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November 29, 2012 - 8:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, GCEDC, County.

New version of what was originally posted at 9:45 p.m., Wednesday, to include more information.

On a 6-3 vote Wednesday, the Genesee County Legislature passed a 2013 budget that holds the line on property taxes, raises the pay for management and includes a $213,000 subsidy for GC Economic Development Center.

The three no votes came from legislators Ray Cianfrini, Frank Ferrando and Marianne Clattenburg, who all objected to the subsidy.

It's rare for members of the public to speak at regular meetings of the Genesee County Legislature. In fact, there is never a regular agenda slot for public comment, but last night one resident did show up and was permitted to speak.

Kyle Couchman (photo at right) was at the meeting to suggest the majority of the legislature is out of touch with the wishes of their constituents.

He pointed to a poll that ran on The Batavian that he said indicated 70 percent of county residents oppose continued funding for GCEDC.

"I find it a bit ridiculous that people would glaze it over," Couchman said.

Cianfrini (top photo) said he agreed with Couchman's assessment of voters' wishes.

"The public is overwhelmingly opposed to we as a legislature funding GCEDC while they continue to insist upon paying bonuses to their employees," Cianfrini said. "As a result of last week’s vote, it appears a majority of our legislators are not sensitive to the public’s mood on this matter."

Over the past few years, Cianfrini said, the legislature has made budget cuts that have cost county employees their jobs. Those job losses have meant hardships for individuals and families as former employees struggled to make ends meet, he said.

"Yet we continue to fund the Genesee County Economic Development agency with taxpayer dollars so that a few privileged employees can share in the astronomical bonuses the board of GCEDC continues to award," Cianfrini said.

Incoming GCEDC Board Chairman Charlie Cook has said previously that while employees will be paid bonuses based on 2012 performance measurements, as the board is contractually obligated to do, there will be no performance bonuses for 2013.

Ferrando (bottom inset photo) said the legislature should not give GCEDC a blank check. There should be some method for ensuring the funds from the county are being used appropriately.

"I do my best to listen to the constituents who put me here," Ferrando said. "Everything I hear, they object to funding GCEDC, at least without some strings attached."

For Clattenburg, who also opposes taxpayer money going to bonuses, the big issue is that while GCEDC has done a great job of driving business development in the county, none of GCEDC's efforts seems to be focused on the City of Batavia, which Clattenburg represents (along with Ferrando and Ed DeJaneiro).

"I don't think the focus on the city hasn't gone where it needs to go and that's where my constituents are," Clattenburg said. "I would hope that next year when this comes around I'll be able to support the GCEDC, but I can't do it this year."

None of the other legislators spoke up to defend their votes on the budget, though Esther Leadley did say, for the benefit of the first-year legislators, that if the budget didn't pass, the responsibility would fall to the county's budget officer (County Manager Jay Gsell).

"That means considerably more in terms of tax levy," Leadley said.

For 2013, the county's property tax rate will remain the same at $9.89 per thousand of assessed value.

The $144,980,450 spending plan represents a 2.2-percent increase over 2012, with much of the increase in spending driven by state mandates, especially in pensions and Medicaid.

The tax levy for 2013 will be $26,303,725, an increase of about 2 percent over 2012.

Pay raises for management were approved unanimously in a separate resolution vote.

The following positions will receive a 1.5 percent pay increase:

The following are elected officials and department heads in line for a salary increase of 1.5 percent next year:

  • County Manager Jay Gsell -- $1,551 raise for 2013 salary of $104,935;
  • Sheriff Gary Maha -- $1,374 raise for a salary of $94,957;
  • County Treasurer Scott German -- $1,282 raise for a salary of $87,377;
  • County Clerk Don Read -- $1,207 raise for a salary of $82,702;
  • County Attorney Charles Zambito -- $1,338 for a salary of $91,338.


March 18, 2009 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thruway, pembroke, County.

BATAVIA, N.Y. -- County officials are concerned that the closure of the Pembroke Plaza service area on the Thruway is costing the county sales tax revenue and they're looking to the state for help.

It's impossible to estimate the potential lose in fuel and sales tax because precise business tax information is confidential, according to County Manager Jay Gsell, but such taxes are an important source of revenue for the county.

The issue was raised by Legislator Mary Pat Hancock at Monday's Public Safety Committee meeting and Legislator Jay Grasso accepted the assignment of talking with State Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer.

Grasso works part-time for Ranzenhofer.

"Our first approach is to go through the appropriate channels as far as seeking insight or getting in touch with the right people," Gsell said.

One option, Gsell said, is to convince the Thruway Authority to erect signs letting people know fuel and convenience stores are located at Exit 48-A.

"It's a fairly close alternative," Gsell said. "Pricingwise, it's more competitive, or that's our anecdotal understanding, than what you might typically get at a rest stop."

Directing drivers to an alternative stop in Genesee County will help keep some of that revenue in the County, Gsell said.

Here's the section of the minutes covering the Pembroke Plaza issue:

Legislator Hancock reported that she became aware that the Thruway Gas Plaza in Pembroke was being closed today for renovations and it could remain closed for “several months.” This could have a big impact on Genesee County Sales Tax and she is anxious for everything possible to be done to try and redirect travelers to exit the thruway to make their gas purchases in Genesee County.  Closing this particular Plaza for gas sales means no gas from Angola to Scottsville which could be dangerous to travelers. It was the consensus of the Committee that Chair Grasso will speak to Senator Ranzenhofer to see what might be done to assist in this matter with the Thruway Authority.

I have a call into Jay Grasso to see if he has anything to add, or he can leave a comment.

UPDATE:  Jay Grasso called me as I was driving home, so I couldn't take notes. Hopefully, we can talk more later, but the main point is: A sign did happen to go up Monday evening suggesting 48-A as alternative.

October 11, 2008 - 10:29pm
posted by Nicole Brady in election, County, genesee, vote, campaign, coroner, elect.

Greetings everyone! I'm new to running for a political position, but I am currently running for Genesee County Coroner. Thank you to many people who convinced me that I would be a great coroner and talked me into running this year!  I have a lot of background that would certainly follow along with this position and help me be most efficient at this job. My qualifications include:

Assistant to the Wyoming County Coroner for Tissue Recoveries for many years

Monroe County Medical Examiners Office Internship

BA in Biological Science from SUNY Brockport

Completed various forensic seminars and conferences

I hope that you will consider voting for me on the Conservative line in November.

Thank you!

Nicole Brady

July 15, 2008 - 8:56pm
posted by Tom Clark in Genesee County Fair, County, young folks.

My wife and I went to the County Fair tonight. We walked through all the animal exhibits, watched some of the horse competitions, admired the work that the 3-H Clubs are doing, enjoyed the performance of a talented your magician, and ate food from two granges. The weather was perfect for a liesurely stroll through the grounds. I was impressed by the number of young people who were participating in the Fair and those that were there to support their friends. We reccomend that you take the time tomorrow to enjoy a major part of our cultural base here in western NY.



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