Yates County seeks funds from New York state

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Yates County Legislators are asking New York State officials to reimburse Yates County for 12.5 percent of the cost of repairs to infrastructure damaged during the mid-May flooding that caused extensive damage to roads, culverts and other public assets in the county.

The legislators unanimously approved a resolution seeking the state support that would be in addition to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s reimbursement of 75 percent of the actual cost of repairs.

Legislative Chairman Timothy Dennis said he has talked with the regional representative of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office about the issue.

“Particularly in the era of the tax cap, it’s difficult to think that the governor and legislature would expect that we would be able to stay within the tax cap and be able to recover from this level of a disaster,” said Dennis.

The resolution will be sent to several state officials as well as all towns and villages in Yates County, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Delaware, Herkimer, Lewis, Livingston, Ontario, Otsego, and Steuben Counties. Those counties were also listed in the federal disaster declaration.

The Penn Yan Village Board was expected to act on a similar motion at its Oct. 21 meeting, according to Mayor Leigh MacKerchar.

Damage to all public infrastructure in the county, including damage to assets owned by towns and villages totals nearly $10.9 million, according to the Diane Caves, Deputy Director of Emergency Management.

Other business at the Oct. 14 regular legislature meeting included:

• SENECA LAKE GAS STORAGE PROJECT: The legislature passed a resolution opposing the development of an LP gas storage facility near Seneca Lake in the town of Reading in Schuyler County (See related article).

• SOCIAL MEDIA: Legislators tabled action on a motion from the floor offered by District III Legislator Leslie Church to adopt a proposed policy regarding the use of social media. The policy had been presented at the Government Operations Committee, but the committee had not recommended action by the full legislature. After Church offered the motion, at least two legislators said they had not had time to completely review the proposed policy yet.

• AIRPORT CAPITAL PROJECT: Legislators accepted the New York State Department of Transportation grant for 50 percent of the non-federal share of eligible costs for updating the Airport Master Plan, acquire snow removal equipment and replace runway edge lighting system. Federal funds will pay for 75 percent of the cost of the projects, which total over $772,000. The local share ($38,599) will be covered by resources in the airport fund.

• TOURISM PROMOTION AGENCY: The Yates County Chamber of Commerce was unanimously approved as the county’s Tourism Promotion Agency for 2015.

• DEMOCRATIC ELECTION COMMISSIONER: Robert Brechko was reappointed to a two-year term as the Yates County Democratic Election Commissioner.

• AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT: Legislators unanimously agreed to add 16 parcels totaling 572.95 acres of viable agricultural land to be included in the Yates County Agricultural District #1.

• MORTGAGE TAX: Legislators renewed the existing mortgage tax of 25 cents for each $100 of principal debt recorded in the county.

• MEETING TIMES: Dennis pointed out that this meeting was the final regular evening meeting for 2014. The legislature’s next regular meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Nov. 10 in the legislative chambers.