TERRY FRANK

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NOEL BLACKHALL

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DENNIS WEBSTER

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The Jamestown School Board has approved the basics of an 84.9-million dollar budget for 2017-18 that will go before the voters next May 16th. 

 

The board last night approved the spending plan which includes no tax increase and, adds necessary personnel and, helps the district replenish it's reserve funds.  Interim School Superintedent Silvia Root says the district got just over one-million dollars more in aid from the final state budget and, says that's a "good problem." 

 

Root says they'll now work with the board meeting students needs better. Root says they initially agreed to add eight teachers and staff in the previous budget draft.  However she says that number could be as many as 12 depending on what the board decides on. Two Middle School Counselors a School Psychologst and, a Behavior Specialist will also be considered. 

 

School Board President Paul Abbott was pleased with the budget but, also voiced concern about "overcorrecting" after years of having to slash spending and staff.  He says financial staff believe the level of spending is sustainable. 

 

A public hearing on the proposed spending plan will be held on Tuesday, May 9th, at Persell Middle School and, the public vote on the budget will be Tuesday, May 16th.


An alert McDonald's employee led police in Erie, Pennsylvania to the suspect in a Cleveland slaying that was recorded and posted on Facebook. 

 

Henry Sayers, the manager of the Harbor Creek restaurant, says that Steve Stephens pulled up to the drive-thru Tuesdaymorning and ordered a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets and french fries.  He says the attendant recognized Stephens, who was wanted in Sunday's slaying of a retired Ohio man, and called 9-1-1. 

 

Prior to that Erie Police said they received dozens of tips and, here in Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says his department got a couple of them. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says they received a tip on Stephens but that too was unfounded. 

 

The McDonald's owner tells the Erie Times-News that workers tried to "buy some time for the cops" and told Stephens his order of fries was delayed.  He says Stephens replied he had no time to wait and drove away. 

 

State police gave chase.  Authorities say Stephens stopped his car on the eastside of Erie and, shot and killed himself.


The city of Jamestown's proposed annexation of five-acres of property in Falconer owned by the Board of Public Utilities is not equitable to all parties involved and, that's why the town of Ellicott and two other entities are opposing the move. 

 

Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin says he, Falconer Village Mayor Jim Rensel, and Falconer School Superintendent Steve Penhollow have met several times regarding the proposal involving the Dow Street Substation since it was first announced.  McLaughlin says they all agree the move would provide no benefit to their residents.

 

In addition McLaughlin says they have agreed on hiring legal counsel to represent all three entities during the annexation process and, any court proceedings that would be involved.  He says they hired the Harris-Beech law firm shortly after city officials initially announced that they were investigating the possibility of annexing the land. 

 

McLaughlin says the biggest loss of tax revenue for Ellicott, Falconer, and the Falconer School District would be to the school district.  McLaughlin says the estimated loss would be about $165,000 to $170,000 a year.


Adjustments are being made to the village of Lakewood's proposed 2017-18 budget which Mayor Cara Birrittieri says reflect's "an incredibly difficult fiscal year." 

 

Birritierri  filed the just over 4.4-million dollar spending plan earlier this month with the village clerk's office.  She says the village has lost 2-million dollars in assessments and, all departments are requesting increases in spending for the new year. 

 

Birritierri says her proposal includes a tax rate of $7.72 per thousand assessed value which is a 57-cent per thousand increase.  She says it'a "about as bare bones as possible, without eliminating essential village services and important community needs." 

 

A public hearing on the spending plan was held a week ago and, a vote is slated for next Monday night.  The budget is due by May 1st.


Local Congressman Tom Reed used Tax Day 2017 to again tout the need for federal tax reform and, revealed some proposals he's looking at some suggested by constituents. 

 

The Corning Republican says one of the biggest hassles with taxes is the time it takes to itemize returns.  However Reed says he's hearing a lot of positive feedback on the idea of expanding the standard deduction to reduce the number of filers who itemize from 30 to 5-percent.

 

Reed says many people have also talked about the need to lower the tax burden and, he says he would like to see the number of brackets reduced to an expanded zero-percent along with three others at 12, 25% and 33%.  He says that would be a "positive thing." 

 

Reed also says streamling deductions including real property taxes, and education is an idea worth looking at.  Reed says it's time to bring the tax code into the 21st Century. 

 

He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.


Governor Andrew Cuomo reports earning $400,000 on his federal tax return for 2016. 

 

The Democratic governor made his tax returns available to journalists Tuesday afternoon, revealing a sharp increase in royalties from his 2014 memoir "All Things Possible."  The nearly $168,000 Cuomo accrued from his gubernatorial salary is boosted by $218,000 from the book and some investment income. 

 

The returns show Cuomo donated $20,000 to HELP USA, a charity for the homeless he founded decades ago.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and her husband reported just under $368,000 in income on their returns. 

 

They will owe $3,700 to the federal government and $1,700 to the state.  Hochul is married to William Hochul, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York.  They donated $21,000 to charities last year.


Gas prices in the Jametown-area are holding steady this week but, nationally the price has hit a new high for 2017. 

 

The AAA's Fuel Gauge Report says the local price this week is down fractions of a penny but, remain just over $2.49 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel.  The Fuel Gauge says the national price is now up to $2.41.  That's two-cents more than last week and, 12 cents more than one month ago. 

 

AAA says the national average has now increased for 20 consecutive days, and pump prices in 43 states and Washington D.C. have moved higher over the last week.   The national increase was most prevalent in the East Coast region where refiners wrapped up seasonal turnaround resulting in significant prices increases last week.


New York state officials are warning residents of the dangers of wildfires. 

 

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration announced earlier this week that higher-than-normal temperatures and seasonal winds could heighten the risk of wildfires this spring.  The state has banned open burning through May 14th.  Brush fires often are a problem in the spring as rising temperatures and dry grass can create potentially dangerous situations. 

 

The governor's office says crews have recently responded to reports of fires in Albany, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Essex, Herkimer, Orange and Saratoga counties.  Cuomo's office says residents can prepare for possible brush fires by inspecting their home's exterior, removing dead leaves or vegetation and keeping a working hose connected to an outdoor faucet.

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