LOCKPORT – Three new members were added Tuesday to Niagara County’s fact-finding committee on the New York Power Authority’s proposed wind turbine project.
Legislature Chairman William
L. Ross also removed Thomas Marks, a charter boat captain, from the committee because Marks lives in Derby in Erie County.
“I want an all-Niagara County committee,” said Ross, as he won confirmation of his new choices: Robert M. Cinelli of Newfane, a member of the Niagara County Fisheries Board; Kory Schuler, director of governmental affairs for the Niagara USA Chamber; and Paul Cannon of Youngstown, a member of the Youngstown Yacht Club.
Ross also will serve on the committee, along with five other legislators: Republicans Clyde L. Burmaster of Ransomville, David E. Godfrey of Wilson, Peter E. Smolinski of North Tonawanda and John Syracuse of Newfane, and Democrat Renae Kimble of Niagara Falls.
Dawn M. Timm, the county’s solid waste coordinator, also is on the committee, which holds its next meeting next Tuesday. Its job is to try to separate fact from fiction on the controversial wind power project, which has been criticized for possible damage to Niagara County tourism, fishing and boating interests.
“Nothing against Mr. Marks, but this is a Niagara County problem, not an Erie County problem,” said Ross, a Wheatfield Conservative.
Burmaster, the committee chairman, said the decision was Ross’.
“[Marks] can still contribute in the background if he wants to,” Burmaster said.
Marks said he was not surprised by Ross’ move and would be glad to contribute his views against the project.
“Wind power, the way it is being sold to us, is too expensive and will not deliver on its promises,” he said.
In another matter, the Legislature unanimously passed a resolution by Legislator John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston, calling on the State Legislature to vote on a bill that would require drug testing of all Medicaid and welfare applicants.
The bill, introduced by State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, has been stuck in committee.
“Food stamps, Supplemental Security Income and Temporary Assistance alone cost state taxpayers $975 million a month, and that doesn’t count administration,” said Ceretto, who is running for a seat in the Assembly.
Also, Medicaid is the largest item in all county budgets in New York; Niagara County will spend more than $40 million this year.
“That’s a lot of money our hardworking families are asked to give up for other people’s social welfare,” Ceretto said. “It’s not right to ask Niagara County taxpayers to subsidize junkies and their lifestyles.”
The Legislature also approved a 100-kilowatt, three-year allocation of Niagara Project hydropower, from a block the county controls, to Vishay Thin Film, a high-tech Wheatfield manufacturer that intends to expand its plant and create 20 new jobs.
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