Editorial: Albany offers more of the same

03/02/2011 4:34 PM |

Less than two months into his administration, Governor Andrew Cuomo is in a really tough spot. The long-anticipated economic recovery still hasn’t arrived and taxpayers are out for blood.

The state is running at a deficit, so the folks in Albany are talking about lopping off huge chunks of the budget. The potential cuts getting the most attention are in school aid, a budget line that affects virtually every community in the state. And since school expenses represent 60 percent or more of the average North Fork homeowner’s property tax bill, a cut in state school aid would be especially painful.

The governor has offered several potential remedies, but none seems to fit the bill. He’s called on local school districts to tap into their reserves to offset the likely loss of state funding. That’s a stop-gap measure at best and fiscally reckless at worst. It might work for one year, but then what? Mr. Cuomo also suggested placing a cap on school administrators’ salaries far below what many, if not most, already earn. That’s political grandstanding and we expected more from him. While we’re at it, how about also capping the governor’s and state legislators’ salaries at a number far below what they currently make?

Mr. Cuomo this week also released his preliminary report on state mandate relief, which comes in response to calls from local schools and governments that have long argued, with no small amount of merit, that the state freely dictates procedures and programs without providing implementation funding. But these mandate relief measures also fall flat.

In accepting the preliminary findings of his “mandate relief redesign team,” the governor suggests easing the labor requirements on public works projects. Sounds good, but in this climate who’s building? Mr. Cuomo also calls for a new state law and constitutional amendment to prevent future unfunded mandates. The problem isn’t in the future; it’s here and now. Other recommendations include reviewing and analyzing mandate impacts, a proven recipe for paralysis by analysis.

If the governor is serious about mandate relief now rather than in five years, he and his team should simply sit down with a representative group of school superintendents, listen to their concerns and craft realistic alternatives that can be implemented now, not in five years. That’s not the way Albany usually works, but the old ways don’t work.

The people of New York want, need and deserve leadership that’s bold, not bureaucratic.



13 Comment

  • Thanks Jay! We’re doing nothing illegal and we’re going to continue to do business as usual. The (ONE) ticket we got in Southampton was back in Novemeber. It was for STORING dumpsters on my own property that isn’t zoned commercial. That’s it, period! Not running an illegal transfer station on parkland! Since then I have moved my equipment to a commercial facility and am in Full compliance with the town. They have been back to inspect and I am awaiting my court date on April 22 to resolve that matter. That matter has nothing to do with our residential pick up in Southold or on the South Fork. Our Dec ticket was for the same matter and has also been resolved and we didn’t even have to appear in court because we complied immediately. As referenced above, my home was NOT raided and it’s amazing to me how the editors can turn such a small issue into front page news, just to try to sell papers. I still never received a ticket from Southold, the article above is the first i’ve heard of any tickets in Southold town. I assume myself and the other local carters will all be appearing on the same day, for the same violations?

  • I’d also like to suggest an option to eliminate the yellow bags AND keep the transfer station operating as usual WITHOUT raising taxes for the residents. It seems like a very easy fix to me. If the transfer station would re negotiate it’s rate to ship out it’s debris, then they could drop it’s over the scale rate to a competitive, industry standard price. This would give myself and the other carters the incentive to unload at the towns transfer station, thus keeping all of the money in the town. If we pay over the scale, that would make up for the lost revenue from the yellow bags and wouldn’t affect the taxpayers at all. Therefore, NOT having to raise taxes, or sell yellow bags. For those of you who don’t know, I already approached Jim Bunchuk (Southold’s solid waste coordinator) about this option. I offered him all of my business including 75 commercial rolloff containers. His response to me, was that “they cannot handle that much refuse therefore they keep the rates high, to discourage commercial business”. There’s not much I can do with that statement, but I do know that if they can manage to bring their scale rate in the neighborhood of $60 a ton, I would love to use that facility. Even if thay can’t handle the dumpster portion of my business, I would still be happy to take my residential waste to them. I’m not trying to close the transfer station or put anyone out of work, but these are tough economic times for everyone. Everyone has to look a little harder at outgoing expenses and tighten the belt where they can. I think we can trim a lot of fat off of that scale rate and end a lot of debates. That would be a win win for everybody, residents, carters and the transfer station. Just a suggestion.

  • Well, I’m confused …what say Mr. Kelly ? Was a ticket actually issued by Southold Town to Mr.Fisher on March 1 or not ? Did you verify that fact before the article was published ? If issued, shold be a matter of public record.
    It seems clear to me that the ST is somewhat biased (“…officials RAIDED …Frank Fisher’s …home”, “…served with a CRIMINAL ticket..”, etc.) against Go-Green yet you continue to accept his half-page advertising every week – I guess I don’t get it….maybe this cover article more properly belonged in the OP-ED page.

  • Well, I’m confused …what say Mr. Kelly ? Was a ticket actually issued by Southold Town to Mr.Fisher on March 1 or not ? Did you verify that fact before the article was published ? If issued, shold be a matter of public record.
    It seems clear to me that the ST is somewhat biased (“…officials RAIDED …Frank Fisher’s …home”, “…served with a CRIMINAL ticket..”, etc.) against Go-Green yet you continue to accept his half-page advertising every week – I guess I don’t get it….maybe this cover article more properly belonged in the OP-ED page.

  • It is my opinion , that the Town of Southold should just pick up everyone’s garbage . Sanitation is an essntial service , just like schools , sewer , Police and Fire fighters.. I have never heard of anything quite like the Garbage situation in Southold ,,IT STINKS worse than the garbage itself..Wake up guys , and just pick up our garbage ,,

  • Mr. Fisher was issued a ticket. I’m sure if he calls the town they will fill him in.

  • Really “guest”? How do you know this ? Are they going to make him pick up the ticket in person ? I sure as hell wouldn’t be calling the town to see if there was a ticket there for me….would you ?

  • Jay. I’m not being a jerk… and I’m on your side. I’m just saying that his name was called in court when I was there the other day… I don’t know if he is lying here or what. But I know what happened the last time I ignored a ticket. If I heard that I was supposed to be in court and didn’t know about it… I’d call them. That was all I was saying.

  • Thanx for the reply – you’re right, of course. If his name was called in court and he was supposed to be there, could be trouble. Hope he works it out.

  • I’d sue the crap out of the town if I was him. I mean, if they gave him a ticket based on the code you posted, he’s got nothing to worry about… but like you said, skipping a court date can get you in big trouble… whether you really broke the law or not.

  • Why does it seem that whenever a smart business person finds a way to not to be as greedy as the others, they are shut down for spurious reasons.

    Collusion between the town and the existing carting companies is wreaking just like the garbage they haul. When were any of these companies, besides GoGreen, going to tell the customers that it was not required by the town to buy the expensive and poorly made yellow town bags? These carters were not only subsidized for their dumping at the town landfill the were given a free ride on the backs of those who used them and then still over charged.

    The town kept quiet until they no longer could maintain their position. All these years they kept the dirty little secret of allowing these companies to make their customers believe it was the town that made them do it. All were happy until GoGreen saw through the sham and decided to do it another way.

    Since this is a farming area, I will say that Frank has upset the apple cart by taking away the gravy train that That the Town and these carters enjoyed. I never once heard anyone say they would check to see that garbage was separated in any of the hundreds of dumpsters in town or that recycles were not placed in with household trash.

    This is just the way businesses established in an area use government to keep out true competition and lower prices for the consumers.

    Wake up the consumers have been played like a fiddle by both the Town and the carting companies who required residents to place their garbage in yellow bags.

    There should be a lot of people ashamed of how they have stolen from the fine people of Southold Township, but don’t hold your breath, cause you just got a very public glimpse of how the status quo is maintained by those in power but on a small scale.

    If Frank gets run out of town all we will be left with is cartel which will become stronger with time as fewer and fewer come forward to try and do it a better and cheaper way.

    Vote with your wallets, it really is the only vote anyone ever listens too.

  • The Town does not want to provide a service they just want to take the money.

  • Suits cost money and when the town is used as the hammer, taxpayers in this case, get to share in the expense of doing away with much needed competition. The last thing a new company, or any company, need is both their money and time being directed away from providing service to their customers. The established carting companies and the Town are banking on it.