The unchecked activities of the Erie County Water Authority

Here is a thumbnail history of the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA):  The organization was created by state legislation in the late 1940’s to provide water service to a growing suburban population in the county that was pushing out from the central city.  County government at that time was not much removed from horse-and-buggy days, so an authority was seen as the best vehicle for answering the needs of a sprawling community. Continue reading

Salaries and contracts — ECMC, ECWA and ECC

There was a time during the financial meltdown of Erie County government in 2005 when the Erie County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Erie County Fair tried to distance themselves a bit from the “Erie County” part of their names. It was understandable, since Erie County wasn’t a very positive brand name at the time.

We could be coming to a point where Erie County government might, by name association, become concerned about other entities that are affiliated in some fashion with the government, yet still remain essentially independent. I am referring to the Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC, or more commonly, ECMC), the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA), and Erie Community College (ECC). Continue reading

Trumpkins, Pigeonistas, the Erie County Water Authority — the gangs that can’t shoot straight

Boy, this has been a fun and interesting week for politicos. Mostly in the same way that you cannot quite stop yourself from looking as you pass a car wreck.

All things Trump

Where to begin? How about the first session of the Republican National Convention on Monday?

The dust-up about Melania Trump’s speech and the plagiarism issue has encouraged dozens of memes on the internet. I enjoyed how the networks worked the plagiarized quotes into a split screen – sort of like one of the albums where they merge the vocals of current and former singers into a nice duet. Continue reading

Western New York firms and organizations spent $5.5 million on lobbyists in 2015; here’s the list

This post marks a minor milestone for Politics and Other Stuff. I am presenting my second annual review of local lobbying activities in state and local government. The first edition was published on May 13, 2015. Once again, this is mainly a “what we know if we do a little digging” post.

When I worked at Canisius College one of my responsibilities was to serve as the school’s registered New York State lobbyist. I became familiar with the Lobbying Commission’s rules and procedures, including the periodic reports they require. Continue reading

Sedita ties up loose ends of his DA campaign account but fails to file any financial reports for his Court election; last look at other 2015 campaign spending; another “One Buffalo” team sinking?

Sedita’s campaign finances

We need to wait a while to get the specifics about how the 2016 District Attorney candidates are operating. Interim DA Michael Flaherty is in the race, raising and spending money. County Court Judge Tim Franczyk will soon resign his court seat to become a candidate for DA. Inquiring minds might want to know if soon-to-be-interim DA Michael Flaherty really convened a meeting of the current office staff in County offices to announce his campaign plans. Continue reading

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