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YOUR VIEW

Letter: Town of Scipio needs new leadership

From the Your views: Letters to the editor on Cayuga County-area town races series
  • Updated

We need new leadership in Scipio.

As a former supervisor of the Scipio Town Council, I have been increasingly concerned about the direction taken over the last several years.

There are few employees in a small town so it is very obvious when, as has happened in recent years, family members have been quickly hired and at greater compensation than their predecessors. Our employees should be earning a living wage, but that should include consideration of full compensation including health coverage and time off as well as dollars earned. In the last few years employees’ salaries have been repeatedly raised every year. That means our taxes go up. But monetary concerns are even more problematic with decisions to use the reserve account established and protected to pay for large purchases or emergencies. For example, a snow plow truck can cost $250,000 or more. The town needs multiple trucks and other vehicles to operate effectively. In recent years Scipio has had several emergencies requiring town response including significant flooding after the remnants of hurricane Ida moved through New York, as well as other recent flooding issues, and resident needs for response to COVID. It is essential we have sufficient funds in our reserve account to meet these and future needs. The reserve account is presently being used as a slush fund which is not its purpose. Additionally, the town leadership has been unwilling to move forward on developing a disaster response plan as mandated by the state.

The town council is structured according to the New York Association of Town Boards which outlines how representation can best be provided in small units of local government. All five members of the board have equal influence. The supervisor organizes the agenda and conducts the meetings but is not the boss. The present supervisor has made unilateral decisions about budget, contracts and hiring. It is also disturbing to find that the supervisor had multiple interactions with a wind farm company months before the town board was involved. Land in the potential wind farm development area belongs to the supervisor who likely will profit from a future wind farm.

The residents of Scipio need new leadership. We have an opportunity to right the situation this fall. Early voting starts Oct. 23. Election Day is Nov. 2. Let’s take back control of our town.

Janet Reohr

Scipio

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