The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities argued and debated a series of potential cuts to the board's Water Division to avoid a projected 12-percent rate increase next year. The BPU is considering the increase in the wake of a management recommendation to make the full, 482-thousand dollar dividend payment to the city from the Water Division. Mayor Sam Teresi... who is President by virture of office... of the BPU, laid out a number of potential cuts during open session of Monday's three-hour meeting. BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says that 12-percent is the outcome based on a proposed 2.7-percent hike without the dividend payment. The board... tentatively... gave vocal approval to several projected cuts -- totaling about 175-thousand dollars. However... there are several others that will be looked at before next week's meeting. Prior to the added dividend payment to the city... Leathers says BPU Management looked at Water rate hikes of 3-percent next year, 5-percent in 2017... and, 4-percent in 2018. However... with the dividend payment, they looked at doing that all next year. Leathers says an increase is needed because nearly a quarter of their revenues are paid out in taxes, or tax equivalent payments.
Temperatures have been more "Spring-like" the past few days... but, that's all changing as we head into the day today as a strong cold front crossed the region overnight. Meteorologist Jim Mitchell of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the record high that dated back more than 100 years went bye-bye Monday morning.
Actually... the new record for December 14th will be 71-degrees in Buffalo... which was set shortly before 1 PM yesterday. Strong winds were possible through mid-day today after the cold front moved through... and, that's the main reason for continuation of a Wind Advisory. Mitchell says the winds could bring down some tree limbs across the region through late morning today. They'll later calm down. Once the cold front moved across the area... Mitchell says winds were to pick up again... and, temperatures were to fall into the 40s.
Top New York officials are asking the federal government to help the state to block people on the terror watch list from legal gun purchases. U-S Senator Charles Schumer and Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that the federal government does not currently give states access to classified background information about suspects on its terror watch list. They say that's a dangerous loophole. Cuomo and Schumer also say New York should be able to do criminal background checks on people who are on the watch list.
While state officials have called for not allowing people on "no-fly" or "Terrorist Watch" lists to be able to buy guns legally... Congressional Republicans have rejected efforts to do so. Among those Republican's is Corning's Tom Reed... who feels a lot of the support for such a measure favor gun-control in general. Reed says the second-amendment is a "fundamental right..." and, says such legislation "misses the point...." There has been a huge increase in the number of people buying guns in the United States since the attack in San Bernadino, California... and, even before that in Paris. Reed says he doesn't condon those who buy up guns with evil intentions by any means. He says they "abuse the right" to bear arms. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.
The investigation is continuing into the cause of a fire late Sunday morning at a reported meat processing shop in the town of Portland. Sheriff's Department dispatchers say crews from nearly a half dozen departments responded to the structure fire on Route 5 just before Noon Sunday. Crews from Brocton, with mutual aid from Portland, East and West Dunkirk, Westfield and County Emergency Services responded to the blaze at 58-87 Route 5. There are reports of extensive damage to the former barn. Again... the cause remains under investigation.
The federal prosecutor who won political corruption convictions of two of New York most powerful lawmakers says both recently completed trials publicly exposed a ``deep culture problem'' in the state Legislature. In an interview with The New York Times... U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the trials of ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Leader Dean Skelos showed the public and others seeking reform in Albany what needs to be addressed. Bharara said those issues include lawmakers' ability to earn outside income, a lack of transparency and weak disclosure requirements. Skelos and his son Adam were convicted of federal corruption charges last Friday. Back on November 30th... Silver was found guilty of trading favors for $4 million in kickbacks. Bharara says the trials revealed how Skelos and Silver ``went about their daily corrupt business with barely a thought about it.''
Many New Yorkers have lost faith in a state government that's been embroiled in one corruption scandal after another. But... instead of merely complaining, they'll soon have a chance to tear it all down and start over. Voters will be asked in 2017 whether the state should hold a constitutional convention to consider fundamental changes to its 121-year-old state Constitution.