduce youth smoking. It is much easier to prevent an addiction than it is to break one.

Local people working with local leaders in Western New York leads to positive change toward ending tobacco use, but they require far more resources and funding. Proper funding is the key.

Carly Kensinger

Orchard Park


Taxpayers burdened by new county hires

As soon as I read about our newly elected county executive hiring three retired county employees to fill three top positions, I had to express my extreme displeasure. No matter what excuses were offered by the county, it smacks of cronyism at its highest level.

Why should I be surprised? The total salaries (pension plus wages) are way too high! We need jobs, not retirees on the county payroll. It's too bad that Mark Poloncarz could not look to his present county employees in line for a promotion. This would have opened up three new jobs, etc. Again, the voters get the short end of the stick.

Ed Clohessy