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genesee county legislature

April 9, 2020 - 11:57am

Press release:

April 9

Dear Fellow Resident,

Each day is changed from our normal routines. Most of us feel frustrated, a bit scared and a loss of control. However, we can control our reaction to COVID-19. Every Genesee County resident can take action to provide defense to the spread of COVID-19.

We are the first line of defense to Stop The Spread.

Please adhere to these Civic Responsibility Guidelines:

  • If you are sick – Stay Home. Call your primary doctor and follow their advice. Do not show up at the hospital unannounced. Healthcare staff is already working hard on those who are sick. Don’t add needless stress to our healthcare system. Think of others first.
  • Follow guidance from authorities – if you are told to stay 6 feet apart – Stay Apart.
  • If you need essentials – Shop Solo! Don’t take your family on a shopping trip. You put others at risk, especially those working to ensure you have your essential items. Think of them first.
  • Use mail-order for prescriptions. Drug stores are offering many options to enable you to receive medications. Call and ask so you can Stay Safer At Home.
  • Consider a grocery delivery service. They can deliver to your door. Be sure to wipe down items before bringing into your home. Recipe for solution: 1 gallon of water to 5-6 tablespoons of Clorox/bleach.
  • Face Covering is recommended when you go out in public. Stay 6 Feet Apart even with your face covered. Online tutorials on face coverings are available.
  • All gatherings including holiday celebrations, such as Easter and Passover are cancelled by Executive order of NYS Governor. Stay Apart so we can be together again.
  • Children crave routine, stay in sync with daily bedtimes, meals schedules, dressing for the day and routines. It leads to calm for young children.
  • Stay in touch virtually- with family and friends. Take 5 minutes each day to talk with a family member or friend to check in with their needs. Offer to assist if you are able. Do not engage in group activity.

The Care & Crisis Hotline is available if you need to talk to someone – call (585) 283-5200 or Text 741741. We are here to listen.  

Remember that we all want to be in control and these actions will give sense of control against COVID-19.

I ask you, along with my fellow elected community leaders, do this for others who must work in these difficult times. Those who provide you with food, medicine, healthcare; they want to go home, too.

Let’s all do our part now and for the next few weeks to stay apart so we can all be together again.

Together we are Genesee Strong,

Rochelle M. Stein, Chair, Genesee County Legislature

Town and Village of LeRoy

On behalf of the Genesee County Legislature

  • Marianne Clattenburg, Vice Chair, City of Batavia, Wards 2 & 3
  • Andrew Young, 2nd Vice Chair, Towns of Batavia & Stafford
  • John Hilchey, Towns of Alabama & Oakfield
  • Christian Yunker, Towns of Elba, Bergen, Byron
April 8, 2020 - 6:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, genesee county legislature.

Faced with another proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2020-21 executive budget that shifts more costs to municipalities, the Genesee County Legislature today unanimously passed a resolution calling on state senators and assembly members to overturn a plan to shift the total expense of mental health competency restoration services to counties.

Cuomo’s spending plan makes counties responsible for 100 percent of the Office of Mental Health State Operations costs for certain individuals receiving mental health treatment at State-operated Forensic Psychiatric Centers – up from the current 50-percent model.

Genesee County officials believe an increase of this magnitude would adversely affect the quantity and quality of local behavioral health programs to help those with mental illness and development disabilities.

“I think this would definitely have a significant financial impact,” said Lynda Battaglia, director of Genesee County Mental Health Services. “Counties, overall, may not have anybody that needs restoration for a year or two, and then the following year they might have four or five. It’s a little bit challenging to budget for something that can be extremely unpredictable.”

The county paid $64,000 in 2018 and $78,000 in 2019 for restoration services to the OMH and an additional $23,000 in 2018 and $75,000 in 2019 to the Office for People with Development Disabilities. These figures represent half of the total cost of these services.

This year’s budgeted amount for OMH is $60,000.

Battaglia said expenses are incurred for individuals who have been arrested for a crime and have been deemed incompetent to stand trial.

“Therefore, they need to be restored to competency so they have an understanding of the court proceedings and the charges being brought against them so they can aid in their defense if needed,” she said. “If they are found to be needing restoration, they go to a state forensic unit for the service -- for the restoration. And the length of time for restoration is really just dependent upon every individual.”

People with developmental disabilities who have found themselves in the criminal justice system also need restoration and counties are responsible for them as well, she added.

The resolution continues to state that counties are not privy to any information about the treatment for which they are paying, unlike other payors “for medical services (that) are clearly entitled both under HIPAA and MHL (Mental Hygiene Law) to receive information about the services for which payment is sought” and that depending on the “medical or surgical treatment required (the cost) could be hundreds of thousands of dollars and have devastating impacts on county budgets.”

County Manager Jay Gsell said this is another example of the governor placing more weight on the counties’ shoulders.

“NYSAC (NYS Association of Counties) told us that this looks like it’s going to stick in the new budget so you need to come up with some kind of strategy as to how you’re going to react to it,” Gsell said. “We’re finding out with the state budget that they did these things at the very last minute. How do you keep up with this stuff? Now, we know that the budget we adopted four or five months ago is no longer the same.”

In another development, Gsell spoke about the "trial run" on Monday of the county Emergency Management alert that went out to mobile devices.

"It's a work in progress," he said, acknowledging that certain devices did not receive the alerts. "We're using it to reinforce 'safer at home' and 'no social gathering' messages. It's not refined yet, but hopefully will be in a few days or week."

In other action, legislators -- during their video conferencing meeting on Zoom and YouTube:

-- Read proclamations noting “County Government Month” and “Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week (April 12-18).

The first one recognizes Genesee County for its commitment to keeping systems moving during what Gsell called a “trying but encouraging time” and the other thanks 9-1-1 center dispatchers for exemplary service to citizens, police officers and firefighters, especially as they have been “tested during this current pandemic.”

-- Appropriated $3,107 to the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s Business Education Alliance for the 2020 calendar year.

-- Voted to fund, through the Genesee County STOP-DWI program, a $3,778 purchase of MARijuana Driving Experience (MARED) campaign kits and accessories for the City of Batavia Police Department.

April 1, 2020 - 9:06pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, genesee county legislature, Ways & Means Committee.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc at all levels of government, producing a degree of uncertainty that has municipal leaders frozen in their tracks.

If that’s not enough, tack on a proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to shift funding of hospitals and nursing homes to the counties – a potential move that, according to Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell, would devastate the county budget.

“If the state gets to go down this road, we could be in a world of hurt that we haven’t seen from the days when we owned the (Genesee County) nursing home and were financing deficits,” Gsell said during this afternoon’s County Legislature Ways & Means Committee meeting, which was live-streamed by Zoom on YouTube.

Calling it a “switcheroo that the governor has pulled,” Gsell reported to the committee that mandating county funding of “distressed hospitals and nursing homes” could be a way New York State generates more revenue – by taking more of counties’ sales tax – without having to increase the burden on counties already obligated to fund Medicaid.

“I’m not really sure where this came from,” said Gsell, adding that Genesee County is on board with the New York State Association of Counties’ plea to state lawmakers to reject proposals that would undo local Medicaid caps and result in higher property taxes for struggling homeowners or cuts to vital local services.

Gsell said it is essential that state legislators accept the $6.7 billion in new federal healthcare funding included in the first stimulus package – action intended to help states and local governments through this public health crisis.

He said the governor's proposal is a “backdoor way” of putting New York counties in a $250 million hole while attempting to plug a state budget gap that could reach $15 billion due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“To involve us in two fiscal entities and, obviously, vital services that we have no control over, no veto or anything else – and we haven’t seen any of the details – is both scary as well as quite off the beaten path,” Gsell said.

The county manager acknowledged that things will be much clearer after the 2020-21 state budget is passed (it could happen at midnight tonight), but he and the county legislature still are taking an ultra-conservative approach when it comes to spending.

He said the county’s current budget calls for approximately $864,000 in outside agency funding, (not including Genesee Community College) for tourism promotion, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Genesee County Economic Development Center, public libraries, Holland Land Office Museum, GO ART! and Finger Lakes Regional Planning.

County Treasurer Scott German reported that the sales tax reserve stands at $1.1 million, and that money from the infrastructure reserve that was earmarked for the new county jail now has been put on hold.

Gsell confirmed that the county will revisit the jail project in the spring of 2021, noting that – due to the effect that the state’s bail reform law has had on jail population -- the plan to build a four-pod jail could be reduced to three pods. He also said they will be looking at the possibility of a shared-services arrangement with Orleans County.

The Ways & Means Committee also put the brakes on, at least temporarily, a $125,000 project to construct a building to house fuel trucks, mowing and facilities equipment and a grader at the Genesee County Airport.

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said that the new building – which would replace a 70-year-old pole barn that is in “rough shape” – is necessary because wind and cold weather were causing the trucks’ fuel lines to freeze.

The project had been previously approved by the Public Service Committee and went out to bid, Hens said, adding that Thompson Builds came in as the low bidder at $109,000. That price was to build the frame and shell; county employees will be used to put down the concrete floor and do the electrical work.

Hens said he hoped the project would continue, but in light of the county’s fiscal situation, offered a second option: storing the fuel vehicles in a bay or two of new hangars that are set to be built this summer with money from a state grant.

In an effort to rein in expenses, Hens said he already has cut $600,000 from the 2020 budget by pulling back on capital projects and has deferred another $800,000 in projects scheduled for 2021.

Legislator Gary Maha said he thinks the building is needed, “but I don’t think it’s the right time to spend that kind of money.”

“We don’t know where we’re going to be when this whole thing is said and done,” he said. “We put a stop on the jail. The jail is needed, but we put a stop on that. And I think we need to put a stop on all capital projects until we know where we are budget-wise.”

Legislators Andrew Young and Rochelle Stein agreed, prompting Ways & Means Chair Marianne Clattenburg to request more information about construction costs and referring the project back to the Public Service Committee.

December 12, 2019 - 8:37am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, genesee county legislature.

The Genesee County Legislature adopted a local law Thursday that set the salaries for seven officer positions for 2020.

Following a public hearing that drew no comments, legislators voted in favor of Local Law No. 3, 2019, establishing salaries for the following jobs, which are filled by election or appointment for a fixed term:

-- Commissioner of Elections (Lori Longhany and Richard Siebert), $49,037;

-- Highway Superintendent (Tim Hens), $113,421;

-- Director of Real Property Tax Services (Kevin Andrews), $65,410;

-- Director of Human Resources (Anita Cleveland), $78,676;

-- Sheriff (William Sheron), $106,518;

-- Treasurer (Scott German), $99,393;

-- Commissioner of Social Services (David Rumsey), $87,999.

The local law takes effect on Jan. 1.

December 11, 2019 - 10:42pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, genesee county legislature.


Genesee County Legislature Chairman Robert Bausch, right, shares a laugh with Genesee County Jail Superintendent Bill Zipfel at this afternoon's reception in Bausch's honor at the Old Courthouse. Bausch is stepping down after 10 years as a legislator, including the past two as the board chair.\

The District 2 (Bergen, Byron, Elba) representative also has chaired the Ways & Means Committee for the past six years. He said that getting the new county jail project financing in place is one of the legislature's major accomplishments.


Bausch cuts the cake made in his honor as county employees, legislators and friends look on. He thanked the 18 men and women that have served on the legislature and his family for their support during his time in office.

He also said that the selling of the former county nursing home was "a personal plus and minus because in my case, my father was very instrumental in building the nursing home, but issues had to be addressed."


Vicky Muckle, left, executive assistant to County Manager Jay Gsell, and Pam LaGrou, Genesee County Legislature clerk, present Bausch with the Top COW Award. COW stands for Committee of the Whole and Bausch was recognized for calling 24 of those special meetings during his tenure as chairman -- 12 in 2018 and 12 this year.

Bausch also received a framed print of County Building I and the Old Courthouse from Don Read, former county clerk. Today's legislature meeting was his last, which means that he and his wife, Jan, will have more time to visit his five children and nine grandchildren (with another on the way) in Buffalo, Mendon, the Silicon Valley (California) and Philadelphia.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

December 2, 2019 - 4:05pm

Public Notice

Notice is hereby given that there has been introduced before the Legislature of the County of Genesee, New York, Local Law Introductory No. 3, Year 2019, a Local Law in Relation to the Salaries of Genesee County Officers Elected or Appointed for a Fixed Term.

The Genesee County Legislature will conduct a Public Hearing on proposed local law Introductory at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia, at 5:30 p.m. on the 11th day of December.

All interested persons will be heard.

Pamela LaGrou, Clerk, Genesee County Legislature

September 12, 2019 - 5:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in RPEA, Milestones, genesee county legislature.

Submitted photo and information from the Retired Public Employees Association:

Gordon Dibble of the Genesee County Legislature commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA) this week.

Dibble presented a 50th Anniversary Proclamation to Genesee Valley Chapter Chair Jan Beutner (photo, middle) and Chapter Member Susette Langston (at right).

RPEA is celebrating 50 years as the only organization in New York State whose sole purpose is to advocate on behalf of state and local government retirees and their beneficiaries.

March 29, 2019 - 5:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county legislature, news, Announcements.

Notice of Three Public Hearings

(1) Genesee County shall conduct a public hearing on fair housing practices and to identify any concerns and issues with fair housing practices in Genesee County. The public hearing will be held at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia, at 5:30 p.m., April 10. All persons who wish to speak will be heard. Written comments will be accepted upon delivery to: Clerk, Genesee County Legislature, 7 Main St., Batavia, NY 14020 prior to the hearing. The hearing location is in compliance with accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(2) There has been introduced before the Legislature of the County of Genesee, a Local Law Introductory No. Two, Year 2019, which regulates the transfer of secondhand articles. The Genesee County Legislature will conduct a Public Hearing on the proposed law at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia, at 5:30 p.m. on April 10. All interested persons will be heard.

(3) A public hearing will be held at 4:30 p.m. on April 11 at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia, to discuss the implementation of the HP Hood LLC Project that received Community Development Block funding from the New York State Office of Community Renewal (Project No. 444ED893-17). The purpose of the hearing is to obtain citizen views regarding any aspect of the project’s implementation including, but not limited to any construction, financing, and employment opportunities resulting from the project. The hearing facilities are handicapped accessible. Written comments are invited and will be accepted upon delivery to the courthouse address above. The hearing location is in compliance with accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

November 23, 2018 - 2:08pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, pawn king, genesee county legislature.

The owner of the Pawn King store at 4150 Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia says he would support a proposed county law designed to limit criminal activity as long as it doesn’t handcuff his efforts to maximize sales.

“As far as a local law is concerned, I really don’t have a problem with a licensing fee – which I believe is a money grab for towns – but the thing that I find to be constitutionally inappropriate is that a township can dictate the number of specific items we could buy (from one person) in a calendar year,” said Christopher Fernandez of Syracuse.

Fernandez and his wife own 10 Pawn King shops – five in the Syracuse area, and one each in Evans Mills (north of Watertown), Utica, Auburn, Buffalo and Batavia.

He spoke by telephone today as a follow-up to news that the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service and Ways and Means committees are backing a proposed law drafted by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman at the request of the Sheriff’s Office.

Local law enforcement contends that the law is necessary to assist police in finding and recovering stolen property, and apprehend those who steal other people’s property – and, in many cases, head to the pawn shop.

While the proposed law does include a provision for licensing (at a cost of $150 annually), it does not set limits on products bought and sold as referred to by Fernandez, who repeatedly said his company policy is to work with police agencies to catch criminals.

“While there are (currently) no requirements in Batavia for licensing, our purchase procedure is to collect 22 points of identification, and we will provide full disclosure (to police),” Fernandez said. “Anything they request, we can get. If they need to know who, when, an address, driver’s license, we have it.”

Fernandez said he invests around $25,000 per year for the Bravo computerized tracking system, or database, where “every single thing is reported.”

He said that he has data on 67,000 customers.

“The way to defeat crime is data collection, not limiting my efforts to make money,” he said. “If you limit me, you’ll just have others selling stuff from their trunks and have no data to track what is being sold.”

He mentioned LeadsOnline, a private company that is used by law enforcement to track the acquisition of used merchandise by dealers. He said he has LeadsOnline in all of his stores, except Batavia, but is willing to set it up if Batavia or Genesee County law enforcement wishes to purchase a subscription.

Fernandez also said his company’s policy requires sellers to sign a document dealing with the origin of the product(s).

“They’re breaking the law if they lie about it – it’s a misdemeanor – but because they’re signing my document, it goes from a misdemeanor to a felony change for falsifying records,” he said.

Among the businesses listed under the proposed local law’s definitions are secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers, tags that describe Fernandez’s shops.

“In Buffalo and Evans Mills, I have to have pawnbroker’s licenses, which includes bonding at an extra $1,000 per year,” he said, “but we do no pledged loans whatsoever … no loaning of money period. When I take something in, I buy it. But the previous owner has the first right to buy it back. There’s no contract, just a handshake agreement. We’ve established good relationships with our customers.”

Fernandez said the secondhand dealer designation fits his business model.

“In the other stores we have secondhand dealers’ licenses because we take used and sometimes new merchandise and move it on to the consumer – hopefully for a profit.”

When it was brought up by this reporter that the Batavia Pawn King has been accused of providing a list of goods it is interested in receiving from the Walmart across the street, Fernandez said that was “ridiculous.”

“That violates every single fiber of my company handbook,” he said. “We started this 15 year ago with a hole in the wall, a plastic table and copy machine, and we have built it by doing things the right way.”

A public hearing on the proposed local law is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Old County Courthouse. If it ultimately passes, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Exemptions from the proposed law include garage sales, yard sales, estate sales and moving sales (with some stipulations), sales by nonprofit or charitable organizations, licensed auctions, jewelry and coin dealers (with stipulations), motor vehicles and legitimate antique/trade shows.

A link to a PDF draft of the law was included in a story posted on Nov. 20 by Howard Owens, reporting from the county legislature committee meeting. To access it, click here.

October 9, 2018 - 9:40pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, genesee county legislature.

The Batavia City Council is on board with a one-year extension of a tentative new sales tax agreement with Genesee County as long as county legislators also act to facilitate the “special legislation” necessary to secure a 40-year deal.

During a Special Conference Meeting tonight at City Hall, council members opted to move a resolution calling for a 12-month extension agreement to its Conference Meeting on Oct. 22, but want assurances that Genesee County lawmakers will be taking up the measure as well.

“The one-year extension is consistent with the 40-year agreement … and the special legislation hopefully will lead to (the passage) of the 40-year agreement,” Interim Manager Matt Worth said. “It would not have been approved by the state Comptroller’s Office (without the special legislation). So, the county will meet concurrently and then it will go to the Comptroller.”

City Attorney George Van Nest explained that the county attorney was advised in mid-September of “feedback he got from the state Comptroller’s Office that there was a little discomfort (with the 40-year term).”

Van Nest said pursuing the special legislation through the state legislature is the “best approach and the most cautious approach.”

In a memo to City Council dated Oct. 2, Worth referred to precedent for such a move, citing previous agreements in Wayne and Ontario counties.

The City and Genesee County have reached a deal giving Batavia 16 percent of the county’s 50 percent share of the 8 percent sales tax through the end of 2018 – 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.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski said he was in favor of the special legislation because “it will protect us. It becomes not just an agreement, but one approved by the state legislature.”

County legislators deemed that a change in the current agreement was necessary due to pending large expenditures, primarily a new county jail and several bridge replacements/repairs.

Council Member Robert Bialkowski said he wanted to know how much the county actually needs for these big ticket items.

“What do I tell my constituents?" he asked.

Worth said he wasn’t sure of the numbers, but said the county jail cost is expected to be around $50 million.

The county is expected to act on the extension on Oct. 17, Worth said, noting that the extension will expire on Dec. 31, 2019.

Jankowski said the ruling from the state Comptroller’s Office came as a bit of a surprise.

“The county attorney had been in contact with the state all along and at the last minute, it was like somebody finally read it, and said, ‘Oh, it’s a 40-year agreement,’ ” he said.

During the Business Meeting held before the Conference Meeting, Council:

-- Voted 8-1 to continue extra compensation for Worth ($1,000 per month), and James Ficarella, Ray Tourt and Lisa Neary ($750 per month each) through the pay period ending Jan. 4, 2019, for their additional work during the time the City has been without a city manager and assistant city manager.

The lone “no” vote was cast by Rose Mary Christian, who previously stated that she believes the additional pay should end when the new manager, Martin Moore, assumes his duties on Oct. 15.

-- Voted 9-0 to support the Fire Department’s implementation of an external Emergency Medical Technician class to be offered on an annual basis and to accept a $1,500 state grant to continue a child safety seat initiative.

The EMT class is for citizens interested in becoming EMTs for their own personal benefit as well as those who offer their services to other fire, rescue or Emergency Medical Service agency.

September 13, 2018 - 6:19pm

If Genesee County cuts out or reduces the amount of sales tax revenue it distributes to its towns and villages, it likely will result in increased property taxes to those living in those communities.

That’s the view of Darien Town Supervisor David Hagelberger as he keeps a watchful eye on the situation while representing the Genesee Association of Municipalities on a committee working with Genesee County and City of Batavia leaders.

“Towns and villages are saying that if the county keeps all of the sales tax money, they would have no alternative but to raise local taxes to compensate,” Hagelberger said today. “If the county keeps all of it, you will see an increase in property taxes, slashing of services, depletion of fund balances or a combination thereof.”

Hagelberger said he is concerned over a couple of key issues:

-- That a new sales tax agreement between Genesee County and the City of Batavia does not include towns and villages – unlike the previous agreement that expires at the end of 2018;

-- That the County Legislature has indicated that it will forge separate agreements with the towns and villages based on a fixed dollar amount – and not a percentage that previously applied.

On Monday night, the Batavia City Council moved to vote on its agreement with the county at its next meeting on Sept. 24.

The new 40-year agreement calls for the city to receive its current 16 percent of the county’s share (Genesee County gets to keep half of the 8 percent sales tax, with the rest going to the state) through this year with provisions for that amount to grow in future years by a maximum of 2 percent per year.

If future sales tax growth exceeds 2 percent annually, the county will retain the amount above 2 percent, resulting in the city’s overall percentage share changing even though the city received additional funds. In any event, the City’s share will be no less than 14 percent for the remainder of the 40-year contract.

Meanwhile, towns and villages, which currently split 34 percent of the county’s share based on full taxable value of real property, are left out in the cold going forward, said Hagelberger, who reported that legislators on Wednesday night tabled voting on the agreement with the City of Batavia based on new information from the State Comptroller’s office.

“We have learned that the county has decided not to include us in the sales tax agreement, but will be replacing that with ‘Payment Distribution Agreements’ with the individual towns and villages,” he said. “Their proposal caps the sales tax distribution at the 2018 number – a fixed dollar amount and not a fixed percentage as in the past.”

What this means, according to Hagelberger, is that towns and villages would get the same dollar amount as they received in 2018 for the next 40 years. In the Town of Darien's case, for example, he projects sales tax revenue to exceed $1 million for this year.

“And we all know what happens with inflation and fixed incomes,” he said. “This is not good for towns and villages.”

County Manager Jay Gsell confirmed that the county is offering a fixed amount to towns and villages -- instead of a percentage – via what he termed a “Revenue Distribution Agreement.”

“The county is looking at building a new jail and spending $120 million on bridges and roads,” Gsell said. “Genesee is one of three counties in the state, by virtue of a 1938 statute, totally responsible for the maintenance, upkeep and replacements of bridges and culverts – anything going over a body of water that a vehicle can drive over.”

Gsell acknowledged that towns and villages may have to look at other revenue streams.

“Darien and Pembroke, for example, have zero town tax rates,” he said. “They have been budgeting a lion’s share through sales tax revenue.”

He also said the legislature is prepared to act on its agreement with the City of Batavia at its Sept. 26 meeting, noting that a procedural point brought up by the State Comptroller’s office forced the board to table it last night.

Hagelberger said that town supervisors are under a time crunch to submit their preliminary budgets later this month – fiscal plans that include property tax projections.

“We may not know in enough time to properly work up a budget. We have no guarantee if revenue from sales tax will go into the budget. It creates a lot of uncertainty,” he said, adding that any sales tax contract has to be approved by the State Comptroller’s office and that could impact the accuracy of final budgets which need to be completed by Nov. 28.

Hagelberger said he hopes the county will “clarify its position” soon and expects the issue to be a major part of the next GAM meeting on Sept. 20 at Genesee County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

September 10, 2018 - 9:12pm

Acting on Interim City Manager Matt Worth’s analogy that the City will benefit from “a thinner piece of a larger pie,” the Batavia City Council on Monday night agreed to set a special business meeting to vote on a new sales tax agreement with Genesee County.

A revised sales tax arrangement with the county is necessary since the current 10-year pact – which gives the City 16 percent of the county’s 50 percent share of the 8 percent sales tax -- expires at the end of this year.

County legislators, looking at future big ticket items such as bridge replacements and a new county jail, balked at extending the existing agreement, setting the stage for negotiations between the two entities.

The proposed deal calls for the City to receive its current 16 percent of the county’s share through this year, with provisions for that amount to grow in future years by a maximum of 2 percent per year.

“This allows the City to increase in growth by up to 2 percent a year until the City’s portion of the pie becomes 14 percent,” Worth said. “So we go from 16 percent to 14 percent as that pie gets larger and larger.

At that point, once that floor of 14 percent hits, all the restrictions go off and there’s no more restriction of 2 percent growth. So if the sales tax goes up by 5 percent, and we’re at 14 percent, the City gets a 5-percent increase as well.”

In any event, the City’s share will be no less than 14 percent for the remainder of the 40-year contract, Worth said.

“The 14-percent floor is an additional safety net for the City to share in good years above 2 percent, once that threshold is reached,” he said, noting that historically sales tax goes up by 2.5 percent annually.

The County Legislature is expected to vote on the matter on Wednesday of this week, while City Council scheduled a business meeting to address the agreement in conjunction with its conference meeting on Sept. 24. From there, it goes to the state comptroller’s office for approval. If approved, it would go into effect on Jan. 1.

The new agreement, unlike the current one, does not include wording about allocations to Genesee County towns and villages because, according to Worth, the towns have no taxing authority and are not a “sign-on” to the contract.

“It is my understanding that the comptroller was not comfortable with the towns being referenced in the agreement, and that the county will have separate agreements with the towns and villages,” he said.

Responding to questions from Council Member Adam Tabelski and Interim City Manager Worth, Council President Eugene Jankowski said the new agreement should be a “stabilizing” factor in annual budget preparation.

“We’ve been in a holding pattern for the last couple years, not knowing if the agreement would go through,” Jankowski said. “We’re in a better position now.”

In other action, Council:

-- Voted to send a resolution calling for the rezoning of the St. Anthony’s Church area on Liberty Street from residential to commercial to the City Planning & Development Committee.

City Church, which purchased the former Catholic church in 2016, filed a petition to reclassify the campus to allow for some activities (dance school, art school, community education classes, etc.) that could be considered a business activity and a non-conforming use in an R-3 district.

Should the planning board approve, a public hearing will be scheduled.

-- Approved the placement of 10 bicycle racks and six trash cans in downtown locations per a request from the Batavia Business Improvement District.

-- Voted in favor of two resolutions pertaining to the Ellicott Station project coordinated by Savarino Companies of Buffalo.

One grants a stormwater easement due to the fact that a major city storm sewer lies within the boundary of the project; and the other distributes a National Grid Urban Center/Commercial District Revitalization Grant in the amount of $250,000 to enhance the Ellicott Trail Project, which will run along the southern boundary of the Ellicott Station site.

-- Voted to submit an application for Transportation Improvement Program funds for the rehabilitation of four city streets – Harvester Avenue, Jackson Street, Bank Street and Richmond Avenue – that qualify under federal guidelines.

July 13, 2018 - 2:38pm

Public Notice -- July 13

Notice is hereby given that there has been introduced before the Legislature of the County of Genesee, a Local Law Introductory No. Four Year 2018 entitled:

"A local law amending Local Law No. One of the Year 1967 in relation to increasing and staggering the terms of office of the members of the Genesee County Legistature."

The Genesee County Legislature will conduct a Public Hearing on the proposed local law at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 8, in the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia.

All interested persons will be heard.

Pamela LeGrou

Clerk, Genesee County Legislature

March 7, 2018 - 10:04pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, wny stamp, GCEDC, genesee county legislature, lawley insurance.

The leader of the Genesee County Economic Development Center said he is attempting to persuade a company “five times the size of 1366 Technologies” to put its stake in the WNY Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

“We’ve had five site visits” (with the company),” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and chief executive office, this afternoon at the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting, later adding that the business is “five times the size of 1366 as far as investment and jobs go.”

“We will either be the bridesmaid or bride in this deal, and (if the latter) it would change the face of the community,” Hyde said, invoking a nondisclosure agreement. “While 1366 was a start-up, this company is very solid.”

Hyde and GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia said they were disappointed by the decision of 1366 Technologies, which manufactures solar wafers, to pull out of STAMP – a 1,250-acre, shovel-ready nanotechnologies site developed by the GCEDC.

“It took two years for the announcement that 1366 would be coming and another two years for them to pull the plug on that project,” Battaglia said after Hyde and CFO Lezlie Farrell gave the committee a quick overview of the GCEDC’s financial picture. “It takes a lot of work and effort with no guarantee that we will be successful.”

Hyde said that “fiscal pressures” in the form of decreased funding and a greater workload are “part of the challenges that are hard to overcome.” However, he said he is confident that a deal is in the near future.

“It’s just a matter of when, not if,” he said.

The GCEDC will be coordinating four projects at the STAMP site in the coming months in an effort to achieve what he called the “big house blueprint – big water, big sewer and big electric.”

GCEDC officials reported that the 2018 budget shows $26.9 million in revenue against $27.3 million in expenses, with $1.4 million budgeted for operations and $25.6 million for WNY Stamp.

Hyde said that the shortfall would be covered by annuity streams generated by HP Hood, which has moved into the former Muller Quaker yogurt plant on East Main Street Road.

He bemoaned the fact that financial backing from Genesee County has decreased by 31 percent since 2008 (currently at $193,513 annually) since the agency’s only two sources of funding are project revenues/origination fees and county support.

“The challenge is that we have is that we’ve been in an environment where the body of work has illuminated. The work activity, business development and sales, and workforce development – notably in food, beverage and agriculture – have more than doubled,” he said.

Hyde reported that in 2017, the GCEDC steered 16 projects that resulted in $240 million in pledged capital investment and 288 pledged job creation. Eight of those projects, generating $231 in capital investment, were in the food and beverage/agri-business sector.

For 2018, a key stated GCEDC goal is to secure additional investment to implement STAMP Phase II site and infrastructure development to help make the site globally competitive by better aligning infrastructure readiness timelines with market needs (market-ready/shovel-ready).

In an another development, the Ways & Means Committee engaged in a discussion with Lawley Insurance executives Reggie Dejean and Suzie Ott and County Information Technology Director Steve Zimmer about cyber liability insurance.

Cyber insurance has emerged as a result of increased activity by hackers or other criminals who gain access to a firm’s electronic network. Most notably, but not exclusively, it covers a business' liability for a data breach in which personal and/or confidential information, such as Social Security or credit card numbers, is exposed or stolen.

Zimmer said he didn’t think Genesee County has enough protection in this area.

“Cyber liability insurance would give us the financial resources to bring experts in,” he said, adding that he projected that if all data was lost at the Mental Health department, for example, it would cost up to $3.8 million to rectify the situation.

Currently, he said there are in excess of 700 users -- including volunteer fire department personnel -- on the county’s computer network, which presents the risk of someone opening an infected e-mail or attachment.

Dejean said cyber policies offered by Lawley have limits of $1 million, $2 million or $5 million, and cover data & network liability/third-party liability, web and print content liability, regulatory defense and penalties, cyber extortion (ransomware) and business interruption (loss of income). They also offer the ability to notify up to 250,000 people of a breach.

The committee made no commitment, but did get the figures -- annual premiums of: $21,663 for a $1 million policy; $27,078 for a $2 million policy; $36,061 for a $5 million policy with $100,000 deductible; and $32,818 for a $5 million policy with a $250,000 deductible.

When asked where the money would come from to pay the premium, County Manager Jay Gsell said initially it would come from the county’s self-insurance fund, “but going forward (if people are identified as causing problems) there could be some changes to financing the risk.”

Gsell, responding to a question about how to educate computer users, said he was in favor of formulating a policy, starting with the E-911 board to communicate the responsibilities associated with information technology.

“The education piece has to start sometime soon,” said Ways & Means Chair Marianne Clattenburg.

-- The committee also endorsed a resolution proposing a local law designating the opioid epidemic and its impact on Genesee County a "public nuisance" and to set a course to recover costs incurred by the county in providing related services.

The resolution, in part, states that "as a result of the opioid epidemic, costs related to healthcare, family and social services, criminal justice, addiction and rehabilitation, and many other areas have significantly increased. Many of these costs are paid by the County. The purpose and intent of this Local Law is to allow the County to recover these costs ... whenever practicable, from the responsible party."

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 28 at the Old County Courthouse.

January 5, 2018 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, jail, genesee county legislature.

Notice from the Genesee County Legislature:

SMRT architects, engineers and planners will present an analysis of conditions to date / interim status report on the Genesee County Jail to the Genesee County Legislature at 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, in the Legislature Conference Room at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia.

December 5, 2017 - 8:22pm

Batavia City Manager Jason Molino admits that a communication breakdown has resulted in the confusion surrounding a proposal to redevelop the Old Engine House on Main Street with help from a Restore New York Communities Initiative grant.

“Maybe we all could have done a better job communicating,” said Molino, speaking by telephone tonight.

Ever since Molino’s memo to City Council dated Nov. 22 – a report that apparently wasn’t read by all council members prior to their Nov. 27 meeting (Thanksgiving came in between) – there have been numerous public comments criticizing the process.

Some of those comments placed the blame on the city manager for “jumping the gun” and others questioned the selection of Thompson Builds of Byron and Churchville as the developer.

A public hearing on the proposal to renovate the former restaurant into a commercial/residential building and to apply for a $1 million Restore NY grant to help fund it was scheduled for Monday afternoon, but was abruptly cancelled after Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell said the County Legislature wasn’t ready to declare the property as “surplus.”

This, as would be expected, cast a negative light upon all parties involved, especially Molino for bringing the project to City Council.

“(Cancelling the public hearing) caught me by surprise,” Molino said, noting that Gsell told him that the legislature needed more time to review the plan.

Currently, the Engine House, which is owned by the county, is the home to public defender offices and a facilities management shop.

Molino said he was aware that the county had been looking to surplus the property for some time – “a couple years,” he said – and that Julie Pacatte, coordinator of the Batavia Development Corporation, had referred a couple investors to the county.

“I know that Jay had people looking at it as well; multiple people already looked at it,” Molino said.

Molino said that Pacatte came to him with news that Thompson Builds was interested in renovating the building to have a commercial venture on the first floor and apartments on the second floor – and that he was excited by the prospect of putting the property back on the tax rolls.

“That was a few weeks ago,” Molino said, after the City submitted a letter of intent to apply for the grant and was accepted – matters that weren’t communicated to City Council.

“I could have done a better job of advising Council,” Molino said, adding that he also should have received confirmation that the county was ready to relinquish the building.

As far as the procedure to dispose of surplus property is concerned, Molino said the county had several options, including an auction, request for proposal (RFP) or “appraised value and straight deal contract.”

He said the City’s role was simply as a “pass-through” since the county was not eligible to apply for the Restore NY grant.

Molino said he knew of two interested investors, including Thompson Builds, but said that it was Pacatte who “worked with Thompson to develop it a bit more.”

Pacatte could not be reached for comment tonight.

For the record, Thompson Builds has done work at Genesee County Building 2, VA Medical Center, Genesee County Airport and Liberty Pumps in Bergen, and did major work at the Big Tree Glen apartment complex on West Main Street Road.

When it was pointed out that Pacatte reports to him, Molino acknowledged that “maybe I should have been involved more.”

Despite the setback, Molino said he hopes that City Council would consider applying for the grant in 2018.

“We need to come together and gear up for next year,” he said, “by communicating with the county on the disposal of the property and with the investor. By getting everybody on board, we should be able to move forward.”

December 4, 2017 - 4:01pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, genesee county legislature, Old Engine House.

Outgoing Genesee County Legislature Chairman Raymond Cianfrini today said he is "disappointed" by the decision to cancel a public hearing in connection with applying for a Restore New York Communities Initiative grant to possibly turn the Old Engine House into a tax-generating commercial/residential venture.

"I have been talking about disposing of property that we (the county) no longer needs for a couple years, and I had identified this property as one that should be sold," said Cianfrini, who is stepping away from the legislature at the end of this year.

"I am disappointed (because) this is a great opportunity for the city in that somebody is interested in redeveloping it, and a great opportunity for the county as it is an underutilized building. I wonder what impact this delay will have upon the developer."

Cianfrini said he was puzzled by the move to cancel the public hearing.

"From what I understand, (County Manager) Jay Gsell put it on hold by advising (City Manager) Jason Molino that the county needs more time to determine if it should be declared surplus property," he said. "It appears to have been his decision; I was not consulted and am not in the loop."

Cianfrini said that County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens has communicated to him that the facilities management employees and equipment could move to the highway department on Cedar Street.

"We've already moved the History department to County Building II and as far as the public defenders are concerned, I'm sure there is space in the courthouse," he said. "I don't see why we should continue to pay to maintain the building. Why is this happening now, at the last minute?"

November 7, 2017 - 11:02pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, genesee county legislature, notify.


Eugene Jankowski, Robert Bialkowski, Adam Tabelski.

City Republican leaders and supporters were in a celebratory mood tonight at City Slickers on Main Street after learning that Batavia voters sent their three incumbent candidates – Eugene Jankowski, Robert Bialkowski and Adam Tabelski – back to City Council for another term.

In an eight-person race for three at-large seats, Jankowski (the sitting City Council president) tallied 1,101 votes, Bialkowski 1,069 votes and Tabelski 912 votes, according to unofficial results compiled by Republican party committee members.

Bill Fava, a former City Councilman, placed fourth with 788 votes, followed by fellow Democrat Brad Eddy (563) and the three Libertarian Party candidates – Lisa Whitehead (409), Jim Rosenbeck (407) and Mark Potwora (249).

In the contested race for the District 9 seat (City Wards 4&5) on the Genesee County Legislature, the unofficial count showed former Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha, a Republican, drawing 364 votes to incumbent Democrat Edward DeJaneiro Jr.’s 302 votes, with 79 absentee ballots yet to be counted.

"We're very pleased with the results, and very confident that Gary (Maha) has beaten a good and tough candidate for the Legislature seat, and that the other (City Council) candidates won by a decent amount," said City Republican Party Chair David Saleh, crediting his committee for their hard work during the campaign.

Republican Message: Let's Get Back to Work

All three City Council winners said that the results indicated that the voters are happy with the job they have been doing, and that they need to stay the course.

"We appreciate all the support we have had across the city and now for us, it's back to work," Tabelski said. "We've got a lot of great things going on in the city. We've got a major focus right now on downtown revitalization. We have infrastructure projects going and, for us, it's back to work."

Jankowski said that he was glad that people are supporting what the Council has been doing, also mentioning the pending infrastructure projects and downtown revitalization plans.

"It's good to hear that the people are behind us ... and we're on the right track. We're doing what they want us to do."

Bialkowski talked about the time and effort put in by his party as a deciding factor.

"I think when the voters speak, people need to listen," he said. "One of the things that we did as the Republican party -- we worked very hard, we abided by all the laws and ordinances of the city. We didn't put our signs in parkways or put them on people's property without asking.

"We had a clear message -- we're working hard. We may not do everything right all the time, but we're sure trying."

He also gave a lot of credit to Saleh.

"On the city side, our city Chairman Dave Saleh deserves a lot of credit," Bialkowski said.

"He's worked very hard with us, and given a lot of his personal time. He's gone out and handed out materials door to door. He's had quite a few meetings. He's helped us all along the way ... And it was a real learning curve for him, too." 

Eddy, Libertarians Keep Their Chins Up

Eddy, a political newcomer, was optimistic in defeat, stating that he enjoyed campaigning and kept the door open for a future run.

"I really enjoyed getting out and meeting a lot of people in the community," he said. "There’s a lot of great ideas, a lot of people that are unhappy with the progress we’ve had so far. So that kind of motivated me to getting out there and campaigning – and really getting to know the community a little better and getting my ideas out there as well."

He said the "lack of name recognition" likely hurt his chances, but he also tipped his cap to the diligence of Batavia's leaders in the area of economic development.

"(Them) getting that $10 million – they’ve been working very hard for that -- for the downtown revitalization. (It seems that voters) wanted the status quo, and wanted things to go the way that things have been … until next time."

The three Libertarian candidates, running on a platform to replace City Manager Jason Molino, understood that they had an uphill climb, but, speaking at T.F. Brown's, remained steadfast in their quest to have an impact on city government.

"It's a platform that we believed in (and) we continue to believe that," Rosenbeck said, "The people chose a different path and we wish the incumbents who were re-elected well.

"We will be back here again in two years and four years. We're making incremental gains and we expect to continue to do that."

Potwora said the Libertarian trio "did a lot of work, we canvassed a lot of people, we met a lot of good people and we feel we did make some impact on City Council."

"We did show up at a lot of City Council meetings, and we just believe that we were a good voice for the people of Batavia who supported us in this race. It's kind of tough being a third party, but we feel we did the hard work that was needed."

Maha Back in the County Ring

Maha, who retired on Dec. 31 after seven terms as sheriff, said he's ready to resume working for the people should his lead over DeJaneiro hold up.

"As you know, I retired the first of the year, I got all of my work done around the house and now I have time to do something and I feel that I want to represent the people here in Wards 4 and 5 in the City of Batavia," he said,

While saying he's not pushing for a particular type of new jail, Maha did stress that something needs to be done.

"With the Legislature there are a lot of issues out there. I know my opponent tried to make the jail an issue. And the media never talked to me about what my position was on the jail, it came from him, I tried to explain that to (a media outlet)."

He said that all options are on the table, and that the Legislature has addressed the jail issue.

"Still, the state commissioner of corrections has said you need to do something with your jail," he said.

"It could be a shared jail with another county. Orleans County at the present time hasn't committed to have a shared jail yet. The county has a study out there for a jail. It's kind of premature that it will be a shared jail or a stand-alone. That's something that the full Legislature has to address, not just me."

"I'm no longer sheriff. I'm not pushing for a new jail. My job is to look out for the taxpayers, and ... I will represent them to the best of my ability."

In another contested races:

Town of Le Roy -- Former Councilman John Duyssen defeated incumbent Michael Welsh for Town Justice by 79 votes, and Town Council: Incumbent David Paddock won one of two council seats, with the other going to newcomer James Farnholtz.

Town of Bergen -- James Starowitz and Mark Anderson won Town Council seats;

Town of Bethany -- Incumbent Town Justice Thomas McBride defeated challenger Joseph Nowakowski.

Town of Byron -- Roger Rouse over Gerald Heins for Town Supervisor.

Town of Stafford -- Newcomer Julie Scheuerlein defeated Michelle McEwen by a wide margin for Town Clerk, and incumbents Ronald Panek and Robert Mattice were returned to their Town Council posts.


Gary Maha, center, checking out the unofficial vote total.


Paul Viele and Jack Taylor go over election results.


Genesee County Democrats at Smokin' Eagle in Le Roy -- Rob Stiles, Mike Welsh, Nikki Calhoun, Brad Eddy, and Anne Sapienza.


Libertarian Party candidates Lisa Whitehead, Jim Rosenbeck, Mark Potwora. Photos by Howard Owens.

November 7, 2017 - 11:02pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, genesee county legislature.

City Republican leaders and supporters were in a celebratory mood tonight after learning that Batavia voters sent their three incumbent candidates – Eugene Jankowski, Robert Bialkowski and Adam Tabelski – back to City Council for another term

In an eight-person race for three at-large seats, Jankowski (the sitting City Council president) tallied 1,101 votes, Bialkowski 1,069 votes and Tabelski 912 votes, according to unofficial results compiled by Republican party committee members.

Bill Fava, a former City Councilman, placed fourth with 788 votes, followed by fellow Democrat Brad Eddy (563) and the three Libertarian Party candidates – Lisa Whitehead (409), Jim Rosenbeck (407) and Mark Potwora (249).

In the contested race for the District 9 seat (City Wards 4&5) on the Genesee County Legislature, the unofficial count showed former Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha, a Republican, drawing 364 votes to incumbent Democrat Edward DeJaneiro Jr.’s 302 votes, with 79 absentee ballots yet to be counted.

This is a developilng story. 

July 7, 2017 - 5:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, news, genesee county legislature, batavia.

Press release:

New York State, as part of the Adopted 2017/18 State Budget, included another mandate on all local governments, and possibly school districts. It is the requirement to discuss and develop shared service ideas and plans for eventual submittal to the Genesee County Legislature in August/September. Then, these must be submitted to the NYS Department of State by Oct. 15.

Part of the process for discussing and developing these public-sector shared-service plans is to have public meetings/opportunities for citizen input. These provide forums to take suggestions on opportunities for possible public-sector shared services that have not already been put forth or are not already in place.

In order to satisfy this public-forum mandate, the GC Legislature will hold an open comment period at the beginning of each of its next three legislative body meetings. These will take place at approximately 5 p.m. on July 12, July 17, and Aug. 9 in the third-floor chambers of the Old Courthouse, located at 7 Main St. in the City of Batavia.

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