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genesee county

March 24, 2020 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in rob thompson, news, video, death penalty cases, genesee county.
Video Sponsor

Author Rob Thompson has made his book "Swinging in the Rain," about death penalty cases in Genesee County available to readers of The Batavian as a free PDF download. The video is from November when we interviewed Rob about the book.

March 20, 2020 - 4:10pm

Press release:

This is a challenging time for everyone. In light of the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and to ensure the health and safety of our volunteers, staff and participants, all Genesee County Master Gardener programs and speaking engagements have been cancelled through April.

If you have registered and paid for any of our programs you will get a refund. We will resume our regular programming as soon as we can.

Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and to do our part to help limit the spread, the Master Gardener Helpline will not be available to walk-ins through May 1

Master Gardener volunteers will not be in the office during this time. We hope to reopen to the public on Monday, May 4.

With gardening season at our doorstep, we want to be available to help you. If you have gardening questions you may continue to contact us through our email at [email protected]. Photos may be sent for plant and insect identification.

If you are on Facebook you can also leave a question on the CCE Genesee Facebook page.

Stay up to date with our Master Gardener program by visiting our website.

Please take all precautions to stay safe and healthy.

Thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you in the near future.

March 18, 2020 - 4:33pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced today that the Senate has passed another bipartisan emergency legislative package to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19), sending the bill that will deliver billions of dollars to New York, and millions to the counties, to President Trump for his signature.

Schumer successfully pushed to include a cost-sharing provision in the legislation so New York’s counties, which pay part of Medicaid’s costs, benefit from the increase federal Medicaid support. Schumer has successfully championed this provision in prior disaster response legislation, including after 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and the 2008 financial meltdown.

The Schumer-backed emergency measure delivers billions to New York and its counties immediately, while the state, city and local governments works to contain the virus’s spread and cover mounting costs in new "hot spots."

“Enhanced FMAP funds are so important because they are immediate and flexible. The state – which gets billions and the most of any state in the nation – and counties use the money they save on whatever they want, alleviating pressure from the crisis,” Senator Schumer said.

“New York is the national epicenter in the coronavirus fight and this bill will ensure New York and its counties have the tools, the dollars, and the federal resources to go at the virus with full force. I am proud to deliver this support that will unlock billions for New York state and send money directly to counties on the front lines of this battle as we all work together to contain the virus’s spread and cover mounting costs.”

Schumer explained that statewide dollars related to healthcare funds known as “FMAP," unemployment benefits, and meals for seniors who might become homebound were included in the final bill, and said all of this will mean billions for New York. Schumer called on Leader McConnell to work with him last week to send the measure to President Trump’s desk ASAP.

“This passed in the Senate with bipartisan effort because we recognize the challenges that states, especially New York, are facing in the coronavirus battle,” added Schumer. “These are dollars for New York healthcare, free testing, paid emergency leave, unemployment insurance, meals for homebound seniors, and other critical efforts that are needed to sustain the mission.”

Schumer said he scored the haul by temporarily adjusting the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate. Right now, the federal government pays 50 percent of expenses for Medicaid in New York. Under the deal, the feds would temporarily pay approximately 56 percent.

New York Essentials

+$6B in healthcare funds for New York -- Schumer explained, once signed by President Trump, on an annual basis, the bipartisan deal will deliver more than $6 billion in critical healthcare dollars to New York in the form of what is called “FMAP,” which encompasses the state’s Medicaid program. That program is jointly funded by the federal government and the states. FMAP is a matching rate enacted in 1965 that determines the federal funding share for state Medicaid programs.

The federal government matches state funds spent on Medicaid, based on the state’s FMAP, which varies by state. For example, New York’s FMAP is 50 percent. This means that for every dollar spent on Medicaid in New York, New York’s share of the cost is fifty cents (this 50 cents, in turn, is split between the State and Counties and localities), while the federal government chips in the other 50 cents.

Only some states have FMAPs of 50 percent and New York is one — Schumer’s efforts increased the federal share of New York’s Medicaid program to 56.2 percent, thereby dropping the state’s share to 43.8 percent. This delivers more federal dollars immediately to the state and localities, to the tune of more than $6B annually.  

The Breakdown

State share: $5.26 billion

NYC share: $1.038 billion

Counties share: $436 million

  • Genesee County: $1.9 million

​The Medicaid program plays a critical role in helping states respond to disasters and public health emergencies like the coronavirus. For example, Medicaid was able to provide enhanced funding and coverage in response to the Zika virus outbreak in Puerto Rico. There are also millions of Americans who depend on Medicaid for access to essential health care, including vaccines and diagnostic tests.

Recognizing that New York State and localities are in dire need of direct fiscal aid and are forced to share the cost of Medicaid, Schumer in 2009, fought to make sure that New York State counties and localities received direct aid from FMAP through the financial crisis, a roughly $12B package. Even farther back, in 2003, Schumer was successful in getting a share of FMAP for states during an economic downturn, of $10 billion in fiscal relief through a temporary FMAP increase that lasted five fiscal quarters. 

$1B for people who might find themselves out of work—Schumer explained, once signed by President Trump, the Act will also deliver more than $1B in additional unemployment benefits to states, unlocking tens of millions of new dollars to help New York as the virus’s economic impacts risk taking effect. This emergency package would also waive certain measures, such as work search requirements or waiting weeks to those who have lost their jobs over the spread of coronavirus, or those who have been diagnosed. Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own, and meet certain other eligibility requirements.  

$15M dedicated specially to New York seniors who might need meals—Schumer explained, once signed by President Trump, the emergency bill will also include a special pot of $15 million for meals homebound seniors might require. The funds would be in addition to a larger federal tranche of hundreds of millions that would deliver more resources to local food banks and pantries. Schumer said the meals for seniors is especially important because these folks are most vulnerable to the virus and might need to remain socially isolated for a certain duration.

In addition to this bill, Schumer also negotiated and passed an emergency $8.3 billion coronavirus supplemental signed by President Trump last week that will deliver hundreds-of-millions to New York State, New York City and New York institutions as they wage the fight and ramp up virus testing measures. Moreover, yesterday, at Schumer’s urging, President Trump heeded the call to enact a national emergency. The disaster declaration will allow FEMA to provide emergency protective measures to the state at a 75 percent federal to 25 percent state cost share for a wide range of eligible expenses and activities.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also delivers billions in free coronavirus testing, paid sick leave for workers, strengthens food assistance by $1B.

As of 8 a.m. today, March 18th, the New York Department of Health reported more than 1,300 cases in New York state, with 17 deaths.

While the immediate health risk to the majority of the American public is thought to remain low, Schumer has emphasized that the challenges of community spread have already begun to strain New York state and local government responses, particularly health departments, which is why this latest measure is so critical.

Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus In New York (8 a.m., March 18)

New York City

1,399 (10 deaths)

Albany

36

Allegany

1

Broome

1

Chenango

1

Clinton

1

Delaware

1

Dutchess 

20

Erie

7

Genesee

1

Greene 

2

Herkimer

1

Jefferson

1

Montgomery

1

Monroe 

14 (1 death)

Nassau

183 (1 death)

Niagara

1

Oneida

2

Onondaga

2

Ontario 

1

Orange

32

Putnam

2

Rensselaer

1

Rockland

30 (2 deaths)

Saratoga

14

Schenectady

5

Suffolk

116 (3 deaths)

Sullivan

1

Tioga

1

Tompkins

3

Ulster 

8

Westchester

538

Wyoming

1

March 17, 2020 - 11:02am

Press release today, March 17, from the New York State Unified Court System, Hon. Paula L. Feroleto Administrative Judge:

Be advised that pursuant to Administrative Judicial Order of the New York State Unified Court System, the Courts of New York State have postponed all nonessential functions until further notice.

For all Court Outside of New York City, Court matters in each county will be condensed into one location where only ESSENTIAL cases will be heard. In Genesee County, the courthouse facilities where ESSENTIAL cases will be heard locally, as part of the Eighth Judicial District, are:

  • Genesee County Court, Genesee County Court Facility, Batavia
  • Batavia City Court, Genesee County Court Facility, Batavia

In the Eighth Judicial District, in the absence of approval by the Administrative Judge, Hon. Paula L. Feroleto, other than after hours arraignments, no court matters or court business will be conducted in any court facility other than the facilities listed above. Only ESSENTIAL court matters will be heard in these facilities.

After-hour criminal court arraignments and applications for emergency orders of protection will be conducted in the appropriate jurisdictional city, town or village justice court facility.

Effective immediately, in the absence of further Court Order, in all counties of the Eighth Judicial District:

1. All pending criminal court proceedings for defendants who have been arraigned and released on their own recognizance are administratively adjourned until a date on or April 30, 2020. For Defendants who have been arraigned and are in custody, all pending criminal court matters are adjourned until on or after April 15, 202. Defendants will receive new notices of their future scheduled court dates.

2. All criminal court matters scheduled to be heard for arraignments on criminal court appearance tickets in any city, town and village justice court are administratively adjourned until a date on or after April 30, 2020. Defendants will be notified of future court dates.

3. All post arraignment criminal court proceedings are administratively adjourned until a date on or after April 30, 2020. Defendants will be notified of future court dates through their attorneys. For pro se defendants, they will be advised of their future court date directly by the court.

4. Regular business day criminal court arraignments will be conducted in the courthouses listed above. After hour, weekend or holiday criminal court arraignments will be conducted in the appropriate jurisdictional city, town or village justice court facility.

5. All Orders of Protections and Temporary Order of Protection, issued by any Criminal, Family or Civil Court (including Supreme, County, Family, City, Town and Village Courts) are extended 90 days.

6. All nonessential pending civil actions and proceedings, in any Supreme, County, Surrogate’s City and Town and Village Court are administratively adjourned until a date on or after April 30, 2020. Parties in these actions and proceedings will be advised through their attorneys or pro parties will be advised directly by the Court.

7. All nonessential pending Family Court matters are administratively adjourned until a date on or after April 30, 2020. Parties in these actions and proceedings will be advised through their attorneys or pro parties will be advised directly by the Court.

8. For Criminal Court proceedings, essential court matters include, but are not limited to arraignments, new and extended orders of protection.

9. For Family Court proceedings, essential court matters include, but are not limited to, urgent juvenile delinquency proceedings, child protective proceedings where there is an imminent risk of harm to a child, urgent Family Offense matters, emergency support matters.

10. For Supreme Court Civil actions and proceedings, essential court matters include, but are not limited to, urgent Article 81 guardianship matters, Mental Hygiene Law applications (Retention Cases/Medication/Treatment Over Objection Proceedings), Orders to Show Cause, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, Applications for Orders of Protection, Isolation and Quarantine Proceedings.

11. For Surrogate’s Court proceedings, essential court matters include, but are not limited to, urgent guardianship, adoption and other essential cases as determined by the Court in consultation with the Administrative Judge.

  1. No evictions orders will be granted by any city, town or village justice court.

  2. No default judgments will be granted.

  3. No foreclosure auctions shall be held.

February 28, 2020 - 6:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, news, notify, Jay Gsell, matt landers.

Press release:

At the Feb. 26th Legislature meeting, County Manager Jay Gsell announced his plan to retire as of Aug. 14. He will have 27 years as county manager and a total of 45 years working in government.

In addition to announcing his retirement date, Gsell shared details of the succession plan, which includes Assistant County Manager Matthew Landers' appointment to the position of County Manager.

Upon earning his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, Gsell immediately went on to American University earning his Master of Public Administration degree.

In the late 1970s and through the 1980s, he served as assistant or city manager in the cities of Trenton, Norton Shores, Eau Claire, Winchester, Cumberland, and Marshalltown. In 1993, after rising to the top of 70 applicants from a national search, Gsell was appointed county manager by the Genesee County Legislature.

According to Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, he has completely immersed himself in Genesee County, a place he and his wife, Ann Marie, call home.

“Jay wears many hats; county manager and budget officer, family man, member (and past president) of Rotary, United Way board member and chair of the county’s comprehensive plan committee to name a few,” Stein said.

The Legislature has met with Landers and look forward to a seamless transition.

Landers brings nearly 10 years of municipal experience beginning with a three-year stint as director of real property tax services before a promotion to deputy treasurer and in 2014 assistant county manager.

Matt and wife, Melissa, are lifelong Genesee County residents.

He attended The College at Brockport where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Public Administration. He’s an active member of Kiwanis Club, Leadership Genesee graduate and is a certified public accountant.

Landers can been seen coaching daughter Katie’s softball team or working on the fields at Lyons Park or pitching to son, Ben, at batting practice.

“We are well-positioned to maintain quality administration of our county and look forward to promoting homegrown Matt Landers to county manager,” Stein said.

CORRECTIONS: A source provided the following corrections to the press release: Landers has 16 years of municipal government experience.  He was deputy county treasurer from 2004 to 2014. During that time, he was also director of real property for three years.

February 11, 2020 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county, jail construction project, news.

Press release:

Genesee County will hold a Public Information Session regarding the Jail Construction Project at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Old County Courthouse Chambers, 7 Main St., Batavia.

The purpose of the informational session is to update the public on the process taken by the County in the design of the proposed new County Jail and where we are in the project time line.

The County invites citizen questions and inquiries on the jail design process, and looks to provide County justification and rationale for the steps taken to date and planned into the future. We welcome any and all citizen views regarding any aspect of the project’s scope, purpose and implementation.

The County will provide project information including, but not limited to, project timeline, bed need analysis, jail site and projected costs. County staff along with SMRT, the County’s architect and engineer consultants will be on hand to answer questions and receive feedback.

The session will last until approximately 8 p.m. and the public is encouraged to drop by at any time to speak with County and SMRT representatives.

The County has also created a page on its website dedicated to the jail project that we encourage citizens to check on over time for updates on the progress of the jail construction project, the site is here.

January 23, 2020 - 4:37pm

Press release:

If you are someone who is civic-minded, independent, ambitious, enjoy exploring creative solutions to problems, and want to make an impact in your community, we want to talk to you about running for local office.

If you are interested in getting involved politically in any capacity, please reach out to us at [email protected] or www.geneseedemocrats.net

The following local elected offices will be voted on this November.

  • Genesee County -- Sheriff, Treasurer, Family Court Judge, Coroner -- two positions

  • City of Batavia -- one City Council at Large -- unexpired term

  • Town of Alabama -- one Town Council -- unexpired term

  • Town of Alexander -- one Town Clerk -- unexpired term

  • Town of Batavia -- one Town Justice

  • Town of Bergen -- one Town Justice

  • Town of Byron -- one Town Justice

  • Town of Elba -- one Town Justice, one Town Council -- unexpired term

  • Town of Le Roy -- one Town Council -- unexpired term

  • Town of Oakfield -- Town Justice, one Town Supervisor -- unexpired term, 1 Town Council- unexpired term

  • Town of Pavilion -- Highway Superintendent -- unexpired term

December 24, 2019 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, genesee county, USDA.

A press release from the USDA Office of Communication:

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a movement permit on Monday to Mr. S. Nicholas Claus of the North Pole, a broker with Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited. The permit will allow reindeer to enter and exit the United States between the hours of 7 p.m. Dec. 24, 2019 and 7 a.m. Dec. 25, 2019, through or over any U.S. border port.

“With a growing world population, Mr. Claus will have his busiest Christmas yet. At USDA, we want to ensure we are not hindering Mr. Claus’ important work of spreading Christmas Cheer for all to hear,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“Ease of access into the United States for Mr. Claus and his nine reindeer will ensure that children all over the country – including my own 14 grandchildren – will wake up on Christmas morning with joy and filled with the spirit of the season. USDA issued this permit in advance and waived all applicable fees to help ensure a smooth trip on Christmas Eve night.”

In addition to the normal disease testing requirements, flying reindeer must undergo additional tests to ensure they will be able to safely handle significant changes in altitude and temperature throughout their journey, and are fit for landing on rooftops.

On this year’s health certificate, the accredited veterinarian noted that one of the reindeer named Rudolph was positive for “red nose syndrome”; however, it was also explained that this is normal for him and not an animal health concern. The veterinarian also verified the reindeer have been vaccinated against any diseases they could encounter on their trip around the world.

At the request of the Clauses, APHIS also completed a courtesy welfare and humane treatment check of the reindeer facility. Nicholas Claus, his wife and his staff passed with flying colors.

The Claus team will arrive pulling a wooden sleigh with jingling bells attached, filled with brightly wrapped gifts. Port personnel will clean and disinfect the runners and underside of the sleigh at the time of entry, and will also conduct a short visual inspection of the reindeer.

Claus will also have his boots disinfected and will thoroughly wash his hands. These measures are intended to prevent the entry of any livestock diseases the team may encounter during deliveries to farms around the world prior to entering the United States.

“It would be a disaster for Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited, if my reindeer were to unintentionally bring in foot and mouth disease along with all the gifts,” explained Claus. “Why, something like that could put me out of business. That’s why we work all year to keep the reindeer healthy and take all possible precautions before and during our trip.”

Claus has also provided an advance list of what port personnel should expect upon their arrival. This includes a variety of food items, all of which come from approved locations and none of which pose a threat to U.S. animal or plant health.

November 29, 2019 - 4:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in weather, genesee county, news.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for Genesee County from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

Mixed precipitation is expected, including total snow accumulations of one to two inches, and up to four inches across the northern Finger Lakes, with total ice accumulations of around 1/10th of an inch.

Plan on slippery road conditions. Periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will result in slippery roads and limited visibilities. Slow down and use caution while driving.

November 12, 2019 - 8:59pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, city of batavia, genesee county, Batavia City Council.

Approval of a 40-year water supply agreement between the City of Batavia and Genesee County is a win-win situation for both municipalities, according to a City official who has played an integral role in the negotiations.

Speaking after tonight’s Batavia City Council meeting – at which council members unanimously approved the amended agreement through the year 2059, Public Works Director Matt Worth said the new pact equally benefits both entities.

“The important parts of it are, from the City point of view, is the City (last month) entered into a 40-year agreement with the sales tax with Genesee County -- which gives it stability as a financial revenue long-term – and, in addition, the City now does not have to build a new water plant,” Worth said.

Worth estimated the cost of a new water plant at $35 million, expressing relief that the city no longer has that responsibility.

From Genesee County’s perspective, Worth said the agreement’s additional 60-cent surcharge (per 1,000 gallons) gives the county the long-term stability to fund necessary improvements.

“Over the 40 years, the county can go for long-term bonds and has the ability to say ‘Yes we have the revenue stream to pay for those bonds’ (and that leads to) better rates and long-term stability to do those improvements and bring the additional water in,” Worth noted. “Hopefully that spurs all the economic development and growth that usually comes along with public water.”

Worth said the prior agreement -- an extension of the original contract from 2000 -- runs through Dec. 31 and included a 60-cent surcharge to help pay for water improvements. This new agreement goes out to Dec. 31, 2059 and tacks on another 60-cent surcharge to the City.

He said it could provide the impetus to get water into other areas of the county.

“It could mean getting public water into some of those towns and areas that have not had it – Bethany being a prime example,” he said. “Alabama didn’t have water for quite a while, now they’re starting to get water into that town as well.

“That’s kind of the avenue that has been put forward for long-term stability financially and long-term stability as far as providing safe, public drinking water to an awful lot of the county.”

City Council also passed, by 9-0 votes, a restated lease with Genesee County for water treatment facilities that would transfer the plant to the county once it is no longer being used, by mutual agreement, and a restated operations and maintenance agreement for the water treatment plant that takes into account actual costs compared to budget costs, with the City and County equally splitting any surplus end-of-the-year funds.

Both of these agreements are for 10 years.

November 10, 2019 - 2:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, taxes, news.

Genesee County is outperforming many other municipalities in New York when it comes to getting the highest possible return on tax dollars, a financial consultant told members of the Legislature this week. 

Over the past year, the county has earned almost $1.6 million by adroitly managing cash flows and placing cash reserves in investments with the best returns while minimizing risk and complying with state regulations.

With a $32 million tax levy, that return is about 4.77 percent, which means lawmakers can keep the property tax rate lower. If they wanted to generate an additional $1.6 million in property tax revenue, they couldn't do that without violating the state's tax cap.

The reason: "The county treasurer is willing to step out of the box and do whatever it takes to help the taxpayers," said Garrett Macdonald, a Genesee County resident who is vice president of Three+1, a financial consulting firm based in Pittsford.

Also, Macdonald said the county is "looking at data more intuitively and making sure that we're really looking under every stone to earn more. A lot of times (with) public entities, it's not the first priority to earn more on taxpayer dollars.

"The first priority is to make sure it's safe, to make sure that it's in deposit, that the money gets somewhere that it's recorded. And then budgeting is important. Treasury always is kind of a second priority.

"But in Genesee County's case, they're able to accomplish all the above. So looking at data, working with their banks, really putting treasury and earnings at the top of the priority list, along with safety, legality, liquidity."

Because there is money coming in before it's needed for public services, and because the county is required to maintain a cash reserve, there is always cash on hand.

What a government agency can do with it is regulated by the state, and among the things the county can do is buy treasury bills -- place it in money market accounts or certificate of account registries, or other safe and liquid investment vehicles. There are about seven options in total.

Treasurer Scott German spends time every week looking at the data and working with Macdonald on what the county's portfolio should look like based on market conditions and cash flow needs. 

"I want to get the biggest return I can for the taxpayer," German said. "Therefore, using his information that he is able to provide, his negotiations with other banks, we are able to maximize the returns for the taxpayers.

"I mean, you compare me to probably any other county in the State of New York, I'm probably doing probably double or triple in interest rates, percentage-wise."

Macdonald said the county's return is well above the 1.5-percent benchmark local agencies should try to achieve, and that most municipalities struggle to get a 1-percent return.

There's one government agency, he said, that has a tax levy $26 million higher than Genesee County's and is generating $600,000 in investment income, less than half of what Genesee County is generating. And that's the next largest total dollar return in the comparison group.

"The biggest point that I will hone in on again and just reiterate: our goal is to maximize the value that the public creates through tax dollars," Macdonald said. "If we can do that through generating new revenues, that doesn't include increasing taxes, that's a big win."

Among economists, there has been a lot of talk about the inverted yield curve (a graph tracking returns on long-term and short-term bonds; when the economic outlook is good, long-term rates are higher than short-term rates; when the curve inverts, it's a sign investors have lost confidence in long-term returns). The curve inverted last quarter, which is a possible sign of a coming recession.

Macdonald believes the bond markets are correcting and he doesn't see a recession on the two-year horizon (in the past, when the yield curve has inverted, there has been a recession within 18 months). That said, if there is a recession in the next year, because of the money management practices of German, Genesee County's funds should be protected.  

Financial markets are always cyclical, Macdonald noted, which is why it's important to stay on top of what is going on every week.

"If we have a recession in two years, I think the impact is yet to be known because we don't have money invested for two years," Macdonald said. "The longest we have money invested for the county's about one year.

"But when I can tell you is, looking into 2020, even though rates have gone down three times -- once in July, once in September and then once in October -- it's because we've been proactive and because Scott's been proactive at investing early before those decreases.

"We're still going to beat benchmarks going into 2020. So, where most counties are being reactive, Genesee County is proactive."

November 6, 2019 - 12:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in opiates, overdose deaths, genesee county, news.

Press release from the NYS Association of Counties:

The NYS Association of Counties applauds Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's signing of the opioid overdose bill last month.

The legislation (S.1668/A.4915) requires that death certificates in cases of opioid overdose specify which opioid was involved in the death, if known. This new law requires that information be recorded so that more data will be available to better address the opioid crisis.

“New York continues to confront the opioid epidemic in all corners of the state," said Stephen J. Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties. "Toxicology results take an inordinate amount of time to review. This new law will help county coroners and medical examiners pin down the cause of death with more specificity than the general classification of 'drug overdose.'

"Law enforcement efforts to track opioid suppliers have improved, and this new statute will further assist in identifying suppliers of the opiates that led to an overdose. Governor Cuomo and state legislators continue to implement smart government policies to prevent the distribution of illegal opiates."

October 29, 2019 - 3:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, genesee county, news.

The proposed county budget for 2020 includes a 7-cent property tax rate increase for county residents, up from $10.04 to $10.11, while the county grapples with new state spending mandates but manages to keep the tax levy under the state's 2-percent cap.

The proposed tax levy is $31,015,658, up $759,567.

Mandated expenses, from Medicaid to law enforcement functions, will consume 72 percent of the levy.

Total anticipated general fund expenditures are $114,048,256, or $13,030 less than 2019's.

New mandated expenses include additional services related to the Raise the Age legislation, which now requires most criminal cases involving 16- and 17-year-olds to be referred to a youth court, at $318,373. The state is expected to provide the county with full reimbursement for these expenses.

What is not reimbursed are expenses related to bail reform and new evidence discovery requirements, which require the District Attorney's Office to add additional staff, including a new full-time assistant district attorney, a part-time ADA, and a new paralegal.

The Public Defenders Office is also adding an attorney but this expense will be covered by state aid. 

The county will have 452 full-time-equivalent employees. 

While the state is pressuring municipalities to enter into more shared services agreements, the county has pretty much exhausted those opportunities, County Manager Jay Gsell suggested in his budget statement.

The county has been sharing services with County Highway and other county highway departments for 21 years. There are also shared service agreements for the Health Department with Orleans County and combined youth services between the county, city, and Orleans County. 

The Chamber of Commerce Tourism Bureau has an anticipated budget of $420,000, entirely funded by the bed tax. 

A motor pool agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management and energy savings initiatives as a result of consulting with Johnson Controls currently gives the county an anticipated $200,000 in savings.

A public hearing on the proposed budget will take place Nov. 6 in the Old Courthouse. The Legislature will vote on the proposed budget Nov. 25.

October 28, 2019 - 10:12pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, genesee county.

With New York State’s blessing in hand, the Batavia City Council tonight wasted no time in approving an amended sales tax allocation with Genesee County.

By an 8-0 vote (Council Member Rose Mary Christian was absent), the board OK'd the 40-year contract that, in City Manager Martin Moore’s words, “provides a level of stability as we move forward in budget planning and strategic planning.”

Just as importantly, the agreement – which was passed by Genesee County legislators in January – gives the county the necessary time to fund a new jail and to manage the long-term debt payments associated with the building of the jail and other capital projects.

Last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law Bill S4247 that allows Genesee County and the City of Batavia to enter into a sales tax allocation agreement not to exceed 40 years.

As part of the process, bonds will be issued to fund construction with a term of up to 40 years. This means that both the County and City will have assurances that, for the duration of the bonds, they can count on a distinct sales tax revenue stream.

Terms of the City/County agreement have Batavia receiving 16 percent of the county’s 50 percent share of the 8-percent sales tax – with provisions for that amount to grow in future years by a maximum of 2 percent per year.

In future years, the City’s share will depend upon sales tax revenue growth, eventually being no less than 14 percent.

The new agreement will take effect on Jan. 1, a day after the current one-year contract expires.

The vote came during a Special Business Meeting convened immediately after the regularly scheduled Conference meeting.

Three related joint agreements dealing with water supply, water treatment facilities lease and water treatment plant operation and maintenance were moved to the Nov. 12 Business Meeting.

October 24, 2019 - 5:08pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, genesee county, city of batavia.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday signed into law Bill S4247 that allows Genesee County and the City of Batavia to enter into a sales tax allocation agreement not to exceed 40 years.

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell said that justification for the bill focuses on the need for the county “to fund its new jail capital project and for long-term debt payments over the next 30 to 40 years to become sustainable.”

Sen. Michael R. Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steven Hawley supported this legislation in their respective bodies, and it arrived on the governor’s desk last Friday after being passed earlier in the year by both the Senate and Assembly.

As part of the process, bonds will be issued to fund construction with a term of up to 40 years. This means that both the County and City will have assurances that, for the duration of the bonds, they can count on a distinct sales tax revenue stream.

Historically, the state Comptroller’s Office does not approve contracts of this nature that are longer than 10 years in duration; normally, the length is five years. But lawmakers were able to remove the “duration” roadblock to get the bill passed into law.

A little more than a year ago, the City and Genesee County reached a deal giving Batavia 16 percent of the county’s 50 percent share of the 8 percent sales tax – with provisions for that amount to grow in future years by a maximum of 2 percent per year.

In future years, the City’s share will depend upon sales tax revenue growth, eventually being no less than 14 percent.

The City and County extended its agreement to the end of this year in anticipation of passage of the special legislation (S4247).

October 24, 2019 - 2:41pm

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), which works to improve the quality of life of people with any disabilities in the Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming County (GOW) area, has support from the Homeless Alliance of Western New York (HAWNY), the lead Continuum of Care (CoC) agency for most of Western New York, via a grant to The Housing Council at PathStone in Rochester, to offer the federal Rapid Rehousing Program (RRP).

This is an exciting new resource for individuals and families which have faced long-term homelessness, particularly that due to disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has designed Rapid Rehousing as a "best-practice model" for alleviating homelessness by helping families and individuals quickly exit homelessness with both housing identification and financial assistance, and to help them achieve long-term housing stability.

In addition to housing identification, other core components of RRP are move-in and rental assistance, and case management and services. In particular, the program is focused on assisting the homeless who are currently staying at shelters.

Its intent is to secure permanent, stable housing as the foundation for addressing other challenges they face. RRP can serve families, individuals, or be used as a bridge for the chronically homeless while they are waiting for Permanent Supportive Housing.

Rae Frank, the director of ILGR, notes that program eligibility will be determined based on a number of criteria, including the results of a housing assessment and the need to accommodate participants' disabilities.

More information is available from Dominique Johnson at [email protected] and (585) 815-8501, ext. 405.

The program for GOW builds on the lessons learned in the initial 2014 demonstration project, the Buffalo Rapid Rehousing Program (BRAP), which resulted in the Rapid Rehousing Performance Benchmarks and Program Standards.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

September 20, 2019 - 3:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in county highway, genesee county, news.

It's been another busy year for the County Highway Department, Superintendent Tim Hens told members of the Legislature during his annual department review at the Public Service Committee meeting on Thursday.

In 2019, the county received $1.7 million from the state for roads, bridges, and culverts, plus another $382,183 for road paving.

There are 92 bridges in the county with a span of greater than 20 feet. The condition rating is 5.16, up from 5.11 last year.

There are currently nine bridges in the county posted to warn away drivers with heavy loads. This year, three of those bridges are being replaced. They are: Caswell Road, Searls Road, and Pratt Road bridges.

Taking into account all bridges greater than five feet long, much progress has been made over the past three years, Hens said.

“We did an inventory and assessment study in 2016 and identified our top 30 worst bridges,” Hens said. “We have replaced 18 of those. That’s better than half, which is pretty good. With three of them currently being replaced by the end of the year, that number will go up by three by the end of the year.”

Those state programs are going to be dependent in future years on what the federal government does, which Hens said is a concern. He's uncertain about congressional approval and whether the bill will be passed before the 2020 election.

There are 260 centerline miles of highway the county maintains. The average condition rating is now 5.69, an improvement from the previous year.

Paving projects completed in 2019:

  • Horseshoe Lake Road, Stafford
  • South Lake Road, Pembroke
  • Prole Road Extension, Stafford
  • South Street Road, Le Roy
  • Colby Road, Darien
  • Hickox, Walker, and Gillette Road, Alexander

Another project completed in 2019 is the EMS training ground and new firing range at the Emergency Services office location on Bank Street Road.

There are currently 61 employees in the department, for a total of 56.75 full-time equivalents, up by two from 2018.

The proposed budget for 2020 us $5,527,130, which is an increase over 2019 because of the rising cost of salt for snow and ice removal, and increased health care costs.

Salt prices are going up about 5 percent.

Gas prices and asphalt prices have remained stable, Hens said.

Obviously we have some funding concerns going forward, Hens said.

There is at least $125 million in capital projects pending in the county over the next 10 years.

"That’s not the jail. That’s not water. That’s other stuff," Hens said. "We’re going to need federal aid. I hoping that this new federal authorization has some money in it for roads for counties, some relief for counties.”

September 16, 2019 - 6:30pm


The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the 2019-2020 version of the Genesee County Chamber Business Directory has been published!

With nearly 500 local organizations in Chamber membership, we consider this the “who’s who in business” in Genesee County. Descriptions and contact information for small businesses, large corporations, nonprofits, municipalities and schools, all operating in Genesee County, all in one convenient publication!

Stop by The Chamber today to get your copy: Our office is located at 8276 Park Road, Batavia.

We are also pleased to announce the launch of our new Online Business Directory on www.geneseeny.com. With links to member websites, social media pages, emails, and phone numbers: the online directory is the perfect place to interact and learn more about local organizations right here in Genesee County!

Some member listings even have video and pictures to accompany their contact info, Check it out on website here.

The Genesee County Chamber is a not-for-profit organization that consists of nearly 500 local businesses and organizations. Whether you operate a small operation or a large corporation, a membership with the Genesee County Chamber is the perfect way to improve your visibility and make your business more engaged within Genesee County!

If you are interested in scheduling a tour to find out more information, please contact Steven Falitico at 585-343-7440 or by email at [email protected]

More membership information can also be found on our website under “Membership.”

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