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Welch Building purchase was sound

November 19, 2015
Westfield Republican

Dear Editor:

In a recent Letter to the Editor, a writer questioned the political "problems" in Westfield. No doubt there are some, but there were a number of statements that were, I believe, factually incorrect.

There was a reference to the voting restrictions of Town residents. It is certainly true that Village residents, as residents of both the Town and Village, can vote in both Village and Town elections. However, Town residents do not live in the Village and therefore, by law, cannot vote in Village elections. The letter also stated that we have only one Town Board member living in the Town. There are actually two: David Spann and James Herbert. The other three do indeed live in the Village. By chance, this is consistent with the population balance between the Town and Village. Village residents pay taxes to both the Town and Village, while Town residents do not pay Village taxes.

The reference to the current Town Supervisor being endorsed by both parties is true. However, there was an additional candidate endorsed by two other parties who was also on the ballot. In the past, a number of other candidates have also sought the position of Supervisor. Perhaps it is possible that the majority of voters in both the Village and Town of Westfield believe that Supervisor Bills has done a good job and deserves their support.

The statement the "township buys rental property," is misleading. Yes, the Town of Westfield did purchase the Welch Building, along with the parking area and ballpark behind the building. The purchase was not an easy decision since none of our Board members were particularly interested in being in the real estate business. In fact, the actual vote was 4 to 1. Also, the Town does indeed pay taxes on the property, since there is rent paid. This cost is incorporated into the budget for the building purchase. I think the main reason for purchase was that we wanted more control over the Welch Building's future. The Welch purchase has already been a benefit to the Town and Village allowing an access point to the proposed Chautauqua to Erie Trail, through the land being freed up with the demolition of the Portage Inn, as well as providing a critical sewer easement to the Village.

I think all Board members would agree that we are not trying to compete with any business in Westfield. Our goal is to get individuals and/or businesses in the building that will create jobs in Westfield. We continue to look for a developer who can purchase the building and work to achieve the same goal. Recently, a major Westfield business chose to rent space in the Welch Building instead of leaving the Town when their current lease was about to end. They looked at other rental property and made the choice to come into the Welch Building. Had they chosen another building we would have been just as happy, since any business retained or introduced into Westfield is good for all of us. I am sure we, as a Town Board, make our share of mistakes. I don't believe this was one of them.

David S. Brown, PhD

Town of Westfield Councilman

 
 
 

 

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