Taxes in the city of Jamestown would go up to the constitutional taxing limit... but, that still leaves an 878-thousand dollar deficit in Mayor Sam Teresi's 2017 budget. The mayor unveiled a 35-million dollar spending plan at City Hall yesterday afternoon to the public, and three members of the city council. Teresi says the budget increases the tax levy buy just over 150-thousand dollars... bringing the full value tax rate to the maximum 23-dollars-77 cents. He says it's the cumulative effect of five years of 'fiscal stress' brought on by "the Great Recession...." Teresi says... if there's any growth in sales tax... it will be minimal, and won't provide much help to the bottom line in 2017. He says the biggest issues are employee benefits... including increased health care costs. He also noted that 77-percent of the city's employees are under some kind of union contract... and, those negotiated contracts cannot be reneged on. Teresi did offer some good news on the health insurance front for retirees thanks to some work they've done with the state's Restructuring Board. However... that will provide more help in later years.
The Chautauqua County Legislature has set an objective of cutting the local share dollars in County Executive Vince Horrigan's 2017 tentative budget by half. The Audit and Control Committee has finished it's initial review of the approximately 270-million dollar spending plan... which includes a slight tax decrease. Committee Chairman Pierre Chagnon says it's the "best tenative budget" he's seen in the past three years. Chagnon says the local share in the spending plan is up 1.3-million dollars... and, that's almost solely in the Sheriff's Department. He says other departments are showing either some increase... or some decrease. Chagnon says the plan now is for each standing committee to review their individual budgets to find about 650-thousand dollars in cuts. He says member sof the home committee each know their particular budgets better than the others. Chagnon says Budget Director Kitty Crow pointed out during the review late last week that the Sheriff's Department has fewer outside funding sources... and, therefore is more dependant on local share dollars than most other departments.
County Executive Vince Horrigan's 2017 budget proposal is balanced by using another approximately 400-thousand dollars from the undesignated fund balance. Horrigan says that's to offset ongoing decreases in sales tax revenues, and other areas. Audit and Control Committee Chairman Pierre Chagnon says... due to the use of more fund balance in the budget... the panel is weighing whether to return the savings to fund balance, or provide a larger tax cut. The tax levy in the County Executive's budget is up slightly in the 2017 budget... due mainly to 2.77-percent increase in total assessments. However... the spending plan does include a 6-cent per thousand full value tax rate decrease. Chagnon says his committee wants the futher cuts to local share for their meeting a week from this Thursday. The legislature is slated to vote on the spending plan at it's October 28th meeting.
A Jamestown man looking for drug money has been arrested for allegedly robbing two local convenience stores last weekend. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says surveillance cameras showed the same man robbed the Kwik Fill Station on West Third Street in Jamestown just after 8:30 PM last Saturday... then the Kwik Fill at 700 East Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott just before 9 PM Sunday. Samuelson says 37 year-old Victor Rivera was able to get a "substantial amount" of cash from the two robberies. He says they worked with Ellicott Town Police to find the bandit... and, says a patrol picked Rivera up Monday on an unrelated warrant. While it appears the suspect may have had a weapon inside his hoodie... Samuelson says none was found. He says it had to be a scary situation for the clerk's involved. Regardless... Samuelson says Rivera has now been charged with two counts of second-degree robbery for the two hold-ups. Those are Class-C Felonies. No one was hurt in either instance. Rivera was being held pending arraignment.
The leader of a New York state research institute has resigned after being charged in a bribery and bid-rigging case that has shaken the administration of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros resigned late Monday. His attorney, Mike Miller, said Tuesday that Kaloyeros had resigned because he didn't want his criminal charges to become a distraction to his colleagues. Miller says his client is innocent. Kaloyeros faces state and federal charges that allege he steered lucrative state contracts to hand-picked companies. He's one of several men charged in an investigation into Cuomo's high-profile economic development projects. Kaloyeros is a nanotech expert who led many of Cuomo's efforts to attract high-tech jobs. He has a salary of more than $800,000 and was the state's highest-paid employee.
The county's Congressman brought his "Working and Listening Tour" to Dunkirk yesterday afternoon with a visit to Fieldbrook Foods. Corning Republican Tom Reed... who is seeking re-election... says he is pleased to hear about the addition of nearly 50 jobs. Reed says he looks forward to working with the ice-cream maker in the future. Reed did speak about GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump's controversial comments on women from 2005, calling them "just plain wrong." But... Reed also reaffirmed his support for Trump because he believes the Billionaire businessman can create more jobs, and better provide security for the nation. It's the second business Reed has visited in Chautauqua County in less than a week. Last Wednesday... Reed outlined his plan to bolster American manufacturing during a stop at Blackstone Advanced Technologies in Jamestown.
A woman who accused former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer of assaulting her is being held on one-million dollars bail on charges she extorted nearly $400,000 from him. Svetlana Zakharova appeared in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday following her arrest in New York. The 26 year-old openly wept throughout most of the proceeding. A judge set the bail after a prosecutor described Zakharova as an extreme flight risk. Her attorney said she had no reason to flee. Authorities say the Russian woman fled the U.S. after accusing Spitzer in February of assaulting her at The Plaza Hotel. Spitzer denied the allegations. Zakharova is charged with grand larceny by extortion.
The U.S. Senate's most moderate female Republican is helping Senator Pat Toomey (TOO'-mee) make an appeal to suburban Philadelphia women, a voting bloc crucial in the close Pennsylvania race. Maine Senator Susan Collins held up Toomey on Tuesday as an independent thinker who's made extraordinary efforts to break partisanship. Toomey is one of the Senate's most vulnerable Republicans. He's being challenged by Democrat Katie McGinty. Toomey needs to persuade Democrats to split their votes and win independents to overcome the roughly double-digit advantage Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton holds over Republican Donald Trump. Toomey has distanced himself from the GOP presidential nominee and on gun control from his party. But... Toomey hasn't ruled out voting for or endorsing Trump.