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genesee county legislature

December 11, 2008 - 7:40am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, budget, finance, genesee county legislature.

The Genesee County Legislature approved next year's budget with little comment last night, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. The property tax rate will remain the same at $9.82 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Investigators are citing an overheated furnace as the cause of a fire that gutted a home on Fisher Park yesterday morning. The total damage was figured at $85,000.

The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign in Batavia has a little more than halfway to go to reach its fundraising goal for the season. So far, the group's volunteers have taken in $31,000. They have two weeks left to reach $65,000.

December 4, 2008 - 3:14pm

Genesee County residents will see no increase in their property tax rate for next year, according to the Daily News. County legislators made the cuts necessary to keep the rate at $9.82 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

In other news, Country Max has taken over the former Pet Mart store in the city of Batavia. Unfortunately, the article is not entirely clear on what this means. It seems as if "Country Max has a 10-year lease at its new location," yet it's also stated in the article that "Pet Mart is still listed as being owned by Andrew Mistler, father of local entrepreneur Ken Mistler." Further, the article states that Ken Mistler manages the Pet Mart store, but he "wants to become less involved with that business." Wouldn't the fact that a different company now owns the business mean that Mistler wouldn't be involved at all?

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 25, 2008 - 8:02am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, budget, genesee county legislature.

After several weeks of tweaking the proposed budget by County Manager Jay Gsell, the Genesee County Legislature has whittled the tax rate back down to $9.82 per $1,000 of assessed value, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. That's the same rate as this year.

An official vote on the budget will be made on December 10. You can see the salary increases proposed for county officials at the WBTA Web site. A vote on those will be made with the vote on the budget.

November 24, 2008 - 7:50am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, city council, genesee county legislature.

Genesee County's Legislature will meet tonight at 7:00pm in the Old County Courthouse. Also, the Batavia City Council will hold a conference meeting at 7:00pm at City Hall.

November 21, 2008 - 2:26pm

For over a month now, The Batavian has been following along as the 4-H Student Legislators learn the ropes of local government. We first met up at a meeting of the Genesee County Legislature. Then, we followed along when the interns got together at the Genesee County Nursing Home, where a couple dozen county government staffers came together to talk about what they do and take questions from the interns. Everyone from the sheriff to the clerk of the legislature was present.

In our first video, we asked the students their first impressions. In the next, we talked a bit about what they had learned so far. When we met up with them again yesterday, most of them had finished drafting up a resolution that they plan to present to their fellow legislators when they convene in a mock session of the Legislature in the spring. So we asked about their resolutions.

Before we get to that video, however, we're going to test your knowledge of local government. Chip Malone, the mastermind behind the student government program, devised a test of about a dozen questions—though some have several parts to them—all about local government. I took the test. I scored a 39 out of 46, which is about 86 percent. Not too bad, but not as well as I would have liked to have done. Although, I'm sure that if I were to take it again, I would ace it.

Now, we can't reprint the entire test here, because that would give away all of the answers for the students who have yet to take the test. Nevertheless, Chip has been kind enough to allow us to reprint a few of the questions.

First, allow me to brag that I knew every one of our federal and state representatives, including the incoming and outgoing state senators and congressmen. But those questions should be easy for anyone who has any eye on politics in the region. So, instead, I'll share a couple of the questions I found most difficult, and a few others that were a breeze—try to figure out which. Questions are reproduced exactly as they appear on the test.

1. Describe the special provision (rule) which provides opportunity to bring business before the (county) legislature which is not previously written on the agenda.

2. By law, a town is viewed as a:

a. Independent municipal corporation.

b. Involuntary subdivisions of the state, established to make state government more effective.

c. Any group of more than 2000 citizens who choose to start a local government and enact law.

3. What is weighted voting?

4. What are county governments' three top sources of revenue?

5. List the three committees of the county legislature.

We will post the answers Monday.

November 14, 2008 - 8:25am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, Albany, economy, genesee county legislature, state.

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell told WBTA's Dan Fischer that the potentially drastic cuts being talked about by Gov. David Paterson at the state level should have only a "minimal" impact on the proposed county budget for next year. The governor's plan for cutting spending involves mostly reductions to proposed increases, which wouldn't interfere much with the county finances.

In other news, congratulations are in order for Ed Leising of Batavia who was recently awarded the 2008 Health and Humanitarian Award by the Jerome Foundation and the United Memorial Medical Center Foundation. Dan Fischer tells us that Leising was "recognized for his charity work as a member of the Batavia Rotary Club" and because of his volunteer work with the hospital and other organizations.

November 3, 2008 - 4:17pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in genesee county, video, education, genesee county legislature.

Last month, the 4-H Student Legislator program got underway, and The Batavian was there when the local government interns sat with the Genesee County Legislature for the first time—check out our post to find out more about that. Last week, we followed along again. This time, the interns got together at the Genesee County Nursing Home, where a couple dozen county government staffers came together to talk about what they do and take questions from the interns. Everyone from the sheriff to the clerk of the legislature was present.

The first time we got together, I asked some of the interns what their first impressions were about the county, the government, the legislature, and most of them didn't yet know what to think. Well, they've seen quite a bit since then, including some tours around the county of sites such as the airport, the county highway department and the Holland Land Office Museum. So this time we connected, I asked them what they've been learning and what they hope to do with their new knowledge. 

October 22, 2008 - 12:44pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, budget, genesee county legislature.

Genesee County Legislature Chair Mary Pat Hancock cautioned that the proposed county budget that was filed yesterday "gives a whole new meaning to the word 'tentative'," according to the Daily News. Hancock told reporter Paul Mrozek that so much hinges on what will happen at the state level—"Will there be mandate relief? Will there be mandates that are unfunded?"—that it's tough to say just what the county can afford.

That means the legislature will likely wait until December to vote on the budget, hoping that at least some answers will come from Albany by then. For more details on the budget, check out our post on Mrozek's story from yesterday.


In other news, Virginia Kropf has an interesting article in today's paper. She writes:

I just want to sound off about people who hang up on me when I call about a story. It has happened several times lately and I find it hard to understand. It seems people (and businesses) want the publicity when things are good, but think the public is not entitled to the news when it's not so good.

Kropf then recounts a couple particular instances, such as when she tried to inquire about the rumors that Pizza Hut was planning to close some of its area restaurants, and she was told by a fellow at the district office that "he had no idea what (she) was talking about"—and then he hung up on her.

It's fine, writes Kropf, if someone "can't comment now," but "don't hang up on us." That seems like a fair enough request. But it also seems like par for the course for any reporter who is digging in someone's dirty laundry pile—a real complement for any journalist of the investigative stripe.

What do you think? Do reporters deserve more courtesy? What about the other glaring issue here: folks did not only hang up on Kropf, they flat out lied to her? Sure, the fellow at Pizza Hut's district headquarters may have been rude in hanging up the telephone instead of answering Kropf's question. But what about the big fat lie that he didn't know what was going on. Listen to what Kropf says here:

I mentioned I had seen a sign on the counter of the Albion store which read, "Due to our closing, we are out of the following..." He told me it was news to him and he guessed he'd have to call and tell them to take it down.

Then, the very next day, Pizza Hut issued a news release about the closing of the stores. So why lie? Is this a simple case of a hush-hush corporate policy getting tangled up in a situation that no one can deny?

One thing is for sure: I can sympathize with Kropf. As a reporter, I've had a few phones slammed in my ear—often to the great delight of the other person.

But it's going to happen.

Let's now have a talk about our rights as "the" public. As Kropf says, the same folks who seek out press coverage of their goodness will often nevertheless act as if "the public is not entitled to the news when it's not so good." So, what are we entitled to? Do we deserve to know that Pizza Hut is closing? The employees certainly should. But do we? If we call to ask, can the management just tell us to buzz off?

What about the time I called Ponderosa to ask about a recent burglary and I was told that there was no burglary only to read the next day in the paper that there was, in fact, a burglary? Should they have told me the truth? Are they required to talk to me at all?

Where is the line drawn for what the public deserves to know? Or how about we start with this: what does the public "want" to know?

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 21, 2008 - 12:40pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, genesee county, genesee county legislature.

Genesee County's tentative budget doesn't have much to recommend itself to a public already strained by a distressed economy. A proposed spending increase of 5.2 percent and an increase in the tax rate of 4.2 percent (41 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation) won't please too many folks, including the legislators.

County Manager Jay Gsell filed the $141 million proposed budget—and let's stress that: this is a work in progress, and the work has just begun—yesterday afternoon, according to the Daily News. Reporter Paul Mrozek says that Gsell expects that "lawmakers will work to reduce those figures before voting on the fiscal plan."

Gsell said this morning he is "cautiously optimistic" he and the Legislature will be able to get the tax rate down to its '08 level.

No jobs are expected to be cut, but 21 vacant positions may remain that way. Also, "all outside agencies" that benefit from some county funding, such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension, will receive the same amount of funding as this past year—except for Genesee Community College, which was already approved for a $50,000 increase.

Mrozek does a great job with this article, extracting the budget essentials and not getting too technical on us. I only had one question that I couldn't find answered: if no jobs will be added to the rolls and no extra funding will be going to outside agencies—why the increase in spending? I put in a call to Gsell to see if we can get a quick answer to that. We should hear back from him by the end of the day.

(UPDATE 2:33pm): County Manager Jay Gsell phoned to explain why the proposed budget shows an increase of 5.2 percent in spending if there are no increases in funding for new staff or outside agencies. He said that it's true that the county will take on no new programs and no new services, but the increased cost of construction materials, fuel and the increase in the funding needed for county health care push up the total spending for the county.


In other news, snow tubing will not be offered at Letchworth State Park this winter. This is a very specific instance of how the state budget cuts will be affecting folks in the coming months. Reporter Matt Surtel writes:

The tubing cost the park about twice the amount of revenue that the activity generated (Park Manager Richard Parker said). He declined to give an exact figure, but said the economic realities kicked in, when the park looked at ways to cut expenses.

Some staffers may also feel the pinch as the park does not plan to take on as many folks as usual this winter.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 10, 2008 - 3:23pm

Byron diary farmer Robin Keller, 39, has been elected the new president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau, according to the Daily News. Tom Rivers reports that Keller replaces Dale Stein, a Le Roy dairy farmer, who did not seek re-election after his four years in the position. Keller and her husband moved to the area a little less than a decade ago, looking to expand their dairy business.

"Genesee County was the ideal location for growing a farm business," she told Rivers.


Genesee County Legislature Chair Mary Pat Hancock told the Daily News that

the New York State Association of Counties is not going to sit back and allow the state to impose budget cuts without NYSAC having some say in how those adjustments are made and implemented.

County Manager Jay Gsell said that the current fiscal crisis on Wall Street could be an "opportunity for reform in Albany" by getting the state to cut back its "expenditures, jobs, services" and "unfunded state mandates"—what Paul Mrozek describes as "the albatross on the back of county governments."


Mothertime Marketplace will roll into St. Joseph's School this Saturday and Sunday. The consignment sale event that often includes everything from bedroom sets to books, will run from 10:00am to 5:00pm Saturday and from 10:00am to 3:00pm Sunday. Admission is $2 per day or $3 for both days. Some coupons are available at selected locations around the city. Visit Mothertime Marketplace online for more information. St. Joseph's School is located at the corner of Summit and East Main streets downtown.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 9, 2008 - 4:24pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, genesee county legislature.

A few of the students participating in the 4-H Student Legislator program were on hand last night to attend a meeting of the Genesee County Legislature for the first time. The students literally sit right up in front of the legislators and follow along as official county business is conducted. Over the next several months, I will do the same, following along with the students as they learn how to draft resolutions, pass them into law and argue the issues. At the end of the year, the participants will hold a mock session of the legislature, and if history is any judge, they may even get a resolution or two of their own stamped with the official seal of the county.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. They still have a long way to go, and I'll be going it along with them, for at least a few of the sessions, anyway. In fact, I was there last night and caught the first impressions of a couple students after the session.

Here's what they had to say:

Many thanks to Chip Malone for inviting me along for the ride. Chip is the program's coordinator.

October 9, 2008 - 10:51am

Last night, I had the privilege of attending a meeting of the Genesee County Legislature. It was not only my first visit, but the first session attended by the 4-H local government interns—check back with us this afternoon to hear more about that and hear their first impressions.

Before the meeting kicked off, I had a few minutes to chat with Legislator Charles Zambito. We talked about the upcoming county budget determinations and the worries over what will happen at the state level, since state funds make up such a huge portion of county funds. Zambito told me that this was not only a worry in Genesee County, but in counties all over the state. A minor budget cut at the state level becomes amplified for the counties, and some services and programs could face extinction if the cuts get severe. Nevertheless, he said, they will do their best to preserve.

Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock spoke briefly about the recent meeting in Niagara Falls of the New York State Association of Counties. She was pleasantly surprised to see that so many folks could make it up to our neck of the woods. Many of those from downstate, it turned out, had never even been to the falls, let alone past the Hudson.

Hancock also spoke about the Genesee County Career Center, which lists jobs at all skill levels around the county. She mentioned a few last night for jobs such as machinist, office manager and nurse's aide. Right now, the Career Center posts its jobs on the America's Job Exchange site for New York, where you can search and apply for jobs all over the state.

This morning, I spoke with Jeanne Ianita at the Career Center, and we're going to see if The Batavian can host those job listings, as well. We'll let you know if that comes to pass.

As for the business portion of the meeting, all of the resolutions on the agenda were passed, including the approval of $15,000 for Mercy Flight for this past year's service. Mercy Flight has requested $20,000 for 2009.

October 4, 2008 - 8:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Announcements, genesee county legislature.

The Genesee County Legislature will meet in Regular Session on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 7PM in the Old Courthouse, 7 Main Street, Batavia, New York.  Prayer will be offered by Legislator Upson, followed by the Pledge to the Flag.
   
PROCLAMATIONS & COMMENDATIONS

APPROVAL OF MINUTES- September 23, 2008
                   
COMMITTEE/SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTS

COMMUNICATIONS AND PETITIONS

LEGISLATOR COMMENTS

COUNTY MANAGER REPORT

RESOLUTIONS
1.    Purchase and Removal of Co-Gen Equipment-Nursing Home-Approval Of
2.    Contract-Grants Writing Consultant Services-Approval Of
3.    Contract-Mercy Flight, Inc.-Approval Of
4.    2008 Budget Amendment-Public Defender/Renovations-Approval Of
5.    Capital Project Amendment-EMS Fire Training Center/Parking Lot Improvement-Approval Of
6.    Award of Contract-OFA/Central Registry System-Approval Of
7.    Contract-OFA/Nutrition Program Meal Site-Approval Of
8.    Relevy of Unpaid School and Village Taxes-Treasurer-Authorization For
9.    Contract-Treasurer/Independent Auditing Services-Approval Of
10.    Contract Renewal-Health Department/Children with Special Health Care Needs Program-Approval Of
11.    Budget Transfer-Health Department/3-5 Preschool Program-Approval Of
12.    Contract-Health/ National Recovery Agency-Approval Of
13.    County Owned Property-GCC/Right of Way to National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation-Approval Of
14.    Audit
 

September 24, 2008 - 8:24am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, genesee county legislature, jail.

Genesee County legislators last night approved a grant application to study a shared jail facility with Orleans County, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. Grant funds could total $50,000 for the study, and local taxpayers shouldn't have to pay more than $2,300. Also approved at last night's meeting: the purchase of Finn, a $7,000, 3-year-old, Czechoslovakian German Shepherd who will join the Sheriff's Department as their newest K-9 recruit. Finn's presence means that the current K-9, 10-year-old Jay, can finally start to phase into retirement.

Fischer reports some not-so-good news about the county's ambulance service. It's said that the city of Batavia is charging fees to the surrounding municipalities for providing coverage all over the county. Some towns—Darien and Pembroke are named—have complained that "there have been instances where the city has failed to show up for an emergency call," according to Fischer.

August 14, 2008 - 12:47pm

Consolidation between the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and the City of Batavia Police should go through by the end of the month, according to the Daily News. The county legislature approved a $76,000 capital project at its meeting last night—$9,926 of that will be paid by the county, the rest covered by a state grant.

In an article by Joanne Beck, City Council President Charlie Mallow says that a question initially posed for the city's board of ethics—does Councilman Bob Bialkowski have a conflict of interest regarding votes on the mall—will now be taken up by the county board of ethics. City Attorney George Van Nest "submitted the matter to the county's board within the last week, Mallow said. However, the county's Clerk of the Legislature Carolyn Pratt says that the county board cannot act "on any issue from a municipality that has already established an ethics board," and the city has its own board. I called Van Nest to ask him if this means that the county board will not hear the matter, but he declined to comment. It was the most simple question I thought to ask, and really beats at the heart of the whole article. If the county board of ethics can't meet to discuss this: first, why is it news? And second, why would Van Nest ask them to meet?

For more fun and informative articles just like these, be sure to get out and pick up your very own copy of the Daily News. Or, better yet, subcribe at BataviaNews.com.

July 10, 2008 - 12:39pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, GCC, youth, genesee county legislature, Oatka Festival.

Not much Batavia news on the front page of today's Daily News that wasn't already featured on The Batavian. In fact, both Batavia stories — one about GCC's $4 million capital project and the other about LeRoy's Oatka Festival — were on our site this morning and yesterday, respectively. (Check out the link on the right to the Buffalo News coverage of the Legislature meeting for more details.)

Inside, the Youth Page features a pair of articles on summer parks programs run by the Batavia Youth Bureau: the 2008 Batavia Summer Youth Program, which features weekly tennis activities. Call (585) 345-6420 for more information.

Tom Rivers has a nice column on today's opinion page about a local man's ties to an Olympic coach, and the wonders of the pole vault.

As always, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstands — Main Street Coffee has some, plus they have coffee. Or, better yet, visit BataviaNews.com and subscribe.

July 10, 2008 - 8:18am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, GCC, genesee county legislature.

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

  • The Genesee County Legislature unanimously approved a $4 million renovation of athletic facilities at Genesee Community College that will include the addition of softball and soccer fields with artificial turf and lighting. State funds will cover half the cost.
June 26, 2008 - 7:30am

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

  • The county Legislature approved the $31 million budget for Genesee Community College last night. Also approved at the meeting was the purchase of 17 bulletproof vests for the Sheriff's Office at a cost of $24,038.
  • The Muckdogs lost 3-1 to the Jamestown Jammers to drop back below .500 for the year. They'll be in Mahoning Valley tonight. Batavia went 2-1 in their last series against the Scrappers earlier this week.
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