CICERO — This week’s mailbag features a response to Russ Tarby’s criticism of Liverpool school taxes and a reaction to a recent Cicero Town Board meeting.
We get what we pay for
To the editor:
I am unsure why Russ Tarby felt a need to express displeasure with local school taxes (“Like ‘em or not, possums are good for the neighborhood,” May 16, 2021). After writing about possums and repaving Iroquois Lane, why did Mr. Tarby attack school taxes in the same issue that reported the passing of school budgets in both Liverpool and North Syracuse?
Apparently, the voters in both Liverpool and North Syracuse do not agree with Mr. Tarby, with both budgets being overwhelmingly accepted. As a matter of fact, all the school budgets in Onondaga County passed, as did the budgets in 99% of districts across New York State.
What Mr. Tarby fails to understand is that there is no direct monetary relationship between a decrease in the number of students and a cost savings to the district. If Liverpool loses, say, 130 students, that means on average there will be 10 students being lost per grade level. Simply losing 10 students at grade 9 (or any grade) will probably not justify the loss of even one teacher, or one custodian, or one bus driver, or one guidance counselor.
While taxes are high in New York State, the question that should be asked is, are people getting their money’s worth? Students graduating in NYS must pass at least five Regents examinations. These tests are rigorous. Many adults would be challenged with their level of difficulty. In 2018, 72% of NYS high school graduates went directly to college. There were only three other states with a higher percentage.
Like most other things in life, you get what you pay for. If we, as taxpayers, want to give our children the best possible education, then we must be willing to pay for it.
Cicero Town Board surprises
To the editor:
The past town board meeting held a few surprises. The first being that the meetings were suddenly opened to the public. This is great. Unfortunately, I already had plans to visit my daughter in Kansas now that we’re free to move about the country, so I couldn’t attend and my request to attend via Zoom was denied. I watched, though, as we have for over a year.
The next pleasant surprise came when the motion to approve a zoning change for the Horner Farmstead failed to gain a second. Thank you to the board members for following the will of the people by letting that sleeping dog lie. Although, I’d love to put a FOIL request in to see that SEQR report saying adding sewers, gutters, roads, etc. to the land would be good for it.
Speaking of FOIL requests, when the town supervisor refused to give a final accounting for the town highway garage last fall, I put in a FOIL request to see the records. To date, I have received nothing but monthly emails from our tax receiver saying they need more time. I mentioned earlier this month to a town official that I was ready to spend $305 to take the matter into court.
And that leads us to the third surprise. Don Snyder returns to town hall to announce he has lots of information about the bidding, funding, building of the town garage, but didn’t bring it with him. Has he been carrying around the town files for all these months I’ve been waiting?
What’s not a surprise is that they made immediate moves to pin all the misinformation on Mark Venesky, whose name was brought up for the first time in ages by a speaker just previous to Mr. Snyder.
Well, I’m thrilled that Ms. Walsh will now be able to fulfill her obligation and honor my FOIL request.