The Erie County Water Authority goes on its merry, spending way

When you are a monopoly, does it matter what you do to take in revenues or spend money? Sure, there are budgets and audits and all that good stuff. But when you are a monopoly that is a government agency, why doesn’t anyone seem to mind what the agency is doing?

The Board of Commissioners of the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) recently approved their annual budget, with operating expenses totaling more than $60 million. They approved a $10 million increase in the capital budget, requiring new borrowing of $10 million. The rate for water will increase by 3.9 percent for 540,000 customers in 2016. In other news, Christmas decorations are popping up everywhere and the Sabres are not very good, but are no longer tanking. Continue reading

Back in the day: Part One

After my blog post about the results of the recent elections I got a comment from an old friend, Paul Fisk, who had left the Buffalo area some time ago to the effect that it made him feel old to not know any of the candidates but to have known many of their parents. This led to some mutual reminiscing about people we knew in local government and politics “back in the day,” which for us was the late ‘60’s and ‘70’s. As we had both held various appointive positions, we brought up a number of higher profile non-elected people we knew who had made a difference back then. Long story short, we decided to go visit one who we knew was still around: John B. “JB” Walsh, the attorney who lobbied Albany to get the City of Buffalo help during a period of extreme fiscal stress. Here are Paul’s comments about our visit with JB. Continue reading