Local News Headlines
There will be no tax increase in the 2013-2014 budget that voters will decide on for the Jamestown School District on May 21st. The school board last night approved the 75.3-million spending plan, 6-to-0. Board President Joe DiMaio says this was a tough budget to work on, because it initially included a 4.6-million dollar shortfall. However... district administrators developed a plan to cut some items, delay buying others, and use just over 2-million dollars in fund balance and funds to plug that gap. School Board President Joe DiMaio was pleased they didn't have to use another 145-thousand dollars from the fund balance. School officials were able to avoid anymore cuts to instruction, and other key personnel areas. However... some positions weren't filled... or were eliminated. DiMaio praised Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow for finding additional cuts in a couple of areas so the district wouldn't have to dip any further into it's undesignated fund balance. The spending plan does use 500-thousand dollars from the fund balance... and, another 1.55-million from the district's Debt Service Reserve fund to help fill the shortfall. The school board also reviewed a second proposition that will be on the May 21st ballot. That's for the 795-thousand dollar purchase of eight vehicles. Weatherlow says the district will replace five large buses... one-wheelchair bus... and, two vans.
A third person has now been arrested in connection with last weekend's raid on a methamphetamine lab in the city of Jamestown. City police said Tuesday that 38 year-old Donald Dean was arrested after officers received several anonymous tips that Dean was hiding out in Lakewood. Officers say Dean has apparently been spotted at a Lakecrest Avenue address. Jamestown officers were assisted by Lakewood-Busti Police... and, Dean was arrested about 10 AM. Dean... along with 28 year-old Joseph Snyder and 23 year-old Dustin Verrett... are accused of making the drug inside an apartment. City police were assisted by the State Police C-NET Team... and, the Department of Homeland Security in the investigation. They add they found a quantity of items used to make meth during the raid. Dean faces a Felony charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in connection with making... and, selling the drug from a residence at 181 Barrows Street. He's been held pending arraignment in the city jail.
Lakewood village lawmakers have approved a 3.24-million dollar, 2013-2014 budget that increases taxes by 1.3-percent. Mayor David Wordelmann says the village board approved the spending plan... which increases the tax rate by 23-cents per thousand assessed value... unanimously. Wordelmann acknowledges it's the biggest hike in several years... but, adds there were primarily four factors -- not under their control -- that led to that increase. Wordelmann says the biggest increase that was state-mandated was a 37-thousand dollar hike in pension costs. He says spending is up in the new budget by about 120-thousand dollars... while revenues are up about 80-thousand. Wordelmann says 23-thousand dollars of the spending increase came in the form of added Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding. He says the other big spending increase was about 32-thousand dollars in fuel and equipment for both the Police and Fire Departments combined. The overall tax levy is up by about 22-thousand dollars.
Chautauqua County has contracted with an upstate New York firm to be it's new, third-party Worker's Compensation carrier... beginning May 1st. Finance Director Susan Marsh says the move to POMCO Risk Management was necessitated when it's former carrier... RBM Remsco recently decided to get out of the business. Marsh says the county... which is self-insured... put the contract out to bid... and, received five proposals. She says POMCO... which is based out of Syracuse... had the lowest bid. But... Marsh adds it was also the most impressive. Marsh says they're hoping to save money with the new carrier... but, adds POMCO also brings more oversight, more quarterly meetings. She believes... in working with the local municipalities who are also covered under the new contract... they'll begin to see costs come down. But... she adds the nature of claims also play a role. Marsh says POMCO will be handling all current and future County Worker's Compensation claims... and, will contact employees with active claims. For more information... she says call POMCO at 1-877-236-7475.
Governor Cuomo is replacing the chairwoman of the troubled state ethics board he created more than a year ago. Cuomo says lawyer Daniel Horwitz, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, will take over from Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore (Dee-Fee-OR'-ee) as head of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Cuomo says DiFiore is being replaced because she's running for re-election as Westchester's top prosecutor.
A man accused of plotting to derail a train in Canada with support from al-Qaida elements in Iran has made a brief court appearance. His suspected accomplice appeared in court late Tuesday in Montreal. Charges against the two men include conspiring to carry out an attack and murder people in association with a terrorist group.