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IDAs are making up rules as they go along

That the News editorial staff and County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz see industrial development agency tax exceptions for housing developments as improper is a plus for taxpayers. The editorial regarding the Amherst IDA/Zaepfel plan for ECC North residences, and the Erie County IDA/Poloncarz article regarding the Corn Exchange building both appeared in The News on Jan. 10.

I note in the fine print of the Corn Exchange article the phrase, "uses as housing that normally are not eligible for the agency's tax breaks." The problem is that IDAs make up the rules to fit the project of the moment, so what was not eligible yesterday is acceptable today. Also take note of the related agency fees. Do they bias IDA decisions?

Of the ECC North project, the pertinent News phrase was, "It should not be up to taxpayers to underwrite the profits of developers."

The people of New York, several times over the years from 1938 to 2001, voted for constitutional provisions to prohibit state financial support for "dwelling space or accommodations to either residents or transients." This recognizes that managing rental property is a highly competitive business. Government giving advantage to one undercuts all others.

Donald G. Hobel

North Tonawanda

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Restrooms needed along the waterfront

I was interested in reading the waterfront article in the Jan. 10 News because the day before, we visited Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park, the Commercial Slip and the Erie Basin Marina, ending our day at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery. The article spoke of a "cultural master plan for bringing year-round, family-friendly attractions to the waterfront." But what is presently there does not include bathrooms.

We read The News religiously, so we have read lots about the development of Buffalo's harbor and canals over the years. Finally, we found time to visit one afternoon. But alas, on a sunny winter day, the bathrooms were few and locked. We live an hour south of Buffalo and were pleased with the signs directing us there and with all that we saw, but year-round, family-friendly it is not.

Please solve whatever problems you have with keeping bathrooms open during each winter day and install more of them while you plan the next phases of waterfront development.

Mary Eileen Gill

Cattaraugus

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Show was delightful at Kavinoky Theatre

I take strong issue with Ben Siegel's negative review of the Kavinoky Theatre's current production, "Black Tie." It's a comedy, for goodness sake. True, it deals with transitions that many hold dear, but that is life. Like it or not, life changes.

The friend with whom I went found it delightful, as did I, and the rest of the audience was enthusiastic, too.

Leatrice Jordan

Williamsville

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Taliban committed far worse acts in war

Maybe the Marines seen in a recent video urinating on corpses were thinking about the Taliban videotaping of the beheading of reporter Dan Pearl, whose wife was months from having their baby. Which act was more despicable?

Carmen J. DiCioccio

Buffalo

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Springville needs DOT to act on bridge now

On Jan. 5, the New York State Department of Transportation suddenly closed the South Cascade-Miller Road (formerly Route 219) Bridge near Springville. On Jan. 9, the Springville board of trustees adopted a resolution calling for the DOT to repair, reopen and begin the rehabilitation of the bridge as was planned. From recent conversations I have had with local and state officials, it is clear that elected officials at every level support the opening of this bridge.

What is not clear is the DOT plan. The DOT needs to explain to area residents why its exhaustive planning and hearings for the building of the extension of 219 years ago, the more recent planning and public hearings for the rehabilitation of the old bridge and the negotiations with Erie and Cattaraugus counties about the ownership of the bridge did not take into account that the bridge was quickly approaching the time when engineers would determine it unsafe to use.

While its engineers focus on structural problems, the DOT has a responsibility to investigate impacts on changes in transportation infrastructure. The economic vitality of Springville is enhanced by the retail development on South Cascade. Any change in the traffic patterns on our local state highways is a concern for the village. The DOT's actions are causing catastrophic hardships on local business and threaten long-term investment.

Village residents are angry. Village businesses are desperate. Every day the bridge is closed hurts the village. Springville needs better service from the DOT. A limited or partial opening of the bridge would help. What we need to see is long-term planning and action by the DOT to keep the bridge open now.

Bill Krebs

Mayor, Village of Springville

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Garbage totes would help town control rats

It's true, there is a rat epidemic in the Town of Cheektowaga. I've lived here for three years, but this is the first year I've had a problem. Now burrow holes fill my garden and rats scurry out of the garage and across the yard.

Buffalo and Tonawanda have had rat problems in recent years and have since switched to garbage totes. It has not completely eliminated the problem, but it has made a lot of progress in curbing the unwanted pests. Cheektowaga insists that totes do not work, but the evidence is undeniable; totes are successful in helping control rats.

The sightings and evidence of rats have been getting exponentially worse in the last two months. I wasn't surprised to receive a letter from the Cheektowaga Neighborhood Preservation Office. It claims to be doing what is required by state and local law. It also says homeowners are responsible for controlling rats on their own property.

The second page of the town's letter makes suggestions to help control rats. For example, storing your garbage in metal containers and then moving it to approved (plastic) containers on garbage day. Really? They expect us to buy a set of metal cans and then transfer our week-old, rotting, stinky trash into a plastic can on garbage day? I know I just repeated myself, but I needed to see it typed once more to help abate my disbelief of the absurdity. Bearing this suggestion in mind, how can the town still insist totes would not help curtail the epidemic? Also, why should each homeowner shoulder the full burden of ridding his property of a rat population the Town of Cheektowaga is responsible for by mere neglect?

Chuck Amadori

Cheektowaga