The city of Jamestown has been given "as clean of an audit as an entity can have" for it's 2013 budget by it's third-party auditor. Local accountant John Trussalo gave the City Council and Mayor Sam Teresi the good news at last night's work session at city hall. Trussalo adds that while the city had budgeted for a significant loss in the 2013 budget due to use of the fund balance... Jamestown ended up spending much less than it had budgeted. Trusso says the city received 45-thousand dollar less in revenues in the actual, final budget. However... the, final expenditure budget came in about 370-thousand LESS than was in the projected spending plan. Probably the major concern expressed by Trussalo in reviewing the audit was the fact the city is getting closer to it's constitutional tax levy ceiling of 13-million-43 dollars. With exclusions... Jamestown was at 12.54-million last year. That means the city is within 889-thousand dollars... or at 93.3-percent of it's constitutional tax limit.
New York officials say 81 school districts and community groups are set to receive 340-million dollars to fund full-day pre-kindergarten programs for nearly 37,000 children. The governor's office says the funding in this year's state budget is the first installment in a commitment to spend 1.5-billion dollars over five years to build a statewide program. The New York City Education Department will get the majority of the money... 294.5-million dollars. In Chautauqua County... Silver Creek is receiving 180-thousand dollars... while Sherman is getting 108-thousand-500.
No one was hurt... and, there was no significant damage done when flames erupted in a car crusher at the Ben Weitsman of Jamestown scrap-metal recycling facility this past weekend. Deputy Jamestown Fire Chief Chet Harvey says a crew was called to the scene on West Eighth Street shortly before 12:30 PM Saturday... and, found heavy smoke coming from that part of the scrap metal plant. Harvey adds the flames did spread to a couple of nearby cars that had already been crushed. Harvey says no cause has yet been detemined... but, he says compactors like the one at Ben Weitsman's produce a lot of heat... and, a simple spark could have triggered the fire. He says the black smoke may have been produced by some gasoline or oil remaining in the car. Harvey says firefighters were at the scene for about an hour. But... he says the responding crew had the fire out so quickly... an off-duty shift was not needed. The Ben Weitman facility has been controverial in the neighborhood due to noise, and dust issues.
The New York State AFL-CIO has snubbed Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Democrat was missing from a list released today of candidates the labor union is endorsing in the fall elections. Last week... the state's second-largest public-sector union endorsed Cuomo's primary challenger, Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout.
Chautauqua County's incumbant Congressman says his opponent is playing politics with Medicare and Social Security... and, not trying to solve their long-term viability. That from Corning Republican Tom Reed... who is finishing his third-term in the House of Representatives. Late last week... Democrat challenger Martha Robertson... and, a Medicare and Social Security advocacy group... accused Reed of voting against five key measures to support both programs. Reed says Robertson supports a House Trustee report that certain changes would keep both solvent until 2030 instead of 2026. Reed emphasizes that the legislation he supports would keep Medicare and Social Security in place... as they are... for people 56 years-old and over. He says in addition to tort reform... and, weeding out waste, fraud and abuse... the best way to support both is getting more people back to work... and, paying into the system. Reed adds he also wants legislation that empowers doctors and patients more in making medical decisions versus health insurance companies and government bureaucrats. He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.
Congressman Tom Reed has also announced that he is co-sponsoring a bi-partisan measure he says will strengthen Hospice... or end-of-life care in the U-S. Reed is filing the Hospice Act with Democrat Mike Thompson... and, says there are two major components to the legislation. The Corning Republican says it would allow professionals who provide Hospice care to be re-certified every three years instead of the usual 6 to 8 years. Reed says it would also allow for a review by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services once they reach the 180 day coverage period for care to continue. He adds that it's also a national health care issue because studies have shown that 70 to 80-percent of a person's health care costs are going to be in the final few years of life. Reed also says that he is a firm believer in Hospice's mission because they helped his family in dealing with his mother's end of life issues before she died from Cancer.
New York authorities will allow wineries to buy grapes and juice from out of state to make up shortages after a harvest expected to be well below normal because of last winters' harsh weather. Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said Monday the law requires all wines produced on New York farms must contain only grapes, fruit and other products grown in the state. But a provision of the law allows for using imported products if more than 40 percent of a crop is lost to damage. Ball said 15 grape varieties met that requirement. The wines affected include Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and eight others.