Yates County Legislators are investing $44,000 of occupancy tax revenue in some of the county’s natural and recreational resources.
“This is a significant step for this legislature. This is going to improve the quality of life in Yates County,” commented District 2 Legislator Timothy Dennis, who was chairman of the legislature last year when the fund was established.
Outlining an application and approval process and approving the first distribution has taken about a year, and Monday three local projects were granted funds:
The village of Penn Yan and Friends of the Outlet will each receive $18,000, and The Arc of Yates is receiving $8,000. Penn Yan Director of Public Works Brent Bodine says the village will use its portion to help with repairs to the beach at Red Jacket Park.
The Friends of the Outlet will apply their award to projects that will improve safety, security and water quality along the Keuka Outlet Trail.
The Arc of Yates will use its $8,000 on improvements to the Greenspace Park project near the agency’s North Avenue headquarters.
Occupancy tax receipts have been used to help promote activities that generate more tourism visits to Yates County over the past few years. As the annual revenues grew with the increased number of lodging units after the addition of two hotels in Penn Yan and more vacation rentals, county officials established the annual fund to invest in natural resources such as parks, which help enhance visitor’s experiences.
Dennis thanked County Planner Dan Long for his work in proposing and presenting the plan.
Other business at the May 14 meeting included:
• Prohibiting tobacco use: Legislators approved a resolution to adopt a local law prohibiting the use of tobacco on property or in vehicles owned or leased by Yates County. Legislators heard several comments in support of the prohibition. Kathy Swarthout, public health educator, noted that Yates County is the only county campus in the Finger Lakes Region that does not have this kind of policy.
• Rubbish: The legislature took no action, but heard concerns from a Camp Good Days & Special Times representative who said two large Feher Rubbish dumpsters full of trash are on the campgrounds. With the company abruptly stopping business May 11 and no other companies willing to move the dumpsters, he’s concerned an upcoming visit from the State Department of Health might delay the camp’s opening. Legislative Clerk Connie Hayes, who is in charge of the county’s solid waste management program, said she will try to help the camp. Hayes says Feher Rubbish had 1,119 residential customers and 93 commercial customers when they ceased operations last Friday. She had previously cited the firm for violations in Yates County.
• Airport: The Legislature approved two resolutions related to grants for projects, and approved a lease agreement for the north hangar with Precision Aviation. Dennis also reported on the weekend’s 5K at the airport and an upcoming women’s air race from Texas to Maine which will stop in Penn Yan the third week of June.
• Consultant: Legislators agreed to enter into a contract with up to 10 other counties and a consultant to secure and operate a site suitable to meet the adolescent offender detention needs of those counties. State legislation raising the age at which juveniles are automatically tried as adults from 16 to 18 was enacted last year. It specifies that counties must be responsible for services related to the change, but the state will reimburse the costs. However, the number of Yates County youths isn’t expected to be sufficient to call for detention facilities in the county. The 10 counties will share the $15,000 cost of the contract with Treahy & Assoc. equally.
• Contract: The legislators ratified a labor agreement with Council 82 for Corrections and other employees. Details of the agreement were not available.