The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved leasing several acres of land at the former Roblin Steel location in Dunkirk to store wind turbine parts for projects in three northern Chautauqua County towns.
Lawmakers last night approved the $60,000 lease with BNSF Logistics, 15-to-4. During discussion prior to the vote Hanover's George Borrello again voiced his opposition to the projects mainly because they are so heavily-taxpayer subsized. Borrello also accused the companies involved with throwing money around to divide communities to get what they want.
Dunkirk legislator Robert Bankowski supported the move, which would take place in his district. Bankowski says the move may help spur further development at the former Roblin Steel location which is also a brownfield site.
Most legislature members agreed with Bankowski but, some were sympathic to residents who spoke prior to the vote and, urged others to vote against the proposal.
One of those was Jamestown's Chuck Nazzaro who says it's "not always about the money." Nazzaro says he listened with his heart adding that $60,000 is not going to "make or break this county budget."
Members of the public sounded off for nearly an hour before last night's vote on the wind turbine storage facility with several again opposing the projects in Arkwright, Villanova, and Cassadaga.
One of them, Patricia Greenstein of Cassadaga thanked legislators Nazzaro, Scudder and Borrello for opposing the lease deal in committee. Greenstein says she's concerned about the fact that BNSF is a subsidized company and, the lease will be paid for with taxpayer money.
Others also voiced concern over the fact that the county and towns and school districts won't realize the money they should be with a 150-million dollar-plus project. However, the extra $300,000 is critical to those entities.
That from Arkwright Supervisor Fred Norton, who says he's been involved directly with the project the past 11 years. Norton says it's especially important to the local schools.
Other residents on hand also voiced environmental and health concerns with the projects... which combined will produce more than 100 wind turbines. Each individual project has been approved by the local boards involved.
The city of Jamestown is in "pretty good shape" as far are revenues coming in for the first quarter of the year.
However there are some concerns about expenses, namely due to several retirements planned in the city Police Department. That from City Comptroller Joe Bellitto, who recently told city council members that first quarter Payments in Lieu of Taxes from the Board of Public Utilities were, collectively slightly above budget projections.
As for expenses he says they're looking at about $22,000 in overtime from the fire department from last month's rash of arson fires.
The biggest concern, though, on the expense side, is the city is being hit by six retirements in the Police Department and, some of those have already taken place. Bellitto says the city budgeted $80,000 for those.
However he says it's going to cost $378,000 when they all retire. Bellitto says they will recoup some of that money later in the year... but, they're not yet sure how much.
Two Democrats in the New York state legislature say the state should be required to release the state tax returns of any president who hails from New York state.
The measure does not mention President Donald Trump by name, but it comes after the New York City Republican refused to release his tax returns during his successful run for the presidency last year.
The requirement would apply to anyone holding high-level elected office, including the presidency, who has filed a New York state tax return. It would not be retroactive.
Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan and Assemblyman David Buchwald of Westchester County plan to formally introduce their legislation Thursday. Hoylman also has proposed requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the New York ballot.
The new National Comedy Center in Jamestown is getting some federal help in making the "national-scope" comedy attraction a reality.
That from Local Congressman Tom Reed, who has announced that he's secured New Market Tax Credit financing to help complete the project. Reed says that financing will provide 4.8-million dollars in "net funding" for the center. The Corning Republican says he's very pleased to see this finally happen.
Reed says comedy is a "true art" that brings smiles to so many people and, he says being part of bringing the project to it's conclusion is "something we're excited about. He praised comedy center officials led by Board Chairman Tom Benson have done a great job sheparding the project and, he looks foward to the final product and, the jobs created and entertainment provided.
In a printed release Tom Benson said "we are grateful for the tremendous hands-on approach that Congressman Reed and his staff have provided over the past several years." With this funding mechanism in place Benson says they can now make "this catalytic economic development project a reality."
Gas prices in Chautauqua County are continuing their upward trend this week with the price up about 6-cents for a gallon of regular, unleaded fuel.
That from the AAA's Fuel Gauge Report which says the price is up from just over $2.49 last week to just over $2.55 this week. The Fuel Gauge says the state of New York is among the top-10 most expensive gas markets in the U.S. with an average price of $2.52. Nationally the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $2.42, which is an increase of 13 cents over last month.
Lake Ontario's rising water is furthering New York Congressman Chris Collins' push for the repeal of an environmental plan adopted late in President Barack Obama's administration.
The U.S.-Canadian International Joint Commission approved Plan 2014 as a way to improve environmental conditions along the lake and the St. Lawrence River by letting water levels rise and fall more naturally. But the Republican congressman says it's causing damaging flooding along the shoreline.
As of Wednesday, the Lake Ontario water level is about 20 inches above average. The commission says the rainy April is the cause, and that the levels would be about the same with or without Plan 2014.
Collins and fellow New York Congressman John Katko have written to President Donald Trump urging him to pull out of the binational agreement.