County legislator criticizes timing of winter storm funding and federal fund allocation as proposed by governor
By Lawrence J. Kaznica
Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey did not pull any punches during a fiery, three-minute comment period reporting to the Wheatfield Town Board at the first regular meeting in March.
Citing the original exclusion of FEMA funding for the December storm that devastated Buffalo, but also greatly affected the north towns, sorely needed funding was finally received by Niagara County just a week before the March 6 board meeting.
His recent visit to Albany left the legislator miffed over the governor’s plans for federal funding, along with the heavy burden of Medicaid.
“The governor has taken a lot of the money we are supposed to get,” Godfrey said. “The governor has $625 million to distribute to various counties based on population. She is sweeping that into her own coffers. That means in Niagara County (it accounts for) a $6 million shortfall in the Niagara County budget. That is just about a 10% tax increase. The four-year plan she has proposed equates to a 27% tax increase. This is absolute insanity what she is doing in Albany.”
He added 57 of the 62 counties throughout New York state have pushed back against the governor’s proposed budgetary plans.
“The feds gave you the money; that’s not your money. What I heard this past week (from the governor) made me want to vomit,” Godfrey said. “ She is saying we need housing in New York City. What do we need housing for? For illegal aliens?” Godfrey added she is doing this to add to her potential voter base.
“Just an FYI: We are fighting this with all the other counties across New York state,” he said, reminding the board the state budget is not that far away.
There was limited Town Board comment, as Supervisor Don MacSwan said the town is behind the legislator’s comments and would be willing to support his efforts in writing to Albany.