There are five new confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported the past day in Chautauqua County... bringing the local total to 215. Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says they are: a person under the age of 18, a woman in her 30s, a woman in her 50s, and a man and woman in their 60s. Wendel says there are 23 active cases... and, 184 cases that have now recovered. He says 362 are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored... while 714 people are under "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived to Chautauqua County from a state listed on New York's travel advisory. There have now been 20,440 negative test results to date.
Chautauqua County lawmakers have unanimously approved a resolution asking New York state to continue the county's added one-percent sales tax for the next three-years. During last night's Zoom Conference meeting... the legislature approved the measure to keep the sales tax at the current 8-percent, 18-to-nothing. Jamestown Democrat Chuck Nazzaro says the measure helps bring in -- during a normal year -- another $15.2-million to county coffers.
Overall... Nazzaro says -- before the COVID-19 shut-down -- the county budget projected $42-million in revenues from sales tax in Chautauqua County. Lawmakers agreed that the county will need to keep all possible revenues intact through 2020. Jamestown Republican Elisabeth Rankin... adds that -- as important -- is the department heads working hard to cut, and save money where they can this year.
Eligible voters in Chautauqua County can now apply for absentee ballots for the November 3rd general election. That from Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green, and Republican Commissioner Brian Abram. Green says it's "not too early to apply for an absentee ballot for any allowed reason." He says one of those... due to the COVID-19 pandemic... is apply under the "temporary illness" status.
Green urges anyone looking to vote by absentee get their application in soon. He says they are preparing for a much-larger than usual absentee count -- as many as 35,000-- this year. There are about 77,000 registered voters in the county. Green says they are making sure to at least have enough absentees on hand in case everyone has to vote that way. He says ballots will be mailed in Chautauqua County starting on Friday, September 18th. He says the period to apply for an Absentee Ballot with a U-S Postal Service postmark is now through October 27th.
The fall semester at Jamestown Community College will start on Monday, August 24th. College President, Dr. Daniel DeMarte, says they want to make student life as normal as possible... but going to class will be different.
COVID-19 numbers will play a role in determining how those 'flex' courses will be taught... as well as some other things the college can't control, including what happens with the public schools and the availability of childcare in the community. Masks and social distancing will be required at JCC with up to one-third of the student body allowed on campus at any one time. Dr. DeMarte says they hope to bring staff members who've bee working from home back to their offices over the next month. 'Boxed meals' will be available from the cafeteria. Dorms will be open for up to 250 students... a smaller number than usual. The bookstore will be open, operating under a new cooperative agreement with Barnes & Noble.
State Senator George Borrello has been appointed as the Ranking Member of the Senate’s Agriculture and Markets Committee. Borrello's appointment was announced by State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt... who was prior ranking member on the committee. He says Borrello "will undoubtedly be a voice for our Upstate farmers." Borrello says he's grateful for the opportunity to serve in a position to work on critical agriculture issues.
Local Congressman Tom Reed has joined a bi-partisan effort to protect law enforcement and stand against the "Defund Police" movement. Reed is co-sponsoring what's called the "Defund Cities that Defund the Police Act..." joined with two other Republicans and two Democrats in backing the measure. The Corning Republican says it would prevent those communities that defund police from receiving certain federal grants, and stop other specific federal dollars from supporting them.
The two Democrats who support the measure are Anthony Brindisi of the Binghampton-area, and Maine's Jared Golden. Reed says he believes more Democrats will sign-on because the more moderate, practical members have taken this position. More liberal Democrats have called for "defunding police..." even though the term seems to mean different things to different people. Many have said they want some money taken, and used for programs such as enhanced community or mental health services. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.