Category Archives: Valley Viewpoints

Valley Viewpoints

Offers thanks

My name is Peter Holmes, and as of Jan. 1,  I am once again a fire commissioner for First Fire District in Granby.

I need to thank the voters of the First Fire District. The turnout and support that I received from you is humbling and I assure you not taken lightly.

The responsibility of a fire commissioner is to be a steward of your tax dollars and weigh the wants of the Fire District against the needs of the Fire District.

I have ideas of how to keep the tax levy manageable and how to plan for the future. I wish to share these ideas with you (the public) at our public meetings, the second Wednesday of every month at the Granby fire house at 7 p.m.

Again, thank you. And don’t hesitate to ask questions of your government!

Peter Holmes

Granby

Second Amendment teaching

Who knows better what the  Second Amendment means than the Founding Fathers?

One of our Founding Fathers said, and I quote: “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes….laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants;  they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’

— Thomas Jefferson  (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria )

Do any of the school children know any other quotes from  the Second Amendment from our Founding Fathers?

Myron Pringle

Oswego

Valley Viewpoints

Taxes, raises up, services down 

Yes, taxes in the City of Fulton are now at a record breaking high of $19.66 per $1,000.

This should insure that we maintain our standing as one of, if not the number one most taxed city in New York state.

For those of you that are thinking “What would you have done different, Frank,” you missed my suggestions by not being at the meeting. They all included ways to save money and jobs without raising taxes.

They were also in the latest edition of the Oswego Valley News.

Yes you did read the heading correct: Raises are up. Not just negotiated raises but, also raises for department heads.

The union raises can’t be stopped, but in a time when the city is hurting and you are raising taxes, why in God’s good name would you raise salaries of your department heads?

That is on the same level as Wall Street giving out bonuses to CEOs with taxpayer bailout money.

Now about the services being down.

When asked how raises could be given out and we can’t afford to fix an electrical box to a pump station over in the third ward, the mayor acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about.

In fact, he had had meetings with the individual that brought it to their (mayor and Pete Franco) attention.

He also said “fixing it wouldn’t affect the general budget.” I said it was the fact that you are giving out raises but not fixing items that are broken.

Also the fact that bus service will be reduced, which hurts many of the users of the bus line.

Then there is the elimination of the storm sewer department and the elimination of a position at city hall.

Now the big one is the slow dissolving of the Fulton city library. (More funding) will more than likely be put on the school budget vote.

The elimination of the animal control officer was a big hit with some in attendance, but this is another service that will be farmed out (to Volney). How long will the wait time be when you have a skunk (4-legged ,not 2-legged) under your porch?

Blood pressures got a little high on the council Tuesday. The council president (Norman Foster) got a little upset when the first ward councilor voted “NO” on the budget.

This was a fine example of how city government really works. It’s either my way or the highway type of government.

Now in the meeting the first and third  ward councilors asked if there was any way the library could get their funding back.

Now I didn’t agree with the first ward councilor all the time, but I do feel that if he or any other person wants to vote “NO” on anything the council puts to a vote is something that many men lost their lives to insure.

I sure hope (but I feel it is) that this type of bullying isn’t what goes on behind closed doors in the executive sessions. The last time I checked you didn’t have to give a reason for voting the way you vote.

Councilor Foster did apologize for his verbal assault and he gave an explanation, but the damage was done and the true colors were already shown.

Frank Castiglia

Fulton

 

YAP thanks community

On behalf of the Youth Advocate Program of Oswego County, we would like to thank you for your partnership over the last 15+ years.

Thanks to your efforts and support, we made a difference in helping thousands of individuals and family members who needed it most.

Over the last two months, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement we have received from so many in all areas of the county.

Your belief and trust in what the Youth Advocate Program has provided families is humbling.

As we prepare to close our doors, we remain thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of this community, working with individuals and other services to be a catalyst for change in the lives of families experiencing difficult times.

 

Casey Lane

Regional Director

Stacie Roberts

Director, Oswego County

Heather Crofoot

Assistant Director, Oswego County

 

Resident loves restaurant

Hannibal has already been blessed this year with the opening of the new Hannibal Village Tavern.

In the past it was the Hannibal Hotel and was owned by Harold and Lucila O’Connor for many years. There were many events held there every year and dinners were served nightly.

It will always be a special place for me as my wedding reception was held there 53 years ago. After Harold’s passing, the hotel was sold again. It remained a restaurant for several more years.

Then it became a bar only.

This summer, Mike Kapuscinski bought the hotel. After much money, time, labor and frustration he put it back together again and wow, we now again have a place that Hannibal can be proud of.

I have dined there several times and enjoyed it. I spent New Year’s Eve there.

So do yourself a favor take your family and friends out to the new Hannibal Village Tavern.

Tell Mike I sent you.

Sandra Blanchard

Hannibal

Valley Viewpoints

Discrepancies in Leotta documents

Recently, City of Oswego officials acknowledged the economic impact the city’s $87 million consent decree has placed on Oswego residents.

This decree stemmed from a federal and state court action, against the city, for dumping sewage into the Oswego River.

Non-compliance, with the provisions of the decree, could result in further court actions and penalties. The City Engineer is responsible for the correct implementation of this work.

With the possibility of a further increased tax burden on the residents, you would expect that a competent person of good moral character would oversee this project.

Consider this: on May 6, 1969, an Application for Examination or Employment (AFEOE), for City Engineer, was filed with the City of Oswego Civil Service Commission by Anthony A. Leotta. On the application he indicated that he was licensed as a professional engineer in New York state.

However, a state Education Department document indicated he was not licensed, in New York, until 3/20/75.

On Nov. 13, 1971, a survey map, for a parcel of land in the city of Oswego, was signed: Anthony A. Leotta, P.E. Oswego City Engineer. A complaint was filed with the state Education Department Aug. 31, 1974, concerning Leotta holding out to be a professional engineer when he was not licensed, in New York, at that time.

The rules of the Board of Regents required that “All complaints, notwithstanding their origin or the department, person or office which receives them, are to be forwarded immediately to the Executive Secretary of Professional Conduct” (Section 17.2).

This was done Sept. 16, 1974.

“In the month of December 1974 there was an investigation conducted here by the Division of Professional Conduct…”  The only discernible result was Leotta finally obtained a license in this state.

Subsequently, the state Education Department realized Leotta stated on his AFEOE he was a licensed PE in New York state. He was not.

Another investigation was launched. As part of this process the city furnished the state Education Department with a copy of Leotta’s AFEOE — this document did not indicate that he was licensed in the state of New York.

The city of Oswego had presented two different Leotta AFEOE’s, on various occasions, claiming both were correct city documents. Incredulously, the spurious application, sent to the state Education Department, was on a form that was printed in 1972 — Leotta was hired by the city in 1969.

According to a mayor’s office document dated Oct. 31, 1975: “…the investigator ruled that since the original application was returned to the Civil Service File, that there would be no warrant to prosecute regarding Mr. Leotta.”

George M. Clark

Oswego

 

Legislator thanks Meals on Wheels drivers

I just wanted to take a moment to shout out a special thank-you to the drivers involved with the Meals on Wheels program.

The recent stretch of snow that added several inches to several feet in some places is always a hardship thrown into the mix of delivery of food to the senior citizens in need of such a service.

The impassable areas, driveways and walks that have not been cleared due to health, age or disability issues become that much more of a task in this wonderful program.

Kudos to the those that show up in the accumulating snow and load up their vehicles and take off in order to make sure others are taken care of.

Thank you so very much for every inch that you tread, in order to feed others.

May you have a GREAT holiday!!!!

James Karasek

Oswego County 

Legislator

 

Recipe for change

It’s that time of year.

Yes, this time of year everyone is exchanging recipes. I have one that everyone (well, those that care)in Fulton will want.

A Recipe to save a City:

1. Everyone who receives a pay check from the city shall live inside the city limits. (Right now we have firemen that make over $100,000 a year and they don’t live in the city.) No grandfather clause, one year to comply.

2. Require the fire department to work three 8-hour shifts shifts (will require four crews of eight per shift — minimum manning of five per shift). Save on OT and comp time.

3. Require two police officers per car (saving on cars and gas)

4. Require DPW to work three shifts (with garbage collection at night). This will save OT.

5. Require two men per truck on the garbage collection — this will save the jobs for this department.

6. Put the city on a four-day work week — eight hours per day. A 32-hour work week. (For all but fire and police)

7. All but department heads should be part-time seasonal (this is new hires only)

8. Increase rental permit to $600 for three years. ($200-for 2nd unit, $100-for 3rd unit, $50-for 4th, max at 4). This will bring in an added revenue of around ¾ million dollars every three years. (Add inspectors every three years on a seasonal part-time basis)

9. Put some bite into the bark of code enforcement. (Make code violators pay a processing fee, not a fine — if not paid, add to water bill)

10. Put the highway department on three shifts also. (Hire part-time seasonal workers for snow plowing and removal) — save money on OT

11. Make all city workers (DPW-Highway-Water) same job class and pay rate — this will save money and jobs.

12. Require, I repeat, require the state pick up their fair share of retirement cost. This increased after 9/11 but that was 12 years ago

13. Request a three-year waiver of tipping fees for all garbage sent to county landfills by city of Fulton DPW trucks.(This will save the city money and therefore be able to save the DPW workers-jobs)

Now I know that in most recipes you can leave out some of the ingredients and the outcome may be almost the same. In this recipe the only things that must stay in are items #1, 2, 3, 4, 6,8,12 and 13.

I would try this recipe before I accepted any money from the State. If you add state money into the recipe you then would wind up with S.O.S.

Frank Castiglia

Fulton 

 

New Granby councilor thanks voters

My name is Eric Clothier, your new town councilman of Granby.

I would like to thank those of you who voted for me. Together we can all make a difference. I will do my best to make changes for the people, keep taxes where they should be and maintain the roads as they should be maintained.

Getting elected is only the first step. We need your help to push forward and strive for what is best for Granby. You can do this by attending the meetings and making your voices heard. Please help me in making Granby a better place to live.

Thank you.

Eric Clothier

Granby

 

Thanks for festive music

Once again, we and many members of the Fulton community enjoyed the annual Fulton Community Band Christmas Concert in the G.R. Bodley auditorium.

The music provided by the Fulton Community Band was highly entertaining and enjoyable. At some point during the concert, Fulton’s little drummer boy, Jim Myers, presented director Carol Fox with a gift from band members.

He also took the opportunity to mention how overworked he was using a variety of different instruments in playing one particular song. Carol’s response was, there was a reason why percussionists are located at the back row of the band.

During the evening’s performance a special musical arrangement was dedicated to Jack Walsh and Muriel Allerton who passed this year.

The Roamin’ Catholic Choir, led my Delores Walrath, helped put us in the Christmas mood with a number of Christmas carols. And, finishing out the evening’s concert were Mary Hamer running up and down the aisles with the Hamer sing-a-long group trying to keep up.

President of the Fulton Music Association, Steve Chirello, did his usual great job in welcoming all to the concert. Thank you to Tom Nami and Rob Lescarbeau for their technical assistance.

Bob & Sandy Weston

Fulton

Valley Viewpoints

Who is fooling whom?

Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me. We all have heard this saying many times. Well the Oswego County Legislature has fooled the general public for two years now with the county budget.

In November at the full Legislation meeting the Legislators voted to save the tax payers over $200,000 dollars by cutting the YAP program out of the 2014 budget. Then in the same meeting they voted to buy the sheriffs’ department 12 new patrol cars at a cost of over $200,000 dollars. The money for the cars came out of one of the rainy day funds.

Now I’m not saying the cars weren’t needed, but they should have been in the 2013 budget because they knew the cars were going to be needed in 2013. (Fool me once) The sheriff’s department generates over $400,000 in revenues every yr. why didn’t they put 10 percent aside each year for the past five years so they wouldn’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul. In the 2013 budget I heard that there was money taken out of at least one of the rainy day funds in order to balance that budget (if you’re taking money out of your savings account to balance a budget you’re not really balancing the budget). At some point in time common sense should kick in.

The 2014 county budget was passed on Dec. 12. This was a budget that again had monies coming out of at least one rainy day account. Please don’t take money out of the savings account each year to make ends meet and tell me we are doing fine.(Fool me twice) The County Administrator should have either put in a tax rate increase or cut the budget enough so we wouldn’t have to take monies out of any rainy day accounts. Now the county Legislature doesn’t want to increase the taxes because they want everyone to think that everything is just fine. We are all big boys and girls and we can handle the truth. The fact is you (Legislators) may not like the outcome. Has common sense started to kick in yet?

Sometime in 2014 the decision on the reassessment of the nuclear plants will come to be fact. When it does we will have to pay back all the monies we have collected that we shouldn’t have. That money will come out of a rainy day account. This is what rainy day accounts are for. Common sense used.

Now the problem with taking money out of rainy day accounts now so there wouldn’t be any tax rate increase may not be felt for a while, but when it does come to be fact the legislature in office at that time will look like they didn’t do their jobs when in fact it was the past legislators that caused the problem. Wake up Oswego county tax payers

The taxpayers of the Cities of Fulton and Oswego know now just what will happen when you rob Peter to pay Paul for far too long. Get ready Oswego County your day will come if common sense doesn’t kick in real soon.

Legislators: 1. Start looking at the 2015 budget now. 2. Start putting 10 percent away now out of the sheriffs’ department revenue for new patrol cars in five yeras.  3. Start using the rainy day accounts for rainy days not for items that should have been in the budget to start with. 4. (Here is the big one) Start using common sense. 5.Fool me no more, please.

Frank Castiglia Jr.(County Legislator Elect)

Fulton

Valley Viewpoints

I remember when I was a child, and how the Christmas specials on television clearly reflected the true meaning of the holiday.

Linus even quoted scripture in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” There was no mistaking why we were celebrating this day; it was in remembrance of the arrival of Jesus Christ on earth.

The idea of taking Jesus Christ out of Christmas is as ridiculous as not letting you attend your own birthday party. That is, after all what Christmas is truly about; the celebration of the birth of Christ.

Isaiah 9:6 — “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Here in America, for many this Holy Day has become about fairy tales, consumerism and greed. The focus has shifted from the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas, to anything but why we celebrate Christmas.

People want to say X-mas and holiday trees instead of Merry Christmas and Christmas trees. Employees at many stores are told to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. It is not only missing the point of why we celebrate this day, but it is deeply offensive to me personally.

This is after all a Christian Holy Day. I would say to those who have done all but hijack our Holy Day, why are you even concerning yourself with a Christian Holy Day if you in fact are not a Christian?

That is just as ridiculous as me wanting to celebrate another religion’s Holy Day, but refusing to let them use the name that they use or even let them celebrate the true meaning of the day. I would be in fact, not even truly be celebrating their Holy Day at all, but instead would be attempting to overshadow, disrespect, and overthrow their celebration.

The absurdity of this concept is the reality in which we live and it is only getting worse. When did Christmas stop being Christmas?

Joel Stanitis

Fulton

Valley Viewpoints

As volunteers for the Oswego County Humane Society, we would like to thank all who made our recent pie sale a great success.

We appreciate the Fulton Tractor Supply store for allowing us to hold our fundraiser at their location. The management and staff have always been welcoming and very supportive of our efforts.

Of course, we thank the bakers. They give so generously of their time and talent to provide us with the baked goods. One hundred percent of the profits are used to support the activities and programs of the Oswego County Humane Society.

George and Carol Darling

Volunteers for Oswego County
Humane Society

Hannibal

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I would like to put forth my endorsement for the re-election of Peter Holmes to the position of fire commissioner in the First Fire District Town of Granby.

Peter has been a fire commissioner in the town of Granby for the last five years, and I have had the pleasure to serve with him as commissioner for the last three years.

Peter’s experience as a volunteer fireman, small business owner and his conservative upbringing, combined, give him a unique view as commissioner. He always looks for what will keep the firefighters safe, and be fiscally responsible for the district at the same time.

He can often be heard at meetings reminding the four other commissioners that we are elected to look out for the best interest of the taxpayers. Peter is a man of strong values such as integrity, honor, duty, respect, personal courage, and selfless service.

Peter believes the fire department should consist of members of the community, who are there to serve the community.

Using this idea of community, Pete is able to think outside of the box and help lead the community to better things.

For example, Peter was able to attain road millings from the state to fix the parking lot behind the firehouse. He was able to accomplish this through an inter-municipal agreement signed between the Town of Granby highway department and the Fire District.

These millings were then transported by the Town of Granby dump trucks to the fire house. Using equipment donated by three local businesses, Peter and a few other fire department members were able accomplish all of the site work.

This community action was able to save the taxpayers a great deal of money.

Also as part of the agreement, the fire department then washed out the salt building behind the town hall, saving the town from having to pay an outside company to come in with high pressure water hoses.

This is just one of many examples of how Peter’s strong values and ability to think outside of the box has greatly helped the town.

I would encourage everyone In the First Fire District Town of Granby to vote  from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10 to help re- elect Peter Holmes for commissioner.

 

Timothy Carley

Fire commissioner,

First District Town of Granby.

 

Letters to the editor

Man mourns Caravan

Allow me to express my condolences to the family of Vince Caravan.

He deserves much credit for being a good newspaper man. He always gave the opposition a chance to have their say, even thought i might have been in direct opposition to his point of view.

I can say that with experience, because I am on the opposite end of the political spectrum from him and wrote my opinion to him more than once. He didn’t have to print any of my views, but he did. Why? Because he was a good publisher, loved his job and took it seriously.

I have also written to him when I was in agreement with what he said in his column “Vince the Caravan.” Even though I now live in Florida, I grew up in Oswego, have always read The Oswego Valley News and still get The Valley News by mail.

Ralph Riker

Silver Springs, Fla.

Castiglia questions county budget 

It’s that time of the year:

It’s not just the holiday season but it’s also budget season.

Holiday season is fun and budget season Isn’t.

I have been looking over the first draft of the budget for Oswego County. I will not have a vote on this budget but I and all of you will have to live with it for the next year.

What I find surprising is the fact that in a budget of $196 million, that there is $30 million listed as “Fringe Benefits.”

Now your initial response might be “Oh My God” but you have to look and see what they call “Fringe Benefits.”

They are: retirement and Social Security.  These are basically untouchable and therefore we somewhat have to live with them.

What we shouldn’t have to live with is the fact that the county Legislature receives almost $88,000 in “Fringe Benefits” when it is a job that is part-time and is a job that they all chose.

In the $88,000 is almost $20,000 for reimbursement for mileage and other travel reimbursements. I’m sure that the part-time workers at McDonalds and Rite-Aid don’t get paid mileage to go to work.

Why should an elected official take taxpayer money to pay for them to attend meetings? It’s just not right.

Somewhere in the budget is reimbursement money for attending seminars. Why? Also in the budget is $57,870 for books and periodicals and $34,935 for memberships and dues. That is a total of $92,000 of what I would call real “Fringe Benefits.”

Now this over $90,000 is for all the county departments. Either way why should a taxpayer that can’t afford to have more than basic cable have to pay for these “Fringe Benefits.”  It’s just not right.

Also in the budget is $100,000 in a contingent account for the Legislature. You and I both would ask — Why?

Oh did I fail to mention that there is almost $10,000 worth of raises for the county Legislators. I don’t feel any elected official has the right to vote themselves a raise. Do you?

All this money isn’t coming from some corporate giant — it’s coming from TAXPAYERS.

The reason I bring all these items up is the fact that almost always the county legislators are asked to look over the budget and make suggestions as to where there might be a way to cut the budget and save the taxpayers some money.

Now I know that so far this budget as it stands goes up only some 1 percent and there doesn’t seem to be any increase in the tax levy.

What you may not see though is the fact that this year they are going to take some $5.5 million out of tax stabilization fund in order to balance the budget (according to the paper).

I don’t know if they did this last year or the year before but what I do know is that doing this kind of thing is what put the city of Fulton into the shape they are in now.

I am going to suggest that although the county administrator has done a “good job,” we can no longer be satisfied with “good” we need “great” and the way to start is by cutting the entire budget by 5 percent saving over $9 million.

That way he wouldn’t have to take the $5.5 million from the tax stabilization reserve fund.

I know the first words are “You don’t understand it’s not that easy.” I say nothing worth having is ever easy. Also they may say “What should we cut?” I would say the same thing my boss at the business school only had to say to me once.

“Frank, if I have to tell you where to cut and what to do I don’t need you.”

With that, you must keep in mind the fact that these cuts must, I repeat must be made without cutting staff or services and you can’t outsource.

Frank Castiglia Jr.

County Legislator Elect, 25th District

 Fulton 

Editor’s note: The legislature’s Government Committee removed legislator raises from the proposed county budget Oct. 28. The Finance and Personnel Committee confirmed the tentative budget without raises Nov. 6. 

Letters to the editor

Dunsmoor looks forward to term

I would like to give a big thank you to the people that took the time to case their vote for me for my second term as town of Volney Highway Superintendent.

My first term was a great experience and there is much more to learn. when you have a team of highway workers that Volney has, the next two years should be ever better.

Roger Dunsmoor,

Volney highway superintendent

 

Myers thanks voters

I would like to thank everyone who voted in the recent 4th Ward election for councilor.

I appreciate you putting your faith in my hands for the next two years. I look forward to working with the mayor and rest of the Common Council and will do the best job I can.

I would also like to thank my Democrat opponent Mr. Ralph Stacy. He ran a clean campaign and was a gentleman both during and after the election. He congratulated me on my win and pledged his help if I needed it.

Ralph did have some ideas I agreed with and hope to include them with my own. I hope he stays involved in helping to move the city forward.

I wish I could say the same thing about the third-party opponent. He resorted to low-level tactics instead of sticking to the issues. I put my confidence in the voters to see through that kind of negative campaigning. The people of this city don’t go for those kind of shenanigans.

Lastly I would like to point out once again, as I did after the Primary Election, how important it is for everybody to exercise their right to vote. Two of the primary races were decided by a single vote and this general election was decided by just two votes between Mr. Stacy and me. Nobody should think that their vote doesn’t matter because it does.

Once again, thank you to all who voted and especially those who supported me, I truly appreciate it.

Jim Myers

Councilor-Elect 4th Ward

 

Lyons thanks Granby voters

Heartfelt thanks to my supporters in the Town of Granby.

It makes me humble to think that so many people came out on Election Day and voted for me. Thank you so much.

Lynn Lyons

Granby