The efforts of the past two-plus years to increase the local sales tax and sell the Chautauqua County Home has allowed County Executive Vince Horrigan to propose another, small tax cut for 2017. Horrigan outlined his tentative budget plan... which cuts the tax rate by 6-cents per thousand full-value... at last night's county legislature meeting. He says the budget plan moves the county in "the right direction while maintaining high-quality services." That includes a new, day-time emergency service. Horrigan says three new "fly-cars" would be purchased initially for the service... which would be paid for through insurance reimbursement. He says the 228.8-million dollar spending plan also invests one-million dollars to buy new, heavy-duty equipment needs for the Department of Public Facilities. Horrigan says that should help cut repair costs. The budget also uses another 402-thousand dollars from the undesignated fund balance to offset fluctuations in sales tax, energy plant profits, and critical staffing needs. That includes nine addition part-time corrections officers for the County Jail to reduce overtime costs.
A long-time member of the County Legislature who has been a key member of it's main financial committee says -- given the past two years budgets -- this one is "refreshing." Those are the feelings of Jamestown Democrat Chuck Nazzaro... who is ranking member of the Audit and Control Committee. Nazzaro says it's his 10th budget... and, adds there are a "lot of messages" in the executive's spending plan. Nazzaro says there are a "lot of positives" in Vince Horrigan's 2017 budget plan... including the addition of nine part-time corrections people for the jail... which has had overcrowding issues this year. Those problems have driven up overtime costs because there are some inmates that must be watched at all times of the day. The budget also includes 5-year projections. Nazzaro says the Audit and Control Committee will meet with department heads next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to begin work on the budget... which is due by November 1st.
An investigation is underway into a fatal train-pedestrian accident on the CSX railroad tracks near Middle Road in Dunkirk. Police say the accident forced the closing the railroad crossing for several hours early Wednesday morning. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says it reopened about mid-morning. Ortolano says local agencies responded to the call shortly after Midnight just west of the crossing. Ortolano says it's believed the victim, who was not identified, was walking along the tracks at the time of the accident. The chief says a video from the train showed what appeared to be another person walking along the tracks with the victim at the time of the accident. Dunkirk Police are asking for the individual to come forward... and, talk with investigators about the accident. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about the accident is asked to call Dunkirk Police at 366-2266.
A north county man has been arrested for allegedly entering a Westfield home illegally... and, stealing a number of items from the house. Sheriff's officers and Westfield Police were called to the scene at 83-43 Route 5 just after 9 AM Tuesday on a report of a "burglary-in-progress." Deputies say the caller said she heard the dog barking... and, saw a man entering her house through a window. Officers say she left the residence and called 9-1-1. Westfield and County Sheriff's officers entered the house to clear it... and, found 32 year-old Jeffrey Switzer in a bedroom with items from the house in bags. Switzer was arrested on one count of second-degree burglary, and arraigned in Chautauqua Town Court. He was then sent to the County Jail in lieu of 30-thousand dollars cash bail.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's re-election campaign will "set aside" 350-thousand dollars it received from developers facing federal corruption charges. Basil Smikle, executive director of state Democratic Party, says the money will go into a separate account pending the outcome of the case. Smikle says Wednesday the money will be available if federal authorities seek its forfeiture. Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli isn't waiting for the outcome. His campaign said it will return $23,700 in contributions from the developers. Five executives at Buffalo-based LPCiminelli and Syracuse-based COR Development face charges they worked to rig bids for lucrative contracts awarded by the Cuomo administration. Others charged include former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco and State University of New York Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros.
Gas prices in Chautauqua County are holding steady this week... decreasing just a fraction of a penny to just over 2-dollars-29 cents a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the actual price is 2--29.3 cents this week. Nationally... the Fuel Gauge says the price is also holding steady at just over 2-dollars-20 cents this week. Triple-A says drivers are paying the same price per gallon month-over-month, and 8 cents less per gallon year-over-year. Although today’s average remains flat compared to one week ago... pump prices have been pressured higher in some regions due to disruptions on the Colonial Pipeline. Drivers in 25 states are paying less at the pump week-over-week, although some volatility remains in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions where prices continued to see upward momentum as a result of the Colonial Pipeline disruption.
A pair of hockey games, a concert and a special ceremony are among the activities that'll be part of "Alex: Celebrate the Life, the Smile" at the Northwest Arena in Jamestown. The event will be held this Saturday... just ahead of what would have been the '27th birthday' for Alex Foulk. Alex... who was an avid hockey player... died last February from a Heroin overdose. His mother, Kim Carlson, has organized the event with others... and, says the hockey part begins at 2 PM. Carlson says the Red Carpet ceremony will also allow addicts in recovery to speak as well. After that... she says activities will resume with a concert by the local band, TPT... and, there will then be an "open skate" until 6:30 PM. Carlson says individual tickets are 10-dollars each... unless you come as a family of "up to six" will be able to get in for 25-dollars. Tickets are already on sale at the Northwest Arena lobby. Proceeds will benefit the Alex Foulk Memorial Fund, to raise money for transitional housing for those recovering from drug addiction.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf addressed a joint session of the state House and Senate Wednesday as he presses for action on a package of legislation designed to combat opioid and heroin addiction. Wolf's address comes as lawmakers' fall voting session winds down. He says lawmakers can't afford to stall with 10 people a day dying from drug overdoses in Pennsylvania. Wolf is seeking passage of bills to require prescribers to check a prescription drug monitoring database every time they prescribe opioids and limit the opioid quantities that emergency room doctors can prescribe to seven days.