Murray supervisor says Town Board has been focused on fairness to community
It is that time of year again. We get inundated with yard signs, news advertisements, and glossy mailers, all in an attempt to sway voters one way or another.
This is our process. I support it, I even participate to a degree, I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but it is a necessary evil sometimes, especially when some of what is put out is false or misleading.
I am proud to have served as your Town of Murray Supervisor, and I look forward to continuing. Allow me to tell you what I am most proud of, and see if it is worth letting me continue.
The 2018 Town Budget held taxes flat, that is a zero percent increase. Tough act to follow, and the credit goes to outgoing Supervisor Morris for holding the line, and I was proud to be on the Town Board at the time to approve it.
Fast forward to the 2019 Budget; We raised the Town (Outside Village) taxes by 0.03 percent. That is three one hundredths of one percent, not three percent, or a third of a percent. So, for two years, that is all your taxes have gone up.
Even my opponent will not argue this fact. Instead, he makes a hollow argument about an increase in water rates. Let me take a moment to address this issue. A meter charge, not an administration charge, was added. Meters have always been supplied at no charge, but as they get older, they will need to be replaced at a cost of approximately $200 each.
We buy all of our water – whether from the Town of Gaines or Albion, Village of Holley, or from the Monroe County Water Authority. As the prices they charge us go up, we are forced to pass this increase on in the water rates.
Should we raise everyone’s taxes to pay for those increases or should we value the commodity accordingly, and cover the expense at the point of sale?
His plans would raise water rates only to those that are hooked up, while, as I’ve pointed out before, we all benefit from access to fresh water, be it for property value, or fire services. We qualified for competitive grants from the USDA, are audited regularly, and have over 97 percent water coverage in the Town of Murray. These price increases are only for those who use the water, and still, remain as low as possible to provide quality service.
Another issue has been the separation with our former Code Enforcement Officer. There was an analogy made by a citizen at a Town Board meeting about a school bully. If a bully demands that either you give him some of your lunch money or he will fight you and take all of it, you may have to compromise and only give him a portion. He never comes back to bother you again, and everyone in the schoolyard is happy.
My goal here in Murray is to create an environment where people feel they are served by their Town employees, not harassed by them. This decision was made to further that cause. Despite what you may have heard, it is the opinion of all those on the Town Board, including myself, that this was accomplished at a reasonable expense to the Town, considering the history of this individual, and seemed to be desired by many residents as well. Given the outcome, I do not regret our decision.
We have initiated outreach to the community in various ways, whether by a newsletter, or welcoming new residents to town. Town meetings are run in such a fashion that all who wish to speak are actively encouraged do so, and many do take part.
My only regret is that more citizens cannot attend the meetings on a regular basis. People are busy, and they trust us to do what is right. I will never abuse that trust. Nor will I ever do anything for my own personal gain, nor will I accept that from any employee. As always, I encourage residents who have concerns or questions about anything they have heard, to give me a call or stop at the Town Building. I am there often, and my door is always open!
Thank you for the time you have allowed me as your Supervisor. I humbly look forward to continuing to serve the residents of the Town of Murray in that capacity.
I said when I ran for Supervisor the first time, “I do not automatically expect your trust, but value the opportunity to earn it.” I hope that by my performance in office I have earned your trust. Thank you again for the opportunity.
Robert G. Miller
Supervisor, Town of Murray