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Dale Root is hard-worker who knows how to connect with people

Posted 4 November 2019 at 6:30 am

Editor:

I am writing to you to recommend Dale S. Root for Town of Shelby Highway Superintendent and ask the citizen voters of the Town to vote for him. I’d like to tell you why.

My name is Ed Pillard. I am not a resident of Shelby. In fact, my wonderful wife, Jan, and I live in Vero Beach, FL. For the last 10 years, Jan and I have been friends of Dale and Helen Root.  I want to tell you how we became friends because I think those reasons are the same reasons that you should vote for Dale.

I’m assuming that all of you know that Dale has been a farmer and trucking company owner and operator for years. He has great experience for the job. I assume his opponent does also.  But, I want to tell you about Dale’s special character.

Jan and I live in a guarded community in Vero Beach. We rented our investment condominium to the Roots for a few weeks, for the first time, in 2009. They were actually working for a citrus packing company in town, not on vacation. Shortly after they moved in, the guards at our community entrance started referring to me as “the guy who rented to the Roots.” After only a few days of residence, Dale and Helen had befriended all of the guards in the community to the point that they had a better relationship with the guards than any of the permanent residents, including me. A lesson taught by the character of Dale and Helen.

Over the last several years, Jan and I have seen the Roots about once a year. Dale and I text or call probably about once a month. To call us best friends would be a misrepresentation. But, the reason for that is because of our physical separation. If we were a resident of Shelby, Dale and Helen would be our best friends. They have exhibited nothing more than the best of human character with the highest values and ethics I have seen in my 70 years of life.

I can’t imagine that anyone would be more committed to do a great job for you as Highway Superintendent than Dale with Helen’s support.

I believe in Dale as a great person, with the character, values and ethics that you need from your elected officials. You can’t go wrong supporting him and voting for him. You can count on him.

Sincerely,

Ed Pillard

Vero Beach, Fla.

Heritage Wind developer says project would bring big financial benefits to community

Posted 4 November 2019 at 6:17 am

Editor:

There is no doubt that the Heritage Wind Farm is a big project. It will absolutely be visible around the Barre community. For some, the turbines may represent an unwelcome change to the current farm landscape, but to others, the turbines will look like the next generation of American agriculture – a better, cleaner, safer way to power our homes and businesses.

While it is natural for folks to disagree on the aesthetics of a project like this, it is unfortunate that there are many other factors influencing peoples’ opinions of the project, and many of them are rooted in inaccurate information. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but my goal is to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to form an informed opinion, based on accurate information about the project. With this in mind, I want to correct the record on a few critical elements of the project. I hope you will take the time to read this piece in full.

One of the most critical pieces of information the community must understand when considering this project is what benefit it will bring to the community at large. Wind energy facilities in New York provide two substantial streams of revenue to their local communities ¬¬– one through a Host Community Agreement (HCA) and one through a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement. The HCA is negotiated with the town alone, and in the case of Heritage Wind, the Town of Barre will receive and control the HCA funds. The PILOT is negotiated with the town, county, and school district, and for Heritage, we expect that the county and schools will receive the majority of PILOT funds and will have full control over how to spend them.

In addition to these two agreements, Heritage Wind will pay taxes directly to the Barre Fire District through a separate special fire district tax. Use of that money will be up to the Barre Fire District to determine.

While we do not yet know exactly how much money these payments will comprise, we know enough today to be able to guarantee that the amount of money coming to the Town of Barre from Heritage Wind each year will be nearly the same as the total property tax revenues the town collected in 2018, about $1.1-1.2 million per year, totaling about $50 million over the next 20-26 years.

What information is needed to calculate the exact value of the revenue Barre will receive from Heritage Wind? First, the final numbers will depend on the final project size, measured in megawatts (MW). We know that Heritage Wind will be between 150-185 MW, but the final project size will be determined by the State of New York’s Article 10 permit process and the availability of turbine technology at the time of permitting. To ensure that the taxing jurisdictions get a fair deal, no matter the final size of the project, our economic agreements are being negotiated in terms of dollars per MW. The bigger the project, the more money the town, county, and school district will receive.

The exact value of the revenue that local jurisdictions will receive from Heritage Wind will also be affected by the terms of the HCA and PILOT agreements themselves, which are still being negotiated. Terms under negotiation include the length of the agreements, the final dollar per MW value, and the rate of inflation escalation to be applied each year.

Where would this money go? That question will be entirely up to Orleans County, the Albion School District, and the Town of Barre to decide, and because the money is coming in through a PILOT and an HCA, these jurisdictions have full control over where they put that money. The current Barre Town Board has expressed interest in using the money to reduce taxes, make necessary infrastructure investments for a healthy and vibrant town, and ensure that future generations receive some benefit from these funds.

Of course the tax, PILOT, and HCA revenues Heritage Wind will bring to the area are not the only economic benefits it will provide. The project will help sustain the area’s local family farms by offering substantial lease payments to participants, preserving Barre’s local farm community. Barre’s local farms are one of the largest single-sector tax resources for the town and an economic engine for the area, providing employment and goods for export, while purchasing equipment, materials, and services from local suppliers. Furthermore, Barre’s farm families are the lifeblood of the local community, participating in local government, contributing to local causes, and helping to keep local schools vibrant. By helping Barre’s farmers thrive, Heritage Wind will help Barre thrive.

Finally, a note on property rights. If built, Heritage Wind will be located entirely on private land. Facilities will only be placed on those parcels for which a voluntary legal agreement has been signed by the landowner. There has never been, nor will there ever be, any placement of Heritage Wind facilities on private lands without landowner approvals. The project has no legal right to use eminent domain and has no intention to try and get it.

I ask you to consider these facts when determining your position on Heritage Wind, and I will continue to be honest with you. I will not try to argue that wind turbines are not tall. They are. I will not try to argue that they won’t be visible. They will. But I believe that these aesthetic impacts are well worth the benefits the project will bring.

There are nearly 60,000 wind turbines safely operating across the U.S. today. Across the country, cattle, sheep, and deer graze and sleep under these turbines, tens of thousands of American homes are located near these turbines, and over 1,000 rural American communities are healthy and thriving because of the economic vitality these turbines have delivered. The choice is up to you, residents of Barre. Will you join them?

Paul Williamson

Development Manager for Heritage Wind

Gaines board member urges residents to speak out on town budget

Posted 3 November 2019 at 5:21 pm

Editor:

The proposed 2020 town budget in Gaines as presented to me on Oct. 28 takes into account a 6.07 percent average increase in our assessments by the county (which will bring more revenue to the town).

Even though the local tax rate is less, our taxes will increase by 2.22 percent because of the rise in property values.

The budget officer, who is paid $2,000 above his stipend as town supervisor, gave himself a 36.62 percent raise for being town supervisor. All employees received a 2 percent raise and I and all other council persons declined any raise.

Most land owners will pay much more in taxes if this budget is left the way it stands now.

If you would like to express your opinions (for or against) this budget and its impact on your pocketbook, please attend the 7 p.m. public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Gaines Town Hall, 14087 Ridge Rd. The tentative budget is available by clicking here or by request from the town clerk.

Mary Neilans, DVM

Gaines town councilperson

Barre supervisor says Town Board has open government, commitment to residents

Posted 3 November 2019 at 8:33 am

Editor:

Barre residents – You have been deluged with a lot of misinformation lately from many groups.

“Citizens For Change” on their Facebook page have outlined what they will do for the Town of Barre.

#1- Better Communication with Residents of Barre. The primary source of communication is through our website and postings in the lobby and/or door. Any official notices are posted in the Batavia Daily News which is the official paper for the town. On our web site there is contact information for everyone working for the town. Increasing information would have to be by mass mailings, newspaper or Pennysaver. All of which cost taxpayer dollars.

#2- Will Listen to All Residents of our Community. I would like to know when we as a Town Board have not listened to the residents. Whether in meetings, face to face, phone calls or emails. We have listened and replied. Will we as elected officials always give you the answer you want?

#3- Opposition to the Proposed Wind Turbine Project. We as a Town Board have been studying research for many years and have avoided being pushed into a fast decision. We have been bashed but believe me we are doing our due diligence.

#4- Transparency of Actions as We Work To Serve the Barre Community. The town board has been criticized because the opposition believes we are hiding information. We are not. They have FOILed us several times and have found nothing. And the FOIL’s are only about Heritage/APEX not on any of the other operations of the town.

#5- Alternative Tax Abatement. I wish they would describe what they mean by this statement. We as a town board have worked very hard to keep the taxes as low as possible. As assessments go up so do taxes. We have recommended a 3.9% tax cut this year to keep us just under the 2% tax cap. Save money through shared services? We and this county have been doing just that for a very long time. We share equipment and manpower between the towns and villages consistently. In fact Orleans County is a leader in New York State for shared services.

#6- Work to Maintain and Preserve Home Rule in New York State. The Orleans County Legislature at their October 23rd meeting made it very clear that the towns and villages are under the Home Rule Policy. Please remember that we are elected by the majority but we do represent you all. Will we please everyone, no. For years I had a sign in my office that read, “The sure sign of failure is trying to please everyone!” Think about your own lives, have you always pleased everyone?

Everything that Citizens for Change is promising is not different, on 5 out of 6 points, than what we have been doing. The Town of Barre is filled with hardworking, ethical, church-going people that do deserve the best. That is what I feel I have provided this town and will continue if you re-elect me.

Sean P. Pogue, Ed.D.

Supervisor

Town of Barre

Clear Skies says it’s committed sharing information about proposed wind project in Barre

Posted 3 November 2019 at 8:26 am

Editor:

Clear Skies Above Barre, in response to a postcard recently sent out to the residents of Barre which contained inaccurate information in direct regard to our organization, makes the following statements:

Firstly, we must express that Clear Skies Above Barre is not running for a position in the Town of Barre. The members of our organization have come from all party affiliations and beliefs; we will continue to respect members’ discretion.

Clear Skies Above Barre is and has been devoted and zealous in sharing the truth and spreading knowledge about the industrial wind turbine project, Heritage Wind LLC, proposed in the Town of Barre. Current proposal: 33 turbines in the Town of Barre at 680’. We reject claims that we have misinformed or mislead the public in anyway.

There is no “scheme.” Clear Skies Above Barre is out front in declaring the make-up of our Town Board needs to change to represent and express the concerns and values of all of the residents in Barre. This is evident in Town Board members being listed on Heritage Wind LLC’s list of conflicted individuals.

We support our community voice in Barre and the essential need for transparency specifically concerning industrial wind turbines. We cannot uphold CSAB’s mission “to protect the community of Barre, NY from Industrial Wind in a productive manner that values a sense of community and neighborhood relations,” if our concerns are not represented and residents are intentionally being kept from information.

It is with fervor for our community that we needed to address and correct the false claims made against Clear Skies Above Barre. We openly welcome discussion. Any further questions please send to clearskiesabovebarre@gmail.com.

Barbara Verburg

Vice President – Clear Skies Above Barre

Barre

Conservative Party chairman states support for candidates

Posted 2 November 2019 at 2:17 pm

Editor:

Please vote for the candidates on the Conservative Party line on Nov. 5 and here’s why. For sheriff, I am convinced Chris Bourke knows what’s going on and what is the best way to deal with it for our county and our great Orleans County law enforcement officers.

For the Highway Superintendent races: In Clarendon, Tracy Chalker will do a great job for you and watch the spending. For Shelby, Dale Root couldn’t be a better choice. My story is Dale’s story. As a small businessman many of us and our families go without just to keep the doors open. Dale will bring common sense and precious value to your tax dollars much better than a comfortable 40-year career politician. Please invoke term limits in Shelby.

For the Town Supervisor races:  In Murray, Joe Sidonio is a rare gem. He’s actually going into government to reduce taxes, reduce the regulatory burden and work for the people. All of the people. Joe is a leader of men and a rare candidate. A fighter for ethics. He has done much to change Murray Town government from the outside. Imagine what he can do on the inside. He has never given up on what is right so now send him to victory with your help on the conservative line.

For Ridgeway, David Stalker is desperately needed. On the outside the current supervisor would make you think his long overstay is a road paved with roses. On the inside, a long history of excessive regulation. Targeting businesses he doesn’t like. Regularly raising your taxes. Now allowing an industrial solar farm into your town and playing into Cuomo’s green scheme of dumping these projects into rural NY with no gain to you.

For the Town Council Races: For Murray, Dirk Lammes is going into government for the same reasons Joe Sidonio is. Cut your taxes, reduce the regulatory burden, and be a fierce watch dog of your tax dollars and unethical practices that plague town governments in this county. Please send Dirk to that seat. Joe will need him as an ally against a machine that wants to continue the “Status Quo.”

For Barre, Kerri Richardson a registered Conservative bringing all the conservative values abandoned by the Republicans in this county to the table. She wants to cut taxes and reduce the regulatory burden on the town residents. Bring common sense and ethics back to government. She will also protect Barre from becoming Governor Cuomo’s next dumping grounds for the Industrial Wind Scam that is being sold as a savior to the planet and gold in the coffers for all. A scam is scam is a scam. Don’t fall for it people of Barre. Vote on the Conservative Line for Kerri.

For Gaines, Dr. Mary Neilans will also bring proven conservative principals to her job as councilwoman. Watching your tax dollars with hawk eyes. Saying no to excessive purchases and spending. Using common sense in her voting. Mary resided over many years of tax cuts in the past. She is fearless and I trust her to always do the right thing for the taxpayers. Send Dr. Mary back for another term on the conservative line.

For Shelby Town Justice, please vote for registered Conservative Mark Wambach. Mark will bring his conservative values and wisdom to the bench and implement the law fairly. The politicians will never vote for term limits. It’s up to the voters. Mark will do a great job.

Get up, get out, go vote, early or on election day.

Thank you.

Paul Lauricella

Lyndonville

Orleans County Conservative Party Chairman

Local churches offer great music, art and hope

Posted 2 November 2019 at 12:32 pm

Editor:

This past Sunday, we joined 60 others in a bus tour of four area churches. The tour included an appreciation of the architecture, art or history of each church, plus a demonstration of the antique organ at St. Mary’s in Medina and the Bell Choir at St. Joseph’s, Holy Family Parish, Albion.

The Bell Choir was amazing, a wonderful demonstration of agility, skill and thrilling music.

Holy Family is blessed with this Bell Choir, 15 members, vocal choir—20 members of nearly equal number of men and women, many of whom are musically trained.

They are conducted by the creative choir director and virtuoso orgainst, Harriet Greaser. She knows the skills of her musicians/singers and utilizes them to their maximum: Six-part harmonies, wonderful duets, most remarkably,  Shannon Vanderlaan and Joe Condulucci recently.

The choir’s tonality, especially on complex harmonies is top-flight and thrilling. St. Joseph’s Church fortuitously, projects music beautifully. We also attended 8 a.m. Sunday Mass recently.  Kelly Kovaleski and the Folk Group were likewise thrilling.

We are big music (and art) lovers. We’re out at night a lot, hearing great classical and jazz, in Rochester, Buffalo and Myrtle Beach. But we’re often wowed by the quality of church music and the art and architecture of churches.

Also, at Holy Family, the sermons/homilies of Fathers Dick and Patryk and Deacon Jim are enlightening and entertaining.

We recommend church as a source of hope, love and music and art!

Marg and Bob Golden

Waterport

3 candidates would work for a better Barre where everyone benefits

Posted 2 November 2019 at 12:24 pm

Editor:

Vote for people who will sort through what the industrial wind turbine developers want us to believe and get us the truth! When Heritage Wind LLC talks about ridiculous sums of money and jobs that will come to the town, know that it is not reality.

Vote for people who will diligently and aggressively negotiate for  what is best for our town in all matters. If the turbines do come the best interests of all the community members will be served.

Vote for people who will keep everyone in the community informed. How many of you actually knew that they are currently proposing 680 feet (Vesta 5.6 MW)?

Vote for people who know about other ways to help with taxes that will not lower our property values, be a health threat, or harm wildlife.

Vote for people who know that there are health problems associated with them. Do you need something more to disrupt your sleep (to name just one!)?

Vote for people who are willing to recommend what is best for our community’s health and how far the proposed turbines should be away from homes and property lines.

Vote for people who are concerned with all aspects of our community and looking to a positive, strong future for the Town of Barre.

Vote for people who are well informed about the Article 10 process. Vote for people who have the best interests of everyone in the community.

You do have an opportunity to be represented in Barre. Please vote Jerry Solazzo – Supervisor, Cindy (Delemarter) Burnside – Council person, and Kerri (McKenna) Richardson – Council person.

If built as proposed, did you know Barre would have more structures over 650 feet than NYCity per square mile!

Iva McKenna

Barre

Support candidates who respect property rights, welcome investment in community

Posted 2 November 2019 at 12:19 pm

Editor:

I have seen a pattern emerging in the county and across our towns during local elections. Election interference, officials wielding influence to discriminate against those who do not favor the candidates they prefer and more one-note candidates running for office for the sole purpose of opposing projects, over-regulating taxpayers and restricting citizens’ property rights.

Like those of us in Shelby, our neighbors in Barre, Yates and even Somerset in Niagara County are suffering at the hands of individual candidates and special interest groups backed by lobbyists and big-city law firms making a mint sucking the life and hope out of our rural towns.

Their goal is to ban everything, ban it all and not look back – no new business or industry (unless it’s a farm stand, storefront or manufacturing), no telecom towers to give us better phone reception and no tall structures of any kind. They implement unjustifiable setbacks or acreage restrictions that make other uses prohibitive so there can be no widespread tax relief for our communities as a whole – and less potential for individual landowners to secure telecom or commercial energy leases to offset their own taxes.

These new candidates and officials running for re-election are bent on banning or unreasonably restricting growth and development here. In doing so, they are restricting our freedoms and the right to use and enjoy our property. They’re also setting the county back decades.

Our neighbors in Yates were subjected to similar legislative restrictions developed by the special counsel who mapped out Shelby’s restrictive zoning laws. These laws robbed many of us of technological advances, telecom towers and over 20 land uses. The lawyer and his firm really know how to cash in on taxpayer dollars, creating administrative and procedural chaos, unnecessary delays and obfuscating the facts in a legal proceeding which typically takes under 12 months to resolve – we’re going on 22.

More alarming to see was Yates now using the law firm that represents the Town of Somerset.  Taxes in Somerset went up 150 percent as a result of legal fees incurred to oppose a windmill project. It practically took a citizens’ revolt in Yates to reverse the vote to split legal fees with Somerset “50/50” when the majority of the turbines were to be located in Somerset. It’s not rocket science but the “antis” in the majority couldn’t rework the math on one issue one vote for the good of all their constituents.

When Somerset taxpayers requested public documents under Freedom of Information law what they received was chock full of improper redactions. The redactions could have been challenged in court, but at the time residents did not know their rights. The same thing happened to us and other landowners in Shelby.  It’s an abuse of power when our tax dollars pay for elected officials to work hand in glove with lawyers to conceal information that should be made available to the public.

One of those attorneys also represents a special interest group in Barre opposing another renewable energy project. The attorney reps Clear Skies Above Barre, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation that receives intervener funding from the state for the Article 10 process.

Clear Skies’ president is also running for Barre’s Town council on the “Citizens for Change” line. The “Citizens for Change” ticket includes three anti-wind candidates that Clear Skies publicly supports. All three candidates are pictured together online and in ads, including a large outdoor billboard which leases for thousands. For a non-profit group that gets funds from the state, Clear Skies Above Barre is actively electioneering.

This is no small thing. Special interest groups and some of the same legal consultants worked to get “anti” candidates elected in Orleans County before. A multi-year review showed registration patterns equivalent to rigging.

I’m not supporting people running for office just to oppose a project and over-regulate me, my neighbors and other landowners. Candidates should have a platform more substantial than angrily opposing something. They should have progressive ideas and show regard for our tax dollars and not deliberately disregard potential tax relief for every property owner. Orleans County is losing population. There’s little hope for revitalization with a huge digital divide and deluge of regulations sure to deter future investment.

Whether or not you support or oppose renewable energy, mining, telecom, or the other banned and heavily regulated uses around here, everyone should support a person’s right to use and enjoy their property. Something will eventually have to be located on somebody’s land, maybe near your house, or right in your view in order for our towns to survive.

Those of us fighting for our property rights in one way or another should stand together on this. My family, neighbors and I will continue the fight in the courts and at the ballot box to regain our property rights, constitutional rights and the modern conveniences we have been deprived of.  And we’ll show up every Election Day to support uncompromised candidates with open minds who run a fair and honest race and will work to advance us all.  I hope you will too.

Edward Zelazny

Zelazny Family Enterprises

Shelby

Yates town supervisor wants to keep building on successes, remains opposed to turbine project

Posted 2 November 2019 at 8:36 am

Editor:

I encourage all readers to exercise one of the most powerful rights we have as Americans and get out and vote on November 5th.

I was truly surprised how much each vote matters when I was elected on a write-in campaign four years ago with a thin margin.

Since that election, and another one two years ago, I have tried to serve all residents in the Town of Yates – whether they voted for me or not. I have also tried, alongside my colleagues on the town board (those who agree with me and those who don’t) to chart a course for the future that is inclusive and takes into account all of the blessings we have in Yates: prime agricultural land, a beautiful lakeshore, quiet rural neighborhoods and world-renowned migratory bird pathways and habitats (just to name a few).

Unfortunately, I must report that we have yet to convince Apex Clean Energy to leave town.  The overwhelming majority of Yates residents are against this ill-conceived industrial wind turbine proposal, and yet Apex continues to divide us with their presence. In fact, we are consistently treated as second-class citizens. I co-wrote a letter with Somerset Town Supervisor Dan Engert to Apex CEO Mark Goodwin dated July 24, 2019, asking him to cancel the Lighthouse Wind project. No reply as of the 1st of November. This is indefensible hubris.  Citizens of Barre beware.

Meanwhile, these past few years have been exciting! We expanded the water district, updated the Employee Handbook, revised the Western Orleans Comprehensive Plan and updated our union contract and several town policies.5

We are also in the process of stabilizing the town park from lakeshore flooding. We are grateful recipients of $2.5 million from the state to enhance the town park. We formed a task force comprised of Yates citizens from all walks of life to help us design our new park in a way that best serves the needs of the public.

I ask for your vote, and please vote for John Riggi and Susan Hrovat for Yates Town Councilpersons.

Very respectfully,

Jim Simon

Yates