It's just the first step in the process... but, some hard decisions will have to be made to get the city of Jamestown out from under a significant tax burden in Mayor Sam Teresi's 2016 budget proposal. That from Teresi himself on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Group of stations. The mayor says they are using up many of their reserve funds on the spending plan... which still includes a 5.6-percent tax increase. Teresi says that includes using just over half of their reserves for the city's self-insurance Health Care program.
Teresi says those costs are the major driver of the approximately 843-thousand dollar tax levy increase in the 35.1-million dollar spending plan. However... it does help close a 3.3-million dollar shortall the mayor's budget team initially dealt with. Teresi says the budget now goes before the entire City Council for the first time during tonight's work session. He believes together, they can make the 'restructuring decisions' that will make the spending plan better.
Another incident at a north county hospital has led to the arrest of a Dunkirk man for allegedly damaging hospital property... and, threatening a hospital employee. Sheriff's officers say they arrested 54 year-old Ernest Nierras of Central Avenue yesterday morning on a warrant following an October 12th incident at Lake Shore Hospital in Irving. Deputies accuse Nierras of damaging property... and, threatening and scratching the employee. He was arraigned in Hanover Town Court for second-degree menacing... second-degree harassment... and, criminal mischief. He was then sent to the County Jail on 5-thousand dollars bail.
A Falconer man faces a violation of Leandra's Law after his arrest for allegedly driving drunk late last week in the town of Ellicott. State Police say they pulled over 39 year-old Ricky Bemus after his car allegedly crosed the center line on Route 60. Troopers say they performed field sobriety tests after troopers allegedly found Bemis' speech was slurred. A computer check found that Bemis had a suspended and expired license... and, a warrant for failing to pay a fine in Jamestown. A blood test was performed... and, Bemis was charged with felony DWI under Leandra's Law because he had a one-year-old passenger in his vehicle. Bemis was also charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation... and, Moving from Lane Unsafely. He was arraigned Ellicott Town Court... and, posted bail.
State Police say another passenger in Bemus' car... 30 year-old Stephen Traver of Jamestown... was also found to be wanted by city police for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation. He was turned over to city police.
Hundreds of residents, elected officials and union and business leaders turned out for a rally supporting the Dunkirk Repowering project. State Senator Cathy Young led the rally supporting the repowering project that is being delayed by a lawsuit filed by Entergy, a competing power company. Young says the show of support is important for the project. Labor from both ends of the county showed its support including Dave Wilkinson, President of the Jamestown Central Labor Council and IBEW 106. Assemblyman Andy Goodell, County Executive Vince Horrigan, Dunkirk Mayor AJ Dolce and Councilman at Large Willie Rosas were also among the speakers. The loss of the plant would have a major impact on the city of Dunkirk and Chautauqua, since NRG is the largest taxpayer in the County.
There was a strong turn-out of residents and local officials last Saturday to rally in favor of the NRG Repowering Project... which is now on hold. Local Congressman Tom Reed was unable to be there... but, added his support for the effort before-hand. Another commitment kept Reed from attending the event at the Dunkirk Boardwalk... which drew dozens of people on a cold morning. The Corning Republican says he talked with state Public Service Commission officials last Friday... and, reiterated his support for the NRG Repowering Project moving foward.
Reed says that's not just for the energy and jobs the plant currently produces... but, the future of that, as well. He believes the lawsuits filed by environmental groups to halt the project are more political than about potential environmental impacts of the NRG plant's conversion to a natural gas-fired facility. Reed is urging residents in the county to write to the PSC to move the project forward once the lawsuits have been disposed of.
A New York state lawmaker says the state should prohibit the use of Styrofoam doggy bags at restaurants. Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, a Democrat, says he has written legislation which would make it illegal for restaurants to use the Styrofoam containers when diners ask to take leftovers home. Abinanti says the plastic chemicals used in the containers are bad for the environment because they don't decompose and are hard to recycle. He says his bill is intended to get restaurants to use other, more environmentally friendly packages for leftovers. Many restaurants have already started using other alternatives to Styrofoam. Abinanti says New York state should be a leader in the effort to reduce the use of the product. The bill will be considered when lawmakers return to Albany in January.
Another municipality has approved a measure backing the proposed North County Water District... and, that's good news for County Executive Vince Horrigan... who continues to push and prod local governments to back the project. The Pomfret Town Board voted unanimously late last week to support in concept the creation of the water district. Horrigan says that brings to the three the number of local governments supporting the proposed district. Horrigan was at a meeting in the village of Brocton late last week... and, also has a meeting scheduled with the town of Sheridan. He is confident that if enough progress is made... the County Water Agency could be able to schedule its next meeting in November. Horrigan is still hopeful the County Legislature could take action forming the water district in November.
Two Dunkirk residents have been arrested in back-to-back raids for allegedly selling crack-cocaine to undercover police officers in the north county city. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they arrested 31 year-old Jason Rosas-Rodriguez during the first raid -- just before 4 PM last Thursday -- at 51 East Second Street. About 4:30 that afternoon... Task Force members arrested 47 year-old Minerva Maestre at 63 Ruggles Street. Both suspects are charged with third-degree criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance... and, additional charges are pending. They are both jailed without bail. Anyone with information about illegal narcotics trafficking in the county are asked to call the Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is issuing a water alert for the Celoron area for Tuesday morning. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says testing of a private fire service at 101 Jackson Avenue has been scheduled for early morning on Tuesday... and, the testing may cause discolored water for customers in Celoron and Lakewood during the day Tuesday.
U-S Senator Charles Schumer is calling for federal authorities to routinely test and require full disclosure of components in Halloween makeup. The New York Democrat says novelty makeup and face paint are often made in China and can contain metals that could pose a danger to children wearing them. According to Schumer... the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found all 10 face paints it tested contained lead and six contained nickel, cobalt and/or chromium. Lead is banned from makeup in Canada and Europe, but not in the U.S. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't conduct routine testing of novelty cosmetics and needs to do more to enforce required disclosures of ingredients. He says parents should check what glitter, lipstick and other cosmetics go on their children's faces this Halloween.
A Rhode Island-based construction company is the apparent front-runner to oversee the 60-million dollars in improvements planned for the New York State Fair outside Syracuse. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports that a state selection board has given Gilbane Building of Providence the highest score of the four companies bidding for a 4.5-million dollar construction management contract for the overhaul of the fairgrounds in suburban Geddes. The two-year contract must still be negotiated, then approved by the state's attorney general and comptroller before it's awarded. The state's plans for the fairground include demolishing one concert venue and rebuilding another, building a new midway and adding a new R-V park. Gilbane's contract for the state fair is expected to be completed this fall.