T-hangar airport project to begin soon

Gwen Chamberlain
Yates County Administrator Bob Lawton, left, is welcomed to his first county legislature meeting by Chairman Timothy Dennis.

Construction on a new T-hangar and an taxilane extension at the Penn Yan/Yates County Airport should begin next week and be complete in January.

The project, which will be completed by Chrisantha Construction at a total cost of $808,454, is funded by federal and state dollars.

Yates County received a $485,100 state grant for the construction of an 8,400-square-foot, eight-bay hangar as part of a statewide $26.8 million funding package for 38 rail and aviation safety, security, and economic development projects.

Monday, the county legislature unanimously approved spending an additional $17, 950 for the increased cost of steel.

Other items on the legislature’s agenda Sept. 12 included:

• Yates County Administrator Robert Lawton was welcomed to his first full legislature meeting Monday, Sept. 12. He told legislators he attended his first management meeting the previous Friday and has begun meeting with other county employees.

• Public Defender Mandate: The legislators (minus District 2 Legislator Terry Button, who was absent) unanimously approved a resolution urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign into law the Public Defense Mandate Relief Act. The state senate and assembly passed legislation that will require the state to reimburse counties for the cost of providing legal representation for criminal defendants who can not afford counsel. Public Defender Edward Brockman has informed legislators that based on qualifying criteria, 95 percent of the people who appear in Yates County Court would qualify for the services of a public defender.

• Democratic Election Commissioner: The legislators unanimously approved re-appointing Robert Brechko as Democratic Election Commissioner for a term from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2019.

• Rules of Procedures: A resolution to adopt new rules of procedure for the legislature failed because it did not receive unanimous votes, which is required by the legislature’s rules. James Multer, James Smith and Elden Morrison voted against the resolution. Changes were proposed to the section regarding Executive Sessions and the section regarding the reintroduction of a motion that had previously been voted down.

• Compensation: During committee reports, District III Legislator Mark Morris, chairman of the Government Operations Committee, presented information about the comparison of Yates County’s total compensation. He said discussion of the topic during the legislature’s open session had previously been prohibited due to union negotiations. Morris says the information, derived from Open Book New York data from 2013 shows that the county’s total compensation costs over the 10 years between 2004 and 2014 increased at a rate that’s two times the rate of inflation. Morris said this information should be used during upcoming budget discussions.

• Hunger Action Month: The legislators approved a resolution proclaiming the month of September as Hunger Action Month. According to Feeding America, there are nearly 3,000 Yates County residents (or one in nine people) who are considered food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food to live a healthy lifestyle.

• October meeting: The legislators changed the Oct. meeting date to 1 p.m. Oct. 11 due to the Oct. 10 observation of Columbus Day.