ASHVILLE - Fredonia businessman Ron Johnson, the Democratic and Independence endorsed candidate for Chautauqua County Executive, continued to express criticism of the current county administration's failure to bring the Saturn Pet Care plant to Chautauqua County. Johnson pledged that his administration's IDA would have a list of prepared sites ready for businesses to invest in.
Speaking before supporters at an informal campaign stop, Johnson said, "To see our county lose this opportunity leaves me very concerned with our county government's ability to communicate effectively with potential business investors.
"A Ron Johnson administration will be aggressive in its pursuit of potential investors, both national and international. The county had a great opportunity with Saturn Pet Care to replace jobs lost over the past eight years and they let it slip through their fingers. I have a good track record in the private sector and I know how to communicate with American and international business leaders," Johnson said.
Saturn Pet Care had reportedly started the hiring process and had plans to invest $20 million into updating the former AFA food processing facility in Ashville. The loss of this investment means 125 jobs that will not be available to the people of Chautauqua County. The Saturn Pet Care company estimated they would need 200,000 gallons of water a day to operate efficiently and the County officials failed to make sure this employer's water needs would be met.
"It was previously stated that the former AFA site in Ashville had 'generic value for many different types of food processing'. The site should have been upgraded with a way of supplying water in large quantities and could attract many other companies if the necessary infrastructure is built. This was not properly developed, even though its value was known," said Johnson.
Johnson also stated, "Under my administration, we would have sites already assessed by engineers for up to date knowledge on the infrastructure of any site throughout the county so companies understand what they are investing in the county. I have the private sector job creating business background to lead our county into the future and I will reverse the recent trend of job exodus. I promise that Chautauqua County will be ready for businesses during my administration" concluded Johnson.
Johnson is a fifth generation resident of Chautauqua County and the owner and operator of Johnson Adult Homes in Fredonia. He was the lead developer of Fredonia Place and has turned around two different assisted living facilities in New York and Florida. Johnson is a combat veteran of the Vietnam conflict, former Town of Pomfret Justice and is a retired Chautauqua County deputy sheriff and Inductee into the American Police Hall of Fame.