Budget and Lake, Focus of Supervisor Race in Busti

Robbins is seeking reelection to a third term while Mueller, touting his fours years as a councilman, will look to shake things up.  Mueller, a Democrat, and Robbins, a Republican.  Mueller has been endorsed by the Democratic, Working Families, Libertarian and Independence parties. Robbins has been endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties. Both recently answered questions submitted by The Post-Journal on the supervisor position. 

ON THE ISSUES

Robbins said he is focused on decreasing the town’s spending and maintaining its shared services programing. He said the primary focus of the next administration should be “working to find more shared services to reduce our overall spending while maintaining and growing the services we can offer our residents.”

Additionally, Robbins stated that the board should prioritize mitigating ongoing issues on Chautauqua Lake. He said the body of water should be a point of focus because of its “large economic impact” on Busti.

Mueller focused on increased property taxes, which he attributed to occurring under Robbins’ leadership.

“Chautauqua County property owners know all too well that local property taxes are too high and the town of Busti is no exception,” Mueller said. “From 2012 to 2019 under the current supervisor’s watch, town of Busti taxes, excluding special districts, jumped from $818 thousand to $1.2 million, an average increase of 6% per year and more than double the tax cap.”

Mueller, if elected, said he would never support a tax increase more than the cap.

Additionally, Mueller called attention to what he described as “rainy day funds” or unappropriated funds in the budget.

“The supervisor’s excessive thirst for ‘rainy day funds’ helped drive the 6% average yearly tax hikes over the past seven years,” Mueller said.

STATE OF THE LAKE

Robbins reiterated that the lake will be of high priority if he is re-elected. Robbins said he helped the town become the first municipality to sign the county’s Memorandum of Agreement and supported the villages of Lakewood and Celoron with grant funding to address evasive weeds in the water.

“All the lakes in the county are important to our residents and our tax base and tourism, I believe for this reason alone, the county should be the lead agency and we as the Town of Busti can help support their efforts,” Robbins said.

Mueller believes Busti’s role with Chautauqua Lake and protecting it from harmful algal blooms lies with aligning itself with the county executive’s plan and working with lake organizations.

“Although there are no magic bullets for the lake, all efforts and sound ideas must be implemented,” Mueller said. “The town should be a leader in protecting and preserving Chautauqua Lake for its current residents, visitors and for the many generations of people to come. I support increased funding for the lake, publicly and privately, and will work with all parties. Together we can improve Chautauqua Lake, one of our region’s most vital assets.”

SHARED SERVICES

Robbins: “We have been a leader in shared services and I see no reason to not continue doing what we have been doing for years. I will work with the village of Lakewood in any way possible but it is ultimately the Village residents that will determine the direction that they want to go. Some examples of our shared services the town and village share are the Lakewood-Busti Police Department, code and fire inspectors, and the property tax assessors services we share with many municipalities, cutting costs to taxpayers.”

Mueller: “We have two large, underutilized local government office buildings within a couple blocks of each other and both local governments spend heavily to maintain and upkeep each location,” Mueller said. “I will do everything I can to locate both governments into one building that both the village and town can mutually agree on. By sharing office space, equipment, utility bills and even potentially some employees, we can lower overall costs and save significant monies for all taxpayers.”

GROWING BUSTI

Each candidate vying for the Busti town supervisor position addressed concerns of stagnant business growth within the region and specifically Busti.

Robbins: “Unlike many towns in Western New York there has been a lot of growth in the town of Busti during my eight years as supervisor. Many reasons for our growth is the quality of our schools, our low crime rate with a highly qualified full-time police department that is located in a close proximity to shopping and attractions, having healthy shoreline on Chautauqua Lake and the high quality of life we have become accustomed to here.

“Our town continues to invest in our infrastructure as evidenced by the solar panels installed on town buildings and our new LED street lights, and the development of a replacement plan for highway equipment so our residents can be assured our roads will continue to safe and well taken care of. As our town has continued to grow and costs have risen our tax rate over the last eight budgets has averaged only a 1.6% increase.”

Mueller: “The county has seen a major loss of residents and businesses over the past two decades,” Mueller said. “We need new development through out the entire town. Even more importantly, we should support our current businesses and farms, both suffering under the high tax conditions.

“For the town of Busti, successful businesses will create good paying jobs for our residents, increase overall assessments, improve property values and help make this the best community in Chautauqua County to live, work and raise a family,” he continued. “As your next town supervisor, we will have a more friendly government and I promise to deliver lower property tax rates, plain and simple.”

Jamestown Post Journal – 31 October 2019