Yates County Legislature Chairman Timothy Dennis says he won't seek the leading role again for 2018-2020 term.

Yates County Legislature Vice Chairman Douglas Paddock was given the authority to act as chairman of the legislature through Dec. 31 in the absence of Chairman Timothy Dennis Monday. In a resolution unanimously adopted by the legislature Dec. 11, Paddock was given the power to, among other things, sign contracts, agreements, and tax warrants on behalf of the county in light of Dennis’s recent absence due to a medical condition.

Dennis, first elected to the legislature in 2007 and re-elected to represent District 2 (Benton, Potter, Torrey) in November for the two-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2018, has served as legislative chairman for four years. He sent a statement to the legislature that was read by Clerk Connie Hayes.

“After much consideration and consultation with my family, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for chairman of the Yates County Legislature for the term starting in 2018. I deeply appreciate the support I have received from the management, staff, and elected officials of Yates County over the last four years. We have always kept the safety and interests of all the citizens of Yates County as our first priority. We have accomplished much, and the county is in good shape to move forward. I will fully support and work with the new leadership of the legislature. Thank you and God Bless,” he wrote.

Paddock commented, “All our thoughts are with Chairman Dennis and we hope he makes a speedy recovery.”

In Dennis’s absence Dec. 11, Paddock chaired the regular meeting. The new legislative chairman will be elected at the organizational meeting at 10 a.m. Jan. 2, after new legislators are sworn into office with other newly elected officials Dec. 29.

The make-up of the 14-person legislature will change with newcomers taking seats in District 1, where Tim Cutler is taking the seat being vacated by Taylor Fitch, District 2, where Rick Willson returns to the legislature, replacing James Smith, and District 3, where Carlie Chilson replaces Mark Morris.

Other business at the Dec. 11 meeting included:

• Public Hearings: Legislators will hold a public hearing at 11 a.m. Dec. 29 to hear comments on a local law establishing a tax exemption for Cold War Veterans. The exemption would amount to 10 percent of the assessed value of a property, not to exceed $4,000. Disabled Cold War veterans will be eligible for an additional exemption.

A public hearing on a local law requiring the county public defender to reside in Yates County will be held at 11:10 a.m. Dec. 29.

• Federal Aid: Legislators approved the 5 percent local share of the cost to replace Williams Street Bridge over West River, a project that will cost $1.457 million. The local share will be $72,850 while the federal share will be 80 percent and state share, 15 percent.

• Position: District 2 Legislator Terry Button cast the lone “no” vote for a resolution authorizing Sheriff Ron Spike to hire a replacement for his secretary, who is retiring.

• Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Legislators unanimously passed a resolution supporting the reauthorization of federal funds for the program which is used by 477 children in Yates County, and 350,847 children in New York State.

• Jail Study: Legislators received copies of the Jail and Justice System Assessment by National Institute of Corrections consultants at last week’s Public Safety Commitee meeting. No action has been taken.