McNall stays at top county slot, but others eyeing post

The unsurprising news broke late Tuesday night: the chairman of the Niagara County Legislature, Keith McNall, R-Lockport, would be keeping his job.

In the annals of Niagara County’s political news, this wasn’t exactly an earth-shattering announcement; after all, save for the on-again, off-again sacking of former chairmen Bill Ross, C-Wheatfield, and Clyde Burmaster, R-Porter, the governing GOP bloc in the county legislature hasn’t exactly made big, bold moves to dump its leadership.

Given that this year will mark the Republicans’ 14th year in power here, perhaps that is wise: the Republicans, after all, must be getting something right, or the Dennis Virtuoso-led minority caucus would be growing from its paltry four seats.

The Republicans point to what Majority Leader Randy Bradt, R-North Tonawanda, who also is keeping his job, called “historic tax and spending cuts.”

A press release issued by the county government’s Public Information Office quoted McNall as saying, “It’s been a good year, and I thank my colleagues for working not only to enact our tax-cutting agenda, but also helping make three major transitions very smooth… We began the year with a new team with a mandate to implement fiscally-conservative policies, and we’ve done just that. We passed a serious budget that lowered taxes and cut spending by $575,000 over the previous year.”

Perhaps Bradt’s claim seems boastful, but I checked his numbers, and numbers presented during the county legislature’s budget meetings, and the GOP’s brag that they have reduced property tax rates by 15 percent since 2006 holds up to scrutiny. So does the claim of a reduction in spending, although in a budget well above $300 million, I’d like to see the Republicans do more.

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