Quantcast
Skip to main content
Friday, February 27, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Police looking for armed man who tried to rob Family Dollar in Batavia this morning

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

Batavia Police are looking for a male, possibly Hispanic, described as about 5'2" and wearing blue jeans, who attempted to rob the Family Dollar on East Main Street this morning.

An employee told police that the man entered the store at 9:36 a.m. with a black scarf around his face, approached the cashier and asked for money while displaying a silver handgun. He then left the store without further incident and walked eastbound on the sidewalk.

The store stayed open for business. Police checked the area for the suspect, including nearby businesses. He was not located. Any person having information is asked to please call the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center at 345-6350.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Fire rekindles at house on Roanoke Road, Stafford

post by Billie Owens in fire, Stafford

Yesterday's house fire at 9418 Roanoke Road has rekindled and Stafford firefighters are called to respond.

UPDATE 2:27 p.m.: Le Roy fire is asked to respond with mutual aid for the rekindle.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: Responders report light smoke inside.

UPDATE 2:51 p.m.: A Pavilion fire crew is asked to stand by in their quarters.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Ninth-grader with BHS attending National Young Leaders Conference

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, education, schools

Press release:

Jay Lewis might be only 14 years old but he is full of ambition and has many aspirations. Jay, a ninth-grader who attends Batavia High School, was recently selected to attend the National Young Leaders State Conference. This conference will take place in Boston in April.

During this four-day conference, Jay will come together with students from schools located all throughout the Northeastern United States. These students will focus on a curriculum that is specially designed to develop essential leadership, communication, networking, decision-making, conflict resolution and critical thinking skills.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and I hope to learn how work with people in order to become a better leader. These are skills that you need throughout your whole life,” Jay explained.

Eric R. Knapp, an eighth-grade school counselor at Batavia Middle School, nominated Jay.

“Jay is a young person with exceptional character and values,” Knapp said. "During his years at the Middle School he was polite, respectful and was a fantastic role model for other students. He had a quiet demeanor about him yet, according to his teachers, in the classroom, he showed great enthusiasm for education and consistently showed outstanding effort. In addition to his exceptional character and leadership potential, his overall average his eighth-grade year was 96.296 percent."

As a freshman, Jay has earned 11 college credits through the Genesee Community College Math Science Preparation Program. He plans to attend college to earn a degree as an electrical or mechanical engineer and hopes to someday own his own business. Jay has many interests in and outside of school. He serves on the Genesee County Youth Court. He’s a member of the Ski Club, Batavia Middle School Modified Tennis Team, is an avid fisherman and hunter and a Greenwing Member of Ducks Unlimited.

Jay lives in Batavia with his parents, Jennifer and Jim Lewis.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

City ready to move quickly on Batavia Downs hotel project

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

The city is ready, willing and able to help get construction started quickly on a new, five-story, 80- to 100-room hotel at Batavia Downs, said City Manager Jason Molino.

While developers and Western OTB officials have yet to agree on the precise location of the hotel, COO Mike Nolan said this morning the most likely spot is overlooking the southwest turn of the track, adjacent the grandstands, near the Tops Plaza.

That location is within the boundaries of the City of Batavia, meaning it will be the city's zoning and planning boards that will be called on for plan, design and environmental reviews.

"Being able to get this project reviewed and in front of all the proper boards is something we're committed to," Molino said. "We will make every effort, including holding special meetings, to move this along as swiftly and as smoothly as we can to meet the goals of the developers. I don't think this is a concern for us. We've worked with these size projects before and we can get it through smoothly."

Nolan said the developers, a Buffalo-based group that will purchase the property for the hotel from Western OTB, would like to break ground in 60 days and have the hotel open within nine months.

"The best part of this story is that back in 1998, when Western OTB bought Batavia Downs, it took $3 million (in assessed value) off the tax rolls," Nolan said. "Now, in 2015, $7 million plus is going back on the tax rolls for a facility that was closed and drawing nothing but cobwebs."

The increase in tax revenue won't hit local governments all at once, since the developers are likely to seek tax abatements from Genesee County Economic Development Center, but the exact structure of tax relief won't be clear until applications are made and abatements are approved.

Typically, tax abatements from GCEDC include relief on sales tax for construction material and furnishing, mortgage tax and a PILOT, which graduates the amount of property tax paid over a 10-year time frame, until the property owner is paying 100 percent of the taxes on the fully assessed value.

State law prohibits industrial development agencies from providing tax assistance to retail projects, unless they qualify as tourist destinations or are intended to attract visitors from outside the area.

Projects that are with economically distressed areas, or adjacent to such areas, are also exempt from the law.

Julie Pacatte, coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp., said one advantage Batavia Downs can realize by building the hotel on property within city limits (Batavia Downs straddles the City/Town line) is the census track is adjacent to a census track that includes Downtown Batavia, which qualifies as an economically distressed area.

"We're thrilled at the idea of having a distinctive hotel within the city," Pacatte said. "What they're planning, where you arrive in a very Vegas-style, shared lobby area, where you can check into the hotel and stay within the facility throughout your weekend, and being on the track, overlooking the last turn from a balcony, is pretty exciting."

Because the hotel won't offer other amenities, but is geared entirely toward the visitor looking for casino and harness racing entertainment, the folks at Western OTB don't believe it will compete with existing hotels, Nolan said.

"With this becoming a more competitive casino market in Upstate New York, we felt we needed to step up," Nolan said. "There's a casino coming to Seneca County, and the Seneca's already have casinos at their Niagara and Salamanca properties. In this new and up and coming casino market the way it is, we needed to offer some hospitality for our casino customers."

The other advantage the city offers a water-hungry facility like a hotel is lower water rates. Rates in the city are $3.14 per thousand gallons of water compared to $5.46 in the town.

The developers are negotiating with a couple of different hotel chains, so it's possible the new hotel will be operated under the banner of a Hilton Garden Inn or a Courtyard Marriott, or some other banner.

Batavia Downs is just wrapping up a $28 million remodeling and expansion effort and th hotel will complement that growth, Nolan said.

"We have a tremendous opportunity for convention-type of events and banquet-type of events that require lodging," Nolan said.

The hotel, Molino said, will certainly be a boost to the local economy, bringing in more visitors, creating jobs and spurring other types of economic growth. 

"This is a great opportunity and a great project," Molino said. "Everybody in my office, with the BDC and in planning are excited to work with the developers. We're going to do everything in our power to make sure it moves as quickly as it can and move as promptly as possible. That would be a win-win for everybody involved."

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 11:56 am

Le Roy students set to perform Shrek: The Musical

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, entertainment, Le Roy, theater

"Shrek: The Musical," based on the Dreamworks animated motion picture, is coming to Le Roy. Performances are at 7 p.m. March 5 and 6 and 4 p.m. March 7 at the Le Roy Junior Senior High School Auditorium. Tickets are $8 presale and $10 at the door.

The show is directed by Jacqueline McLean.

Photos from Thursday's rehearsal.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 10:10 am

Water main break on east side of City Centre

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre, infrastructure

There is a water main break outside City Center on the east side of the mall.

Businesses on the east side are impacted.

Water department crews are on scene.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: Repairs are completed and service is restored.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Rep. Collins critical of FCC net rules plan

post by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today issued the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reclassify the Internet as a Title II utility.

“FCC actions to reclassify the Internet under Title II pose a direct threat to Internet freedom,” Congressman Collins said. “Today’s vote threatens the innovative culture that makes the Internet one of the world’s greatest technologies. I am disturbed by the lack of transparency involved in this decision process, and am afraid it is a foreshadowing of the big government overregulation that will stem from Title II classification. These actions will add further uncertainty to the net neutrality debate chilling vital private sector investment.

“Here in Congress, under Chairmen Thune and Walden, we have proposed draft legislation that would achieve the goal of protecting Internet consumers through the bright-line rules that net neutrality proponents are calling for in a way that limits burdensome regulations from crushing innovation. This fight is far from over and I will be steadfast in my commitment to keeping the Internet free from debilitating government intervention.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Hawley encourages participation in business plan competition

post by Howard B. Owens in business, education, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today encouraged college students to participate in New York’s annual business plan competition. Hawley praised the competition for allowing bright students across the state to present new ideas consistent with New York’s focus on nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and advanced technology. More than 600 students are expected to participate and compete for a top cash prize of $100,000.  

“As the owner and operator of a small business, I know the hard work and ingenuity it takes to succeed as a business owner in New York,” Hawley said. “This competition highlights principles that make our state great – determined and visionary entrepreneurs and businesspeople. I am thrilled that we are allowing the next generation of business- and technology-minded students to fulfill their passions right here in New York State and generate ideas that will allow our economy to grow and thrive. I encourage all college students interested in this competition to participate.”

The competition’s regional semifinals, held at St. John Fisher College in Rochester for students from Hawley’s district, will be held in March and early April with the finals being held on April 24 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Since the first competition in 2010, more than 1,130 students have competed with cash prizes being awarded in excess of $1,300,000. More information about the competition can be found at http://www.sunycnse.com/NewYorkBusinessPlanCompetition/2015Program.aspx.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Today's Deals: O'Lacy's Irish Pub, The Rack Shack, Rancho Viejo, Oliver's Candies, and more!

post by Billie Owens in Deal of the Day

Batavia's Original, 500 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: First established in 1947, this Batavia landmark pizzeria reopened as Batavia's Original in 2010, serving up delicious Neopolitan tomato pies that have had satisfied generations. We offer regular and New York-style thin crust pizza, plus Chicago deep dish and gluten-free. We have "tray," white, sweet, or white ricotta sauce. Choose from two dozen toppings, including pulled pork, carmelized onions, steak and spinach! Enjoy specialty pizzas, too, like Sienna, Steak-in-the-Grass or bacon/chicken/ranch. Our menu also includes calzones, appetizers (like deep-fried pickles, garlic knots, Hodge Podge), wings, salads, wraps and cannolis. All subs are toasted. Weekday Express Lunch combo meals (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). A $9.99 Sunday lunch buffet is offered from 11 to 3. Patio dining, catering, delivery. Hours are: Sunday & Monday 11 to 9; Tuesday & Thursday 11 to 10; and Friday & Saturday 11 to 11. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

T.F. Brown's, 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's."  Stop in and check out our Jumbo Chicken Wings, Roast Beef on Weck and Friday night fish fry. The original family spaghetti sauce still adorns all of our Italian specialties. The other popular selections from our menu range from Super Salads, butcher cut Strip Loin and South of the Border items. We offer daily lunch and dinner specials as well as a full adult and children’s menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Ficarella's Pizzeria, 21 Liberty St., Batavia, NY: Dine-in, drive-thru or delivery. Featuring fresh, hearth-baked pizza since 1985, plus wings, pasta and more. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12. (Good only at the Batavia location.)

Mooney's Sports Bar & Grill, 65 Lake St., Le Roy, NY: "Not Your Average Sports Bar!" This place is Home of the Mac N' Cheese, an All-American favorite with nine kinds to choose from. Plus, monster 1/2-lb. burgers, huge tacos, pizza, wings, fingers, wraps, soups, salads, appetizers (including deep-fried pickles), a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, seafood, and plenty more. Mooney's has a fun, welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy watching your favorite teams. Endless soda pop, great selection of ice-cold beer. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Catering available. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

El Burrito Loco, 4125 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Located in Valu Plaza, this new eatery offers tasty, authentic Mexican fare. Tell us what you want on your burrito! We make it fresh just for you. Choose from steak, seasoned ground beef, chicken, pork, and/or beans -- black, refried or pinto. Other ingredients to choose from include lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, guacamole, Spanish or white rice, cilantro, salsa, and jalapeno peppers. The menu also offers tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, loaded nachos, Mexican soda pop, lemonade, and more! Relax and eat in, or take out. Call in your order if you like -- 219-4620. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

The Little Ridge, 107 Evans St., Batavia NY, 14020: The Little Ridge continues the long-standing history of fantastic food from Batavia's local favorite, Delavan's. Fine dining and family fare combine to offer the best of both. We offer Friday night Fish Fry, prime rib dinner on Saturdays, steaks, burgers, salads, and classic Italian dishes. Open Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Phone 815-5118. Take-outs available. Kids' menu. Weekly and daily lunch and dinner specials. On Saturday, breakfast is served from 9 to 11 a.m. Good food, good friends, good times! We have a $25 gift certificate for $15.

John & Mary's Restaurant, 3711 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, NY: This popular restaurant offers a varied menu that people love. From subs, hoagies, hand-tossed pizza, and wings, to fish & chips, salads, Mexican food, gyros and other Greek fare, it's all here. Only the finest and freshest ingredients are used. Bread, using homemade dough, baked fresh daily. Amazing specialty pizzas and appetizers! "We never waver on quality!" Delivery available all day, every day. We offer catering. Hours 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. We have a $10 gift certificate for $6.

Rancho Viejo, 12 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Traditional Mexican cuisine, from tacos and burritos to pollo norteno, Rancho Viejo brings a bit of "South of the Border" to Batavia's restaurant scene. We have a $10 gift card for $6.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $12.

Fortuna's Restaurant inside Batavia Downs, 8315 Park Road, Batavia, NY: Italian-style menu, drinks in one of the region's most popular entertainment venues. We have a $25 gift certificate for $15. (Must be new or current Players Club member to redeem.)

Santino's Pizza, 2 Main St., Oakfield, NY: We're pizza and a whole lot more! Voted #1 pizza in Genesee County in blind taste test! Santino's features pizza, wings, subs, wraps, ice cream, and more! We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

The Rack Shack, 4974 Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, NY: Genesee County's newest BBQ restaurant offers a varied menu that ranges from tender, tasty slow-cooked BBQ ribs and smoky beef brisket to Cajun catfish, ribeye steaks, burgers and wraps. Family owned and operated, the atmosphere is warm and comfortable, and the meats are smoked on-site. The homemade BBQ sauce is “sweet with a spicy kick.” Sides include authentic Southern-style collard greens, 5-bean chuck wagon beans with bacon and ground meat, mac ‘n’ cheese, tater tots and more. Catering available. Dine in, take out, phone in (585-201-7077). Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 9 to 7, closed Monday. We have a $20 gift certificate for $12.

O'Lacy's Irish Pub, 5 School St., Batavia, NY: In Irish pubs, it doesn't get more authentic than O'Lacy's. Be sure to try the homemade chips. We have a $25 gift certificate for $15.

RULES

[Last updated June 6, 2014. Subject to change without notice.]

A $1 PayPal service fee applies on items more than $10. The fee is 50 cents on items $10 and below.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase, unless it states otherwise. It is not valid with other offers, has no cash value, and does not include gratuities. Only one gift certificate per-merchant, per-household every SIX months. Gift certificates cannot be combined with other offers without prior approval of the merchant. Gift certificates bought separately cannot be combined for a single purchase. Individuals buying gift certificates must use their own personal PayPal account for the purchase. For hair salons, good for services only, not products.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Unless other arrangements are made immediately after purchase, the gift certificate will mailed to the winner at his or her PayPal-provided postal address within two or three days of purchase.

SOLD OUT

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 1:34 pm

House fire on Roanoke Road, Stafford

post by Billie Owens in fire, Stafford

A structure fire is reported at 9464 9418 Roanoke Road in Stafford, at the corner of Westcott Road. The call has gone to a second alarm and fire crews and equipment from Stafford, Town of Batavia, Bethany, Le Roy, Pavilion and the city's Fast Team are responding.

UPDATE 1:42 p.m.: A second platoon is called to city fire station.

UPDATE 1:51 p.m.: The property at this location has had two fires in the past two or three years. The house was destroyed in one; the other burned the barn. Byron and South Byron fire are asked to stand by in Stafford's hall.

UPDATE 2:09 p.m.: Command reports the fire is knocked down; checking for extensions.

UPDATE 2:39 p.m.: Howard at the scene says there appears to be heavy smoke damage and holes had to be cut in the roof to fight the fire. The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical problem.

UPDATE 5:38 p.m.: All Stafford units clearing the scene. The Stafford assignment is back in service.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Transcript: State of the County Speech 2015

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, ray cinanfrini

This is a transcript of the State of the County address delivered yesterday evening by Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature:

One year ago, at my first State of the County Address, I indicated how the outlook for Genesee County for the Year 2014 was bright and how I believed 2014 was to be the “Year of Change.” So let’s take a look back and see what transpired:

I stated we were going to begin the process of selling the county-owned Nursing Home. We did that! We have gone through a tedious quality selection process where we submitted an RFP and received eight proposals. We are currently in the process of vetting the final two respondents to ensure a continuity of workforce and quality of care for nursing home residents. The transition of the County Nursing Home to the private sector will ensure a continued “Genesee Centric” service to our frail elderly and a quality of care at or better than the county has been providing -- with good paying jobs in coordinated care with United Memorial Medical Center. We are confident that a choice will be made soon with an expectation that the sale could be completed before the end of this year. When the sale is complete, the County’s “fiscal dark hole” will be closed -- putting an end to spending in excess of $3 million a year of taxpayer dollars to cover the annual deficits incurred in the operation of the home.

I stated that in 2014 the County was going live with our new $10.5 million 800 MHz public radio communications system. The system is now up and running with the addition of three new towers in Alabama, Bergen and Darien to increase reception. We also saw the transition to a new VHF high bank paging solution for our Fire and EMS responders. 

Tourism in Genesee County continued to be strong. Bed tax revenues last year or $443,000 generated an impressive 27% return of $93,000 on our County investment to the Chamber of Commerce of $350,000.

I noted that 2014 was the year the County Legislature was going paperless. Done! We now work off iPads without the endless flow of paper. The process is time-saving, cost-efficient, and utilizes the latest technology available for streamlining both our Committee and Legislator meetings.

Last year we hired or had elected a number of new, young, talented and energetic management employees and Legislators that I referred to as our young guns. Each is now settled into his or her role and they are on their way to becoming our next generation of County leaders. Since my address last year, as a result of retirements, the County has hired three new department heads that I can best describe as middle-aged guns, because they are not only energetic and talented, but each comes with years of experience in his or her field.

Ruth Spink, our new Director for the Office for the Aging served for years under her predecessor, Pam Whitmore. Michael Eula, our new County Historian, has a PhD in history, has published numerous historical articles in several books, and is a former long-term college professor. Jerry Ader, our new Public Defender served for many years as an assistant in the office under his predecessor, Gary Horton. Each has replaced a dedicated and long-serving department head. It is often times difficult to replace the years of experience and skill sets lost upon retirement, but we as a County are fortunate to be able to replace experience with experience and our County leadership remains strong.

On the economic front, 2014 saw some of our lowest unemployment rate in years; the unemployment rate for Genesee County in December 2014 was 5.6%, which was the lowest unemployment rate in our County for December since 2006. The rate was an historic low of 4.8% in August and September and per capita income grew in our County 6.16% in 2014. Our Job Development Bureau placed over 1,900 workers with area businesses in 2014 and we continue to have the lowest unemployment rate in the GLOW region.

Agriculture continues to be a driving force of our economy and Genesee County was in the forefront to support our local farmers with soil health workshops put on by our Soil and Water Conservation Board; the legislature also sponsored resolutions in support of Congressman Chris Collins' successful effort to kill the federal EPA Waterway Rule, which if implemented, would greatly increase the cost of doing business for farmers, if not put some of them out of business; and Genesee to college was instrumental in partnering with Genesee Valley Education Partnership to institute a new program called the Agribusiness Academy for high school seniors interested in pursuing careers in the agribusiness field.

2014 saw a concentrated focus on our County Airport for the replacement of the existing terminal and main hangar. The County advertised for bids and over 31 were received with the project bids coming in at $5.9 million (well below engineers' estimates). With $1.2 million in federal and state grants, the County issued bonds in December of last year in the amount of $4.75 million to cover the cost of the project with construction scheduled to begin in March of this year. Our airport continues to be a hub of activity with increased jet traffic from economic development and with numerous entertainment acts for Darien Lake Theme Park using the airport. With all this activity the County generated a surplus in excess of $100,000 from fuel sale receipts and T-hangar rentals.

Genesee Community College continues to give us the best bang for our buck. Last year GCC launched a new food processing technology degree program and with our County support and with significant fiscal support from the GCC Foundation, GCC is expanding with a new Student Success Center and a new Student Wellness Event Center, both scheduled for construction this year.

Economic development thrived in Genesee County in 2014 thanks to the efforts of Genesee County Economic Development Center creating a positive business climate by securing $58 million of new private capital investment including Yancey’s Fancy $20 million expansion project; A $9.8 million expansion of Liberty Pumps and Bergen and a $23 million investment in US Gypsum Company in Oakfield. It was truly noteworthy that $33 million was committed in the 2014 New York state budget for the development of our Western New York STAMP Project in the Town of Alabama. It is been said before but bears repeating that STAMP has the potential to create thousands of good-paying jobs, including thousands of long-term construction jobs, and will have a transformational impact on our economy both locally and statewide.

In last year’s address I stated that the County was heading in the right direction with many positive forces at work. I acknowledge our dedicated and hard-working staff of County employees, department heads and elected officials. With 2014 now behind us, I can look back and say with pride the hard work and dedication paid off. My expectations for success and change were accomplished. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to my colleagues on the Legislature and to our County Manager and all our department heads for accepting change and working toward common goals that enable us to end 2014 and to begin 2015 with a balanced budget, a solid AA bond rating, (and) strong reserves in a 2015 budget that included a rare $.18 per thousand tax decrease.

If 2014 was the year of change, I see 2015 as a year of progress. With a multitude of factors at play, we, as a Legislature are again challenged to be innovative and to make more hard decisions that can have a positive effect on moving the County forward. For example, we as a Legislature have recognized that there is an imbalance in our current management salaries. Our non-management employees have the benefit of collective bargaining to address salary issues. There is no such benefit to our management personnel who are literally at the mercy of the Legislature for salary relief. Over the years, because of budget restraints, management has received little or no pay increases, which according to a study we conducted, now puts many of them at or near the bottom of a scale when compared to like employees and like positions in counties similar in size to Genesee County. The Legislature is currently engaged in an in-depth management salary review and hope to bring compensation fairness and equity to our management staff in the very near future.

As indicated earlier, work will begin this year for construction of our new airport terminal and main hangar and for expansion for Student Success Center and Wellness and Event Center at Genesee Community College. Tourism should continue to be strong in our County this year. Two new rides at Darien Lake should spur new visitors and the Chamber’s new collaborative fishing packages with Orleans County looks very promising. This year the county is looking to institute an innovative archery hunt for deer overpopulation and force management at the Genesee County Park in Bethany for four weeks from October 19 through December 15. The Park has become a safe haven for the deer during hunting season and they are feeding on shoots and seedlings threatening the viability of natural reforestation. A loss of new forest growth means a loss of future County income from the sale of timber from the Park as well as degradation of the recreation amenity and forest canopy.

The STAMP project has been recognized by the state and the Finger Lakes Region Economic Development Council is a top priority project for Western New York. Ongoing infrastructure, planning and permitting work continues and GCEDC is aggressively marketing the site in anticipation of attracting its first tenant this year. When that first tenant is on board, the $33 million in the state budget will be released for site improvements to include water, sewer and power. It’s no wonder Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC recently stated the “STAMP is a full-time job for many of us at GCEDC.” I firmly believe that 2015 is the year STAMP comes to life.

With the completion of the sale of our Nursing Home anticipated this year, I believe there is an urgency and a consensus among us as Legislators to leverage the proceeds from the sale to address the much-neglected condition of our 258 centerline miles of County roads and the deteriorating condition of many of our 379 county-owned bridges and culverts. Aside from the tremendous impact the sale of the Home will have on improving County finances, the sale proceeds and subsequent relief from the fiscal “dark hole” it created will allow us the opportunity to achieve both short-term and long-term improvements to our County’s infrastructure. I foresee increased annual funding and the creation of a 5-year capital reserve account dedicated solely for road and bridge repairs. We have procrastinated in this area for too long and if not addressed immediately, it is only a matter of time before public safety is compromised and our roads and bridges crumble before our eyes.

It is difficult to predict in advance how a year will unfold. Factors beyond our control can have a positive or negative impact on our best-laid plans.

For example, this brutal winter what we are experiencing is increasing our costs for fuel, salt, overtime, (and) wear and tear on our equipment. An up or down economy affects our sales tax revenues, job placements and our economic development. Heavy rain, drought or winds can adversely affect our crop production. A rising or falling female jail population affects our County Jail operating expenses.

Just as unpredictable is this State of New York. We have all too often seen how a stroke of the pen in Albany results in increased costs for Genesee County. A prime example is last year when the State unexpectedly mandated that we have to hire an additional 6 full-time correction officers and a jail supervisor at a cost to County taxpayers of over $700,000. In reviewing the Governor’s 2015 budget proposal I continue to see little or no relief for counties from the dreaded State mandates that consume 82% of our tax levy. While touting a $5.4 billion windfall, the Governor does nothing to provide property tax relief. Rather than saddle the counties with unfunded or underfunded mandates, I endorse State efforts to achieve the following: Increase access to broadband to unserved or underserved communities; facilitate NYS’s takeover of indigent defense spending over 3-5 years and relieve the counties' burden; increase the share of revenue counties retain for providing State DMV services.

Did you know under current law New York State takes 87.3% of all fees collected from work performed by county-operated DMV’s and the remaining 12.7% County share has not been increased in 14 years. This is a major inequity when the County DMV provides all the services and the State takes 87.3% of all of the revenue.

I asked the State to increase funding for probation and other alternatives to incarceration. In 2014, our Probation Department utilized its confinement option program that resulted in 848 jail days being saved, which substantially decreased our jail operating expense.

Also, I strongly implore the State to increase state investments and locally owned roads and bridges (for) reasons I previously cited. The State must cease over-regulating our IDAs and live up to its slogan that New York is open for business.

And finally, as I stated last year, the State must repeal the SAFE Act! It’s a law that makes criminals out of law-abiding citizens and is a law that we didn’t ask for and don’t want.

Time does not permit me to dwell on the scope and value of taxpayer-funded County services. Suffice it to say that we as a County are very fortunate to have a workforce dedicated to providing quality and qualified services on a daily basis. Our diverse services include public safety with our Sheriff’s office, our legal and criminal justice staffs, highway crews, (and) emergency providers: they include human services with family assistance Medicaid; child protective services, mental health and veteran services; and also in support services like information technology, our County Clerk, and our County Treasurer, Job Development, Purchasing and Planning. We as a County will continue to support education, agriculture and economic development. Our goal is to keep these services and support flowing and to deliver them in a cost-effective and improved manner.

Like last year, I’m optimistic that this year Genesee County is headed in the right direction. Last year’s changes became this year’s progress. We as Legislators must continue to move forward. Last year I challenged you to be innovative, to not be afraid of change and to be willing to make hard decisions. To your credit, you accepted my challenge. This year I offer you another challenge. If you thought 2014 was a productive year for County government, let’s make 2015 even better, let’s continue to be innovative. Let’s not be afraid to make those hard decisions in doing so, let’s be inspired by the words of Ronald Reagan who wisely stated: “There are no barriers to progress except those that we erect.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 10:18 am

Local Merrill Lynch garners Chamber award for going the distance in community service

This is the fourth in our series of profiles of the 2014 Chamber of Commerce Award winners. The awards will be presented at a dinner at the Clarion Hotel on Saturday.

The Batavia office of Merrill Lynch isn’t your typical financial services firm. Sure, it has a passion for helping clients with their financial matters — a passion that makes it one of Merrill Lynch’s top-ranked offices. But it also has a passion for good corporate citizenship. It’s this passion for giving back — and in a big way — that makes it standout.

Merrill Lynch was named the 2014 Innovative Community Contribution of the Year Award by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, the key reason being that employees invest thousands of volunteer hours annually assisting local nonprofits and community groups. The employees freely give both their time and their financial expertise. Organizations like the Genesee Healthcare Foundation, the Batavia Area Jaycees, and the Salvation Army have all benefited from Merrill Lynch’s help.

Supporting the GLOW YMCA

Merrill Lynch’s relationship with the GLOW YMCA -- a nonprofit group in a four-county region comprised of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties -- is a fine example of how the Batavia office makes a difference in the community. Each year the local office supports the Y’s Camp Hough by sponsoring an annual golf tournament at the Silver Lake Country Club in Wyoming County. The 18-hole tournament kick-starts the sponsorship campaign to benefit the resident camp for kids in the GLOW Region. Last year’s tournament drew more than 90 golfers.

In 2013 the Batavia office organized and helped launch the first GLOW Corporate Cup 5K Race and AfterGLOW office party at Centennial Park in Batavia. Modeled after the Buffalo Corporate Challenge, the GLOW Corporate Cup encourages local businesses to form racing teams to compete in a fun atmosphere. The AfterGLOW party serves as a great networking event for local businesses.

A big hit with the community, the Corporate Cup is a great fundraiser for the Y. Last year the event had 24 teams and about 500 runners, which raised about $12,000 for its programs. This year’s race had more than 40 teams and about 800 runners, which generated upwards of $15,000 for the Y. In addition, 40-plus local businesses set up corporate tents -- a big jump from last year's 27 tents.

Filling a Void in Batavia

The Batavia office is one of four Merrill Lynch offices in Western New York. Housed in a first-class facility at 21 Masse Place, the office fills a void left by the departure of many competing financial services firms. Merrill Lynch, the wealth management division of Bank of America (BoA), saw an opportunity here. So it established the Batavia office in 2012, staffing it with financial people that had strong local ties to the community. Since then, the Batavia office has grown and prospered. It’s’ now among Merrill Lynch’s most productive locations.

The Batavia location offers in-depth financial expertise to meet its client’s diverse needs. It provides financial planning, commercial, retirement counseling, and wealth management services. Meanwhile, its team of financial consultants has over 200 years of combined experience working together in Western New York. They have clients in 36 states and seven countries. Each consultant has highly specialized financial skills. 

“Our clients get the best of both worlds from us,” says Josh Dent, who manages the Batavia office and spearheads one of the office’s financial advisory teams. “Thanks to our heritage, we’re able to provide clients with the banking convenience afforded by BoA and the investment insights of Merrill Lynch — the world’s largest brokerage firm. Our passion at this office is helping clients identify, pursue, and realize financial and personal goals at every stage of their lives.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 10:07 am

Pembroke Lady Dragons opens sectional play with win over Sodus

post by Howard B. Owens in basketball, high school sports, pembroke, sports

The Pembroke Lady Dragons beat Sodus in a first-round Section V Class C1 playoff game Wednesday night in Pembroke, 69-45.

They took a 46-21 lead into the half.

Olvia Kohorst had 16 points to lead the Dragons. Hannah Duttweiler, 14 and Rylee Moser, 13. 

For Sodus, Jackie Barclay scored 15 and Alexis Jackson 14.

Pembroke (11-9) plays at 2 p.m., Saturday, against East Rochester (18-1) in East Rochester.

Photo and game information submitted by Aaron Burch, athletic director, Pembroke Central Schools.

Premium Drupal Themes