Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Oct. 19, 2021

City Council begins 2022 budget review, Finance chair voices frustration over lack of "transparency" of information...
The head of the Jamestown City Council's Finance Committee expressed her frustration over what she called a "lack of transparency" in Mayor Eddie Sundquist's 2022 budget proposal.  Lawmakers began their review of the $38.9-million spending plan last night... and, Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund found herself asking several questions of Comptroller Ryan Thompson for more details about where money is going.  Ecklund added, though, that it's not all Thompson's fault... but, adds "you're expecting us to make million dollar decisions on ARPA, and all this stuff, and I've got to bug you a million times for information."  She says it's not fair to the entire process.  "ARPA" is in reference to American Rescue Plan Act funds... about 3-million dollars of which is being used in the 2022 spending plan.  A lot of that money is being used for more than 40 capital projects in the city.  However... only one Jamestown police car is to be replaced in the budget.  Police Chief Tim Jackson says all nine of their "front-line" patrol cars need to be replaced because they have 162,000 and 131,000 miles on them in a couple of instances.  Jackson says they're just not going to last.  He adds their indoor firing range is now at least 30 years old... and, badly needs replacement.  Fire Chief Matt Coon says their biggest need is newer uniforms, and turn-out gear.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman, and Parks Manager Dan Stone also discussed their budgets during the approximately one-hour session.   Sundquist's budget plan includes a $130,000 increase in the tax levy... but, no increase in the tax rate.


Sundquist says his budget proposal does include public safety items...
Jamestown's mayor says his 2022 budget proposal does address public safety concerns facing both the city Police and Fire Departments.  However... Eddie Sundquist does admit there isn't enough money to deal with all the needs quickly.  During this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Group stations... Sundquist addressed public comments that some of the American Rescue Plan funding should be set aside for those areas.  The Democratic mayor insists they are... and, says they try to do these things to make sure "our emergency personnel have the things they need to move forward."  Some of that will come from the "lost revenue" portion of the city's $28-million ARPA funding.  Sundquist adds they also address another public concern... that being replacement of the Cathedral Oak trees taken down on West Third Street between Hall and Hallock Streets.  Most of those trees were taken down in December of last year because just about all of them had fallen victim to disease, and other damage that necessitated taking them down.  Sundquist says the Parks Department needs to do some prep work on the street before new trees can be planted 


Jamestown man sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years for burglary...
A city man who allegedly broke into a property on North Main Street -- just north of Jamestown -- earlier this year has been sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 43 year-old David Hanley received the term Monday morning in County Court from Judge David Foley.  Hanley pled guilty to one count of third-degree burglary for the May 2021 incident back on July 29.  Jamestown police arrested Hanley and investigated the case... and, assisted with it's prosecution.


County BOE announces new additional voting site for Early Voting, starting this Saturday...
Early voting for this Fall's elections gets underway this Saturday, Oct. 23, and will cover a nine day period prior to the Nov. 2 General Election.  There will be four locations in Chautauqua County... and Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says that's one more than a year ago  Abram says they'll be at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, the Jackson Center in Jamestown (which is new), the Board of Elections in Mayville, and the County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk.  We asked Abram why the Jamestown location was added.  He says a change in the law required early voting to also be available in the largest population density area.  It was then they decided to add the Jackson Center in Jamestown.  Abram says hours this Saturday and Sunday will be from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. both days.  


Another 33 new COVID-19 cases reported Monday in county...
There were 33 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County yesterday... and the seven-day infection rate has fallen to 5.8-percent.  The New York State COVID-19 Dashboard says the new cases were found out of 616 tests that were administered.  The county's weekly COVID numbers come out Wednesday.


Tornados confirmed in Western Pa....
Forecasters say a pair of tornados have been confirmed in western Pennsylvania over the weekend.  The National Weather Service says an EF-0 tornado with estimated winds up to 85 mph touched down in the town of Shippingport before dawn Saturday.  The storm uprooted trees and ripped the roof off a pavilion behind the municipal building.  Another EF-1 tornado touched down in Monaca shortly before 6:30 a.m. Saturday and traveled two miles with estimated maximum winds up to 95 mph.  It uprooted trees, sending one onto the windshield of a car, and ripped the roof off a mobile home before crossing the Ohio River into Freedom and causing more damage.


 


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