Memorial will thrive with community’s help

Bee Editorial
In 2009, Deputy Town Supervisor Guy Marlette initiated the creation of a Veterans Memorial to honor people who served in all branches of the military.
Last week, the town held its third unveiling of names that have been engraved on the memorial’s wall. The memorial is located at Amherst State Park, 390 Mill St. near Sheridan Drive.
The memorial was paid for through grant funding. It includes stone walls, an east and west wall, a water feature and an area for seating during various ceremonies.
The east wall features five seals, one for each major branch of the U.S. military: Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard. Water flows from the stone beneath each medallion, combining in a reflecting pool at the base of the wall.
During Friday’s ceremony, which honored 18 veterans, a member of each family recited the name of his or her relative who served in the U.S. military and is now memorialized on the wall.
We feel the Veterans Memorial is a peaceful area for people to remember our veterans. It is a place to reflect upon the freedoms that we enjoy on a daily basis.
Furthermore, the memorial is an emotional sight for many people in the community. However, it needs to be maintained by the community. To not clear the gardens of brush, debris and weeds would be disrespectful to the veterans honored on the wall.
In mid-June, Hausrath Landscaping, led by two employees who are military veterans — Matt Cyr and Dave Edmunds — donated their time to clean up the gardens near the memorial.
The company has volunteered to maintain the gardens and has revisited the site several times since early June. It shouldn’t be only their responsibility, however. We all need to have an equal share in maintaining the memorial.
We are also emphasizing what Marlette told The Bee several weeks ago. We want the memorial area to keep growing as corporations or organizations are sought who want to assist in improvements or upkeep of the nearby gardens.
Marlette also added that Scouting projects at the memorial site are welcome. The memorial was built for the community to share, and now it is up to members of our community to work together.

Board member questions IDA’s 2015 budget

Marlette seeks transparency
by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor
Deputy Supervisor Guy Marlette said Monday that he would be submitting a letter to the Town Board this week regarding questions about the Amherst Industrial Development Agency’s recently released 2015 budget.
Marlette said he believes the Town Board is obligated to review and comment on each IDA budget as a way to create transparency.
He said the IDA’s budget, which was submitted to the Town Board in September, does not offer a breakdown of the pay and titles of each of the IDA’s four employees. Additionally, Marlette said employees of the IDA do not contribute to their health care, which is something he would like to see changed in the future.
“The breakdown of positions is relevant. People should understand what people at the IDA are being paid,” Marlette said.
In a draft of the letter, which Marlette said he would use to craft a resolution, he said that although the town does not directly fund the AIDA, the organization is basically funded by the revenue structure from the projects it approves.
“It should be noted that while the projects it funds increases the overall tax revenue for the town through new development and redevelopment, the Town of Amherst does not receive the full value of the tax revenue for several years, so we certainly have an interest as to how taxpayer funding is used,” Marlette said in the letter.
Jim Allen, executive director of the AIDA, said it is possible to add more details in the organization’s future budget summaries, however, such a determination would be left up to the discretion of the AIDA’s board.
He added that the AIDA uses a private market to purchase the health insurance, noting that “nothing in the state’s law gives the Town Board authority” to oversee the AIDA’s budget or health insurance, unless the IDA is being funded by the Town of Amherst. Allen said that because the AIDA does not receive any funding from the Town of Amherst, the town does not have that authority.
“I am also offended that the press saw this letter before I did,” Allen said.
He said copies of the IDA’s recent budgets are available to view online at www.amherstida.com.
Marlette said he would be submitting details of his review of the IDA’s 2015 budget so that it may be discussed during the Town Board’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, in the Council Chambers at the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

Town unanimously approves $120.1 M spending plan

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor
The Town Board unanimously approved the supervisor’s 2015 budget of about $120.1 million during its meeting on Monday.
The first resolution, initiated by Deputy Supervisor Guy Marlette and co-sponsored by Council Members Steven Sanders, Mark Manna and Ramona Popowich, sought to amend Weinstein’s budget proposal to provide staffing for 153 police officers.
In his preliminary budget, Weinstein reduced the police roster from 153 to 150 to reflect one vacancy, one 2014 retirement and an additional retirement. In his budget message to the public, Weinstein said a staff of 150 was still higher than it was several years ago, when the roster totaled 143.
Marlette said that in a recent conversation with Police Chief John Askey, the chief felt more comfortable with a staff of 153 officers.
“There is no magic number,” Marlette said. “We’ve always budgeted for 153 officers, and I can’t see having less officers when the number of calls to the Police Department are said to have increased.”
The vote on Marlette’s resolution tallied 4-1, with Weinstein the only opposition to the measure.

Rotary Club sets annual health fair for Nov. 15

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor
The Rotary Club of Amherst South will host its fifth annual health fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 15, at Windermere Boulevard Elementary School, 291 Windermere Blvd., Amherst.
The event provides an opportunity for people to receive checkups and vaccinations as well as receive information about ways to stay healthy.
The club’s immediate past president, Guy Marlette, who is also a member of the organization’s public relations committee, said the fair is continuing to grow and expand its services, which are provided for free during the event. He said the mission of the event is to change lives and enhance the community.
“It’s part of what Rotary believes in enhancing the quality of life. Our club likes to do things that have great value and benefit to the community,” Marlette said.
He said another goal of the event is to promote good health and to show the community that it involves many areas of a person’s life, including nutrition, hygiene and exercise.
Marlette added that the club has held the health fair at Windermere for the past five years.
“We choose to do it there because of the school’s commitment to the [youths] and the area,” he said. “They are all keenly aware that a well-rounded community has an active participation in many different areas.”

Town Board seeks AIDA transparency, modifies height setbacks

News Source: Amherst Bee

by ANNA WALTERS Reporter
The Amherst Town Board approved a resolution on Monday to provide comments and feedback to the Amherst Industrial Development Agency on its budget — specifically regarding the lines for salary and health insurance.
Deputy Supervisor Guy Marlette said the town does not directly fund the AIDA. The agency is funded by the revenue structure from the projects it approves. The projects, which include new development or redevelopment, also provide an increase in tax revenue for the town.
Marlette then noted that the residents and the businesses of the town do in fact fund the AIDA. The resolution to provide comment and feedback to the agency noted that the town goes several years without receiving the full value of the tax revenue for the projects.
“We have every right to question, make observations and make comments,” he said.
Marlette says he’s asking that the AIDA’s budget be more transparent and provide explanations rather than just lump sums, especially in relation to administrative expenses such as salaries and benefits. According to theresolution,therewasa3percentincreaseforallpositionsin2014, and there is no increase to salaries from 2014 to 2015.
http://www.amherstbee.com/news/2014-10-29/Local_News/Rotary_Club_sets_annual_health_fair_for_Nov_15.html

Town asks schools to consider veterans tax exemptions

News Source: Amherst Bee

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor
The Town Board during its meeting on Dec. 1 approved sending a resolution to area school districts requesting that they hold a public hearing regarding tax exemptions for veterans.
A section of the New York State Real Property Tax Law provides a limited exemption from property taxes for people who served in the military. The state recently passed a law to authorize school districts to allow the exemptions.
Deputy Supervisor Guy Marlette stressed that the resolution does not advise the school districts to offer exemptions. Districts listed on the resolution included Amherst, Clarence, Sweet Home and Williamsville.
“We are not telling the districts to approve or deny offering the exemptions,” Marlette said. “We are advising the districts to hold public hearings and based on what their constituents say, they can decide one way or the other what they want to do.”
Additionally, the Amherst Veterans Committee also sent letters to area school districts detailing their request for public hearings.
Marlette said he was glad that area districts have the opportunity to allow residents to provide input on the veterans exemptions.
On Friday, representatives from the Williamsville Central Schools confirmed with the town that the district will hold a public hearing to consider the exemptions during its next regular board meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, at the District Offices, 105 Casey Road, East Amherst.
In another matter, the board last week accepted the Tonawanda Creek Flood Mitigation Committee report from Council Member Ramona Popowich, who chairs the organization.
The committee was created in January to seek ways of mitigating flooding in East Amherst and areas that are near Tonawanda Creek.
During the past 11 months, the committee has held several outreach meetings and one forum that detailed to residents ways of protecting houses and property in adverse weather conditions.
Popowich said the next meeting of the committee will be held in early spring.
The Town Board’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, in the Council Chambers at the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

6p1.Large

Marlette seeks election to County Legislature

Source: Amherst Bee
6p1.LargeMarlette Amherst Council Member Guy Marlette said on Tuesday that he will run for the 5th District seat in the Erie County Legislature.
The 5th District comprises approximately two-thirds of the Town of Amherst, including the hamlets of Snyder and Eggertsville and the Village of Williamsville.
Marlette, a Republican who is also Amherst’s deputy supervisor, was first elected to office in 2007. He is also vice-president of Alternative Information Systems, a high-end technology company with 30 full-time employees.
“My past experience to several high-profile committees in the town and my volunteer and community involvement makes me uniquely qualified to represent the residents of the 5th District and Erie County,” Marlette said in a prepared statement.
According to Marlette, he would plan to bring a common sense approach to county government, working toward the best solutions to unify the county. Marlette is currently in the final year of his second Town Board term. In the Town of Amherst, board members are limited to serving no more than two consecutive terms.
Marlette is currently the liaison to the Amherst Traffic Safety Board, Historic Preservation, the Youth Board, the Recreation Commission and Eggertsville Community Organization. He is also the current president of The Hope Center Executive Board, immediate past-president of the Rotary Club of Amherst South and past-president of the Amherst Youth Foundation.
Marlette said the job is not about politics or political affiliation.
“It’s about what you have actually done, what you are capable of doing, and your commitment to the district, the county and the residents,” he said.
Marlette added that he believes a public servant who is in touch with his constituents on an ongoing basis best serves the community.
“Erie County continues to face fiscal challenges, and I will bring to the Legislature the same experience and work ethic that I have brought to the Town Board, which has provided fiscal stability, lower taxes, accountability and cooperation.”
Marlette will be campaigning for the seat currently occupied by incumbent Democrat Thomas Loughran, who is seeking re-election.

Source: Amherst Bee
http://www.amherstbee.com/news/2015-02-04/Local_News/Marlette_seeks_election_to_County_Legislature.html