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News Update for Wed., Oct. 22, 2014

County Legislature approves 2015 budget in what may be record time...

In what may be a record time... Chautauqua County lawmakers have approved a new, amended budget with little discussion.  The legislature last night approved a $228.5-million spending plan unanimously... within about 10 minutes.  Lawmakers approved 10 amendments that had earlier sailed through the Audit and Control Committee... then unanimously approved the budget... which includes a 2-cent per $1,000 full value tax rate reduction.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says he's "very pleased" to have the spending plan in place.  Horrigan says "we're all working together right now" and that's benefitting the people of Chautauqua County.  The amendments reduced spending by about $771,000 from Horrigan's proposal... leaving a tax levy increase of about a quarter-of-a-million dollars.  While he's "excited" to have the new spending plan in place... Horrigan admits there are a couple of concerns.  One is the more-aggressive revenues and reimbursements the spending plan calls for.  Horrigan says the second is keeping in mind there's still a $6-million "structural deficit" that has to be closed.  He says his next step will be to name a "Deficit Reduction Team" in the near future.  Once his budget teams looks over the final budget... Horrigan expects to sign the spending plan.

Second of three co-defendants in Coggins double-murder trial concludes testimony... 
A state Trooper from Elmira concluded testimony Wednesday afternoon in the Davide Coggins double-murder trial in Chautauqua County Court.  District Attorney David Foley confirms that a second member of the group of four Elmira-area men accused in the torture-deaths of 66 year-old Gordon... and, 59 year-old Joyce Skinner finished his testimony earlier in the day.  The Buffalo News reports that 19 year-old Ricky Knickerbocher testified that Coggins initially had plans to rob a drug dealer in Buffalo... but, they never found the man.  With that... he said Coggins knew of a relative's home in the town of Carroll that they could rob easily because they kept money and jewelry there.  The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Thursday.