By Thomas Digati
I am pleased to announce that I am seeking reelection to the Town Board. I am endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties and prevailed in the Republican primary election in June. While the town has faced its share of challenges during my term, those challenges have highlighted the importance of having a Town Board that is willing and able to navigate the issues facing our town. This made my decision to seek a second term much easier.
Both my wife, Ashley, and I, graduated from Grand Island High School in 2003. From there, I attended college at Canisius College and Buffalo State College before graduating from University at Buffalo School of Law. I am a litigation attorney and a partner with the firm Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP. After we were married, Ashley and I lived in the Town of Tonawanda. However, when we decided it was time to start a family, we knew that it was time to return to Grand Island. We both loved growing up in this community and knew that this is where we wanted to raise our family. At the time, it was a big commitment, especially for Ashley, who was working in Hamburg. We now have two sons, Angelo and Marco, and three dogs, and we love this community as much now as we did as children and young adults.
This background is provided in hopes that it helps you understand why I want to serve them for another four years: I am committed to this community and will continue to work diligently to preserve and enhance the things that our residents value about our town. Put simply, I have and will continue to make decisions that I feel are in the best interests of Grand Island.
Our town is unique: we have plentiful green space, wonderful schools, and affordable taxes. We have farms, solar farms, industrial complexes, and an amusement park. Best of all, we have residents that are proud to live here and are extremely involved in the community. Our residents are dedicated to the preservation of the lifestyle that brought them here and committed to making this town better.
If reelected, I will continue to focus on the preservation of the unique character of our Island by, among other things, working to revise our zoning codes to ensure they are consistent with our Comprehensive Plan. I will make decisions that are financially responsible, contemplating not only short-term impacts, but the long term, as well. I will remain steadfast in my commitment to serve our town in an open, transparent and accountable manner. I will continue to make myself available to our residents and explore ways that we improve the town’s communication with its residents.
Over the last four years, one thing that has really stood out to me about our town and how it operates is how reactive we typically are. As an issue comes up, changes are made to solve a singular problem, without concern about the long-term or more Island-wide impacts of these actions. During my term, I have attempted to be proactive in decision making, focusing not only on solving singular issues that arise, but making decisions that both address any issue at hand and contemplate the future impacts of our decisions.
This is, of course, highlighted by the Comprehensive Plan and zoning changes. During my term and before, the town has seen many projects that do not fit the “boxes” of existing zoning laws. Some of those projects, however, are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. As the Town Board contemplates some important changes to our zoning classifications, I have continuously stressed the need to consider both short-term and long-term impacts of any changes. We need to be proactive in addressing future projects and ensuring that any changes to our zoning codes conform to the Comprehensive Plan and the types of development that we would like to see in our community. This is only one of many examples of ways in which I continue to make sure the Town Board is proactive and contemplates the future of our community.
One highlight of my term has been the successful work with the developer of the pending Rivertown development. Through continuous engagement with the developer and the residents, the Town Board was able to make significant changes to the project that resolved issues with neighbors and the Town Board. The town also has an option to lease a portion of the premises with plans to relocate that deteriorating Golden Age Center, which is currently located at the Nike Base. This project fits the Comprehensive Plan perfectly with respect to the type and location of the development. However, the area needed to be rezoned to a Planned Development District (“PDD”), because the existing zoning codes are not entirely consistent with the master plan.
During my term, I helped lead the town to receiving the Climate Smart Community Designation from the state; helped negotiate collective bargaining agreements with all three of the town’s bargaining units that helped address wage compression issues while not burdening the taxpayers; have worked closely with the Parks and Recreation departments to improve the facilities and offerings here in our town; and have always been available to address the concern of residents. I believe that my experience during this time, together with my dedication to our community and my professional experience, make me the best choice for town councilman.
If reelected, I will continue to balance the necessary budgetary discretion while also continuing to identify ways that we can offer more to our residents and improve the quality of life here on Grand Island. I will always put the residents and best interests of Grand Island first, without concern to politics or other agendas.
In closing, I want to continue to work tirelessly to make sure that Grand Island remains an amazing place to live, work, and raise a family. So, I ask for your consideration when you cast your vote for Town Board during the upcoming election on Nov. 7, or during early voting between Oct. 28 and Nov. 5.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me: cell – 716-984-4521; email - [email protected]; Facebook – @Digati4GI.