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Posted on February 1, 2016 at 9:40 AM by PattiAnn Schultz
As I discussed in my column last week, the town is investigating taking out a bond to do improvements to our older buildings such as the Town Hall and the Justice Court Building. There is a 21 minute video of the project that can be seen on the town’s web site at www.ci.webster.ny.us so you can become familiar with the project.
Some residents have contacted me already to ask questions on what the Town Board was doing within each of the segments of the project. It is always good to be informed and the Town Board wants nothing less than having the residents understand where their taxpayer dollars are going.
What concerns me is the negative responses through various social media without anyone asking questions about the project. It bothers me that so many people would rather guess on what is being done instead of picking up the phone and asking a question or showing up at a Town Board meeting and getting actual information.
Here is a novel idea … Instead of saying we are wasting taxpayer dollars on not needing new trucks and repairs to buildings, how about calling Town Hall or one of the Town Board members for a tour of our town facilities to actually see what needs to be repaired? Become informed before you speak.
To make a statement that tar will fix the roof problem at the Justice Court Building when we have 12,000 square feet of roof in desperate need of fixing after 22 years of use, is just a knee jerk reaction and it is not an informed statement and just shows lack of knowledge of the project.
Another response to my column last week was the need purchase a new plow truck for $220,000 to every year. Let me try to enlighten the Webster residents as to why this is done each year. The Town of Webster has 18 plow routes throughout the town that plow the snow so you can get to work and the school buses can safely deliver your kids every day. If the plows do not get through, the buses do not get through and you are home from work, losing a days pay, because you have to stay home with your children.
We need 18 trucks to cover these routes with one spare truck in case of repairs. We keep each truck 18 years with 150,000 miles on it and thousands of hours of idle engine time. So each year we replace the oldest truck with 18 years on it and purchase a new one. If we skipped a year then we would have a 19 year old truck and an 18 year old truck at the same time needing replacement and the cost would then soar to $440,000 for the year. The Town Board is doing the sensible thing here in spreading out our cost of replacement trucks and not falling in to the trap of not having enough good equipment to service the residents of Webster the way they should be.
For all the residents who say their taxes are too high here, you have to understand where your tax dollars are going. The Town of Webster is your lowest taxing entity out of the County, School and Town; 63% of your tax dollars go to fund the Webster Central School District, 25% goes to the County of Monroe for their services, and the remaining 12% goes to the Town of Webster.
Out of that 12%, or $4.95 per thousand of assessment that you pay for town taxes, $2.00 per thousand goes to pay for our outstanding Police Department. This then leaves the Town Board $2.95 per thousand to operate the other 13 departments of the town; the Highway Department, Parks and Recreation, Information Technology, Human Resources, the Building Department, the Assessing Department, Town Clerk, Tax Receiver, Justice Court, Finance Department, Library, Cable, and the Sewer Department. Now take that $2.95 against the average house in Webster assessed at $170,000, and you are paying $501.50 for these services to all these departments here in the Town of Webster.
The highway garage needs roof and new insulation after standing there for 47 years against the elements and the rock salt that is ever present there which eats away at the building. The Justice Court building needs a new roof that just adding tar will not solve the problem. The court building also needs new HVAC and heating units replaced, and the bathrooms need to be brought up to ADA standards since the building was built in 1974 and those standards were not in place at that time.
The Webster Town Hall building needs repairs to the front doors and the 120 windows in the building that are costing money in energy loss. The bathrooms need upgrading as there is only one restroom for men and one for women to take care of all the guests and employees. The Police Department needs upgrading in the booking and technician rooms, along with the fixing of a plumbing problem in the men’s locker room.
I ask Webster residents to become informed about the bond project before throwing criticism at the project without having any knowledge of how your taxpayer dollars are being spent in support of you, the Webster resident.
If you have any questions, ideas or suggestions, contact any Town Board member, or come to a Town Board meeting. The next Town Board meeting is Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Board room.
As always, if you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at email@example.com
Ronald W. Nesbitt