Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

March 13, 2014

Hartland board opposes Cuomo's inmate plan

By Michael Canfield
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — HARTLAND — Town officials joined Niagara County in denouncing Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed plan to provide a college education to the state's inmates.

The town board unanimously adopted a motion at Thursday night's meeting to jump on-board with the county Legislature's recent resolution, and let the governor know that the town feels providing a college education to inmates is a bad idea. The board wanted to be on record as opposing the proposal, Supervisor W. Ross Annable said.

"Personally, I just kind of find it a slap in the face to every taxpayer that has kids that they're trying to put through school," he said. "We can pay for inmates, but we can't pay for our own kids."

People in prison didn't go there to learn, Annable said.

"They're in prison for punitive measures," he said. "We're disagreeing with this."

Councilman F. David Snyder questioned where Cuomo came up with the numbers for the plan, which estimates it would cost the state $5,000 per year per inmate.

"I don't know where he comes up with that," he said. "Two college courses for my niece at Niagara University cost well over $5,000."

Snyder said the inmates should be working before they're given college educations. 

"Maybe they're smarter than all of us because they made the system work for them," he said.  

In other board news, Snyder said he would like to see the town decrease the amount of road salt it is using. The town purchased 2,600 tons of salt this winter, he said. 

"I'd like it if we could come up with something better, because I don't like spending all of the money on the salt to tear up the roads," he said, noting that some states are using liquid salt brines on the roads. 

Snyder said there had been "some questions asked" on the use and cost of the road salt.

Contact reporter Michael Canfield at 439-9222, ext. 6246, or follow him on Twitter @MikeCanfield36.