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Friday, January 23, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Girls' Summer Softball League Registration Opens Soon!

post by Jill Franclemont in batavia, fast pitch, genesee county, Girls, league, softball, sports, Summer

          TONAWANDA VALLEY YOUNG LADIES FAST PITCH SOFTBALL

To parents and girls aged 7-16: 

We offer an instructional/recreational program that plays fast pitch softball.   We are based in Batavia but open to any young lady in and around Genesee County.  We teach the basics of pitching, hitting, and fielding and most of our coaches are parents themselves with many years of experience.  Sportsmanship and courtesy are our prime values as we try to teach self-esteem but also team play/spirit as our ladies come from many backgrounds.  Our home field is Lions Park located on Edward Street in Batavia across from the VFW Post.  Past participants have been  teams from Elba, Byron-Bergen, Pembroke, and Oakfield  as well as some ladies from Alexander, Stafford, and Leroy.

The majority of our games are played in Batavia with a few road games within 10-20 minutes of Batavia.  Our season begins on or about Memorial Day and usually is completed by mid-July.  Our age groups, 7-9 and 10-12, will begin after Memorial Day and our age group 13-16 on or about June 5.  If a young lady is 12 and in the 7th grade it is best that she play with our 13-15 age group, since this is the modified-level age group.  Many of the modified, JV, and even varsity softball plays at all our local schools have played in our league.   We are exploring a team of participants ages 16-19 with most games being played in Bergen.

If you would like to pursue registration, please call me at 585/344-0481.  We are currently registering last year’s participants and are taking new inquiries.  Open registration will be held at the Batavia City Centre FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27:  6:00 - 8:00 P.M. and SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28:  10:30 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.   However, you can apply at this time, saving you a trip to that registration.  We have no geographic limitations for participants.

Please do not hesitate to call me with any questions about our program.

Yours in softball,

John Arent, President & Commissioner

Friday, January 23, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Deputy County treasurer resigns, new one is appointed

post by Billie Owens in genesee county

Press release from Genesee County Treasurer Scott German:

January 23, 2015

It is with very mixed feelings that I announce the resignation of James D. Stack, Deputy County Treasurer, and the appointment of Kevin J. Andrews as my next Deputy. Mr. Stack is resigning effective today to become a Monroe County Deputy Sheriff. James said becoming a deputy sheriff was a dream job of his since he was a young man. I will sincerely miss Jim, not only was he a great deputy to me, he is also a great friend. I wish Jim all the best in his new career.

Kevin J. Andrews, 26, of LeRoy, is my choice to succeed Jim as my next deputy. Andrews currently works in the Treaurer's Office as the Director of Real Property. I have worked with Kevin for four years and he has become a very valuable employee and will fit in well as Deputy Treasurer.

Kevin obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics/Statistics and Financial Economics from the University of Rochester in 2010 and has worked in the Treasurer's Office since he graduated.

Kevin and his wife, Alexandra, are expecting their first child in March.

 

Scott D. German

Genesee County Treasurer

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 8:47 pm

Public service committee approves vehicle purchases among other items

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county

The Genesee County Public Service Committee took the following actions today:

  • Authorized $19,663 paid to United Uniform Company for Sheriff's Office uniforms. UUC is based in Buffalo and was the sole bidder for the one-year uniform contract.
  • Approved a one-year lease for P&L Air for a flight training school at the Genesee County Airport. The lease will generate $2,475 in revenue for the county.
  • Approved the purchase of a 2016 model 4X2 International truck cab and chassis as part of a bid package by Onondaga County at a price of $89,747.
  • Approved the purchase of four Ford Focus sedans from Van Bortel Ford at a cost not to exceed $60,506.04. The vehicles will be available for various county departments.
  • In the next step toward replacing the River Street bridge over the Tonawanda Creek, approved a capital project fund in the amount of $211,000 with federal aid of $168,800 and a local match of $42,200.
  • Authorized the establishment of a capital project for safety improvements at the intersection of Pratt and Powers roads, Town of Batavia, with $628,200 of federal aid and $69,800 in local match.
Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Committee rejects bid to build solar farm on nine acres of county land

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, solar energy

The idea of solar power for county government certainly brought a gleam to the eye of members of the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, but in the end, a proposal by Solar City didn't exactly light up their lives.

The committee voted unanimously to reject a proposal that could have saved the county more than a quarter of its $500,000 annual electricity bill. 

The short-term cost savings looked good, but the long-term and potentially unknown consequences seemed daunting.

Legislator and Committee Chairman Bob Bausch worried about Solar City going bankrupt, and without some sort of bond to protect the county's financial liability, taxpayers could be left holding the bag on a nine-acre solar farm the county had no ability to maintain.

"We would have to clean up their mess," Bausch said.

County Attorney Chuck Zambito said Bausch was essentially right.

"It would be their responsibility, but if they go bankrupt, there would be no way to enforce it," Zambito said.

Legislator Maryanne Clattenburg was concerned that 20 years was too long to lock the county into technology that looks good today but may quickly become obsolete. She said she was especially concerned because the company seems so dependent on government grants, which could dry up in a few years.

"When I think of my phone 20 years ago, or I think of my computer 20 years ago -- I just think it's too long of a time to be tied into one technology," Clattenburg said.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens expressed concern that the state, which would help finance the project, might eventually reduce the amount of compensation the county would get for hosting the solar farm.

He also noted that the county may yet need to build a new jail and the proposed location of the farm -- nine acres off West Main Street Road, Batavia, next to County Building #2, might be a prime location for a new jail. Putting a solar farm on that land would potentially drive up the cost of a new jail if the county had to purchase nine acres elsewhere.

Solar City would get use of the nine acres to generate electricity to sell to National Grid tax free, legislators noted.

County Manager Jay Gsell said the county also looked at land at the County Airport, but found FAA regulations would prohibit any possible configuration the county could use because of glare, glide path and safety zone issues.

Hens said other companies have contacted the county about solar power and in rejecting the Solar City deal, which the county had to act on by mid-February, the county keeps its options open.

Monday, January 5, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Highway department anticipates cost savings from low gas prices

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county

While low gas prices could mean a reduction in revenue for local governments, it could also mean significant cost savings, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said today.

Hens wasn't available last week when The Batavian provided an exclusive report on how falling gas prices means a reduction in sales tax revenue for local governments, but he did get back to us today about the cost side of the equation.

Hens says his best guess at this point is the county could see $75,000 to $100,000 in annual fuel spending savings.

That money will allow his department to replace aging equipment that might otherwise be deferred even longer.

Hens also anticipates a 20-percent reduction in the cost of asphalt, which would result in a cost savings of about $240,000, or rather, make it possible to buy more asphalt to cover more deteriorate roadways.

"That's a few more miles of paving that we wouldn't otherwise be able to do," Hens said. "We are about 26 miles behind on maintenance due to tight budgets and limited state and federal money, so this will let us play catch up a little bit."

Hens won't know the adjusted price of asphalt until April or May and said he's only making a guess at this point.

The county budgets $1 million for the purchase of unleaded and diesel fuel for its fleet of vehicles, which includes the highway department and Sheriff's Office.

Any savings this year would only be a one-time surplus, Hens noted.

While falling gas prices could mean people drive more, Hens said an uptick in travel would buck the trend from the past decade of falling fuel consumption. Less consumption has meant less money available from gas taxes for roadway construction and repair.

Monday, December 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm

State Comptroller asks county officials to tweak record keeping procedures

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county

A couple of minor discrepancies were uncovered by a state audit of county records related to court and trust funds cases and the handling of abandoned property. County officials took immediate corrective actions, according to the audit report, which the Comptroller's Office completed this month.

The state's abandoned property law requires that money that has remained unclaimed with a county treasurer for three years must be turned over to the Comptroller's Office.

The audit found $507 that had not been turned over to the Comptroller's Office.

The County Clerk is responsible for recording court orders involving surplus money from foreclosures, contract disputes and mechanic's liens, and in some circumstances, funds from estates are entrusted to the treasurer for safekeeping. The County Clerk and Surrogate's Court are required to develop procedures and processes that provide a system of internal controls to account for and safeguard these funds.

The audit examined records maintained from Jan. 1, 2011 to Jan. 1, 2014.  

While records were found to be up-to-date, the Clerk's Office was not properly recording funds into a trust fund register of the money ordered paid into a court.

"The clerk's records could not be used to verify that all court-ordered deposits had been properly received and deposited by the treasurer," the audit report reads. 

The audit indicates both issues have been addressed by the Clerk's Office and the Treasurer.

Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Legislators weighing option to fund bridge and road repair rather than cut property tax rate

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, taxes

Enough robbing Peter to pay Paul. Maybe its time to send a little cash back Peter's way, county legislators suggested during a budget session Wednesday afternoon.

County Manager Jay Gsell's early-stage draft budget calls for a reduction of the county's property tax rate from $10.04 to $9.85 per thousand.

After years of diverting sales tax revenue to balance the general fund budget, maybe the county should replenish the "1-percent fund," Legislator Bob Bausch suggested, followed by words of agreement from legislators Ed DeJaneiro and Frank Ferrando.

The 1-percent fund was created following an increase in the county's share of the sales tax in 1996 to help fund the county court complex.

From that point forward, that 1 percent cut of sales tax was supposed to go to a capital reserve fund -- money in the bank for roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

But in recent years, as a stagnant economy caused tax revenue to sag and out-of-control state mandates put unrelenting pressure on the county's ability to fund basic programs, a portion of that 1-percent fund has been diverted into the general fund.

Meanwhile, roads and bridges continue to age and deteriorate.

"If we have some more money this year, I would kind of like to see that replenished and do some more capital projects, because as the residents of the county know, between the highways, bridges and roof and general capital budget items, we have fallen somewhat behind," Bausch said. "...if at all possible, I would like to see us address some of those issues if we have some extra revenue."

Through the typical budget process, department managers from throughout the county submitted their funding requests for 2015. 

Requested spending topped $27 million, which would have required a tax rate of $9.96 per thousand of assessed property value.

Gsell made cuts and reduced the recommended levy to $26.8 million, requiring a tax rate of $9.85.

The reduction in proposed spending is possible, Gsell said, because of sound fiscal management over the past 20 years, negligible staff growth the past couple of years, and the state capping how much it expects the county to contribute each year to mandated programs.

Mandates still eat up 82 percent of the county's revenue, but at least the figure isn't growing the way it has in years past.

"The state has capped Medicaid at $9.9 million, and that's great, but in every other state but one, counties don't pay anything for Medicaid," Gsell said. "If I could take $9.9 million and tell the State of New York, 'you pay for Medicaid, you control the program, you write the rules, you tell us (what) we can't do as far as reforming a local version that doesn't exist,' then I could say our tax rate goes down by 38 percent. It's not going to happen, at least (not) the way the State of New York is thinking at this point."

With less spending pressure on the county budget, though, Bausch and other legislators are saying, let's review capital funds a little further.

"We can't keep telling people your bridges are going to fall down, but we're going to cut your taxes," Bausch said.

DeJaneiro said he knows it's not an issue in his district (a portion of the City of Batavia), but he knows there's been an issue elsewhere with school buses and fire trucks being unable to pass over bridges because of structural deficiencies. Andrew Young and Bausch both said those have been issues in their parts of the county.

"Bridges are reality and people not getting an ambulance on time or a fire truck on time because of a bridge is something we should be concerned about," DeJaneiro said.

Ferrando agreed with the general sentiment.

"We should replenish the fund when we have a year where we have an opportunity," Ferrando said. "We should consider it."

Gsell was asked to prepare a report on the fund and provide more information to the Legislature.

Also discussed during the budget session was female prisoner transport. It's an expense that is continuing to rise and also takes a deputy or two off patrol at a time.

Gsell said options including having corrections officers transport female inmates, or hiring a private contractor who can provide licensed and bonded security officers for transport.

A few years ago, the Sheriff's Office would have seven or eight female inmates housed at the jails in Orleans, Wyoming or Monroe counties. Now there are 19 or 20 women in the county's inmate population at any one time, all needing transport occasionally to and from the county for court appearances or meetings with attorneys. But adding to the cost burden is the fact that some inmates are now housed as far away as Allegheny County and Wayne County.

Because of behavioral issues, certain inmates are no longer accepted by closer, neighboring counties.

Nothing was settled Wednesday on how to resolve the issue.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Ninth and final drug prescription drug take back day this Saturday

post by Alecia Kaus in drug take back day, genesee county

Press Release


This Saturday, September 27, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and almost 4,000 of its national, tribal, and community law enforcement partners will hold the ninth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Americans can take their expired, unneeded, or unwanted prescription drugs to one of over 5,200 collection sites across the country between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

 


Local drug take back agencies and locations include:

Pembroke Town Hall Rt. 5 at Rt. 77 Pembroke, NY – received by Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputies

Batavia Police Department Headquarters, 10 W. Main St. Batavia, NY – received by Batavia Police Officers

LeRoy Police Department Headquarters, 3 W. Main St. LeRoy, NY – received by LeRoy Police Officers

 


Only pills and other solids, like patches, can be brought to the collection sites—liquids and needles or other sharps will not be accepted.

Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they can be accidentally ingested, stolen, misused, and abused.

While the number of Americans who currently abuse prescription drugs dropped in 2013 to 6.5 million from 6.8 million in 2012, that is still more than double the number of those using heroin, cocaine, and hallucinogens like LSD and Ecstasy combined, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

In addition, 22,134 Americans died in 2011 from overdoses of prescription medications, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 7:07 am

Issues remain with new radio system, but officials confident Harris will solve the problems

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county

Yes, there are still problems with the new emergency radio system, county legislators were told Monday, but the Sheriff's Office is confident all of the issues can be resolved and Rochester-based Harris RF will deliver the quality communication system it promised the county.

In the field, members of law enforcement and fire services continue to report problems, and those problems are logged with an eye toward resolving all issues, said Steve Sharpe, director of emergency communication.

Three new communication towers have been built, to go along with the three that already existed, but they're not yet fully operational and tested.

The county is paying $10.8 million for the system (about half of the money comes from state and federal grants) and legislators want to ensure Harris is fulfilling its contract.

Legislator and Public Service Committee Chairwoman Maryanne Clattenburg said for what the system cost, everybody certainly expects it work as well or better than the old system.

The change over in communication systems was mandated by Homeland Security as part of its effort to create a nationwide interoperable emergency communication network.

There's still about $1.3 million due in payments to Harris and that money is being withheld until the county is convinced the system is working right.

"There's no date specific for Genesee County to sign off and close out the project," Undersheriff William Sheron said. "Until all the work is done, there's some power with Harris in how much money hasn't been released."

The contract calls for the Harris system to provide 95 percent coverage of the county. That doesn't mean 95 percent geographically, but that 95 percent of the calls provide functional two-way communication.

There are apparently dead spots in the county and Harris is working the the Sheriff's Office to address those issues.

"The bottomline is that 95 percent technically meets the standard, but that's not going to mean we're going to say, 'OK,' if there's still issues," Sheron said. "We're going to sit down with Harris and talk about it."

Sheron said he's confident the remaining issues can be solved with Harris.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Nursing home generating interest from potential buyers

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, nursing home

So far, one potential bidder for the Genesee County Nursing Home has submitted a letter stating an intent to make an offer on the 260-bed facility.

Interested buyers have until Sept. 23 to submit a letter of intent and until Oct. 6 to submit proposals.

So far, some 25 to 30 potential buyers have expressed interest in the nursing home, County Manager Jay Gsell said, but there's still just the one written intent to submit a bid.

The nursing home has been dragging down county finances for years, and financial disclosures included in the RFP package show the facility losing $2.9 million in 2011, $3.7 in 2012 and $4.3 million in 2013.

A non-government agency (whether a not-for-profit group or for-profit company) will have greater flexibility in generating revenue than the highly regulated government-owned facility, have greater leeway in reducing expenses, and won't be facing a squeeze on funding from the State of New York, according to county officials.

The county Legislature decided to sell the home to escape the ongoing financial drain on the budget.

The RFP states the facility will be sold to the most qualified, responsible bidder who meets a range of criteria. The highest bid won't necessarily win the purchase contract.

The current assessed value of the nursing home, on Bank Street, is $10.9 million.

Of course, currently no taxes are collected on the government-owned property.

Serious bidders will be invited to pre-proposal site visits Sept. 24, 25, 26 and 29.

Bids must include a $100,000 refundable deposit and provide financial statements and a letter of credit indicating not only the ability to close on the final purchase price, but to operate the facility at the current level or improved level of services after the purchase is completed.

The purchaser will be prohibited from involuntarily transferring or evicting any current resident of the nursing home.

Bidders must agree that the RFP process is subjective and the Legislature has the final say on whether to accept or reject any and all bids, and the county reserves to right to enter into negotiations with a bidder to modify a proposal.

The company must provide a company history, executive bios, information and qualifications on employees, experience with similar facilities, and plan for a smooth transfer of ownership.

There will be no public bid opening and bids won't become public until after a proposal is accepted by the Legislature. It's up to the company to declare any portion of the proposal that would be exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law.

The sale of the nursing home has generated a little public opposition. There is a "Save the Genesee County Nursing home in Batavia NY" group on Facebook with 166 members currently.

The complete RFP package is available on the county's Web site.

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