Support the proposed sale of the County Home
By TODD TRANUM
President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
The Chautauqua County Legislature will hold a special meeting Oct. 18 to discuss and vote on the proposed sale of the County Home. For weeks now, the Chamber/MAST has been encouraging local business people and residents to call and email County Legislatures to seek their support on this important issue.
We must be clear. We are not in favor of closing the County Home. But we are in favor of selling it to a private entity. County government has, to its credit, done the work it needed to do to make an informed decision. The results of studies and requests for proposals are very clear the county can sell the Home, stop the drain on property taxpayers, add to the County tax base, and still make sure the residents are cared for and that jobs are available for local workers.
County Executive Greg Edwards has included the sale of the County Home in his 2013 budget proposal. The county has been offered $16.5 million in cash to sell the facility to Altitude Health Services, Inc. The legislature can either proceed with the opportunity and sell the home, or raise our property taxes. This is one time when our legislators have a very clear opportunity to do something meaningful that will help alleviate our property tax burden. This is a local decision. This is one of those instances where our County legislators have something within their control that they can act on. We hope they will.
If lawmakers keep the County Home as is, administrator Tim Hellwig is asking the legislature for $2.6 million in local dollars to help fund the facility next year. Even with that, the skilled nursing facility would end up with a loss of over $716,000 in 2013.
It is simply not practical or feasible to maintain the County Home as a government entity. The taxpayers of this county can no longer bear this burden.
We are calling, once again, for the people of this county to let their legislators know how they stand on this issue. Call or email your legislator and ask them to line up in favor of selling the County Home. You can also turn out for the special meeting where this measure will be discussed. It will be held at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 18 in the County Legislature Chambers in Mayville. A "super majority" vote is required to sell the County Home, which means that 17 members of the legislature must vote to sell in order for the project to move forward.
Please call, write, email and turn out in person to make your voice heard. It is time to sell the County Home.
Chamber Banquet Oct. 11
There are still a few seats remaining for those who want to attend the 2012 Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet. The Chamber will recognize long-time Jamestown Community College President Dr. Gregory DeCinque as Person of the Year. The Economic Development Award will go to the Chamber member wineries that are part of the Lake Erie Wine Country Wine Trail: 21 Brix Winery, Johnston Estate Winery, Liberty Vineyards & Winery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars, Merritt Estate Winery, Noble Winery, Willow Creek Winery, and Woodbury Vineyards.
The Community Chambers will each recognize Community Service Award winners as well. The Dunkirk Community Chamber is honoring Roosevelt and LaPearl Haynes for their years of service to the community and the Dunkirk city schools. Community volunteer Roberta Coniglio is being recognized by the Fredonia Community Chamber for her activity in many organizations including Girl Scouts, Holy Trinity Church and Kiwanis/Key Club. The award in Jamestown is going to John Bauer for his participation in numerous organizations including the Chamber, DJDC, LucyFest, Babe Ruth Baseball and many others. Sue Briggs is getting the Community Service award from the Silver Creek/Hanover Chamber for her efforts in promoting tourism in the region. Boy Scout Troop 126 in Mayville is receiving the award from the Mayville/Chautauqua Chamber for their service in a variety of ways. Alan Holbrook will receive the award from the Westfield/Barcelona Chamber for his work with the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department and many other organizations.
The event will be held at the newly remodeled Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia. Anyone who wishes to attend should register immediately. You can register online through our website at www.chautauquachamber.org.