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March 17, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, genesee county, micropolitan, business, news.

Press release:

For the 12th consecutive year, "Site Selection" magazine has once again recognized Batavia/Genesee County as a 2015 “Top Micropolitan” for corporate facility investments in the United States.

The ranking of “Top Micropolitans” is based on cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county. There are approximately 575 micropolitans in the United States according to Site Selection Magazine.

Corporate facility investments in Genesee County are the result of the work of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and many other economic development partners including the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC), the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, the GCEDC authorized approximately $54 million in new capital investments which created almost 200 new jobs.

“This was another year of tremendous growth for Genesee County, as we once again saw existing companies make significant investments in their operations here,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “With the announcement of 1366 Technologies as the first tenant in the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), we remain on a path to a very prosperous future for our region.”

“We have every reason to be optimistic about the continued growth and business expansion in Genesee County,” said Raymond Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature. “We have a new hotel at Batavia Downs, Darien Lake Theme Park continues to improve, our new county airport terminal will be ready soon and the STAMP project is now a reality. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this progress.”

The GCEDC achieved 18 project “wins” in 2015, including a $5.4 million investment by ADK Hospitality for a new hotel at Batavia Downs, one of region’s most popular gaming and entertainment destinations. The project will result in a new 82-room hotel and will create 25 new jobs.

“We are very fortunate to have a strong partnership with the GCEDC as Batavia begins to revitalize,” said Jason Molino, City of Batavia manager. “Collectively our efforts in the community have helped create a unified vision that can be achieved. The announcement of 1366 Technologies is just the beginning of a bright future for all Genesee County residents. Twelve straight years as one of the top micropolitan areas in the country has put Batavia/Genesee County on the map.”

“Over the last several years, the strategic partnership between the Town of Batavia and the GCEDC has led to tremendous growth that has benefited not only the Town of Batavia but the entire micropolitan,” said Greg Post, Town of Batavia supervisor.

“With the ramp up of WNY STAMP and 1366 Technologies, we believe investments made by the Town of Batavia and GCEDC will continue to make us a top micopolitan community for years to come.”

Along with these projects, the Batavia Development Corporation had a productive year with the attraction of the Batavia Brewing Company and introduction of the freshLAB restaurant incubator to the Newberry Building, as well as secured more than $600,000 in economic development grants and coordinated a small business ownership series in partnership with Genesee Community College and the New York State Small Business Development Center.

“Over the last five years we have marveled at the good work of the GCEDC and its diligence to position Genesee County for business success,” said Ramon Chaya, Batavia Development Corporation Board president.

“We are happy to be rebuilding the City of Batavia, from brownfield site redevelopment, entrepreneurial and innovation projects, to business education programming. We could not do it without all of the partners in our community. It feels great to be collaborating and moving in the same direction and we are excited to see what comes next.”

The Batavia Improvement District (BID) has had a busy year with many successful events bringing new businesses Downtown, attracting new customers, and working to enhance programs and offerings for next year. The next big project it will undertake is a permanent public market to be housed Downtown.

“Downtowns are the foundation to any community. We continue to work to make the Downtown a place where people want to be. We focus on smaller, productive growth and the basic needs of people which equates to a better quality of life,” said Laurie Oltramari, executive director of the BID.

Other significant projects the GCEDC assisted with were investments made by Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc.

Tourism plays a significant role in Genesee County’s economy with over $51 million in payroll contributed to the local economy. Driving more tourism is one of the region’s 2016 goals with respect to a new visitors center on Park Road.

“Our new Visitors Center will allow us to do a much better job of marketing our assets to overnight travelers at the hotels and the day-trippers visiting Batavia Downs, our restaurants and our shopping centers, by enticing them deeper into the county,” said Tom Turnbull, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce president.

“This new location will allow us to take tourism marketing to the next level and give us a visitors center that all of Genesee County can be proud of."

Full the full list of Site Selection Magazine’s rankings, visit http://siteselection.com/issues/2016/mar/top-micropolitans.cfm.

March 15, 2016 - 6:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in public service committee, events, genesee county.

The donation of an "old school" ice rink, the status of flooded County Building #2, construction at the airport, Albany's inflexibility regarding bid procedures, and indigent defense were all topics of discussion at Monday afternoon's Public Service Committee meeting. 

Oh yes, and no filbert trees were available for sale this year from the Soil & Water Conservation District. But more on that later.

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens recommended that the committee accept the donation of an old-fashioned ice rink -- a veritable "duck pond" with "dasher boards" -- from Oakfield-Alabama Central School District (OACSD) for use at DeWitt Recreation Area off Cedar Street in the City of Batavia.

There is an area long designated for an ice rink in the master plan for DeWitt -- which is overseen by county Parks, Recreation and Forestry -- and if approved by the county Legislature, this is where the rink would be installed.

After a brief discussion, the committee unanimously approved recommending that the "as is" donation be accepted. It was originally paid for by OACSD with a $1,000 state grant.

"This is great for the county and the city," Hens said.

The Oakfield-Alabama district used the ice rink for two years, then it became problematic to maintain. A corps of volunteers will be needed to set it up, flood it with water, and keep it maintained during the winter.

"There's no Zamboni that comes with it," Hens quipped.

County Manager Jay Gsell agreed.

"It's skating in the park," Gsell said. "It's not Rockefeller Center. There won't be a Christmas tree."

Committee Member John Deleo asked about power and lighting for the ice rink.

Hens said all the possibilities are being looked at, but they are leaning toward LED with a solar-powered "hot box."

Water and sewer lines at DeWitt will be extended for a new restroom facility under construction, and lighting will be added at that time, Hens said. 

Deleo asked about parking to access the rink and Hens said if the rink is installed, the south parking lot would be opened in winter. Currently, only the north parking lot is kept open year-round.

The committee also voted to recommend approval of two candidates for the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Advisory Committee: Tom Clark and Jerome Gentry.

And Hens asked the committee to recommend awarding a bid to buy one cargo van with a sliding door for $25,000 or less for motor-pooling, and members agreed to this.

As for the recently flooded County Building #2 on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia, it has been fully remediated, Hens reported.

The contractor thoroughly dried the place out after a busted pipe caused extensive water damage during the winter. Mold and mildew were eradicated, even the floorboards in the information/technology area were raised and the space vacuumed.

Drying the facility cost $30,000. Repairs/plumbing/painting/tile work on top of that are estimated at $88,000, according to Hens. When allowable depreciation is factored into the mix, the total cost drops from $118,000 to $113,000 -- below the insurer's cap of $115,000 for this incident. The county's deductible is $10,000.

The contractor detailed 44 pages of work needed as a result of the mishap, which by all accounts would've been a lot worse if an employee hadn't stopped in on his day off, over the weekend, and found the broken pipe.

Hens said a private contractor will be employed to do the repairs, such as replacing tile, drywall, appyling a vinyl basecoat and other painting. This will enable county workers to stay on task with outdoor jobs that need to be done during the warmer months.

The new offices at the county airport will be completed by March 24, with the exception of "punch list items" like giving epoxy time to dry, then the big move -- read "big hassle" -- will ensue. The committee may hold its May meeting there, and get a tour. (The April 18 meeting of the Public Service Committee is already promised to the Sheriff's Office on Park Road.)

Lastly in terms of Hens' report, was the inscrutable logic of the state Comptroller's Office as regards the award of bids for highway contruction materials.

For example, take the weighty materials used for road bulding during the summer like asphalt -- whose price has dropped 15 to 20 percent due to the lower cost of crude oil and the price of gasoline -- or quarry stone. The price of these heavy cargo items is modified to account for hauling. So, take the low bidder then factor in another 50-cents-per-mile as the cost to get the materials to the job site.

They call it awarding a "catalog of options for vendors."

"This is the way counties in the Rochester region do business," Hens said. "Otherwise, I couldn't do my job."

But it's not the way the Comptroller's Office in Albany recommends doing business.

In fact, the mathematics appeared to stupefy the representative from the Comptroller's Office, despite an hour-long phone conversation with Hens articulating current procedures and the logic for them.

"That's frightening that someone can't understand that," Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg said.

Gsell said it's actually not that they don't get it, it's that they lack flexibility and can't think outside the confines of their specific framework, making the gesture of a big square box with his hands. He cited New York's lack of national buying cooperatives and its dearth of "piggy-backing" to boost purchasing power as examples of New York government failures.

To avoid being scapegoated with an audit for not following the Comptroller's Office's recommendations to cease using a "catalog of options" approach, resolutions are being proposed for the Genesee County Legislature to sign. They are intended to underscore and articulate the local preference for doing business the way it has long been done by counties in the region.

And speaking of Albany, Public Defender Jerry Ader told the committee on Monday that he's asking for more money to defend the poor, something which is constitutionally the state's responsibility, but which has been palmed off onto counties for the past 45 years.

A grant for $344,200 is available, at no cost to the county, to help pay for indigents' legal bills, and he asked the committee to recommend accepting the grant. They unanimously agreed.

Ader also asked committee members to pass a resolution calling on the state to increase funding for indigent defense for all New York counties, not just the five counties (unspecified) which are now being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for their allegedly poor defense of the poor.

The five counties are to be demo sites for a proposal to gradually allow the state, through the Office of Indigent Legal Services, to: oversee reimbursement of costs; ensure standards are met; and that caseloads are properly managed. Each county would simply administer the program.

"How do you justify not doing this for all counties?" Clattenburg asked.

Exactly, Ader said, "you can't unring the bell," noting that it's Governor Cuomo's task to find a way to fund the upgrade of indigent defense across the board. Until then, Genesee County, too, is at risk for getting sued by the ACLU, Gsell said.

Even so, local representatives seem a bit blase about the issue. Ader noted that neither Senator Mike Ranzenhofer nor Assemblyman Steve Hawley have boarded the bandwagon, which to date consists of a less-than-whopping two lawmakers. State lawmakers will select bills to vote on within the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the annual Tree & Shrub Sale of the county Soil & Water Conservation District just wrapped up. At least officially, the deadline was March 11. 

Member Robert Bausch told district Director Pamela Whitmore he usually buys something every year. We do not recall whether he specifically mentioned having bought a hazelnut tree, but Whitmore replied flatly: "We don't have any filbert trees this year."

Whitmore also reported that the district is not seeking an increase in appropriations, nor are there staff changes afoot, although there is one position open.

At present, Water & Soil is focusing on stream water quality and water bank fortification, said District Manager Greg Tessmann.

He said they are in a partnership with SUNY Brockport to monitor water quality in streams and that the results of testing samples will be available this fall.

Committee Member Shelley Stein said she has been told about the exceptional staff at Soil & Water -- how they are "aggressive, motivated, interested and committed."

Lastly, county Weights & Measures Director Don Luxon told the committee he is considering retirement, but said he would provide a few months notice once the decision is made.

March 4, 2016 - 5:43pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Chamber Awards, Post Dairy Farms, genesee county, business, news.

chamber_postmarch2016.jpg

Running a family farm is enough to keep anyone busy.

That’s certainly true for Jeff Post, a fifth-generation owner of Post Dairy Farms, LLC, located at 4103 Batavia Elba Townline Road, Oakfield. Nevertheless, Post makes time for still another role  — that of ambassador.

His family’s farm welcomes hundreds of visitors each year, many of them youngsters from the surrounding area.

“We’ve been really active in getting people on the farm and seeing things,” Post said. “A whole gamut of people. And I’m always happy to host. Especially children with their parents, so they can know that their food is safe and where it’s coming from.”

A tradition of both excellence and openness are among the reasons Post Dairy Farm was chosen by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce as its 2015 Agricultural Business of the Year.

Mike Davis, a county legislator and manager at Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., in Batavia, praised the farm for its role as educator.

“The Post family has hosted numerous tours for key customers, students of all ages, as well as groups of Cooperative employees and have provided all a better understanding not only of their operations, but agriculture in general,” Davis wrote in support of the nomination.

“The farm produces an extremely high-quality product using innovative technology, while also being good stewards of the land,” he added.

Post Dairy Farm has deep roots in the community. Seward Post — “my grandfather’s grandfather,” Jeff post said — began farming on Pearl Street, Batavia, during the late 1800s. The farm moved to Townline Road about 1890 “and has just grown since,” Post said.

Ownership passed to Leo Post and then Ken Post — Jeff’s grandfather — who continues to work every day. The 900-acre farm is currently owned by Jeff Post, his father Dan and uncle John.

Two other family members, Jeff’s aunt Laurie Post and cousin Kailynn Stacy, work on the farm. They are joined by two non-family employees.

The dairy operation includes about 400 cows and 300 young stock. The family grows feed corn and alfalfa for cattle, but also wheat and string beans for human consumption, Post said.

Perhaps the farm’s biggest innovation — and an attraction for many visitors — is the robotic milking system that opened in June 2010. It milks 240 cows, three times a day, Post said, and allowed the farm to significantly grow is operations without adding to labor costs.

“You have to be reinvesting in your business, obviously, to stay in business,” Post said.

The family still operates a traditional milking parlor, where 120 cows are milked an average of twice a day.

Farming — dairy farming in particular — faces numerous challenges. Two of the biggest, Post said, are depressed milk prices and the prospect of higher labor costs forced by minimum-wage increases.

Added to that, he said, are often emotion-driven concerns about food safety, labeling and animal welfare.

“That challenges farmers to be advocating for ourselves all the time,” Post said.

He hopes that advocacy, also inspires young people to consider careers in agriculture. It’s a field that needs young talent, and embraces a wide range of interests, from herdsmanship to high technology.

Indeed, the farm has hosted a Genesee County Business Education Alliance “robotics camp” for middle school students.

“This is one thing I always talk to kids about,” Post said, “even if you don’t want to be a farmer, there are so many skills that farming and agriculture support — cattle nutrition, welding, manufacturing. There’s just so much out there.”

Post Dairy Farms has racked up a number of honors over the years, including recognition as a Dairy of Distinction. It was named 2013-14 Business Partner of the Year by the Business Education Alliance, and 2014 Conservation Farm of the Year by the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District.

Post said the Chamber award is appreciated.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for what you do,” he said.

March 4, 2016 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chamber Awards, genesee county, Jay Gsell, news.

gsellchambermarch32016.jpg

It might seem odd that a man who has spent his entire professional career in government would distrust government, but if you understand there are different levels of government, it makes perfect sense.

And it explains why a man like Jay Gsell would use the experiences that shaped him as a youngster growing up in the 1960s to drive his chosen career path.

From the outset, Gsell avoided jobs in state and national bureaucracies and instead focused on local government, where he thought he could have the greatest impact, do the most good for the most people.

"I still have a rampant skepticism of state government and the federal government in terms of, you know, the attitudes in many cases where I don’t sense there has been a necessary evolution in many cases," Gsell said. "I like to think that what we do here at the local level, whether it’s at the city government level, a village level, town or county level, is we’ve done a lot a more, been a lot more progressive, been a lot more creative, tried to do things that work for the greater good of the greater number, with, I guess, a  sort of altruism."

Gsell's approach to his work as county manager -- a single-minded focus, dedication, and that sense of civic purpose -- is why he is the recipient of the 2015 Wolcott “Jay” Humphrey III Community Leadership Award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Not that local government is always perfect. Gsell, after all, grew up in New Jersey.

"Where I grew up in New Jersey, it was always government is just bad, you know," Gsell said "Even today you look at it and it still happens in New Jersey.  You look at the last three or four mayors in the city of Atlantic City. It’s not only a city that is totally bankrupt, but three or four of them were indicted. It’s kind of like the governors of Illinois. There’s a Who’s Who list on the post office in Atlantic City and it has more public officials on it than it does regular criminals."

There are bad actors everywhere, of course, but the value of local government is it is the government that is closest to the people and where the average citizen can have the most impact.

As a child of the 1960s, Gsell is well acquainted with the Vietnam War and Watergate. Those towering events influenced his views on bigger governments tremendously.

In college, Gsell's English class was given an essay assignment, asking the students to share their take on the Vietnam War. Gsell's response, "Why don't we get the hell out?" The U.S. had no business being there in the first place and people were spitting on returning soldiers.

"To me, that's really where I started to say, 'wow, I’m having sort of an epiphany here' in terms of, you know, the attitude," Gsell said. "Shortly thereafter we started seeing what was going on in the next administration in Watergate and other things and it just kind of kept reinforcing the fact that those next levels, those upper levels of government were, one, not the place I wanted to work, and two, the trust factors, things of that nature, were not real high."

Gsell couldn't escape Jersey right away. He needed a place to start, and he landed a job in Trenton. While at Trenton, he completed his master's in public administration, finishing the course work in 18 months. Gsell ran track in high school and in college, so he was able to get his master's at American University at no cost by becoming a track coach at the campus.

Gsell doesn't run anymore, because of a heart condition discovered and dealt with in 2010, but he can be found most mornings on the city's streets out for long walks. It's how he prepares his mind and body for a full day of work.

From Trenton, he traveled to Norton Shores, Mich., and Eau Claire, Wis. 

He worked in both cities for an administrator named Steve Atkins, who became a career-long friend and mentor.

After several years of working together, Atkins told him it was time for him to strike out on his own, lead his own administration. Gsell went to Marshalltown, Iowa, and Atkins ended up in a new job just down the road in Iowa City.

Atkins retired five years ago, but he and Gsell still talk regularly.

"We never stopped communicating in terms of what we’ve done throughout our careers," Gsell said.

In Marshalltown, Gsell found himself inheriting a financial crisis brought on by corruption. Marshalltown's treasurer and the president of the Iowa Trust were involved in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme that wiped out $107 million worth of investments for 88 local governments.

"We woke up one day in December of 1991 and everything was gone, except the stuff he (the president of the trust) had, the boats and houses and some of the other, shall we say, accoutrements of a high lifestyle that he still possessed," Gsell said. "The local governments were on the verge of bankruptcy."

Marshalltown itself was out $7 million.

"About a year and a half later after we recovered 95 percent of the money," Gsell said. "The city attorney and I worked together and we got rid of the city treasurer. He had her escorted out by a police. She was 15-year employee who thought that she was untouchable but I said, 'Elaine, you had to know better.' "

Even though the fiasco started before Gsell took over as the administrator in Marshalltown, the turmoil didn't leave him unscathed. After it was resolved in 1993, "it became fairly obvious that it was time for me to seek other employment."

So he applied for the open county manager's spot in Genesee County, replacing Charlie Myers, who had been on the job for 11 years -- a long time for anybody to hold a top slot in local government.  

The county started with 90 candidates and when it was reduced to 10; the final 10 were brought to the town of a series of interviews with three or four panels of local community members.

Obviously, Gsell won the job. He's been at it for 23 years and though he knows retirement can't be too far away, he has no immediate plans to stop.

He's still energized by the challenge of making local government work, even in a climate of state and federal mandates, financial restrictions and ever tighter budgets.

Among the accomplishments Gsell thinks he can point to are assisting with the consolidation of emergency dispatch and helping the city get out of the ambulance business, and now he's charged up about potentially helping the YMCA expand its programs and possibly move into a new building.

Genesee County has provided the kind of stability he expected when he took the job.

"To me, this is pretty nonpartisan at the county government level," Gsell said. "I recognized that yes, Sheriff is Republican, Country Clerk is Republican, the DA is probably a Republican, and certainly the majority of legislators. But when it comes to my job, because my code of ethics says you have to be apolitical or basically you don’t belong in this profession, that’s worked out very well here and I think this country, in general, has conducted itself in that way.

"We have a service to provide. We have to do the best for the people that we serve and also we have to keep thinking about the idea that it’s not because that you have a political persuasion or that you have a certain status in the community."

Gsell leads a healthy and sober life. He sees that sort of straight-and-narrow discipline as part of his chosen career as much as understanding the numbers behind pension plans and the complicated formula for figuring out the tax cap. He hasn't consumed an adult beverage since the day he watched O.J. Simpson in his white Bronco on an L.A. freeway in 1994. 

"You will never see me in a police blotter or blowing anything but a .000000," Gsell said. 

He's also never even touched, even in college, any recreational drugs.

"I lead a pretty pedestrian life in that regard," he said. "To me, it's part not putting myself in those situations where it's like 'oh wow, look at that. That person thinks that they could get away with stuff because of his possession and his title.' I don't run that way. Basically, you live like you wanted to be treated. That means you are pretty much clean as the driven snow. I am not perfect certainly, but I also don't put myself in situations that I think reflects on what I think should be the image of this organization and what I would like to think is my personal persona in the community."

Gsell has served on the Board of Directors for United Way in every community he's worked. He's also active in Rotary, as well as other community organizations over the years. Community involvement, he said, has always been a way for him to expand his horizons and meet new people.

"I guess I call it my passion to be involved in those kinds of initiatives and those kinds of efforts, that say, 'This isn't just my day job, but it is also how I try to improve the community,' " Gsell said.

February 24, 2016 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Ray Cianfrini.

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The text of the State of the County address delivered today by Chairman Ray Cianfrini:

For those of you who know me, you know that I like to keep things brief and to keep the program moving. I’m sure my address tonight will not be out of character.

Let me start by saying welcome again to our new legislator, John Deleo, and to all our new department heads; Eve Hens our new purchasing director; Pam Lagrou our new clerk of the legislature; Ruth Spink, our director of the office for the aging; Theresa Asmus-Roth, the program coordinator for Genesee Justice and Mike Cianfrini, our new county clerk. This is an exciting time to be part of our county government and we need you as leaders to use your talents and your energy to bring us new ideas and not always accept the status quo, but to challenge it and change it when necessary.

I would also like to take a minute and say how our county takes great pride in the accomplishments of its leaders.

And we in Genesee County are proud to recognize and praise two of our longtime county leaders in county Manager Jay Gsell and county Sheriff Gary Maha.

Jay is scheduled to receive the prestigious Wolcott “Jay” Humphrey III Community Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce at their awards ceremony on March 5.

And our own sheriff, Gary Maha, the longest tenured sheriff in the state, has received the likewise prestigious sheriff Grover Cleveland award from the NYS Sheriff’s Association. This is the highest award to a sitting sheriff and has only been awarded on four other occasions.

We congratulate both of you for these well-deserved honors and we thank you for bringing us pride and recognition to Genesee County.

Last year I spoke of making 2015 a year of progress in our county and in looking back I think it's safe to say we may have overachieved in accomplishing our goal

Let’s look back to last year…….

Our Genesee County jobless rate at the end of 2015 was 4.8 percent, down from 5.5 percent the previous year. This is the lowest jobless rate in our county since 2006.

At Genesee Community College, construction began on the new student awareness center and the new student wellness event center with completion expected by this year.

Tourism continues to be strong in our county. The year 2015 saw a 2-percent increase in bed tax revenues and the Chamber of Commerce has used the “bed tax reserve” revenue to assist in the acquisition of a new chamber office on park road with a new visitors center.

A new ride is being built at Darien Lake and a new hotel is being built at Batavia Downs gaming facility and both are sure to bring additional visitors to our county.

Our airport began construction of its new $5.9-million terminal scheduled for completion next month.

The airport also saw record sales of jet fuel in 2015 continuing a trend that has seen our fuel sales increase every year since 2008.

The legislature gave its initiative and support for rifle hunting in Genesee County last year and also commenced its first ever deer management hunt at the county park.

We funded two new deputies for the Sheriff’s Department and we went to a full-time county attorney.

We adopted a new management salary schedule to bring parity to our management personnel and we successfully completed contract negotiations with both of our CSEA employee bargaining units.

In addition, the legislature adopted a 2015 county budget that reduced the tax rate by $.18 (cents) per thousand and for our 2016 budget we held the line with a zero-percent tax increase.

Also, agriculture is still our major industry in Genesee County and in 2015 we continued to be the “breadbasket of Western New York."

We suffered disappointment with the departure of Muller Quaker yogurt manufacturing, but we were very fortunate to have Dairy Farmers of America acquire the facility with the expectation of a new and perhaps larger dairy presence in the ag park.

To showcase our local agricultural riches, GCC hosted a “Harvest Fest” and Stein Farms in Le Roy held a “field to fork feast” on their farm in September.

We have also seen expansions at O-AT- Milk in Batavia and Yancey’s Fancy in Pembroke. And, (regarding) business facilities, a national site selection publication has ranked Genesee County as one of the fastest growing “food processing employment leaders” in the nation, ranking it seventh in their list of top 10 mid-sized metro areas for food processing growth.

While all of these are measures of progress last year, I feel strongly that the two major accomplishments of 2015 were the sale of the county nursing home and the reality of STAMP (Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park).

As you know, the legislature, after a long and arduous process, sold the county nursing home last year to premiere health care for the sum of $15.2 million.

We anticipate a closing by this summer and when complete, we not only close the “fiscal dark hole” that generates almost $3 million annual deficits to our county budget, but once the county has settled all its debts and short-term borrowing and employee obligations, some of the sale proceeds can be designated to fund much needed infrastructure repairs.

We feel strongly that the sale of the nursing home to a well respected private ownership group is a win-win situation for all involved, including the employees and residents of the home.

On the economic front, last year Steve Hyde, the CEO of our GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center(, stated that “2015 is the year STAMP comes to life” and he was right.

With our support and the hard work of the staff at GCEDC stamp became a reality when 1366 technologies announced last October that it is set to break ground by this summer on a new solar chip manufacturing plant on the STAMP site.

They have committed over $700 million to the project and will create over 1,000 jobs with an additional 5,500 construction and supply chain jobs.

With this announcement, the state released $33 million dollars from its budget for site improvements to the STAMP site, which will provide water to the Town of Alabama and water and sewer to the STAMP site.

So as you can see, 2015 had an aggressive agenda that resulted in a very productive year with progress made on many fronts and I applaud our management and my colleagues on the legislature for their hard work and dedication. It was a year we could all be proud of.

However, with a new year in front of us there is still much to do.

In a perfect world of county government, there would be no state mandates, taxes would be low; revenues would be high.

Social service programs and our jail population would be reduced; everyone would have county water; our roads and bridges would be in excellent shape and our sheriff would have all the deputies he asks for.

Unfortunately, in our real world of today, things are far from perfect.

The state continues to overburden counties with mandates that are an onus to our taxpayers. We need only look at our county cost of Medicaid, indigent legal defense and pre-K programs forced on us by the state to cry out for the need for reform.

Our jail population, especially for female inmates, puts a tremendous strain on our tax dollars and the need for a new 125-bed jail for males and females at a cost of over $36 million is facing us in the near future.

Our roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair.

Sales tax revenues are flat and with the cost of gasoline going down, they will continue to be flat.

Our sales tax agreement with the city of Batavia and our county-wide water agreement with the city, which includes completion of phase 2 of the county water project, are both scheduled to expire in 2018, less than two years away.

As a result, I see 2016 as a year of tremendous challenges.

County water and distribution of sales tax revenues are the “hot button” topics that must be resolved in the next two years.

I feel it is imperative that we begin discussions immediately to explore how best to allocate our sales tax revenues with our municipalities when the current agreement expires and hopefully have some concessions that allow the county to complete phase 2 of the county water project.

In addition, we need to develop a strategic plan for how best to use the net proceeds from the sale of our nursing home to address our aging infrastructure.

Our roads and bridges have been too long neglected. I’m sure many of you are not aware that our county is responsible for every bridge in the county over 5 feet, which would include most all culverts, and we have already been advised by our highway superintendent about the deteriorating condition of many of our county bridges. We need to act now!

On the economic front, the STAMP project will come to life and hopefully we will see the growth of new businesses to support 1366 technologies and the installation of water to the Town of Alabama and the STAMP site.

We look forward to the new hotel on Park Road and we will continue to work in partnership with the City of Batavia and GCEDC on the pathway to prosperity to provide funding for development and enhancement of the brownfield opportunity area in the city.

I feel it’s time for the county to consider selling some parcels of county-owned property that are currently underutilized and a drain on county revenues.

Let’s look at the Holland Land Office and the former engine house property to see if they might be better served by being in the hands of private or not-for-profit ownership.

And hopefully with some state assistance, I would like to see us increase our rural broadband capacity to those areas of the county still without this increasingly vital resource.

And finally, let’s look at a small-scale solar project to see if it can benefit the county in reducing our energy costs.

Now on the state level, our governor has been asking counties to consolidate or share services to reduce our tax burden.

Five years ago the governor instituted the property tax cap to municipalities with the understanding that when implemented, counties would get mandate relief.

Through innovation and creativity we in Genesee County have stayed under the tax cap for all five years, but where is our mandate relief? Surely not in the meager checks for $15 or $20 we got earlier this year from the state.

And yet in our governor’s budget state aid to municipalities remains flat and he is lowering our tax cap, still looking for us to come up with innovative ideas on how to stay under the cap.

“Ok, governor, we get it!” We’ll keep working on it, but how about you and the legislature giving us the tools to work outside the box?

Give us the legislation that allows us the opportunity to pursue a regional jail with an adjoining county instead of our county taxpayers bearing the entire cost of a new jail that will be in excess of $36 million. 

And why stop at just a new regional jail? Why not look at a regional county-wide justice court system that consolidates our current 15 city, town and village courts into two or three centrally located district courts in the county to reduce costs on all the municipalities and the Sheriff’s Office and provide for a more efficient justice court system?

These are the challenges that face us this year.

As legislators and managers, we need to keep our priorities in order and understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges we face.

Rather than think and talk about the problems, we need to think and talk about the solutions.

We rose to the occasion last year and we have the right people in the right place to attack these hard issues in 2016 because we, as leaders, have the capacity to translate vision into reality.

Let me end by saying 'thank you' to all our hard working and dedicated employees, department heads, managers and legislators for putting Genesee County in the forefront of progress and economic development in our state. It is you who are our county’s greatest assets.

Thank you.

February 22, 2016 - 3:46pm

Press release:

To meet the evolving transit needs of customers in Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, and Wyoming counties, RTS has launched a Regional Service Efficiency Study.

The purpose of the study is to identify service improvements and connections across the seven counties, and a key component of that study involves input from customers in those areas. RTS invites customers to share their thoughts by participating in an online survey and attending public workshops in February and March.

The online survey can be accessed through March 4 by using the following URL: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/rtsservices.

In Genesee County, an information session will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at County Building #2, 3837 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

More information about the study can be found at https://www.myrts.com/Planning-Projects/Regional-Service-Efficiency-Study

For all other information, visit www.myRTS.com.


About RTS

Regional Transit Service (RTS) is a regional transit authority established by New York State with more than 900 employees who proudly serve customers and business partners in Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne and Wyoming counties. Recognized as one of the best-run transit systems in the nation, RTS provides safe, reliable and convenient public bus transportation to more than 18 million people each year. We carry out our mission by connecting our customers to jobs, school, healthcare, shopping and recreational activities every day. For more information, visit www.myRTS.com.

February 17, 2016 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, news.

Genesee County is set to make new vehicle purchases for the Highway Department and Sheriff's Office after the Public Service Committee recommended approval Tuesday of the proposals.

At its next full meeting, the County Legislature is expected to approve purchase of:

  • An asphalt paver from Ilton CAT, 4610 E. Saile Drive, Batavia, for a total amount not to exceed $169,900;
  • A 2017 Model GU713 Mack cab and chassis, in conformance to Onondaga County bid specifications, from Beam Mack Sales, Rochester, in a amount not to exceed $156,743.37;
  • Five 2016 SUV law enforcement vehicles from Van Bortel Ford, for a total purchase price of $113,955, including trade-in on four 2013 Ford sedan interceptors and a 2009 Chevy Impala.

The committee also recommend approval of five vehicles being declared surplus and sold at auction. The vehicles are a 2009 Ford Focus, a 2008 Jeep and three 2009 Chevy Impalas.

November 13, 2015 - 1:44pm
posted by Cheryl Thorley in genesee county.
Company Name: 
Genesee County
Job Type: 
Full-Time
Clerk to the County Legislature-Genesee County $45,017-$56,946. Appointed on the basis of administrative experience and other such qualifications, as the Board of Legislators may determine appropriate. Requires Genesee County residency upon appointment. Application deadline: December 2, 2015. Resume: Anita Cleveland, [email protected]
October 30, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in tourism, genesee county, darien lake, Milestones, business.

(Submitted photo of Kelly Rapone, with the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, and Amber Ciesiulka, with Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, with their respective awards.)

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Darien Lake Amusement Park Resort both received awards recently for Excellence in Tourism Marketing from the New York State Tourism Industry Association.

The New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) has recognized leaders in New York State’s tourism industry who have achieved a high level of excellence and accomplishment at the 2015 Tourism Excellence Awards. The winning individuals or organizations were selected on the basis of demonstrated commitment, leadership, and accomplishment in travel and tourism.

Genesee County Chamber of Commerce earned the “Excellence in Tourism Marketing -- Statewide” for its Haunted History Trail of New York State program. Created by Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in 2013, it is the only statewide haunted tourism trail in the country. The program includes partnership with 30 tourism promotion agencies and promotes over 60 haunted inns, hotels, museums and more across New York State and was developed to draw tourists who have an interest in ghosts.

Darien Lake Amusement Park was recognized for “Excellence in Tourism Marketing -- Private Sector ” for their 2015 overall marketing program which focused on delivering an exceptional value and experience to season pass holders, daily visitors and overnight guests. Darien Lake Amusement Park Resort is New York State’s largest amusement park resort featuring over 50 rides and attractions including a 10-acre waterpark and a variety of overnight options including a hotel, cabins and a campground.

The organizations received their awards at the NYSTIA Tourism Excellence Awards Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 22, at The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Kelly Rapone and Taylor White, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, and Amber Ciesiulka, Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, accepted the awards at the event.

October 22, 2015 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, budget.

The county serves the public, and increasingly, the public is online, which is why County Manager Jay Gsell thinks the county needs a stronger and more consistent digital presence.

In his 2016 budget, he's proposing a new position in the county's IT department that would be responsible for the county's Web site and its social media activity, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

"There is also a difference in generations in how they deal with us," Gsell said. "They are different in where they go for their information, where they look for information and how they interact with county government whether they're asking questions, registering complaints or things of that nature."

The county's Web site could be more user-friendly, but more importantly, Gsell said, it could contain more information that is more current and timely and relevant to residents.

"We're the public sector -- if we're not public and media friendly, we suck," Gsell said. "We're also not doing our job. The idea is to put information out and give it out so the public can access it."

Increasingly, people want to find their information and interact with government and businesses in social media, and the county should be where the public is, Gsell said, which means an active presence on Facebook and Twitter, for example.

"If you don't have a more duel-enabled communication, you're missing out on how you connect with people, how people connect with your services, how they issue complaints, how they issue praise in some cases, or even how we deal with some things we change, for instance, taking on credit card payments in the Treasurer's Office," Gsell said.

The salary for the new position will be about $35,000 and represent a total expenditure with benefits and related expenses of $58,000.

The position is part of a $106,756,416 spending plan being proposed by Gsell.  

On the revenue side, Gsell is proposing a $27,283,304 tax levy with a $9.89 tax rate per thousand of assessed value. That is a 3-cent increase over the 2015 tax rate.

One new position previously proposed that didn't make the budget is an additional Sheriff's deputy with a primary responsibility to keep a sharp eye out for drunken drivers.

The position would have been funded through STOP-DWI money -- fines levied against convicted drunken drivers -- but Gsell said he could tell the idea wasn't going over well with a majority of the Legislature, so he dropped the proposal from the budget. He said the consensus among legislators seemed to be that even if the position was legal and above board, it might engender the perception that there was a level of entrapment in the strategy to catch more drunken drivers. Any case of actual entrapment could open the county up to litigation, something the Legislature would like to avoid.

"It's not like it was, 'Oh, my, this is the best thing since pockets,' so we said, 'You know what, it's not worth the angst and having the legislators have a discomfort as we're trying to present a hundred plus million proposal to let that become the litmus test of what's going on for 2016,' so we pulled it out," Gsell said.

The budget also includes an increase in hours for the County Attorney, making the job a full-time position. The additional 7.5 hours per week means an additional $30,000 in salary and a total increase in expenditure for the position of $37,095, but that cost is offset, Gsell said, by a decrease elsewhere in the budget for contracted fees for outside counsel.  

The budget proposal also includes a new public health sanitarian in the health department and a new case manager in Genesee Justice. Gsell said the case load at Genesee Justice has started to overwhelm the current staff hours in that department.

Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Legislature, also floated the idea that members of the body should consider whether it's time for a pay raise for legislators. There was no further discussion of the idea after he threw mentioned it.

October 17, 2015 - 4:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county, Don Read.

Plans are being made to honor Don Read, former Genesee County Clerk who retired on Sept. 11, with a dinner at Terry Hills Restaurant. He served as county clerk for 22 years.

It is planned for Saturday, Nov. 7th, with social hour starting at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7. Cost is $30 per person.

To reserve a seat, send your check -- made out to Richard Siebert -- to P.O. Box 171, Batavia NY 14021.

Also, if anyone would like to participate honoring Mr. Read, please let Mr. Siebert know.

September 23, 2015 - 11:17am
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, batavia, genesee county.

A convoy of fire trucks and police cars has converged at United Memorial Medical Center in the aftermath of the death of a Bergen ambulance volunteer crew member who died this morning in a head-on collision with a backhoe in Riga. The man, whose identity has not been released, was part of a three-member team responding to a mutual aid request for emergency medical aid.

Batavia police and fire and Sheriff's deputies will lead the convoy of Bergen fire trucks to the county line as it escorts the body of their fallen comrade to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office.

UPDATE 11:47 a.m.: Photos of the escort. An H.E. Turner van transported the deceased to Monroe County.

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UPDATE 12:32 p.m.: The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM has confirmed through sources in Monroe County that the deceased is Barry Miller, who was not only a multi-decade volunteer with the Bergen department and chief of EMS, but a county coroner. Below are photos from 13WHAM of the procession passing through the Rochester area.

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UPDATE 1:24 p.m.: 

A video report from 13WHAM:

UPDATE 3 p.m.:  News release from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office:

Around 7:30 this morning deputies responded to a crash between an ambulance and a backhoe on Bovee Road, just west of Brew Road, in the Town of Riga.

On arrival deputies found a Bergen Fire Department ambulance with severe front-end damage and a Town of Riga Caterpillar backhoe in front of the ambulance. The driver of the ambulance, Zackery W. Czudak, DOB 1985, of Bergen, said they had been dispatched to a Johnson Road, Riga, residence for a medical call. While traveling east on Bovee Road he struck a backhoe which was also travelling east. Czudak said he had reduced his speed because of sun glare and patches of fog in the area.

The front passenger, EMT Barry G. Miller, DOB 1965, of Bergen, was transported to United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia where he was pronounced dead. EMT Gina B. Bliss, DOB 1963, of Bergen, who was in the rear cabin of the ambulance, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. Zackery W. Czudak was not injured but transported to the hospital as a precaution. The driver of the backhoe was not injured.

UPDATE 4:55 p.m.: There will be a candlelight vigil in memory and honor of EMT Barry Miller tonight at 8 at the Bergen Fire Department, 10 Hunter St., in Bergen.

September 8, 2015 - 4:23pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, Batavia Middle School, genesee county.

untitled_shoot-3789.jpg

Being the first full day of school, the teachers of Batavia Middle School wrote messages in chalk on sidewalks for students to read when they left today. 

Most seemed to take a little time to read the messages from their teachers. 

Pictured above, Louis thought this was a good way to end the first day of school.

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Miss Newton and Mr. Ferri write their message to the students.

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Jason poses with his favorite message.

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Tatyanna is seen with the message she like the most. 

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Lilly, Allyson and Lillian like this one.

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 Ms. Cervoni shows Brandon the message she wrote.

July 28, 2015 - 3:40pm
posted by Vicky Muckle in genesee county.
Company Name: 
Genesee County
Job Type: 
Full-Time
Genesee County Purchasing Director This department head position oversees and directs the activities of the County’s Central Services Department and Housekeeping staff. Provisional appointment pending Civil Service test.   Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Business or Public Administration, Economics, or closely related field AND one year of experience in large scale purchasing, marketing or buying for a business or government agency.  Equivalent combination of education and experience will be evaluated.  
July 23, 2015 - 8:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, budget.

The county's department managers are being asked to turn in austere budgets that add no new staff with an eye toward leaving vacant positions unfilled as County Manager Jay Gsell tries to hold the line on spending in the face of continued expense pressure from the state's unfunded mandates.

State and federal spending mandates, including Medicaid, probation, indigent defense and public assistance consume 82 percent of the county's property tax levy, with the county's share of Medicaid expense now topping $10 million, Gsell said in a memo to county leaders.

The escalating cost of unfunded mandates, with no other increase in spending, will likely create a budget deficit.

"A conservative guestimate of a 'status quo' 2016 General Fund Budget of $106,401,244 would create an expense vs. revenue gap of almost $3.5 million vs. the 2015 Adopted General Fund balanced Budget," Gsell wrote. "This could include the last five year annual average of $2.5 million in fund balance use to stave off property tax increases that help the County again stay under the tax cap ceiling imposed by New York State, but the availability is not guaranteed."

The Legislature will be loathed to support a property tax increase that goes over the levy cap, Gsell said. 

"The County Legislature has not done so for the first four years of the tax cap mandate and 2016 being an election year is unlikely to change that reality/sentiment," Gsell wrote. "New York State/Governor Cuomo armed with the 'now' permanent tax cap legislation has set a negative dynamic for local governments, including school districts and the constituents/taxpayers with the promise of the tax rebates and possible State income tax circuit breakers/tax credits, that challenges we at the local government level to exceed said tax cap and thus suffer the 'wrath' of Albany and unilateral, top down recriminations in the media, with our taxpayers and the possibility of negative state aid implications."

The sale of the county nursing home will help, but that deal won't close until the end of the first quarter of 2016, so the money-losing property will continue to drain county resources in the upcoming budget year, Gsell said.

Gsell said the county is a workforce-intensive business and 32 percent of the county's general fund budget goes to wages and benefits. Pension and health care costs for personnel continue to increase, Gsell said, with new collective bargaining agreements pending.

Even new employee positions funded initially by state and federal grants should be scrutinized closely for long-term impacts on spending, Gsell said. 

If managers want to fill current vacancies or anticipated vacancies, they will need to show business necessity that it is essential to operations, or the position is justified as a basic level of service or required by mandates or can be funded through an equal increase in revenue. 

"Your overall operating budget request should be developed from a 'bare bones' perspective," Gsell wrote. "No sacred cows/no guarantees -- including those portions of your staffing, etc., that are attached to 'mandated services' and related operating expenses and options for better/more efficient utilization of existing staff should be presented."

July 8, 2015 - 12:17pm
posted by Cheryl Thorley in genesee county.
Company Name: 
Genesee County Youth Bureau
Job Type: 
Part-Time
Part-time, provisional appointment pending Civil Service examination. $15.20/hour. For contact information, qualifications, job duties and application: www.co.genesee.ny.us.
July 6, 2015 - 6:12pm

Crime totals for Genesee County have been slowly increasing over the past four years according to reports from the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The total number of property crimes in the county have increased from 1,358 cases in 2013 to 1,397 cases in 2014. Many of the property crimes committed in the county are driven by drugs according to officials.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman has seen a large percentage of larceny and burglary cases related to drug use.

"The one that is becoming most problematic in recent times is heroin," Friedman said. "We are certainly seeing a resurgence in the use of it. To a large extent, heroin disappeared from our view for years but now it's back." 

Sgt. Greg Walker of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office said heroin is popular in the county because it is easy to obtain and inexpensive. Walker leads the drug task force and works with the community to get tips on illegal drug activity. The drug hotline receives tips from residents every day. The Batavia Police Department, Village of Le Roy Police Department and Genesee County District Attorney's office are involved with the drug task force as well.

Walker said tackling drug abuse involves the combination of law enforcement, the courts and drug rehabilitation centers. He said law enforcement needs to crack down on selling, the courts have to issue appropriate penalties, and people suffering with addiction have to want to seek treatment.

In addition to the drug problem, another factor contributing to property crimes specifically larceny is people failing to lock their vehicles.

"In our case what we're seeing are larcenies from unlocked vehicles," Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said. "That has been a big increase in the last year or so. Whether it's change or GPS devices or other personal property, it should not be left in an unlocked vehicle."

The total amount of violent crime in the county has remained steady for most local law enforcement agencies. 

The Batavia Police Department has seen a small increase in the number of reported violent crimes. The number of aggravated assault crimes increased from 37 cases in 2013 to 42 cases in 2014.

According to Heubusch, the increase in the number of aggravated assault crimes is due to additional effort to prosecute the perpetrators. The police department works closely with victim advocate agencies so the abuse can be reported.

The YWCA is one of the organizations that works with law enforcement to advocate for victims. The organization refers victims to police and assists with filing orders of protection. They also help victims by providing housing, personal care products and referrals for other services they may need. 

According to Jeanne Walton, executive director of the YWCA, the organization's domestic violence hotline has received 415 calls since Jan. 1. Walton said the number of calls has increased from previous years.

For crime in surrounding counties, the number of violent and property crimes in Orleans County and Wyoming County have steadily decreased over the past four years. 

To view annual crime reports by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, click here.

July 2, 2015 - 4:00pm
posted by Traci Turner in pathstone, genesee county, housing.

Heidi Kollarik is one of the many people PathStone has helped to accomplish her goal of owning a home for her two children.

Kollarik, a single mom and hairdresser, had just moved out of her parent's house and into an apartment in Oakfield when she decided to look into a homeownership program ran by PathStone, a not-for-profit community development organization. She wanted to purchase a house but didn't have the funds for a down payment. To find out more about buying a home, she signed up for PathStone's pre-purchase education classes in 2011. Some of the skills she learned included budgeting, managing credit and home financing.

After completing the classes, counselors met one-on-one with Kollarik to help her with the rest of the purchasing process. She was able to secure a $105,000 loan and buy a house in Oakfield in 2014. She also obtained a $21,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME Investment Partnerships program to assist with the down payment and closing costs. The entire process took three years but it was all worth it in the end Kollarik said.

"I'm so thankful they were able to help me obtain my dream of having a home for my children because it would not have been possible to buy a house being a single mom," Kollarik said.

During her annual agency review for the County Legislature, Sue Boss, executive director of the housing council at PathStone, met with the Human Services Committee meeting Monday said the homeownership program has assisted 1,550 people purchase their first home in the county since 2010. Boss said approximately 95 percent of those people were eligible to receive grant funding. 

To be eligible, applicants have to be approved for a mortgage, meet income criteria and provide some of their own money for the transaction. Many of the applicants who have received assistance had a household size of two to three people with a female head and an average income of $33,000. 

The program is funded through federal, state, county and private aid. Some funds people can receive money from include New York HOME funds and Revolving Loan funds.

The program will also be offering additional funding after it receives a home grant for $200,000 through the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal and a $300,000 grant through the New York Affordable Housing Corporation.

To determine if grant money is available, all their applicants receive counseling and given the option to take classes on purchasing a house.

"Anybody that comes to our program receives individual counseling from our certified counselors," Boss said. "We also offer group education classes. In the classes we cover everything from credit and debt management, how to shop for a realtor, home inspections and what the house purchasing process is from start to finish."

In addition to the homeownership program, PathStone offers a handyman program, an owner occupied rehab program and foreclosure and default program for Genesee County residents.

The handyman program runs in conjunction with the Genesee County Office for the Aging to help people over the age of 62 repair minor issues with their homes. Applicants can be renters or homeowners. All services are free if their income is 80 percent or below HUD's median-income figure. According to Boss, the program serves 240 households a year. 

The owner-occupied program provides homeowners with funds for structural and mechanical repairs. This program is currently on a hiatus but will back up and running as soon as a grant is released. 

The foreclosure and default program is ran by PathStone's affiliate the Housing Council to assist residents that are in default on their mortgage. Grants are available through the New York Mortgage Assistance Program, a new program that launched this year.

With all these programs, the organization aims to fulfill its mission to encourage individuals, families and communities to obtain economic resources for building better lives. PathStone has been providing services in New York since 1969.

To honor foundations and members of the community that support its mission, the organization will be having a community luncheon on July 10 at the Clarion Hotel. They also will present the PathStone Visionary Award to Jay Gsell, county manager.

June 28, 2015 - 2:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, events, genesee county.
Event Date and Time: 
July 15, 2015 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

The Genesee County Planning Department in conjunction with the Form-Based Codes Institute will present a training series from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, at County Building #2, 3837 W. Main St. Road, Batavia.

  • What are Form-Based Codes? (6:30 – 7 p.m.)

Genesee County Senior Planner Derik Kane will present a brief introduction to the topic. This slideshow explains how form-based codes help communities achieve development goals.

June 27, 2015 - 8:30am
posted by Steve Ognibene in genesee county, godfreys pond, steve ognibene's blog.

6-26-15_mg_7235.jpg

Mike Rickert and Mike Hammond invite you to Godfrey’s Pond's Chicken BBQ fundraiser and open house tomorrow (June 28) from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $9, which includes, half chicken, salt potatoes, mac salad, fresh corn on the cob, roll and butter, and lemonade. 

Founded as a conversation club in 1909, Godfrey's Pond was originally known as a hunting club and it had about 50 members. Today Godfrey’s Pond is opened year round and has approximately 900 members, Rickert said.

It’s an opportunity for members to stay here and camp, fish, hunt and walk their dogs. The main pond has paddleboats, canoes and is stocked with different varieties of fish. The property consists of 230 acres with nearly a dozen nature trails and much more! A couple times a year a geocache club comes out to put some caches around the property for treasure-hunting events. 

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All are invited to the club's second open house this year, tour the property and see the "Adirondacks getaway" in Genesee County, said Hammond, the property caretaker.

He showed me newly designed projects with the Genesee Valley Boces conversation class pictured below.

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Railroad ties were used to build a new wall to prevent erosion and to provide steps to sit on. The clubhouse is a great place to host parties and events at no charge for members year round.

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