Saturday, December 29, 2007


The Buffalo News ran a story a few days back about Royalton's new government for 2008...

2008 ushers in change on the heels of turmoil
By Teresa Sharp

ROYALTON — Tuesday marks a changing of the guard in the Town of Royalton. That’s the day a new supervisor and three new board members will be sworn in after a tumultuous year.

The four officials were voted in to office after the town struggled to get its financial house in order, levying whopping tax hikes to do so. This year’s town budget raised the town tax by 266 percent in the Village of Middleport and by 67 percent elsewhere in the town. Town officials insisted it was necessary to restore town finances.

In contrast, the $5 million budget for 2008 includes a tax rate hike of 2 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation (to $2.07) in Middleport and 20 cents per $1,000 (to $3.67) for residents of the town outside the village.

“I’m happy with our [2008] budget,” said Town Board member Richard J. Lang, who will become the new supervisor. “I’m satisfied that it’s a good budget. We worked very hard on it.
“But we have to learn how to operate the town government within a declining tax base,” he said. “We have to be fiscally responsible and watch our pennies. And I want citizen input on looking for ways to keep our costs down while we continue the services we render.” Lang moves to a full, two-year term in the supervisor’s office. He defeated incumbent and fellow Republican Calvin W. Rhoney.

The new year also will signal a complete overhaul of the Town Board, when newcomers Jennifer H. Bieber, Bradley L. Rehwaldt and James G. Budde take office. Incumbents Lee Criswell and A. Robert Stahl did not seek re-election, and the third opening was created when Rhoney was appointed supervisor and left his Town Board seat, which wasn’t immediately filled. A decision has not yet been made on filling the fourth seat, belonging to Lang, who had two years left on the board.

Longtime Royalton resident Molly McGirr said she appreciates Lang’s fiscal conservatism. She said she became active in his campaign for supervisor because she finds him “honest and forthcoming.”

“He’s willing to listen to everybody and consider other options, and he doesn’t believe in just spending money willy-nilly,” said McGirr, a retiree. “He’s a breath of fresh air.”

Lang, 66, retired in 2003 after 34 years as an officer with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. He was elected to the Town Board in November 2005. He and his wife, Gretchen, moved to Royalton in 1969 and live on Hollenbeck Road. They have two grown sons and seven grandchildren.

He said getting involved in town government is something he always planned to do in retirement. “I wanted to be involved in making decisions for Royalton,” Lang said. “I’m very excited about being supervisor, and I’ve got some ideas. Because I’m retired, I want to establish some regular office hours at Town Hall where I’ll be available to the citizens,” he said. “I want to hold monthly meetings with department heads and develop a list for shortand long-term goals. I want to get more use from our town Web site and try and establish a more open and friendly government for the citizens,” Lang added.

Lang said creating a master plan for this rural town of 7,700 residents is a top priority. The town hired Wendel Duchscherer in September to help with the project. A master plan previously created in 1972 was never officially adopted.