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May 16, 2022 - 11:16am

Agenda items including a renewal of five additional seasonal sheriff’s deputies, a budget amendment for additional law enforcement patrols in the village of Bergen and revising language for a prisoner housing contract with Wyoming County are on tap for this afternoon’s Genesee County Public Services Committee meeting.

The meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. in the Legislative Conference Room of the Old Court House at 7 Main St., Batavia.

Other agenda items include reviews of a bid award for highway/tractor equipment, grant acceptance of a countywide water/intermunicipal grant, a 2022 budget amendment for highway construction and the reappointment of Highway Superintendent Timothy Hens.

May 16, 2022 - 10:59am

 

PRESS RELEASE

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that the application window is now open for the 2022 Grow-NY food and agriculture competition. Grow-NY, a unique initiative which connects innovators and investors in the food, beverage and agriculture sectors locally and around the globe, has already resulted in economic growth and entrepreneurial opportunity in Upstate New York.  The Grow-NY region, a 22-county area spanning Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier, has already seen hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars of follow-on investment as a result of the competition. Grow-NY attracts high-growth food and agriculture startups to compete for $3 million in total prize money each year and supports 20 finalists through a business development phase that connects them with the region’s resources. Governor Kathy Hochul included funding for three additional rounds of this impactful competition in her FY 2023 budget.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “This fourth round of Grow-NY will further build on the success of earlier competition winners, whose entrepreneurial ideas are fueling economic growth Upstate. These innovative companies have attracted significant investment and are seeding the ground for even more innovation, both throughout the Grow-NY region and around the world.” 

The Grow-NY region, which hosts over 40 percent of New York’s 33,438 farms, includes an abundance of vibrant, fertile lands along with such major urban centers as Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton. It is a 22-county region comprised of the following three areas:

·       Finger Lakes – Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates 

·       Central New York – Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego

·       Southern Tier – Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins

Winners are required to commit to operating in at least one of the 22 Grow-NY counties for at least 12 months and must agree to “pay-it-forward” provision in the form of an equity agreement. One finalist will receive a top prize of $1 million; two others will be awarded $500,000 prizes, and four more will be given $250,000 prizes. Winners will also receive tax incentives and publicity support to announce their achievements across the Grow-NY region and in their home regions. Funding for the program comes through Empire State Development from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative’s three regional entities, CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward, and Southern Tier Soaring, and is administered by Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

Ronald P. Lynch, Dean of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Benjamin Z. Houlton, said, “Cornell is proud to support the Grow-NY competition, which plays a vital role in catalyzing food and agriculture start-ups and entrepreneurship across our region. By partnering across the public and private sectors, Grow-NY is critical to scaling new technologies and innovations needed to meet our state’s goals for more sustainable food systems that provide healthy, nutritious food to all.”

The startup competition begins its fourth year with impressive momentum, having garnered applications and interest from over a thousand businesses in 32 unique states and 37 other countries over the last three years. In all, 59 finalists have been selected to date, with 21 winners sharing $9 million in startup funding as well as the invaluable mentorship and networking benefits which the program delivers to finalists.

In addition to emphasizing innovation and scalability, the Grow-NY program is focused on drawing more diverse leaders to the region by reaching communities that have historically been left out of the innovation economy.  In 2021, 51% of the 330 applicants included a founder from an underrepresented minority group, and 44% included a female founder.

“We are looking for food and ag innovators that operate at any point in the agrifood system that demonstrate a value to customers, an ability to grow quickly and sustainably, and diversity within their founding team,“ said Grow-NY program director Jenn Smith.

Applications must be submitted by Friday, July 1. In August, up to 20 finalists will be assigned mentors and enter the business development phase. All finalists will receive bespoke entrepreneurial support and valuable regional introductions, additional training to hone their live pitches, and an expenses-paid, three-day business development trip to the region for up to two team members.

The selected  finalists will present their business plans during the Grow-NY Summit, Tuesday and Wednesday November 15-16, alongside a symposium of panel conversations and keynotes, a showcase of agencies, companies, research groups, and other organizations that serve startups working in food and ag, and a student stage where middle- and high school aged New Yorkers will pitch their ag- and food tech ideas.

Judges will base award decisions on the following five criteria:

·       Viability of Commercialization and Business Model – the potential for the entrant to generate revenue and maintain a cost structure that allows for a competitive and sustainable business, demonstrate technological readiness or innovate to fulfill its value proposition;

·       Team – Demonstration of a level of cohesion, completeness, diversity, and readiness within the team of founders, employees, and advisors; inclusion or plans for inclusion of employees and advisors from communities that have historically been excluded from the innovation economy, such as women and minorities;

·       Customer Value – the degree to which the entrant is providing something for which customers are willing to pay, and addressing a substantial market;

·       Food and Agriculture Innovation – the extent to which the entrant is pushing what’s considered state-of-the-art in the food and agriculture industries, and contributing to Upstate NY’s status as a global leader in innovation in these markets;

·       Regional Job Creation – the potential for creating high-quality jobs in the Grow-NY footprint and relevance to the existing food and ag ecosystem; and

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Through three rounds, the Grow-NY competition has highlighted New York’s agricultural and food industry partners and helped to foster tremendous innovation. I’m excited that this fourth round will continue to build on that success, further showcasing the strength and diversity of our agriculture and food businesses and attracting exciting, cutting-edge companies that are creating the ag technologies and jobs of the future while supporting our local farms.”

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, and Dr. Linda LeMura, President of Le Moyne College, said, "New York State continues to experience unprecedented growth in the agriculture and food industries. The globally renowned Grow-NY competition represents yet another exciting investment in our community that will further bolster regional job growth and further support our agricultural base throughout Central New York ensuring the region continues to rise."

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Co-Chair Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and Denise Battles, President SUNY Geneseo, said, “The regional council is again proud to support round three of the innovative Grow-NY competition. Our agricultural and food industries are truly world- class and both their products and innovations are huge economic drivers for our state and region. Connecting the cutting-edge ideas of these entrepreneur teams with local industry partners supports the multi-pronged approach laid out in the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative, which is working to create a thriving regional economy.”

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), and Broome Community College President Kevin Drumm, said, "New York's agriculture industry is one of the most prestigious and productive in the nation.  This initiative, with its focused investment in the region, adds great value to the Southern Tier's continued economic success in the ag sector. The Grow-NY competition enables innovative and competitive businesses to showcase their strengths and will further our efforts to bolster the regional economy ultimately helping the Southern Tier to soar."

To learn more about the Grow-NY competition, visit: www.grow-ny.com.

To learn more about the Cornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement, visit: http://crea.cornell.edu/

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available at https://esd.ny.gov/finger-lakes-forward-uri.​

Accelerating CNY Rising 

Today's announcement complements “CNY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Now, the region is accelerating CNY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. 

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring 

Today's announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. 

 

April 11, 2022 - 1:40pm

New York State lawmakers are close to an agreement to suspend a portion of gasoline taxes for the last seven months of this year, but similar action by most county governments doesn’t seem to be in the works.

“I know the state is looking at doing it, and they're doing it, but I don't anticipate too many county governments doing this,” County Manager Matt Landers said today. “I don’t know where Erie and Monroe (counties) stand on this.”

News out of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office signals that the state will drop the price of a gallon of gas by about 4 percent -- approximately 16 cents per gallon of gas -- from June 1 through Dec. 31. On a 15-gallon fill-up, the savings to the consumer would be $2.40.

Landers said a recent informal poll of county administrators revealed that most were not looking at suspending their 4 percent (or so) sales tax from the price of gasoline.

“I don’t remember, specifically, which counties responded but all the ones that did said that was not something currently on their radar,” he said, while adding that a "discussion" about this subject with Genesee County legislators is likely to occur.

Sales tax accounts for a significant portion of county budgets. In Genesee’s case, sales tax proceeds are being earmarked for large capital projects, such as the construction of a new county jail.

The state tax break will reduce its revenue by about $600 million this year, but Hochul said that money received for pandemic relief and higher than anticipated tax revenue would enable it to handle the loss.

Reports indicate the state would suspend the 8-cent per gallon motor fuel tax and the 8-cent per gallon sales tax on gasoline.

State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley today said Republicans supported legislation to remove 33 cents from the cost of a gallon of gas, as well as state sales tax breaks on home cleaning supplies, clothing and food.

“With a $220.4 billion budget, we’ve got plenty of cash in a rainy day fund,” he said. “Some of what we proposed didn’t fall on deaf ears, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s not enough. We’ve got all kinds of surpluses, apparently, according to the governor.”

Hawley said he’s always been in favor of “giving that back to people so they can spend it in their communities, as opposed to sending it to the state where they can fritter it away.”

He added that the federal government is “going to be doing something as well – so, stay tuned on that.”

When asked if county governments should follow suit, he said they were given the opportunity, but understands municipalities’ reliance on sales tax to balance their budgets.

“That’s a large source of their revenue, so that’s not surprising at all,” he said.

March 30, 2022 - 7:54pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county, Genesee County Jail.

Genesee County leaders, knowing that they wouldn't be able to avoid building a state-mandated new county jail forever, say the financial plan they have put in place will shield taxpayers form having to bear any of the $70 million cost.

“We’ve been planning for this through our sales tax negotiations that have been going on previously, four or five years ago, with the idea that the growth in sales tax and then sales tax proceeds in general will help fund this operation,” County Manager Matt Landers said following today’s special Committee of the Whole meeting.

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County jail project bids come in under budget; legislators approve all six contractors

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“For us at the county, we're glad to say that we have the resources to not have to have a property tax increase to pay for this jail, because we'll be able to use a good chunk of our reserves that we've set aside along with sales tax proceeds that have come to us. So, we feel confident that no county property tax increase will be needed for this jail.”

The county has set the wheels in motion to bond the expense over 30 years. When asked about the yearly payment, Landers acknowledged that it’s “pretty daunting.”

“Yeah, it's considerable but, again, we've been planning for this for years and making sure that the growth in sales tax -- and we're being smart with how we spend our money -- and basically set aside and earmark in our mind how much we need to grow in sales tax,” he replied. “We feel confident at this point that sales tax proceeds in the near future are going to be enough to cover debt service payments, along with some potential reserves that we set aside in prior years as well.”

County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, who called the approval of the bidding and funding resolutions as “a hallmark day for the county,” pointed out that the county’s recent 40-year sales tax agreement with its municipalities set the stage for the jail funding.

“I want to mention the very sometimes unpopular 40-year sales tax agreement and the cap of the $10 million for the villages and towns outside the city. That's what affords this debt service payment on that 30 years schedule,” she said. “And the jail is a county responsibility. It’s one that we can't push off to a different level of government.

“So, taking the steps to assure that this responsibility is well funded and it is carefully planned is part of a lot of the work that Matt's office has done. And the legislators have been very involved in asking the good questions like what was asked here today.”

Stein addressed comments from residents that the county should have built a shared jail with Orleans County to save money.

“We did try to go down that path with our neighboring county. The will was there from the legislators but it wasn’t so much supported through the rest of the rank and file,” she said. “We also would have need 47 different bills (pieces of legislation) at the state level in order to enable it to be a shared facility.”

Landers said there was the issue of the state legislation to allow the county to do a shared jail plus timing entered the equation.

“But the nice that about the jail being built is that it allows for expansion,” he added. “It has been built (designed) with all the right size mechanicals and everything is built so that if Orleans wants to in the future, and the state allows for it, we certainly would be receptive to adding a pod or two and to allow for Orleans County to share this Genesee County Jail.”

Sheriff William Sheron said a facility to replace the county’s original jail, built in 1902, has been a long time coming.

“When I started in 1977, there were plans on the table to build a new jail on land that was purchased (on the site of the former State Police barracks on East Main Street) in recognition that the jail was obsolete,” he said. “For whatever reason, that didn’t come to fruition and in the mid-1980s, we put the addition onto this jail (in the city).”

Sheron said the county has put together “a great team” dedicated to fiscal responsibility.

“We’re not going to build a Taj Mahal; we're going build a facility that's up to standards and … be able to offer more programs for those that are involved, those that are incarcerated, and hopefully make some improvements in their lives and better working conditions for officers.”

Stein thanked key players on the team, specifically Assistant Engineer Laura Wadams, Deputy Highway Superintendent Paul Osborn and Purchasing Director Chet Kaleta, and her colleagues on the legislature.

“Genesee County is not waiting for things to happen. The legislature that is serving this county is getting the job done,” she said. “Thank each and every one of you for your hard work that brought us to this day -- your commitment, your creativity, your patience, and most of all your courage during this time in our society where everything is in flux and changing. All stood fast, tall and committed to this project for this county.”

March 30, 2022 - 6:21pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Genesee County Jail, genesee county, The Pike Company, SMRT.

bollin_1.jpg

The project executive for the construction management firm working with Genesee County on its new county jail project this afternoon said everyone should be “very happy” with the bids that were submitted for the six work areas that have been identified.

“Considering the economy and what's happening around the world -- the amount of work that's out there right now -- I think we should all be very happy that we have these results. They are very, very good results to be honest with you,” said Mark Bollin of The Pike Company of Rochester during a Genesee County Legislature Committee of the Whole meeting.

The special session was scheduled specifically for the awarding of construction bids for the $70 million, 184-bed jail initiative.

Bollin (photo above) went into detail about the companies that submitted low bids and answered questions from legislators about the project, that is scheduled to break ground on May 9 on land next to County Building 2 on West Main Street Road. He said work will take place over 20 months, with a projected completion date of January 2024 (plus another two months for close-out and punch list items).

As reported earlier today on The Batavian, the six low bidders are as follows:

General Contractor - LeChase Construction Services, LLC, of Rochester, $34,980,000;

Site Work - Bayside Paving Contractors Inc., Shortsville, at a stipulated sum of $3,792,000;

Food Services Equipment Work - Joseph Flihan Company, Utica, at a stipulated sum of $826,800;

Plumbing and Fire Protection Work - Thurston Dudeck LLC, Ontario, at a stipulated sum of $4,362,000;

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Work - Bell Mechanical Contractor, Inc., East Rochester, at a stipulated sum of $5,112,000;

Electrical and Security Electronics Work - Kaplan-Schmidt, Inc., Rochester, at a stipulated sum of $8,200,000.

The total of the six bids -- $57,272,800 -- is $2.7 million less than what The Pike Company budgeted for the work listed above, Bollin said.

Legislators unanimously voted in favor of accepting the bids, and also voted on amending the project reserve fund to increase the amount to be bonded over a 40-year period to the $70 million figure.

Bollin said his company solicited for bids throughout New York, advertising in different places, including the Builders Exchange to Rochester and Buffalo.

“The Pike Company also has a system where we sent out the advertisement to bid to upwards of 5,000 individuals throughout the state,” he said. “So, we actually had very good participation. There was a number of projects that were out to bid at the time. Contractors are busy right now. But we actually did have very good versus participation.”

He advised that each of the six contractors have a “definitive scope of work” and each are aware of their exact responsibilities.

“There was a schedule included in the bidding documents, along with intermediate milestone dates that each contractor was responsible to meet -- both material deliveries, labor, etc. So, every contractor knew exactly what they were supposed to do,” he added.

Response to the bidding documents sent to prospective companies indicated that “they were probably some of the best construction documents … that they’ve ever seen,” Bollin said. “And that was reinforced by our estimating people who also said that those were a very good set of documents.”

A breakdown of the bids showed that three came in on the site work package, five for the general contractor, one for the food service (which came in higher than anticipated due to the cost of stainless steel and kitchen equipment, Bollin said), five for the plumbing work, six for heating and ventilation and five for electrical.

Bollin said all the contracts are ready to go out, along with notice of award letters that he will hand deliver tomorrow. The selected contractors are required to return the signed contracts along with insurance documents within seven calendar days, “at which time, the county can then sign the documents.”

Bollin said he is confident in the stability and expertise of the companies, noting that he has done work with all of them.

When asked about cost overruns, he said a “field order allowance” of $90,000 is built into each contract, but any charges over the bid amount must be approved by the legislature. He also said that The Pike Company will have personnel on site during construction as a quality control measure.

He said he has received assurances from the low bidders that long-lead materials, such as PVC conduit, electrical gear and air handling units, are being ordered now in an attempt to avoid delays.

“One of the reasons why we don't want to issue the notice proceed until May 9 is to give all the contractors a five week period of time …until we actually start construction to start securing steel and precast concrete,” he said. “I know for a fact that the general contractor is already committed to a steel contractor and he's already starting getting things ready. The precast contractor, I personally talked to him after the bid and he said he's already getting things ready to go.”

March 28, 2022 - 2:39pm

l_battaglia.jpgIf there’s one positive thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the overdue attention to the human services fields, especially the importance of mental health counseling and treatment.

That’s part of the message shared by Lynda Battaglia, Genesee County director of Mental Health & Community Services, in a phone interview with The Batavian.

“As a result of the pandemic, I think the mental health field has been recognized as essential. It's definitely received more recognition now than it ever has, and it's unfortunate that it took a pandemic to have that happen,” said Battaglia (photo above).

While there has been a renewed focus on mental health, substance use disorder, social services and developmental disabilities over the past two years, a by-product of that is the difficulty in finding qualified professionals to serve those in need.

According to information from LeaderStat, a national staffing agency for healthcare organizations, “The shortage of mental health care professionals coupled with the increased demand for services has led to a grim situation for many patients and providers, and there is no quick fix on the horizon.”

Projections by the Health Resources and Services Administration indicate the United States will need to add 10,000 providers by 2025 to close “the increasing divide” and more than half, over 24 million, of persons dealing with a mental health condition are going untreated and one in five adults seeking treatment is finding his or her needs unmet.

Battaglia said she is feeling a similar crunch in Genesee County as her department currently is not taking any new clients because she has five openings on her counseling staff.

“It's the times that we're in right now,” she said. “I do foresee things getting better. We are not currently taking brand new clients, but our Open Access (crisis walk-in) has remained open throughout the pandemic and remains open today.”

She said Genesee County Mental Health is at a “triaging stage” now.

“We’re taking individuals who are high need or high risk. We're really trying to triage people that call -- individuals that are being discharged from the hospital,” she advised.

Officials at other human services agencies, such as Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, also are reporting numerous job openings – from nurses to counselors to support staff.

Battaglia said she is hoping the staffing situation will get better in May and June “when we will get some clinical people who graduate with their master's in mental health counseling or social work who want to work here.”

“We do have a couple of prospective individuals who are looking to work here and have to go through that hiring process that we have here,” she said.

Currently, each of the dozen or so professionals employed at GCMH have a caseload of 90 to 110 patients.

“That’s high,” she said. “That’s not ideal, but that's what we have to work with. Our supervisors are working at high capacity and high caseloads in addition to providing supervision to staff. And that's not isolated to Genesee County Mental Health. That’s a trend across the state in regard to caseload capacity and (job) vacancies. So, my counterparts are feeling that, too.”

What that does is place additional stress on the counselors, Battaglia said.

“I have to applaud my staff. Their dedication and their resiliency and their ability to do this every day because the work in and of itself, can be challenging on a person in the field,” she said. “And then you couple that with a multitude of additional stressors -- family and all the hats that you wear and trying to put more individuals on your caseload and providing the services that you want to provide.”

Battaglia mentioned the mental health field carries a high rate of burnout.

“Self-care is essential to try to prevent burnout. There’s a lot of things that can help staff with burnout. But isolating during the pandemic was not helpful,” she explained.

“Now, with things opening up (from the COVID-19 restrictions), I can feel a shift in energy here with just more people being able to talk with one another. We still have to wear masks here, because we're considered a healthcare setting, but just the shift in energy of things being more open.”

Genesee County is advertising for positions in the department on its website and also on the Indeed worldwide employment site.

“We did two job fairs -- two virtual job fairs at two different points during the year and we had zero candidates,” she said. “That just speaks to kind of where we are in the times right now with a lot of things virtual. And there are some things like a job fair that's really challenging to do virtually.”

March 23, 2022 - 4:52pm

Depending upon who you talk to, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 10-point plan to revise New York’s bail reform statute is either a good first step toward granting judges more discretion in determining whether or not to impose bail for serious crimes or it’s simply a politically expedient move by someone looking to win an election in November.

In recent days, Hochul presented a comprehensive list of changes to the no-cash bail law, including, for the most serious felonies, allowing bail determinations to be informed by factors such as criminal history and history of firearm use and possession; making repeat offenses subject to arrest and posting of bail, and making some gun-related and hate crime offenses subject to arrest and incarceration (and not appearance tickets).

The proposal also is being made following the release of a Siena College poll indicating that two-thirds of New York voters are in favor of strengthening the no-cash bail law and giving judges the power to consider a defendant’s prior arrest record.

The Batavian reached out today to Genesee County attorneys and law enforcement personnel for their “takes” on the governor’s stance.

finnell_1.jpgGenesee County District Attorney Kevin Finnell says he hasn’t read the details of all of Hochul’s points, but for the primary one – allowing judges to consider additional information – he believes that is appropriate.

“That’s what the judges were able to do pre-bail reform,” he said. “And I think giving them that latitude and authority is good because they're the ones that see these people, they evaluate them on a case by case basis, and the judges do a good job in deciding who's a flight risk and who isn't. So, having that back in the judges’ hands is a good thing.”

Finnell said he also agrees with judges having the ability to set bail on repeat offenders.

“Again, using the same criteria, assuming that they can, allow the judges to do what they've always done in evaluating the case -- the person and the likelihood that they'll return rather than just going to the least restrictive form automatically,” he said.

“That may be appropriate in a lot of cases and the judges will be able to still release people to under supervision or ROR (released on your own recognizance) when the case is appropriate. But giving them the extra tool -- the extra ability to set bail when appropriate -- I think is always a good thing.”

Genesee County Public Defender Jerry Ader sees Hochul’s plan much differently, stating that politics are playing a key role.

ader_1.jpg“I had hoped that the governor would have maintained her long standing position that any possible changes to the law as it related to bail would only be driven by data, not politics, and that gathering such data would take time,” he said. “Unfortunately, I am not shocked or surprised that political pressure has resulted in this new ‘re-election’10-point plan.  Maintaining power is powerful force.”

Ader pointed to The Brennan Center for Justice report, released yesterday, that “there is no clear connection between recent crime increases and the bail reform law enacted in 2019, and the data does not support further revisions to the legislation” (https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/facts-bail-reform-and-crime-rates-new-york-state).

“In our county, the bail laws presently in effect are working.  Money is no longer the driving factor as to whether someone charged with a crime is in jail.  Most people charged with violent felony offenses and many non-violent offenses can have bail set, if the court determines it to be necessary to insure the person appears,” he said. “If someone has been released, he can be remanded if he persistently fails to appear in court or is re-arrested for a felony.  There is no evidence that our county is any less safe.”

Ader acknowledged that gun violence is increasing, and he has “no problem with enacting new legislation or the state providing additional funding to help remove illegal weapons from our community. “

Calling Hochul’s plan “a step in the right direction,” Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron said that tougher gun laws are not the answer when dealing with the criminal element.

sheron_.jpg“I firmly believe that they can pass all these gun laws that they want, but the prime definition of “criminal” means criminals do not follow laws,” he said. “So, you can pass all the gun control regulations you want, but those with criminal intent are not going to follow those laws. The ones that are really going to be affected are the law abiding citizens.”

Sheron said laws with more teeth need to be passed.

“We have got to have more of a deterrence out there,” he said. “If people possess illegal firearms, or use a firearm illegally, they’re going to suffer severe consequences and that is going to send the message to other people.”

The sheriff also said he’s on board with giving judges more discretion in the bail process to prevent instances of repeat offenses, something that he says have been on the rise and are endangering the public.

“One that comes to mind is where the individual was stealing motor vehicles from around the area,” he said. “We would catch them with one, and he’d go before a judge and get released. It wasn’t a bailable offense and he’d steal another car. It was just a vicious circle. I forget the total number of vehicles he stole, but he knew there was no chance he was going to jail, so it was a big game to him.”

Sheron said society has gotten away from the “standards of accountability.”

“People make mistakes, I get that, but there has to be a deterrence. Even with kids in school. They see there are no consequences to their misbehavior or their improper actions, and that leads to more improper actions.”

heubusch_1.jpgBatavia City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said he hopes “changes are meaningful and will address crime in our area.”

He said he stands with the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, which issued a statement today contending that the state’s effort to correct “historic inequalities in the criminal justice system” … “tipped the balance so far in favor of the accused that public safety has been jeopardized.”

The statement continues, “We believe that it is possible to create a system in which the rights of the accused are respected while the rights of victims and the public are also respected. Public safety must be a priority. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul and the legislature to identify the proper path forward.”

Heubusch said that “one size fits all packages coming out of Albany do not work in every jurisdiction and do not address the impacts to our neighborhoods and communities.”

“We are hopeful that meaningful change will be implemented to aid us in protecting our citizens.”

Finnell said local justices are qualified to make proper judgments, as long as they are given the power to do so.

“I also think recognizing that not everybody should go to jail is important, too,” he said. “That's the other side of the coin. The purpose of bail is and always has been to ensure that somebody will appear for when required in in County Court. But we've seen that fail in many ways since bail reform.”

Ader stated that he agrees with the governor on her call for increased funding for pretrial, diversion, and employment programs and for mental health treatment.

“It would also help our community immensely if the non-monetary release option of electronic monitoring could be implemented in our county.  It is an option under the present law but has never been used in our county,” he said.

Overall, he thinks Hochul’s 10-point plan is a “knee-jerk political reaction” that moves the state back to a more subjective and repressive system of bail.

“It may make some people feel better, but that’s not the reason for legislation,” he said. “Laws and changes to them need to be driven by data and facts, not emotion.”

The 10-point plan, per a published report in the New York Post, includes:

  • For the most serious felonies, allow bail determinations to be informed by factors including criminal history and history of firearm use and possession. Judges will be allowed to set bail not based solely on the “least restrictive” conditions deemed necessary to ensure a return to court. The statute will set forth specific criteria on which judges will base their determinations, including criminal history and history of firearm use/possession.
  • Make repeat offenses subject to arrest and bail-eligible
  • Make certain gun-related offenses, hate crimes offenses, and subway crime offenses subject to arrest and not [desk appearance tickets]. Certain offenses which presently are subject to desk appearance tickets will be made only eligible for arrest.
  • Make certain gun-related offenses bail-eligible.
  • Make it easier to prosecute gun trafficking.
  • Targeted reforms of the discovery statute.
  • Targeted reforms of the “Raise the Age” statute.
  • Increase funding for pretrial, diversion, and employment programs: Hochul’s budget already includes $83.4 million for pretrial services, but the governor would increase that amount — although the memo did not say by how much. It would also distribute the nearly $500 million appropriated for “Raise the Age” implementation that has not yet been spent.
  • Expand involuntary commitment and Kendra’s Law.
  • Increase funding for mental health treatment.
March 17, 2022 - 12:34pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county, sales tax revenue.

Genesee County sales tax revenue is trending in the right direction, County Treasurer Scott German said on Wednesday afternoon.

“Sales tax revenue is doing well,” said German, speaking at the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

Supported by Excel spreadsheets showing fund balances and tax revenues over the past 15 years or more, German reported that sales tax revenues in 2021 totaled $48.95 million, an increase of approximately 19 percent from the previous year.

As for the first quarter of 2022, sales tax revenues are up by 31 percent from the same time period in 2021.

“Much of that can be attributed to the increased gas prices,” German said, noting that sales tax on gasoline accounts for about 18 percent of the county’s sales tax revenue. It also must be noted that sales tax revenue was down in 2020 and 2021 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county shared $6,852,960.75 (14 percent) of its sales tax received with the City of Batavia and $5 million – as a voluntary revenue distribution – with the towns and villages last year, as well as an additional $5 million in sales tax to the towns and villages.

Bed tax revenues (from hotel stays) rebounded from the COVID-19 ravaged 2020, German said, increasing from $180,000 to almost $400,000. Three-fourths of that amount was allocated to the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Mortgage tax revenue also increased by 38 percent from 2020 to 2021, he reported.

German said key points of his financial outlook are as follows:

  • As part of the $70 million jail borrowing, the County maintained a bond rating of AA- with a stable outlook from S&P Rating Agency.

However, he noted, the rating could have been higher if not for the county’s low per capita income level.

  • The county’s self-insurance (medical) reserve has grown for two straight years, increasing by $385,498 in 2021 to a total of $1.8 million.
  • The county received approximately $5.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding in 2021 and another $5.5 million payment is scheduled for 2022.

Looking at the county’s fund balances, German said the general fund balance of $16.9 million represents 14 percent – “a good number,” he said – of 2021’s budgeted expense.

Other fund balances, such as self-insurance ($1.8 million), county road ($385,000), road machinery ($574,000) and water fund ($4.2 million), are adequate, he said.

On the real property tax side, Director Kevin Andrews said sales of property has increased by 11 percent in 2021 – up from 6 percent the previous year.

Andrews said the county supported reassessment projects in the City of Batavia and the Towns of Alexander, Batavia, Bergen, Bethany, Byron, Darien, Elba, Oakfield, Pembroke, and Stafford for the 2021 assessment rolls.                                       

March 9, 2022 - 7:07pm

220218_genesee_cj_main_entrance_1.jpg

When you’re mandated by New York State to build a new county jail – one with a projected price tag of $70 million, any cost-saving measures are deeply valued.

That has been Genesee County Manager Matt Landers’ message all along, and he emphasized that point again this afternoon at a meeting of the legislature at the Old County Courthouse.

Landers reported that the state Commission of Correction will permit the county’s jail transition team to be housed in County Building 2 on West Main Street Road while construction of the jail, which will be located just east of that building, is going on.

“We found out (that) to save a little bit of money our transition team for the jail will be allowed to be housed in County Building 2 instead of the county having to secure a construction trailer,” Landers said. “We’re glad that the CDC is fine with that, and the sheriff is supportive of that move. Every buck we can save is good – and that is an efficient place for them to go.”

According to a story on The Batavian last September, the four-member transition team will be comprised of current county corrections’ officers and will be charged with writing policies and procedures for the 184-bed facility.

The team needs to be in place at the time of groundbreaking, which is expected to happen this May, Landers said.

Sheriff William Sheron said he is close to finalizing the appointments, which then will force his office to hire four more corrections’ officers to backfill those positions.

In other developments, Landers advised:

  • That he is preparing his thoughts on how the state should “roll out and spend the broadband money that’s flowing through their books.”

Landers said he has a plan that he feels will work best for Genesee County.

“We’re working with our partners on getting the wording correctly,” he said. “The emphasis on my commentary is going to be making sure that more of that money goes toward the unserved versus the underserved.

“I think that in Genesee County (that’s) the best bang for the buck in reaching that last mile -- members of the community that don’t have any internet access. So, that was the focus of my comments.”

Landers said he has reached out to Town Supervisor Gregory Post for his opinion, noting that town officials are eager to expand broadband in their municipality.

  • That the east entrance to County Building 1 (that houses the clerk’s office and the Department of Motor Vehicles) is open now “so people don’t have to park over by Save-A-Lot and walk all the way around.”

“The sandwich boards are down and Building 1 is back open for business.”

Architect's rendering of the new Genesee County Jail to be built on West Main Street Road. Provided by Genesee County manager's office.

March 8, 2022 - 4:08pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county, town of pavilion, code violation.

property_dispute_1.jpg

Genesee County will be seeking at least $7,800 from a Batavia man in connection with a code enforcement dispute involving property that he was leasing in the Town of Pavilion.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens today informed The Batavian that he made several attempts – unsuccessfully -- to contact Justin Hofert and have him remove items and debris from the county right-of-way on property off Transit and East Bethany Le Roy roads.

“After no response from Mr. Hofert, the county removed the items at our costs and we will be seeking restitution from Mr. Hofert for these costs,” Hens said. “We’re still assembling final costs from dumpster expenses; we have $7,800 in labor and equipment thus far.”

The dispute, which had been going on for more than three months, centers upon a lease agreement between Hofert and an elderly East Bethany woman who owned the property just outside the Town of Stafford border.

Hens said problems arose when it was discovered that a county-owned abandoned right-of-way (formerly County Road 2) was part of the property being leased.

“County Road 2 was relocated many years ago, but the county has maintained the drainage from the older section as well as the new drainage along County Road 2,” he said.

The woman entered into a lease agreement with Hofert, who owns neighboring land, Hens said, inadvertently including the county-owned parcel in the deal. Previously, the county also had informed the woman that her barn on the property was encroaching on the abandoned right-of-way.

Hens said that Hofert proceeded to place many items and debris on the property and in the barn, prompting complaints to Town of Pavilion officials, who, in turn, notified the county of the code violations.

“Most of the junk is on county-owned property so technically speaking, the county would be the one in violation of the property maintenance code,” Hens said.

Working with the county attorney, Hens eventually was able to get the woman’s approval to remove the junk from the property.

“As much of Mr. Hofert’s debris was in and around the barn -- which was also built partly on the right-of-way without authorization -- the county obtained an affidavit from (the woman) to demolish and remove the barn as well, and that has been done,” Hens said. “Aside from seeking restitution from Mr. Hofert, the matter is settled.”

Aerial photo above shows the right-of-way property in dispute (shaded in red) and the barn that was on that parcel along East Bethany Le Roy Road in the Town of Pavilion.

March 3, 2022 - 11:28am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county, chamber of commerce.

Understanding the importance of tourism to the local economy, the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee is endorsing the utilization of federal American Rescue Plan Act money to fund a Chamber of Commerce-driven “county branding initiative.”

The committee, after a brief pitch of the plan by County Manager Matt Landers and Chamber President Erik Fix on Wednesday, voted to forward a resolution to spend $240,000 over three years – including $139,000 this year – for chamber officials to develop and implement a strategy to increase tourism.

“The Chamber has indicated to us that it lost a lot of funding in bed tax during 2020 due to the pandemic,” Landers said. “Tourism is specifically laid out in the federal legislation as an acceptable use for the ARPA money.”

Fix said he worked with county Compliance Officer Pamela LaGrou to put forth a number of initiatives to attract more visitors to Genesee County, with rebranding and social media/website development at the top of the list.

He said part of the money will be used to hire an outside consultant to assess the state of tourism in the county, noting that a company previously working with Livingston County left a “105 page memo of a list of things that could be done.”

The plan includes focusing on downtown Batavia, including the hiring of a part-time “Main Street coordinator,” Fix said, and also to use technology to monitor tourists’ activity during their stays in Genesee County and to create a “central landing page” on the internet.

“Our goal is to build a collective spirit and energy throughout the community,” he said. “if we do it right, it will lead to business development and growth.”

Landers reported that about $8 million of the $11.1 million the county received in ARPA funding will go toward the Countywide Water Project, with another $2 million to expand broadband capability in the county.

About $150,000 is being allocated to cybersecurity and the remainder is being “held out for future opportunities,” he said.

The county has until 2024 to allocate the ARPA money and until 2026 to spend it.

March 3, 2022 - 10:55am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county, CSEA Local 1000, Randsco Pipeline.

Pending final approval by the full Genesee County Legislature, members of the Civil Service Employees Association Inc. local chapter of county employees will be receiving a raise in the middle of a previously negotiated contract period.

Acting on a resolution proposed by County Manager Matt Landers, the legislature’s Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday voted in favor of granting a 2.25 percent pay increase for 2022 on top of the 2.25 percent increase the CSEA, Local 1000, AFSCME, Genesee County Unit 6950, Local 819 is receiving as part of a four-year agreement that started on Jan. 1, 2020.

“To stay competitive, we needed to provide this wage increase,” Landers said, referring to the part of the resolution that emphasizes that retention and recruitment of employees are crucial to services provided by the county.

The union consists of 272 employees across more than two dozen departments. Its contracted raise for 2023 is 2 percent and is not affected by this resolution, Landers said.

In related action, the committee supported using $86,000 in Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding through the New York State Office of Mental Health to provide workforce retention incentives for eligible CSEA employees of the Genesee County Mental Health Department.

Authorization for this comes through the Federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.

The resolution forwarded to the full legislature also calls for incentive payments to eligible management staff of the department.

In other developments, the committee:

  • Approved a request from Genesee Community College officials to apply to the State University of New York for funding of four capital projects at the campus: heating/ventilation/air conditioning system ($1.8 million), data room control unit ($300,000), gymnasium air handling unit ($450,000), touchless restrooms ($949,000).

According to the resolution, the college will pay for half of the total cost, $1,749,500, by using unallocated Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds and is asking the state to pay for the other half.

Genesee County acts as a pass-through in this transaction and is not required to pay any of the expenses of these projects.

  • Approved a change order for $220,000 in the county’s contract with Randsco Pipeline of Macedon, effectively ending legal proceedings between the two entities over the costs of extensive work performed by Randsco on Phase 2 of the Countywide Water Project.

“This is the final payment that ends the contractual agreement,” Landers said, opting not to get into the specifics of the dispute, which was reported on The Batavian in October 2020.

Previously: Randsco Pipeline crews return to work on county's Phase 2 water project as contractual issues are put on hold

Previously: County seeks outside legal advice regarding 'serious disputes' with water pipeline installation company

February 15, 2022 - 12:28pm

It looks as though you can add paint to the list of materials eligible for disposal at the GLOW Region Solid Waste Management Committee’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection.

GLOW Recycling Administrator Peggy Grayson on Monday reported that New York’s Paint Stewardship program is expected to become operational by May 1, setting the stage for Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming county residents to drop off left over latex and oil-based paint at the Sept. 17, 2022 collection day at the Genesee County Highway Department on Cedar Street.

The collection event, which rotates among Genesee, Wyoming and Livingston each year, is open to the public at no charge. The electronics collection day is set for Sept. 24, also at the highway department.

Grayson, appearing at the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse, distributed brochures indicating that the paint program (www.paintcare.org) has established more than 2,000 drop-off sites in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

While most sites are paint and hardware stores, solid waste facilities – including transfer stations, recycling centers and landfills, plus household hazardous waste facilities – also participate as drop-off locations.

The program is funded by the addition of a small fee to the price of paint containers sold in stores and online.

Information provided by Grayson points out that latex paint is not hazardous waste and small amounts can be safely disposed of in the trash once it is in hardened form. If the can is more than half full, it should be taken to an approved PaintCare location or to the hazardous waste collection site.

In related action, the Public Service Committee approved an extension of a contract with Environmental Enterprises, Inc., and the other GLOW counties for the GLOW Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program at a cost not to exceed $32,000.

“This will be our 18th year (with EEI),” Grayson said. “It’s a great job that they do for us; always on time and they clean up afterwards.”

The PSC also voted in favor of the following resolutions (subject to approval by the full legislature on Feb. 23):

  • Leasing of a new Caterpillar hydraulic excavator from Milton Caterpillar in Batavia for $299,929, with annual payments set at $64,135.80. Funding will come from the road machinery budget, which had an estimate of $85,000 annually for the lease purchase.
  • Utilization of $77,000 in grant funding for the Sheriff’s Office to pay overtime for the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee operations and for additional police services in the Village of Bergen, and for expenses related to a Department of Homeland Security program.
  • Acceptance of a $4,056 grant from Homeland Security to cover the costs of sheriff’s deputies' participation in emergency preparedness exercises.
  • Implementation of Automated Secure Alarm Protocol at the county’s Emergency Dispatch Center that will cut down the amount of time from the sounding of an alarm to the dispatch of first responders. The $35,000 capital project will be paid by revenues generated by wireless fees and state aid. This would affect all alarm companies linked to The Monitoring Association. “This could mean as much as 30 seconds saved on the front end … and that could make a huge difference (when it comes to a fire),” said Steven Sharpe, director of Emergency Communications.
  • Acceptance of a $500,000 grant from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services to fund Justice for Children services in Batavia, Albion and Warsaw and Genesee Justice programming for the next five years through Sept. 30, 2027.
  • A $718,564 contract with Union Concrete and Construction Corp. of West Seneca for replacement of the Darien-Alexander Townline Road bridge over Tunnery Brook. The bid was more than $100,000 less than the engineer’s estimate, according to the resolution.
February 14, 2022 - 9:41am
posted by Press Release in genesee county, news, COVID-19.

Press release:

Genesee County announced on Friday that the policy requiring employees and members of the public to wear masks inside County facilities, regardless of vaccination status, ended effective Friday, February 10, 2022. This decision was made following statements from Governor Hochul that she will allow the State’s indoor setting mask mandate to expire as scheduled today.

Effective Friday, February 10, 2022, employees and members of the public may enter County facilities without wearing masks, with the exception of the Genesee County Mental Health and Public Health Clinical settings.  Employees and visitors to the Genesee County Mental Health and Public Health Clinics must continue to wear a mask while on the premises.  County officials urge both employees and the public to assess their own risk and strongly encourage those with increased risk of contracting COVID-19 or anyone with a compromised immunized system to continue to wear a mask.

The County will continue to practice social distancing and enhanced cleaning measures to help ensure the safety of employees and residents.

“We are encouraged by the continued and significant decrease in cases and hospitalizations in Genesee County and across the Finger Lakes region.” Said County Manager Matt Landers. “The expiration of the State’s mask mandate announced yesterday by the Governor is a welcome sign that things are continuing to trend in the right direction and we can begin taking steps to return to some semblance or normalcy.”

Public Health Director Paul Pettit commented, “While we continue to see decreasing cases and hospitalizations, there is still a significant amount of viral spread within the community. We urge residents to assess their own risk factors and make decisions about the mitigation strategies they should continue to utilize to help protect them from this virus that is still very much present throughout our area.”

February 13, 2022 - 5:02pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, genesee county, U.S. flag.

county_flag_disposal.jpeg

Genesee County is doing its part to facilitate the proper disposal of tattered and worn United States flags by placing an official disposal box in the foyer of the Old County Courthouse on Main Street. The box, which carries the official seal of Genesee County, also acknowledges the contributions of the National Association of Counties and the National Flag Foundation. Flags placed into the box will be given to Veterans Services, which will follow protocol for their disposal. Submitted photo.

February 1, 2022 - 10:51am

Without a facility to provide intervention services for pre-school children in Genesee County, annual costs to transport these young people to regional facilities are exceeding a half-million dollars, County Public Health Director Paul Pettit said on Monday.

“We still do not have any local center-based services in Genesee County, and once Rainbow Preschool was shut down a little over a year ago (due to financial difficulties) that has resulted in having nothing available for our kiddos,” Pettit said at the Genesee County Legislature’s Human Services Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

“So, any kids in the county that require full-day, center-based services, they're getting bused out, which is partly why our transportation services are as costly as they are.”

Calling it a “very challenging” situation, Pettit said it costs about $550,000 in 2021 to bus these children to programs and services in neighboring counties – to places such as the Mary Cariola Children’s Center in Rochester and centers in Livingston and Erie counties. He said last year’s cost likely was less than anticipated due to COVID-19 and the curtailing of travel.

Pettit said about 25 children participate in the county program that offers services such as speech, occupational and physical therapy.

“It’s unfortunate when you look at the cost, typically our transportation is as much as it is for the actual services,” he said. “It would be great to have some more local services, but we’re looking at different things.”

He said the merger of GLOW ARC into a regional organization could open a door to services in Genesee County.

As far as reimbursement on some of the preschool programs, the county receives 59 ½ percent of the cost from New York State.

“The program costs for preschool, in general, are about $2.1 to $2.2 million, which includes the transportation piece (and) related services,” he said. “Kids may be in their home environment, or where they are just in need of speech (therapy) or OT, center-based are usually more involved, where they're receiving the full cadre of services.”

Pettit said the out-of-county children’s centers have a larger population of kids and are financially stable to the point where they could be – with more funding – persuaded to open a site in Genesee County.

“But, at the moment, we haven't had anybody knocking down the door. But I mean, we're definitely looking at it,” he said.

In an effort to control busing expenses, the health department is looking into creating a transportation coordinator that would work with Orleans and Livingston counties.

“This actually would be a three-county collaborative to oversee the busing program that we have and to try to keep costs in check and make sure we're routing and doing the best to get kids where they need to be in the most fiscal appropriate way,” he advised.

January 22, 2022 - 9:15pm
posted by Press Release in genesee county, batavia, Le Roy, COVID-19, health.

Press Release:

Genesee County has received 2,580 free COVID-19 test kits from New York State to distribute to Genesee County residents. Starting the week of January 24, 2022, test kits will be available at town, village, and city municipal buildings during their regular business hours, while supplies last. Residents should contact their local municipality for details of when the municipal building is open and the availability of test kits. A maximum of 2 kits (4 tests) per family will be distributed and attendees will be required to show proof of Genesee County residency in order to receive kits. The following locations will have a limited supply of COVID-19 test kits:

  • Town of Alabama
  • Town of Alexander
  • Town of Batavia
  • Town of Bergen
  • Town of Bethany
  • Town of Byron
  • Town of Darien
  • Town of Elba
  • Town of LeRoy
  • Town of Oakfield
  • Town of Pavilion
  • Town of Pembroke
  • Town of Stafford
  • Village of Alexander
  • Village of Bergen
  • Village of Corfu
  • Village of Elba
  • Village of LeRoy
  • Village of Oakfield
  • Batavia City Hall, Clerks Office

“Residents should use at-home COVID-19 tests after a possible exposure to someone with COVID-19 or when they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Testing is one mitigation strategy that can help reduce the community spread of COVID-19.” For Free PCR and rapid testing, you can go to the NYS COVID-19 Testing site located at GCC Albion Campus Center at 456 West Avenue, Albion. Walk-ins and registration allowed Monday- Saturday. To register: https://appointments.bioreference.com/nystatecovidtesting.

To report a Positive At-home Test:
Individuals can visit the GO Health website COVID-19 Testing page under Emerging Issues (GOHealthNY.org) and choose the appropriate Home Test button for their respective county. Individuals should complete the at-home tests according to the directions provided. When the test is completed, individuals should take a picture with the individual’s name, the date and the time they took the test legibly written in permanent marker within 15 minutes of reading the test. Towards the end of the online form, the individual will be required to upload the picture on the website and attest to the authenticity and truth of the form. If there are any missing sections that
are required, the form is invalid. At this time, individuals do not need to report negative at-home test results. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is to self-isolate immediately. You may not be contacted regarding your contacts, so it is important to notify your close contacts (those who you spent 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period 2 days prior to symptoms or 2 days prior to a positive test result). It is important to continue with self-isolation from household members as much as you are able. Isolate for 5 days and if you are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, your symptoms are getting better, and you can tolerate a tight-fitting mask you can return to work/school but you are still required to wear a tight-fitting mask for 5 more days. If you must share space, make sure all in contact with you are wearing masks covering their nose and mouth and frequently shared items/surfaces are sanitized often. To access isolation orders and isolation release paperwork visit our website at GOHealthNY.org (COVID-19 Isolation & Quarantine Documents & Information) and complete and print out or print and hand write the forms from the county you reside in and provide to your employer or school.

Residents can sign up for an upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinic to receive their first dose, booster shot, or pediatric dose at the GO Health website at https://bit.ly/GOHealthCOVID.

January 19, 2022 - 6:04pm

tcfhjfwk.jpgThe longtime Genesee County representative to the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. believes bills being introduced by State Sen. Timothy Kennedy of Buffalo, if passed into law, are a “power grab” that would destroy the governance structure of the public benefit company that operates Batavia Downs Gaming and harness track.

Speaking to the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee this afternoon, Richard Siebert, a WROTB director for 28 years, said the proposal by Kennedy (photo at right) would “basically demolish everything we’ve had at OTB.”

“It would eliminate the status that we’ve had since 1974 when our county joined and everybody else (other participating counties) joined,” he said. “The legislation would basically eliminate the directors as we know them … (and) would put perhaps Genesee as a director in with Livingston County, Chautauqua County, Catt (Cattaraugus) County, Orleans County, Seneca County; basically, eliminate all of us, and put just one director, perhaps appointed by the governor.”

Siebert said he wanted the legislature to be aware of Kennedy’s Senate bills, which were introduced last week in response to State Comptroller’s audits – released in September 2021 -- that faulted WROTB management for lack of oversight of perks distributed and for failure to receive prompt reimbursement for personal use of an official vehicle.

The audit by the Comptroller’s office took place over the course of a little more than two years, between September 2017 and December 2019.

According to Kennedy’s website, the three bills would result in the following:

  • Revise the structure of the board based on population. As OTB profits are distributed by population, this bill would require that the membership of the board of directors be based on population.
  • Cap the allowance of promotional items for certain members of the corporation. This legislation would make the gift rules governing OTB associates consistent with the Public Officers Law, Legislative Law, and Executive Law, where state employees may not receive a gift of any kind valued at an amount greater than $15.
  • Prohibit OTB corporation vehicles from being used as take-home vehicles.

Regarding the current makeup of the WROTB, each of the 15 counties plus the City of Buffalo and City of Rochester that receive benefits from gaming and racing revenues are represented by a director.

“It basically is a power grab for the bigger counties,” Siebert said. “We’ve always had one county, one vote. Genesee, Orleans – we’ve always had the same vote as the City of Rochester.”

Contacted minutes ago, WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said the board has directed him to “explore all of our options.”

“All I will say at this time is that we’re exploring all of our options, including litigation, relative to the proposed bills,” Wojtaszek said. “It’s pretty simple.”

The WROTB directors meet for their monthly public session at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Park Road facility’s corporate board room.

Siebert said he wants the Genesee County Legislature and other county legislatures to draft resolutions to “exercise our Home Rule” opposing Kennedy’s plan.

“We have to realize that under Home Rule, we started this but with the Senate, the governor and the Assembly all in one little room, anything can happen,” he said. “This is very serious and can have serious consequences to our county.”

Ways & Means Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg agreed with Siebert’s assessment of the situation, reiterating that “it’s definitely a power grab.”

“We all know what it’s about. It’s about the money that’s been shared … pretty liberally with a lot of municipalities and we need to fight this as hard as we possibly can.”

Kennedy, in announcing the proposed legislation, said the Comptroller’s report “outlined mismanagement and dysfunction at the Western Regional OTB, and demonstrated a clear need for reforms at the corporation, which has been plagued with problems for years.”

“Through this legislation, we’re holding members accountable, revising outdated policy, and creating fairer representation on the OTB board moving forward. Taxpayers deserve better, and we intend to ensure they receive that.”

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli apparently is in the Democratic senator's corner, judging by his comments.

“The Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. gave generous perks to board members, employees and others, ignoring state rules,” DiNapoli said. “My auditors found a troubling disregard for appropriate safeguards to hold people accountable and protect public resources. Senator Kennedy is proposing legislation that addresses this mismanagement and our major audit findings. I look forward to working with Senator Kennedy on these critical reforms and holding government accountable.”  

January 19, 2022 - 4:58pm
posted by Press Release in genesee county, Genes County YMCA, fundraiser, community.

Press Release:

Part of the Y’s charitable mission is the philosophy that we never turn away someone with an inability to pay for membership or programs. To that end, we raise funds annually through the Strong Communities Campaign to help subsidize scholarships for youths, teens, adults, families and seniors in our community.

 Our goal is to raise $50,000
 Our campaign runs from January 18 th – June 13 th
 We want to positively impact at least 800 people’s lives in Genesee County.

Charitable gifts from YMCA donors help provide financial assistance for children, adults and families to participate in Y programs. This makes it possible for kids to have a safe place to learn and build confidence after school and over the summer; for families to reconnect and grow together; for seniors to have a safe and supportive place to gather to stay socially and physically engaged; and for kids and teens to have access to education and training to reach their full potential in and out of the classroom. More importantly, 100-percent of donations stay in the local community, having a direct impact on resident’s right in your own neighborhood.

We need your help! Please consider a gift to support us in achieving this goal and making our community stronger for all.

To make a gift, contact Jeff Townsend, Executive Director at (585) 344-1664 or online at www.glowymca.org under the “giving” tab.

January 19, 2022 - 4:52pm
posted by Press Release in batavia, genesee county, sports, youth, community, Batavia Soccer Club.

Press Release:

Is your child interested in playing one of the most popular sports in the world?  Are they looking to get out of the house this summer and spend time with their friends?  Are they looking to meet new friends and improve their physical fitness?  If so, soccer may be the perfect summer sport for them!

Batavia Soccer Club has served Genesee County for over 40 years.  We have soccer programs available for every age – from 3+.  No prior soccer experience is necessary. All practices are held on our beautiful fields at the Batavia Sports Park on Bank Street Road in Batavia. Parking, concessions, and bathroom facilities are available at the fields. 

 

Please visit our website at www.bataviasoccerclub.com for details on our programs for each age group. 

2003 – 2013 birth years:  1/28/22 registration deadline

2014 – 2019 birth years:  3/20/22 registration deadline

 

Sign up now to reserve your spot and get ready for your best summer ever!

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