Jamestown School District taxpayers will see a slight tax levy decrease in the 79.1-million dollar budget they'll be voting on next month. That after the school board last night voted to use additional state aid in the new budget to cut the levy by just over 219-thousand dollars. School Superintendent Tim Mains outlined potential uses for the nearly 900-thousand dollars in additional aid they'll be getting from New York. However... administrators first wanted to cover the 650-thousand dollars they were going to use from fund balance and reserves. School Board Vice-President Paul Abbott supported a tax cut... saying that the people of Jamestown are "taxed to the ceiling." The board voted 6-to-1 for the tax cut with Nina Karbacka voting "no." Karbacka says she voted to "support out students... in staffing and other areas." Karbacka was also concerned about future years... and, whether the district could sustain the decrease. Mains says he can have a revised budget ready for next Tuesday night. The board is to vote on the new budget Tuesday, April 19th. The public vote will be May 17th.
The investigation is continuing into a car-pedestrian accident Monday in which two 12 year-old girls were hurt while crossing East Main Street in Falconer -- in front of Falconer Central School. Ellicott Town Police Chief William Ohnmeiss (Oh-Meess) says both girls were students at Falconer... and, the incident occured about 2:45 PM... around the time classes were letting out. Ohnmeiss says the car was turning left from East Avenue, when the incident occured. Neither girl was seriously hurt, and both were being treated at WCA Hospital. Ohnmeiss says there was a crossing guard at the intersection. He says it's a "very busy" intersection... and, adds it's not clear what led to the accident. However... no charges have been filed as yet in the incident.
The county's Board of Elections is gearing up for the state's Presidential Primary... which is just two weeks away. County Elections Commissioner Norm Green says the numbers of new voters has gone up by about one-thousand. But... overall, he says, enrollment is down. Green says they purged a lot of voters who had not voted in the past 10 years, leading to a net decline. There are over 25,600 Democrats and 24,900 Republicans according to the new enrollment numbers. Green says there are a couple of ways voters can check to make sure they can vote before Primary Day. He says you should go on-line to Votechautauqua-dot-COM... and, do a personal voter "check-up" to see if you're registered, and where to vote. The New York state Presidential Primary for both Democrats and Republicans will be held on Tuesday, April 19th.
The just-approved, 156-billion dollar, New York state budget is a "special" one for Chautauqua County -- especially in two areas. That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says the first big piece of news is Governor Andrew Cuomo's multi-million dollar line-item to help locate a new pharmacutical plant for Athenex in the town of Dunkirk. State Senator Cathy Young has called the project a "game-changer" for the county... and, Horrigan fully agrees. In addition... Horrigan says Young and state Assemblyman Andy Goodell were able to get language included in the 2016-17 budget so three entities -- including the county -- can get mitigation funding if NRG follows through on dropping it's Payment in Lieu of Tax agreement on the Dunkirk Power plant by 85-percent next year. He says 80-percent of the lost payments will also be made available to the city of Dunkirk... and, the Dunkirk School District. Some time ago... NRG announced that the plant is being "mothballed" after Entergy Corporation announced it was suing the state's Public Service Commission over plans to repower the Dunkirk facility and one other. That halted both projects.
Common Core testing is underway in schools across New York as testing supporters and opponents push to change parents' minds about the exams. The state's third- through eighth-graders began three days of English language arts assessments on Tuesday. Education officials say the assessments are new and improved over last year, when 1 in 5 students refused to take them. In Buffalo... the group High Achievement New York held a news conference to urge parents to have students take the tests as a way to help identify achievement gaps and ensure educational fairness. Opponents used robocalls over the weekend to remind parents they have the right to refuse the tests.
The first-ever 'Farmer Neighbor Dinner' in Chautauqua County turned out better than organizers expected. Lindsay Eckman of Farm Credit in Mayville chaired the event. Over 150 people attended Tuesday night at St. John's Church in Jamestown. The keynote speaker was New York's Ag Commissioner, Richard Ball. He's excited about a new program for the state's farm products called Certified New York. The Betts grape farm in Westfield and the Frontier Brook dairy farm in Cherry Creek were recognized as 'Farmers of the Year'. Media One's Dennis Webster was named 'Friend of Agriculture'.
Local Congressman Tom Reed is pushing for federal approval of his proposal to help caregivers looking after an older loved one... or a parent. Reed pitched his "Credit for Caring Act" to about two-dozen people on hand Monday at the North Harmony Senior Center. The Corning Republican says the bi-partisan bill would provide a tax credit for care giving expenses. Reed says the credit would help lift some of the financial burden of caring for loved ones at home. Reed says it's "the right thing to do..." especially as the Baby Boomer generation ages up. He says that will produce a "demographic" shift where people who are 65 and over will grow tremendously. Reed himself has been a caregiver for a family member... and, says he understands how difficult and "invaluable" their work is. He says the measure has the backing of the American Association of Retired Persons -- or AARP. Reed made his comments for his weekly telephone news conference with Southern Tier Media.