Church, Galvin, Morris earn thanks

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

The Nov. 17 front page article shows what is wrong with our local county government.

Last Monday evening many folks came out to the Yates County Legislator’s annual Public Hearing to voice their opposition to the 2011 proposed budget.

The budget proposal called for a tax increase which is more than twice the increase in the rate of inflation and as was clearly pointed out by Legislator Morris, the only viable solution was an immediate cut in expenses, as this year’s budget will only postpone the inevitable huge increase looming in next years county budget.

Citizen after citizen spoke to their “representatives” in a standing room only chamber, clearly and articulately pointing out that none of us can afford increases in taxes. A rousing applause was heard after every public speech. Not one speaker supported the existing budget proposal.  

At the end of the hearing the Legislature praised everyone for coming and assured everyone just how important their input was and how much they valued their presence at the hearing.

Then Chairman Fitch asked for a vote on the proposed budget and every legislator, except Leslie Church, Pat Galvin and Mark Morris, promptly ignored the public and voted in favor of the budget.

Now I have been attending several public hearings over the past few years dealing with new tax proposals and annual budgets. In every case, they have been well attended by citizens opposing the proposals. In every case, I have heard the same speech given to the citizens who came on how much their input was important to the legislators, and at every public hearing our representatives, after providing lip service to those in attendance voicing concerns, then promptly vote for their original proposals anyway.

This outcome has always puzzled me, so after last week’s hearing I asked a legislator who voted for the tax increase why he did so and he explained he did so because the proposed budget was already agreed upon prior to the public hearing and, in his opinion, the three that opposed it were “grandstanding.”

Wow!  Now it finally dawns on me why every Yates County Public hearing ends up with the same “proposed” results and the citizen’s attendance and opinions are a complete waste of time because they are ignored.  All along I had the misconception that public hearings were meant to guide our elected officials in their final decisions.

Now, it is clear why we “the people” continually get ignored.  It’s because the decisions have already been made — apparently they believe they know what’s best for us.

Thank you Legislator Church, Galvin and Morris for listening to your constituents.

Cliff Orr

Penn Yan