Entering the last year of his second and final term as Amherst town supervisor, Barry A. Weinstein says he doesn't see much more he can do. The Republican was in the majority for his first six years as supervisor, but now finds himself one of only two Republicans on the five-member board.
"I accomplished so much my first six years with a cooperative board that I really don't have a lot left that I can do," he said. "I had a couple things last year that I abandoned because of the board I have now."
Expect to hear a long list of those accomplishments Friday at Weinstein's last State of the Town address, which will be given during a luncheon from noon until 2 p.m. at Classics V, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd. The event is sponsored by Amherst Chamber of Commerce.
A key accomplishment Weinstein points to is lowering taxes in his first six years, and raising the tax levy in 2016 back to where it was in 2010.
Asked for his priorities in 2017, Weinstein says, "I really don't have anything. I've got one budget left. One of my goals is probably not to raise taxes in my last year. Whether that pans out or not I won't know for quite some time."
He acknowledges that a townwide reassessment – known as the Assessment Equity Project – is "probably going to be our biggest controversy of the first six months of the year." Property owners can expect to receive their new assessments in mid February. Some owners' taxes will increase and some will decrease, while others' will remain the same. The goal of the update is to fairly spread the tax burden across all property owners.
The plan by Mensch Capital Partners to redevelop the former Westwood Country Club will continue to be another big controversy in 2017, he says.
"We still have some problems," Weinstein said. "They have not satisfactorily dealt with the traffic issue, the contamination issue, the drainage issue. I think they've made some inroads into the sanitary sewer issue. And they previously tackled the Army Corps of Engineers issue. They tell me they've also tackled the historic preservation issue."
Weinstein is asked what drives him, what inspires him to come to work each day, and he's characteristically blunt.
"Nothing," he says. "I have an incredible list of accomplishments. With an uncooperative board I'm not out to get much more done."