The Yates County Legislature opened its two-year term which ends Dec. 31, 2019 by electing Douglas Paddock of District 1 to serve as chairman and Leslie Church of District 3 to serve as vice chair.

Paddock later called Church’s election as vice chair “momentous,” noting that the legislature has never had a female chair or vice chair. Church commented, “I hope to support the agenda you put forth.”

After taking the chairman’s seat, Paddock commented, “I have had the pleasure of serving with a number of excellent legislature chairmen in the past and have, I hope, learned some of the traits and skills necessary to perform the job effectively.”

He then said he sees the legislature’s responsibilities going forward to build on accomplishments that have been achieved, “and continue to do the good work that this group is capable of and that the citizens of this county expect.”

Paddock listed some specific initiatives: a long-term major expenditure plan; the broadband survey; electronic document storage; creating a path forward for operation of the correctional facility; and continuing to act as good stewards of the county’s fiscal resources.

Paddock has served on the county legislature since 1988, and most recently held the vice chairman post and was chairman of the finance committee.

Paddock appointed the legislature’s standing committees:

Finance: Chair Bill Holgate (District 4), Vice Chair Dan Banach (District 3), members Ed Bronson (District 1), Tim Cutler (District 1), and Rick Willson (District 2).

Government Operations: Tim Dennis (District 2), Vice Chair Jim Multer (District 4), members Carlie Chilson (District 3), Tim Cutler (District 1), P. Earle Gleason (District 3) and Bonnie Percy (District 4)

Public Safety: Chair Leslie Church (District 3), Vice Chair Bonnie Percy (District 4), members Tim Cutler (District 1), Tim Dennis (District 2), Bill Holgate (District 4), and Elden Morrison (District 1)

Public Works: Chair Dan Banach (District 3), Vice Chair Jim Multer (District 4), members Terry Button (District 2), P. Earle Gleason (District 3), and Rick Willson (District 2)

Human Services: Chair Ed Bronson (District 1), Vice Chair Leslie Church (District 3), members Terry Button (District 2), Carlie Chilson (District 3), and Bonnie Percy (District 4)

The legislators also re-appointed Legislature Clerk Connie Hayes, Budget Officer Winona Flynn, and County Administrator Robert Lawton. District 1 Legislator Elden Morrison moved to table the resolution on Lawton’s appointment for 120 days, saying, “I do believe there are enough issues within the legislature and within the management team that we could benefit from further time on this.” He and District 3 Legislator Carlie Chilson cast the only votes in favor of tabling the resolution, and they cast the only “no” votes against the resolution.

Lawton commented, “Thanks to the members of the legislature for this opportunity. I look forward to supporting the initiatives Mr. Paddock put forth.”

At the year-end meeting Dec. 29, legislators heard a final report from District Attorney Valerie Gardner, who said six new indictments were handed down by a grand jury Dec. 21. She reported the felonies filed in Yates County Court during 2017 totaled 66, on par with the annual average during her term from 2014 through 2017.

Other business at the Dec. 29 special meeting included:

• Alternative Tax Exemption: The legislators adopted a resolution creating a new local law establishing a property tax exemption for Cold War Era veterans. Under the new law, Cold War veterans will be eligible for a 10 percent reduction in the assessed value of their real property up to $4,000.

• Public Defender Residency: The legislators adopted a new local law that requires the public defender to live within the county.

• Agricultural District: Legislators unanimously approved adding five parcels totaling 136.75 acres to the Yates County Agricultural District #1.

• Excavator: The legislators authorized the allocation of $112.18 to combine with a $100,000 municipal grant from New York State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano to purchase a new excavator.

The legislature’s next regular meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 8 in the legislative chambers of the Yates County Office Building.