George Bernard Shaw once said, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
With the recent recession it seems that no one is exempt from paying higher prices and many are dealing with possible income shortfalls, including the Town of Busti.
Some folks have taken to working a second or third job to make ends meet. Some corporations have resorted to laying workers off to maintain their profit margins for share holders and some towns have cut services instead of raising taxes or simply declared bankruptcy.
The Town of Busti's leadership faces a tough road ahead. How do they best meet the town's needs to progress through these days of compliance without an added burden to town folk in the form of higher taxes? Is the town fully aware of the ramifications for non-compliance buildings and how that will impact the tax roll?
Nancy Bargar spoke out about the wealth of the Packard family, monetarily and historically, as they donated land in 1915 because they had the ways and means to do so.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "The test of our progress in not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little."
Jesse Robbins, Busti town supervisor, knows just how passionate his constituents are about their history and how the stress on the public coffers could adversely affect those who have little.
As for myself, being a Canadian Resident Alien, I have taxation without representation. That is my choice. As a contributing member of the community I do have a different prospective as I come from a different culture with different values and differing points of view. Also, I am currently employed by the Jamestown Area Community Federal Credit Union and know what a financial institution can bring to help support downtown Lakewood businesses.
First and foremost, we bring stability and taxes for the town. Jackson Smith's concerns about taking a building off the tax rolls would be satisfied as the town would be removing one building but adding two additional buildings and the possibility of renting out the Courthouse not to mention a current tenant in the building they wish to occupy.
As for the local businesses, the Credit Union can meet their financial needs directly and immediately reduce their cost of doing business. For example, with the increase of gas by 14 cents a gallon this past week alone, a downtown business would only have to walk to the credit union instead of driving to the bank to make deposits. It's a 5-mile drive from downtown Lakewood to the nearest Jamestown Savings Bank - one way. In a year a business could save almost $500 in gas, not to mention decreased productivity in driving 30 minutes there and back.
Access to better banking products helps keep shop owners' minds at ease knowing that the fees for businesses' accounts keep increasing while the Credit Union offers no such fees.
Without the Town of Busti on the move, the compliance issues the town faces must still be addressed. The changes to the courthouse will be costly and that means higher taxes or cuts in services. Increased taxes in today's economy will bring about the loss of more businesses and decreased taxes for the town.
The past must be a stepping stone to providing enough for those who have little. Together we can build a brighter future for ourselves and our children in the Town of Busti.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem."
Jesse Robbins said, "The current opportunity affords us the chance to solve several problems...with no impact on our tax rates."
Christopher Hughesman is a Busti resident.