Jamestown city lawmakers have approved a 35.1-million dollar budget for next year that increases taxes by about 4-percent... and, has pretty much "gutted" city government. That frustration was voiced by Second-Ward Councilman Tony Dolce last night as council voted 8-to-1 in favor of the spending plan. That came after lawmakers rejected several cuts proposed by First-Ward Councilman Brent Sheldon. However... Council President Greg Rabb says those were part-time positions that save the city on overtime costs... and, get the work done. Dolce expressed similar frustrations... saying the 199-thousand dollars in cuts -- initially proposed last week by Sheldon -- only cut 'around the edges.' He says if you start cutting full-time employees... you're looking at IMPACT payments to the unions... and, violating minimum staffing clauses. With that... he says laying off 10 police officers would only save the city about 250-thousand dollars. The budget does include an additional 232-thousand dollars in dividend payments from the Board of Public Utilities. Two people who have been critical of lawmakers during the budget process offered what they called "positive" suggestions prior to last night's vote. We'll hear from Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier Executive Director Todd Tranum... and former BPU District Heat leader Doug Champ later today.
A Cattaraugus County woman has died after she was involved in a one vehicle accident in Town of Ashford just after 9pm Sunday. Sheriff's say that 26 year old Karolyn Penfold of Route 420 in Ashford was traveling on that same road when her vehicle left the road, struck a ditch and overturned. Penfold was flow to ECMC in Buffalo where she passed away from injuries caused by the accident.
A lawmaker who was one of New York's most powerful politicians has been convicted by a federal jury of charges that he used the power of his office to earn 5-million dollars illegally. Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stepped down from the leadership post after his January arrest, though he has remained an assemblyman. The 71 year-old Silver's attorneys argued that he did nothing wrong... but, prosecutors maintained that he was guilty of bribery and extortion. Jury deliberations had just resumed Monday afternoon after the panel was sent home for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Businesses across Chautauqua County are busy today, calibrating their cash registers to account for an added half-a-percent sales tax, which begins today. County Executive Vince Horrigan says the increase... which was approved by the county legislature, then the state, takes effect December 1st. Horrigan says it's mainly in place for 2016 and beyond, but, adds a complication in state law mandates the change be made -- starting today.
Horrigan says the added sales tax will bring another 8.3-million dollars to the county to plug a 6-million dollar structural deficit... and, rebuild the fund balance. He says it also puts the county "on par" with neighboring counties as far as both property and sales tax. Horrigan says it still recognizes the fact we border Pennsylvania... and there will be NO sales tax on clothing and footwear up to 110-dollars each. The final 2016 county budget cuts the tax rate by 6.6-percent... or about 60-cents to 8-dollars-55 cents per thousand full value.
New public safety cameras in downtown Jamestown have helped city police take two men off the street for allegedly having a loaded gun in their possession. City police were called to the area of 708 East Second Street about 2:30 last Wednesday afternoon on a report of suspicious behavior. But... on arrival police say the two men got out of the vehicle in an effort to elude officers. However... police were able to track down 29 year-old Terrance Hubbard, and 32 yeaer-old Christopher Jones. Both were arrested after officers found a loaded 9-millimeter gun inside the vehicle. They were arraigned on a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, sent to the county jail without bail. An officer at the Jamestown Police station was able to view the suspects and the vehicle on the new cameras prior to officers arrival... providing them important information.
An unidentified boy is now in stable condition after being wounded in the village of Falconer last Friday morning during a hunting accident. Ellicott Town Police say they received a 9-1-1 call just after 8:30 AM about a male victim being shot in a wooded area off East Elmwood Avenue. Officers say the boy had been shot in the shoulder area while hunting with two other people. Police say the victim was taken to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo for treatment. The incident remains under investigation. Officers say no other information will be released until the investigation is completed.
If it's seemed like an unusually warm Fall... it has been. In fact this Fall in Western New York will be going down as one of the warmest in the record books. Meteorologist Kirk Apffel of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the month of November has been well above average. In addition... while the Chautauqua Ridge-area has had some snowfall... the city of Buffalo has not. Another round of snow is possible around mid-week. Apffel says if the Buffalo-area misses out, a new record appears to be possible. He says the latest first snow for Buffalo was 1899, when it was December 3rd. Apfell says that could be in jeopardy this week. He says there are several factors behind the extremely mild Fall... including a very strong El Nino. He doesn't see a pattern change anytime soon.
U-S Senator Charles Schumer is ending another year having traveled to every county in New York state and says he'll be back again next year even if he is elevated to lead the Senate's Democrats. Schumer tells The Associated Press on Monday that ``just about every single'' Democrat in the Senate has told him they support making him leader after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid steps down next year. This is the 17th year Schumer has visited each county at least once. The Brooklyn native says the trips make him a better legislator by helping him understand the challenges and opportunities facing local communities. The Democrat says upstate New York has made significant strides in recent years... with signs of economic strength in every region.
New York state lawmakers won't return to Albany for more than a month, but a small number are heading back early to review how the state spends money to spur economic development. The Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry plans to meet next Friday with the Assembly Committee on Small Business. Officials say they'll be gauging the success of many state programs and agencies dedicated to improving the economy and increasing jobs. Since one of the committees also oversees the State Liquor Authority, the lawmakers will also review the effectiveness of that agency's initiatives. The entire Assembly and Senate are scheduled to return to Albany to begin the 2016 session on January 6.
Nine new members of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame will be inducted during next February's 35th annual Banquet. Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson says the Class of 2016 includes stand-outs in wrestling... Soccer and softball... track-and-field... and, sports broadcasting. Anderson says wrestling includes the late Clarence "Flash" Olson of Southwestern High School... and, Fredonia's Alex Conti. In addition... there's Cross-Country Masters runner, and Maple Grove Coach Robert "Doc" Rappole. Broadcasting is represented by Southwestern graduate Dan Hoard... who is the radio voice of the Cinncinate Bengals. Other inductees include Julie Gawronski... Sarah Shuster Morrison... Jim Ulrich... the late Heather Lefford-Edborg... and, the late Parke Hill Davis. The banquet will be held on Monday, February 16th at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club. Reservations can be made by calling Chip Johnson at 485-6991.