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Committee of the Whole

March 24, 2021 - 7:03pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, County Legislature, Committee of the Whole.

The Genesee County Legislature this afternoon revisited the possibility of adopting rules to cover videoconferencing of its meetings and -- while not coming to any binding decision – is on board with in-person attendance for the purposes of a committee quorum and voting, and allowing remote access for non-committee members to participate.

During a 38-minute Committee of the Whole discussion at the Old County Courthouse and via Zoom, legislators agreed to a “hybrid” approach to videoconferencing as proposed by Chair Rochelle Stein.

The debate followed up on a proposed resolution drafted last August that sought to place guidelines on videoconferencing, a practice necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent executive orders by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which suspended the Open Meetings Law to provide for remote participation in legislative and committee meetings.

That executive order continues in place, although it was reported during today’s meeting that it is set to expire in two days. Stein said Committee of the Whole discussion was called now “to be somewhat ahead of the game.”

County Attorney Kevin Earl emphasized that the “major issue” to achieve a quorum and to facilitate legal voting when videoconferencing is that “you can’t do it by telephone … the legislator has to be available to be seen and be seen by the other legislators to participate formally.”

Earl, with input from Legislature Clerk Pamela LaGrou and County Manager Matt Landers, wrote a seven-point amendment to the original resolution (which was not acted upon), with a key stipulation as follows:

“The videoconference shall be conducted in compliance with state law and ensure that all legislators and members of the public have the opportunity to see and hear a legislator videoconferencing and such videoconferencing legislator can see and hear the other members of the legislature.”

Earl said there aren’t a lot of cases concerning this matter but there are many opinions, including those of the attorneys connected to the Committee on Open Government, an organization that holds a lot of weight with judges.

The attorney also noted that if videoconferencing is used, the public notice of the meeting must inform the public as such, identify the locations for the meeting and state that the public has the right to attend the meeting at any of those locations.

Genesee County has been able to acquire the technology – legislators call it “the owl” – to be able to show all meeting participants on the Zoom call. This prompted Earl to say that he would support having legislators not on a particular committee to be able to call in and participate via Zoom as long as they weren’t going to vote or had no bearing on the required quorum.

Earl also proposed that the legislature could adopt a rule limiting the number of times a legislator could “attend” a meeting through videoconferencing, specifically three times in a calendar year.

Stein then said she understood that most of the legislators “would like to have the meetings in person for those that serve on the committees themselves and (for those not on the committee) to be able to participate through Zoom, and have that kind of hybrid opportunity."

“That’s where I come down on this question but right now our rules don’t allow even that to happen.”

At that point, the individual legislators gave their thoughts. They all stated that it was the responsibility of the committee member to be in the room unless it was an emergency, and also were open to permitting legislators not on the committee to follow along via Zoom.

“I would like to see everybody show up, except for some extreme situation … but I really think you have the responsibility to be here,” Gordon Dibble said, adding that he would support those not on the committee signing in remotely.

Christian Yunker said he was in favor of the hybrid model, noting that the opportunity for others to listen in and participate “probably is valuable enough that the rest of us should do that at least for the foreseeable future.”

Brooks Hawley said “if you’re on the committee, you should be here, but if you want to see what is going on and you have a prior engagement, such as work, family commitment or something like that, I think you should be able to do that (participate remotely).”

Earl advised that the legislature can’t prohibit videoconferencing but also isn’t required to implement guidelines on videoconferencing.

Gary Maha said he was OK with the hybrid approach, but added that “we’re elected to represent our constituents and if you could be here, you should be here."

Chad Klotzbach agreed, stating that videoconferencing “has created a platform for people to actually see what we’re doing.”

Marianne Clattenburg suggested postponing any formal vote until after the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have no problem with having people listening to the discussion remotely, but I think voting remotely, I’m against that and would hate to see that become a precedent,” Clattenburg said.

In closing, Stein summarized the points brought out through the discussion – in-person for a quorum and voting, remote participation for others, expanding the technology to include a laptop at the podium for public speakers, and providing additional technical support for the legislative clerk.

When the legislature does decide to act upon formalizing the rules and adopting the amended resolution, the matter would go to the Ways & Means Committee for further discussion and a vote.

Legislators agreed to wait until after the pandemic, with Maha suggesting “the simpler the better.”

With that, Stein said, “I hope the executive order is extended” and adjourned the meeting.

Grant Would Assess Broadband Situation

In another development, the legislature during its regular meeting approved applying for a $95,000 grant from the Northern Borders Regional Commission’s State Economic & Infrastructure Development Investment Program to subsidize a countywide broadband inventory/availability study and develop a subsequent business plan.

Landers said the county was informed of the grant by the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, which is currently being led by former Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell.

“This grant would provide a pretty comprehensive broadband study throughout the county,” Landers said. “The G/FLRPC is submitting this on our behalf and it’s a $95,000 grant with a 20-percent local match ($19,000). If we get it, we could find what our gaps are in broadband access in our community and it would also fund a survey of the homes to get a better understanding of where the gaps are and the level of residents’ desire for broadband access.”

Landers said two other counties may partner with Genesee to increase the odds of getting the grant.

“Federal funds are out there to help alleviate this, but we need to understand what our gaps really are before we can go after those bigger grants,” Landers said.

Landers Warns of 'Cluster Pop-up'

Landers reported that the COVID-19 positivity rate is down, the number of people receiving the vaccine is up and many restrictions have been lifted, but urges citizens to remain vigilant.

"It's easy to get cluster pop-ups," he said. "We had 20 to 25 cases (recently) that were linked to a few events -- a birthday party here and a couple of other events there."

August 19, 2020 - 6:39pm

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Armed with a petition of 1,100 signatures, Pavilion Town Supervisor Robert LaPoint (in photo) told the Genesee County Legislature this afternoon that the community he serves is galvanized to do something about what he says is a dangerous traffic situation in the vicinity of Pavilion Central School on Route 63.

“With the help of the school district, we put forth a petition just to see if there was interest in the community to try to address this issue and, in under a week, we had 1,100 signatures on that petition in support of it – which is just under half of the population of the Town of Pavilion,” he said. “There is definitely energy in the town to try to do something about this.”

LaPoint informed lawmakers of the situation during a Committee of the Whole meeting attended by Congressman Chris Jacobs at the Old County Courthouse Legislative Chambers. The meeting was set up to appraise the congressman with the county’s infrastructure needs, specifically bridges, water and high-speed internet access.

In Pavilion, LaPoint said the excessive amount of tractor-trailer traffic coming through the hamlet has created a hazardous condition, putting students, staff and parents at risk.

He said the amount of traffic on Route 63 coming from the north or the south past the school dictates how quickly school buses and cars exiting the school parking lots can pull onto the state highway.

“The elementary school is just off 63 on York Road and the high school and middle school are on Route 63,” LaPoint said. “The bus loops and the student parking lots exit directly onto Route 63. This is in a 35-mile-per-hour zone, but that seems like it’s an optional speed limit to many of the trucks that come through town.”

As a result, he said, the traffic flow “coming in and out of the school at various times of the day is a real challenge.”

LaPoint said he has spoken with state Department of Transportation officials, although “not in formal terms,” and understands that the DOT will have final say in any changes, such as traffic control devices or additional signage.

Noting that he would rely on road engineers for advice, he underscored that “everyone agrees it is a problem and a dangerous situation waiting to happen with our students, our faculty and our parents.”

When asked by The Batavian reporter what the petition stated, LaPoint said it “says we need to address the dangerous traffic conditions around the schools, and it goes into specifics about some of the challenges.”

“The elementary school doesn’t exit directly on to Route 63, but they’re 100 feet away. Over 50 percent of the cars exit the elementary school and attempt to turn, and it’s only a stop sign. The stop sign that terminates York Road, the cross street of Route 63 and then (there is) the bus loop; it’s like a continuation of York Road.”

LaPoint said he observes buses and cars backed up so far that they block all the parking lots.

“Everyone is stuck there waiting because without a timed traffic light, it’s just up to the traffic (on Route 63) to decide when you can go out,” he said. “And (it’s) because we have so many heavy tractor-trailers going down that road. To me, school buses and tractor-trailers don’t mix.”

Legislator Gary Maha asked LaPoint if the stretch near the school was zoned as a school district.

“It is not,” LaPoint answered. “It’s just a 35 (mph) right on through the hamlet. What they (DOT) told me was that without walkers and without a crossing guard … there was no way to get a school speed zone. We don’t have walkers or traffic safety crossing guard because it would be absurd to attempt to have students walking on that road. It would just be far too dangerous for us.”

Maha mentioned serving on the Route 63 Corridor committee led by Bruce Tehan about 30 years ago, and a study that looked at creating a bypass for trucks coming off or going to Interstate 390 and not using the Thruway.

“We found it would cost $1 million a mile (for a bypass),” Maha said.

LaPoint said the best option would be to have a flashing light put in at the intersection of Route 63 and York Road, one that could be activated during drop off times in the morning and at dismissal.

“We have an SRO (school resource officer) there, but I don’t know technically speaking how these things could be operated -- if an SRO could operate it,” he said. “I know he’s jumped out to direct traffic at various times because the flow situation can get so bad. It messes up the school, too. If their buses take an extra 10 minutes … then they’re not back in time.”

He brought up that transportation could become a bigger headache with the school entering into an in-school and remote learning schedule.

LaPoint also said he would like to see reduced speed all the way up to Route 246 about a quarter-mile to the southeast of the school, pointing out the difficulty at times of making turns from Route 246 (Perry Road) onto Route 63.

“What we have on 246 is a north-south road crossing at an angle, essentially double the size of road you’re trying to get across, when you try to clear that intersection,” he explained. “Not to mention that you need to square up to the road to see because there’s a blind hill there.

“When traffic is coming down above the speed limit, you can’t get across … and I’ve driven tractors and wagons across that intersection, and you do a sign of the cross and open it wide open and go. By the time you get across the road, you might be relying on somebody hitting the brakes that you couldn’t see before you left.”

On another front, LaPoint reported that the Town of Pavilion is “on the cusp” of building a new water tank to provide water service to the eastern and most of the northern part of the town, and that the town is hoping to add more water districts in the coming years.

While acknowledging that the Town of Pavilion would welcome any financial support for infrastructure, he was quick to thank the legislature for planning to make another revenue distribution to the county’s towns and villages.

Previous: Legislature set to distribute another round of payments to towns and villages.

“It really puts the proof in the pudding that when we started this whole thing (COVID-19), everybody was getting nervous,” he said. “The legislature is not trying to seize money. It is trying to be prudent at both the legislative county level and with all of our area municipalities. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.”

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

June 16, 2020 - 4:08pm

A partnership with Orleans County may be the key that unlocks the door leading to the construction of a new $60 million Genesee County Jail to be located just east of County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

“Here’s an opportunity for an efficient, 21st century, state-of-the-art jail that is ready to go. We have the designs … we have willing partners to the north and in Genesee County, so we hope that it is something he (Gov. Andrew Cuomo) is willing to get behind.”

Those were the words of Assistant County Manager Matt Landers, reporting on the progress – or lack thereof due to the coronavirus – of the proposed 184-bed jail during a Genesee County Legislature “Committee of the Whole” meeting Monday via Zoom videoconferencing.

Landers said he is hopeful that state laws prohibiting a shared jail could be alleviated and that Cuomo would see the benefit of such an arrangement – one that lines up with the governor’s call to reinvent the way local government operates.

“(Cuomo) had in his budget some easing of the laws, restrictions that made it difficult to have any kind of coordination with jails in the state, but that didn’t make it to the final budget,” Landers explained. “Seeing that there are talks of a potential (federal) stimulus 4 package out there that may have a large infrastructure component to it, this could be something that could be attractive.

“It meets a lot of the benchmarks .. that you’d think the governor would be interested in. It is something that he is continually harping on – reimagining New York and how we do business.”

Along with looking at new ways to facilitate services in line with Albany’s wishes, the meeting focused on five other pertinent areas:

-- Shared jail housing opportunity;
-- Maintenance of the current jail;
-- Cost of boarding out inmates if current jail was closed;
-- Status of activity on new jail:
-- Impact of bail reform, social justice on jail population.

SHARED JAIL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY

According to Landers, who is cochairing the jail steering committee with County Sheriff William Sheron, officials from Orleans County are willing to team with Genesee to explore the possibility of a joint facility.

“Building a new jail with the opportunity to do that with a partner up north – that’s where we’re focusing our energy and efforts right now,” he said. “It’s going to rely heavily what Albany allows and what kind of funding comes out of stimulus 4 on the infrastructure side and what kind of funding comes out of Albany.”

A shared jail could lead to increased efficiency in the delivery of services, with technology likely to stay in play, Landers said, noting the current use of Skype and other video and teleconferencing software.

County Public Defender Jerry Ader said he foresees legislation to allow for a greater use of electronics for proceedings, but “it may take a while and it may not be as much of a cost-savings as we’re led to believe.”

“Right now, our jail is across the street and other than maybe bringing an inmate from the prison, which is a state cost, or if we have female inmates in jails outside the county, which might be some savings, I don’t think you’re going to get the savings you’re expecting just on electronics … that’s just my opinion,” he said.

Landers mentioned that with a new jail, “there’s probably less opportunity for that (type of) savings because it’s not going to be that difficult to transport people from the jail right here in Batavia (compared to having to transport from other parts of the state as has been the case).”

MAINTENANCE OF THE CURRENT JAIL

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said the county will be unable to avoid ongoing expenses (repairs and renovations connected to safety and mandated services) to keep the current jail in the City of Batavia going for, what could be, another three to five years.

In a discussion with the Public Service Committee last month, Hens said that $3.5 million worth of projects at the 40-year-old jail are on the punch list for the next five years if the county is forced to hold off on the new jail.

Concerning the new jail, Hens said to expect a 30-percent increase – or $50,000 -- in his facility maintenance budget to run a facility of that size, and a similar percentage add-on as the cost of doing business in New York State.

COST OF BOARDING OUT INMATES

Sheron said that the state Commission on Corrections recognizes that the county is in a “pause period” and has not indicated it would shut down the current jail.

But in case that did happen, the going rate to house out inmates is $100 per inmate, Landers said.

“It would be sizeable cost on an annual basis if we were forced to do this, if we had a population of 50 or more, but at the same time there would be the opposite cost of running a jail that would help offset that cost,” Landers said.

The assistant county manager noted the good working relationship among the COC, sheriff’s department and the architects and engineers involved with the project, so, “we would have significant lead time if there’s anything brewing that we need to be concerned about to start planning for.”

STATUS OF ACTIVITIES ON NEW JAIL

As indicated, the new jail project is in a holding pattern, but the county has closed on the land acquisition, and the schematic designs of the jail are complete, Landers said.

He said the county has two contracts in force – one with SMRT, the design firm, for about $2.3 million and one with Pike Company Inc., the construction manager, for around $1 million.

Both SMRT and Pike are aware of the county’s plight and “looking forward to getting back to work on this project, just as we are,” Landers said.

To date, the county has spent more than $1 million on the contracts, which are being funded by established jail reserves built up by proceeds of the former county nursing home sale and higher than expected sales tax receipts in 2018, Landers reported.

“We have reserves of about four to five million dollars (the number is around $8 million when considering the jail reserve fund) that are going to be used in the short term to fund these contracts until we get long-term debt financing,” he said. “Once the long-term debt financing comes in, it will cover these contracts and replenish that reserve. So, we need that full reserve to help get through what we are calling the Delta period.”

Landers said that the financing plan has been “blown out of the water by COVID-19” since it was expected to use an increase in sales tax proceeds starting in 2020 to fund the debt service payment on the new jail.

IMPACT OF BAIL REFORM ON POPULATION

Landers said recent changes to the original bail reform laws could result in an increase in jail population, but it’s too early to tell how much as courts remained closed.

Jail Superintendent William Zipfel reported that approximately 90 sentencings have been put off, and predicted that 30 to 45 percent of those people may receive jail time.

“The issue with that is, from district court, they won’t be doing sentencing for in-custody people until sometime in July, but they are starting to sentence people who are not in custody – and won’t have jail time built up,” he said. “I’m guessing our population sometime before this fall is going to come back up that 50 or so level at least.”

Landers said the county jail population in July 2019 was at the level we expected to be at in 2042,” he said. “Going back a year ago, there were concerns that we were building a jail that would be too small because our sizing had grown to what we were projecting in 2042.”

Today, the jail population is at 36, including one female who is housed in Wyoming County.

“This significant volatility is just another reason why -- until we have a clearer picture -- that we’re taking a pause in the timing,” he said.

June 11, 2020 - 5:01pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, County Legislature, Committee of the Whole, COVID-19.

With so many moving parts and so little direction, it’s no wonder the Genesee County Legislature is pulling its collective hair out trying to assemble a concrete financial plan.

Legislators engaged in a Committee of the Whole discussion via Zoom on Wednesday night following their regular meeting. Seventy minutes later they came away with updated information from high-level county employees regarding the government’s current status -- including the bad news that sales tax receipts for the month of May were down by nearly 36 percent.

As to how to proceed, however, uncertainty over another federal stimulus bill and the amount of reduction (if any) in state aid continues to thwart lawmakers committed to doing what is best for their constituents.

“Our financial situation is unclear, yet we have partners to be mindful of,” Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said, emphasizing that the county intends to share revenue with municipalities once vital details come into view.

County Manager Jay Gsell, Assistant Manager Matt Landers, County Attorney Kevin Earl, Highway Superintendent Tim Hens and County Treasurer Scott German provided updates of various segments of the government.

Gsell set the stage by reporting that the June payment from Tax & Finance reflected a 35.95 percent reduction in revenue generated by May sales and, overall, county sales tax revenues are down 5.47 percent this year as compared to the same time in 2019.

Noting the 40-year sales tax agreement with the City of Batavia, Gsell said “whatever hit we take, they’ll take the same.”

He said that the county has incurred significant revenue losses thus far in 2020, data that prompted the legislature last month to rescind the treasurer’s authority to release revenue distribution payments to towns and villages.

Still, Gsell said he is optimistic that a new federal stimulus package (Fed Stim 4) will come to fruition. Another stimulus is supported by Congressman Tom Reed of the 23rd District and New York’s U.S. senators.

“We’re hopeful that sometime within the next seven to 10 days, Washington will finally coalesce around some part of a federal stimulus package … for direct assistance to local governments across the entire spectrum of counties, cities, towns and villages in regard to the impacts upon the economy and COVID-19 expenses,” he said.

Gsell reported that the county has saved approximately $1.4 million in its 2020 operating budget by cutting programs and expenses, deferring capital projects and implementing furloughs and strategic job freezes – bracing for losses in sales tax (which already has happened) and a potential 20 percent cut in state aid.

A recap of the Committee of the Whole meeting follows:

REVENUE SHARING

Gsell and Landers proposed a revised revenue distribution sharing agreement with the towns and villages, possibly a document that sets what is shared in proportion to the amount the county receives. They said they were asked by legislators to craft something to indicate the county’s willingness to share revenue in the future.

Calling it a “balancing act,” Landers said he was open to drafting something for a second-quarter distribution, one that would be based on 2020 sales tax projections, not 2018 as was the case with the previous agreement, and one that would include wording to protect the county.

“It could be structured so that it would go down at the same level that the county goes down, but then allow for all the additional wording – reduction of AIM (Aid and Incentives to Municipalities), cost shifts, water surcharge, equalization,” he said.

“Structure it so it is fluid enough to weather the currently known problems that are facing us – sales tax, state aid reductions, potential Medicaid cap implications.”

At that point, Andrew Young cut in, acting surprised that the idea would even be brought up.

“Why would we even be considering this at this point? The whole reason that we put ourselves in this position is because we knew nothing. We know a little more, but we still know nothing,” Young said.

“… Let’s move forward, when we do know more, whether that’s a month or two months or five months down the road, then we’ll figure it out from there.”

Marianne Clattenburg agreed with Young, while John Deleo said that since he didn’t trust the governor, “we could put ourselves in a predicament” with a revised agreement now.

Gordon Dibble also acted surprised by the proposal.

“All I ever asked for is to see a draft – I’m not even talking about voting on anything – but I’ve asked to see a draft of a potential document or something like that,” he said. “Something that we could look at, and we can run best-case, worst-case scenarios, and see what the results would be. That’s all I was ever asking for.”

Gsell replied, “We can do whatever you guys want.”

Christian Yunker and Gregg Torrey offered that the exercise would be a good faith effort to the towns and villages, but stopped short of a committing themselves to something they couldn’t pay.

Stein closed this segment by advising the board to wait a bit longer.

“What I’m hearing right now that there is still more to be learned, more to understand before any type of decision can be made,” she said. “Mandated services (county obligations) have not been relaxed. We have taken incredible steps in our government to reduce our spending, to pause and halt our capital projects, to freeze and furlough positions in the county – and those are not easy things to do.”

“I believe that we cannot make a decision, but it is a conversation that we have pledged ourselves to that there will be an intent to share and we need to continue to have this conversation in public so that our partners understand that it is occurring and it is happening,” she said.

CAPITAL PROJECTS

Hens said that he has deferred or eliminated close to $1 million capital projects for 2020, with only two fire alarm system projects moving forward at a total cost of $113,000. For 2021, an additional $600,000 in work has been deferred.

“At this point, we’ve got it scaled back about as far as I really am comfortable scaling back,” he said. “Anything further puts us in a bad spot as far as exposure or liability problems.”

He also reported a significant savings on the replacement of decking on the McLernon Road bridge in the Town of Bethany by using beams in stock to replace the entire superstructure of the bridge at a cost of only $50,000.

The bridge was scheduled to be replaced in a couple years as part of a $1.6 million project, but Hens said he decided to return the federal aid portion.

“We should be able to replace the entire superstructure of that bridge with our local share and that will buy us 20-30 years of life on that bridge,” he said, noting that the bridge will be closed only for the month of July.

Hens also said he submitted a $4.7 million reimbursement request to Monroe County (Water Authority) “to make us whole on the money we spent – that we set aside from our infrastructure reserve – so hopefully we will have that back in the next week or two.”

HIGHWAY FUNDING

Hens said that although he has received a guarantee of 80 percent of the federal Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), Extreme Weather and Pave New York funding, his current capital plan is at the 85 percent level – which means he won’t have to make a lot of cuts.

If a federal stimulus does arrive, he said he would use the extra $350,000 to Chipseal (oil and stone) county roads “to get the biggest bank for our back in regards to road maintenance.”

He also said Town of Bethany laid off its highway department for June, July and August. That means county crews may have to provide mowing services there during the summer months.

FURLOUGHS & FREEZES

Gsell said the county is saving $99,000 per month as a result of its job freeze and another $75,000 a month through furloughs.

He said that there are 41 vacant positions – 30 of them full-time – that aren’t being filled at this time and there are 40 employees who have been furloughed and currently collecting unemployment benefits as well as the extra $600 per week in enhanced benefits.

“Upon three days’ notice, if we need them back, they will come back,” he said. “We’re looking to take some all the way through the 90 days.”

The county is in its third month of the furlough and freeze, resulting in more than $500,000 in savings thus far.

COUNTY JAIL

Landers said discussion on the proposed new $60 million county jail is scheduled for next Monday's Public Service Committee meeting.

“It is paused right now and probably will be paused for a while now,” he said, acknowledging that there also are expenses involved with keeping current jail on West Main Street open for any length of time.

Clattenburg said she is concerned about funding a new jail in light of the May sales tax figures.

“We were going to build on sales tax growth and we were counting on growth level of 2 percent a year and now we have a 36 percent drop,” she said. “I think we need to fundamentally ask the question of how we’re going to fund the jail and stay within a property tax cap before we work on a framework for sales tax or revenue sharing distribution.”

MEDICAID MONEY

Legislators, in a resolution, are looking to the governor to release $469,000 in Medicaid funds stemming from the pandemic response to Genesee County to provide some partial fiscal relief.

“This would be a reduction over the balance of this calendar year in our weekly shares of Medicaid,” Gsell said. "Keep up the pressure. That money has our name on it and should be put to our use in our ability to start even just treading water with regard to the 2020 budget."

OUTSIDE AGENCIES

Legislators concluded the discussion by reviewing contracts with outside agencies.

Gsell said that $279,000 in commitments have yet to be paid this year, with the largest amounts being owed to Genesee County Economic Development Center and to Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Earl said any changes in these agreements that have no “out clause” can be made only if both parties agree.

Other agencies discussed were GO ART!, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Business Education Alliance, Mercy Flight and Genesee County Agricultural Society.

After several minutes of debate, legislators could not come to a consensus as to whether to stop funding these agencies or to put pending payments on hold.

German was advised that the final payment to Genesee Community College – more than $1 million – has to go out per state education law.

Legislators also learned that, as of March, there will be little or no more bed tax distribution for the rest of this year to the Chamber of Commerce, with both parties acknowledging such. The county did make a $110,000 payment to the tourism agency in bed tax proceeds generated from Dec. 2019 through Feb. 2020. (Also, the entire Chamber of Commerce staff is currently furloughed at 50 percent through the shared work program).

Clattenburg and Young said they were against withholding funds to these agencies.

“The big dollars have already gone out – we’re going to be hurting the small ones like the Holland Land Office that we fund …,” she said. “I was of the opinion that if we were going to cut everybody by 20 percent across the board, but this was my fear – that some people were going to get all their money and some people would get none of their money. So, I would not support it.”

Young said he felt it would be “more destructive to these agencies than any benefit that we’ll see out of it.”

In other developments:

-- The legislature officially welcomed Chad Klotzbach, of Basom, as the new District No. 1 representative (Alabama and Oakfield).  Klotzbach, 31, replaces John Hilchey, who resigned in May. County Attorney Earl performed the swearing in ceremony. Klotzbach’s term runs through Dec. 31, but he is eligible to run for election in November.

-- Stein, reporting as a member of the Finger Lakes Region control room, credited residents for “doing a great job … following those guidelines and we ask you as our citizens to continue to model terrific behavior … and we look forward to better days ahead.”

Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan is scheduled to begin on Friday. Business and services include indoor food and drink consumption at restaurants and bars, with 50-percent maximum occupancy, exclusive of employees, and social distancing measures in place. Also, included are spas, nail salons, tattoo piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, cosmetology, tanning salons and waxing services.

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