The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

August 21, 2013

Ridgeway says no to SAFE Act

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — The Town of Ridgeway passed its own resolution Tuesday night in opposition to the New York State SAFE Act, making Orleans County the first in the state to have all of its municipalities support the repeal of the act.

Dave Krug of Medina spoke to the board and said that as a law abiding citizen and an avid hunter, the SAFE Act would turn him into a criminal, along with many others like him.

“Many like me strive to teach others gun safety,” he said. “I feel this legislation was rushed into by a false message of necessity…stripping people of their constitutional rights.”

Krug said changing the law for citizens who follow the law would not stop criminals from breaking it. He acknowledged that guns are a tough issue, and the proper way to deal with issue is not easy. However, he said the government disarming its citizens is the wrong answer, and that it would be a proud moment for the Town of Ridgeway to pass a resolution opposed to the SAFE Act.

Earlier this year, the town passed a resolution supporting the county’s resolution to oppose the SAFE Act, and the board added its own to the list Tuesday.

“I’m a gun owner myself,” said Supervisor Brian Napoli, who will speak at a state hearing in Buffalo on Thursday regarding fiscal and financial stress in local governments. He said the SAFE Act was among the items he planned on addressing during his testimony.

“The act hurts us because not as many people buy hunting licenses,” he said. With fewer hunters, fewer people drive through the community during hunting season.

“We lose sales tax, restaurants lose money, and motels and gas stations are affected,” he said.

In other town board news, trustees unanimously voted to fund Ridgeway’s portion of a highway study that will determine how to best consolidate the road crews of Ridgeway, Shelby and Medina.

Napoli said the person handling the study, Tom Low, has experience in this area and has assured all three parties that the study will be conducted fairly and objectively.

The upcoming budget season was also discussed. Though no real numbers were mentioned, Napoli said early estimates are that the town will face an increase of 18 to 20 percent in retirement contributions in the upcoming budget cycle. He said should that estimate hold true, the town’s retirement budget will have quadrupled in the past five years.

“They want to know about fiscal stress, and I’ll be bringing this up Thursday, too,” he said.

The board also accepted an “unqualified clean audit” for 2012 stating it is “technically debt free” since its only outstanding debt lies in its water districts.

Finally, the trustees agreed to sell nine acres of land in Knowlesville and will seek an appraiser to determine its value before moving forward with the sale.