Last night the Amherst Town Board did what all good town boards do, they threw out the supervisor's budget and raised taxes. They restored several positions and decided the people of Amherst can give more. I guess the Amherst Town board missed the news that were in the middle of a recession that some have compared to the Great Depression. There's nothing in Western New York like a good town board, tax more then blame the supervisor.
The board did do one thing right, they allowed 7 highway department employees to take buy outs. Those are positions that will be permanently eliminated. Before that decision was made, the highway superintendent made an emphatic plea to keep those people saying, "those seven people represent 250 years of experience with the highway department." A co-worker and I looked at each other and he replied, "That's 250 years of putting cones on the road." I think that sums it all up.
The best employers in Western New York aren't private companies. The days of working for GM and Ford for life are long gone. Bethlehem Steel is long shuttered and the Dunlop plant fights for it's life every contract year. No, the best employer in Western New York is municipalities. Those are the only employers that still give the best health insurance, yearly pay raises, and pensions. If you are a town employee you are set for life. Seven employees at 250 years is 35 years per employee and we still have to buy them out?
You may laugh at the cone comment and I'm sure they do more than cones. They probably plow, put asphalt down, and maybe even collect garbage. In other words, a majority of these people are laborers. Tell me how many unemployed factory workers in western New York wouldn't take those jobs at half the salary and benefits? The town boards need to start thinking about the future and the future starts with making tough cuts and renegotiating contracts.
Fortunately for the Amherst Town Board, they won't have to worry about tough decisions anymore. They ran Satish Mohan out of town and the people running for supervisor don't have a very good history on helping the taxpayers. So if you live in Amherst get ready to open your wallets a little more over the next 4 years. I just hope the moths that fly out are worth something.