Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday urging him to nominate a Niagara County resident to succeed John Dyson on the New York Power Authority board of trustees, citing the critical role Niagara County plays in power production in New York state. Dyson's resignation is slated for Aug. 5 of this year.
"Niagara County needs representation on the Power Authority board of trustees," Ceretto said. "We do not benefit enough from hosting the Niagara Power Project. In the past year alone, we have seen a rate increase of $480 million on our 'preferred power customers' - this after NYPA had $544 million to give to the state general fund. We have seen our skilled local workers on the sidelines, while out-of-state workers are hired for public projects. Now more than ever, Niagara County needs a vote on the New York Power Authority board of trustees."
Ceretto has been an outspoken advocate for local representation on the NYPA board since his time in the Niagara County Legislature. He has continued to lead the fight since becoming the region's assemblyman. His letter to Cuomo recognized and supported the appointment of John Koelmel as chairman of the board of trustees, but advocated for Niagara County representation.
"Assemblyman Ceretto's continued efforts to bring Niagara County representation to the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees are commendable," said Richard Palladino, business manager for Laborers Local 91. "We need to put people back to work, and local representation would go a long way toward ensuring my workers and other local workers are getting the opportunities they need. Laborers Local 91 backs Assemblyman Ceretto's efforts 100 percent, and I encourage all Niagara County workers and residents to join us."
In addition to Laborers Local 91, the following all expressed support for Ceretto's campaign for local representation on the Power Authority: Jim Briggs, president of Niagara-Orleans Labor Council; Jason Cafarella, president of Uniformed Fire Fighters Local 714; Russell Quarantello, business manager IBEW Local 237; and Shirley Hamilton, president of the Niagara Falls Chapter of the NAACP.
"With new initiatives such as ReCharge NY, Power NY and the Power Proceeds Board, there are exciting opportunities for local business and job creation," Ceretto said. "However, Niagara County needs to be at the table when the board of trustees is making important decisions to realize the full potential of these new job creation measures. Given the expansive role Niagara County plays in the state's power production, we deserve representation. The strong support of local labor for this initiative is very important."
Last year, Ceretto and State Sen. George Maziarz promoted their "Empower Niagara" petition, urging Cuomo to appoint a Niagara County resident to the board of trustees. To date, more than 1,000 signatures have been collected and were delivered to the governor's office earlier this year. The petition effort earned the formal endorsements of the Niagara County Legislature, Niagara Falls City Council, North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker, the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce and numerous town and village boards in Niagara County.
Additionally, Ceretto was joined by former Niagara County Legislator Renae Kimble last year at the Power Authority public hearing on rate hikes, who gave testimony against raising rates on preferred power customers
Local labor, business or community groups wishing to express support for Niagara County representation on the NYPA board of trustees should contact the assemblyman's office at 716-282-6062 or[email protected].