The city of Jamestown is caught between a budgetary "rock and a hard place" for next year. That from City Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce, as lawmakers began formal deliberations on Mayor Sam Teresi's 2017 budget proposal last night. The budget includes a 150-thousand dollar tax increase... which would bring the city to it's constitutional taxing limit. But, it also includes an 878-thousand dollar shortfall. Dolce says lawmakers don't have a lot of options this time around. Dolce says the problem is they don't project much in the way of any additional revenue... and, their costs for benefits -- especially health care costs -- are going up. Lawmakers have cut most departments down to the bone at this point... but, Dolce says council will look at any potential cuts -- or restorations -- that are necessary. He says they then need to look at the budget "structurally" to see what can be done to balance the budget. City lawmakers looked at the Department of Public Works and the Parks Department last night... but, no decisions were made.
County Executive Vince Horrigan says he welcomes the current budget review by lawmakers of the proposed 2017 spending plan presented last month. Horrigan's spending plan calls for a slight decrease in the full value tax rate. County lawmakers are looking to make further cuts to the local share of the budget. While he encourages a thorough review, Horrigan says lawmakers will have to be careful where they cut. One area of concern is the Sheriff's Office and funding for new equipment -- dashboard cameras for patrol cars -- given the spat of recent incidents across the nation involving police. Horrigan says he will attend this week's meeting of the Legislature's Audit and Control where the budget is expected to be discussed... along with any possible cuts. In a related development... Horrigan says Chautauqua County has received the paperwork for transitional aid to help cover the loss of revenues from the mothballing of the NRG power plant in Dunkirk. He doesn't expect in problem in receiving the special aid.
Jamestown police have now identified the 22-month old boy who died in last Saturday morning's tragic house fire in the city's northside. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the boy has been identified as Diandre Hubbard. Fire Lieutenant Bruce Sheldon says fire crews were called to the scene at 823 Prendergast Avenue shortly after 8 AM Saturday. Sheldon says firefighters were alerted to the fact that Hubbard was still inside the second-floor apartment when they arrived. He says crews had to fight smoke and fire coming from inside, but, found the child deceased. Sheldon says the Diandre died in the area where the most fire was. An autopsy was performed at the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office. However... the cause of death and the fire are still under investigation.
Chautauqua County fire investigators say arson is the cause of a mid-afternoon house fire Sunday afternoon on the Centralia-Hartfield Road in the town of Chautauqua. Sheriff's officers say Mayville fire crews were called to the scene of the blaze at 63-75 Centralia-Harfield Road in Mayville about 2:30 PM. Firefighters from Hartfield, Chautauqua, Dewittville and Maple Springs also responded to the scene. No one was hurt. County fire investigators say they found the fire was intentionally set... and, the investigation has been turned over to the Sheriff's Office.
There's three weeks to go before Election Day... and, the challenger in the local Congressional race says the incumbant is beholden to special interests. Jamestown-area Democrat John Plumb says that Republican Tom Reed accepted nearly 30-thousand dollars from Political Action Committees and major finanial interests last month alone. Plumb says -- in fact -- that the Corning Republican is very much part of Washington's "culture of greed and self-interest." Reed says that's not the case... and, that campaign contributors believe in what he's doing compared to what his opponent will do. Plumb's campaign high-lighted the 20 or so entities in September... including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley... who contributed between one-thousand and 2-thousand dollars each. As for Plumb and the financial contributions the challenger has received... Reed says he's not going to play "political tit-for-tat." He says he's worried about the "American people, and the people in his district." Plumb is a U-S Navy veteran who recently rose to the rank of Captain.
New Yorkers have again set a record for online voter registration ahead of this year's presidential election. Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration announced today (Monday) that 214,356 people filed online voter registration applications between October 1st and last Friday, the deadline. That's far more than the previous one-month record of 140,602, which was set last month. The single-day registration record was also set on Friday, when nearly 68,000 people signed up to vote. Of those who registered online this month, more than 122,000 are first-time voters.
The new chairman of the Jamestown City Democratic Committee says one of his priorities is getting new, young Democrats involved in the process. Long-time city businessman Jim Walton was elected to the position late last week... and, he tells us that he wanted to "return the city committee to it's former level of activity with regular monthly meetings... and, have an active and inclusive organization...." In addition... Walton says the committee has also named a new treasurer. He says another long-time member, Jim Olson, has stepped down... and, John LaMancuso, Junior, a local attorney, will be taking on that role. He says it's a little late to put on a push this "election cycle..." but, he says they'll be active over the next 22 days leading up to Election Night on November 8th. He says they're going to try to return to offering people rides to the polls... and, do a "get out the vote" effort on election day. While there are no local races in the city this year... Walton says they're excited about the Democratic candidates for office this year for state and federal positions.