County grants $46,000 to local projects

Gwen Chamberlain

 The Yates County Legislature has agreed to earmark more than $46,000 for local projects to improve the county’s natural and recreational resources. The county will reimburse certain expenses for the following projects:

• $15,000 to the Friends of the Outlet to help cover the cost of a pavilion at the Cascade Millsite along the Keuka Outlet Trail in the Town of Torrey.

• $14,000 to the Finger Lakes Museum and Aquarium to help fund a wetlands trail.

• $13,184 to the Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization to help cover the cost of sampling and monitoring equipment used in the development of a 9-Element Plan for the Seneca Lake Watershed, which includes the Keuka Lake watershed.

• $4,000 to KWIC (Keuka Watershed Improvement Cooperative) to help pay for educational programming and a website.

The county legislature established the Natural and Recreational Resource Protection Grant in 2017 to help local municipalities and organizations maintain the county’s natural resources. Last year was the first year awards were made.

Funds for the grants come from a portion of the annual occupancy tax receipts.

Other business at the April 8 Legislature meeting included:

• FIREARM LEGISLATION: Legislators passed a resolution opposing three bills pending in the state legislature with respect to firearm legislation. One proposal is for all firearm background checks processed by the New York State Police through a new background check unit. The second seeks to prohibit firearms as prizes in any game of chance, and the third would amend the law that permits children 10 years or older to load and fire a rifle, shotgun or pistol at a shooting range while under the supervision of a qualified person. The proposal would change the minimum age requirement of the qualified person from 18 to 21 years.

• BROADBAND: Legislators authorized spending up to $9,000 with Hunt Engineers to apply for a ReConnect grant through the USDA. The Horseheads firm will apply for a grant and provide professional services toward expanding access to broadband internet (see related article)

• OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Legislators recognized Yates County Deputy Richard Simpson for being honored as the Officer of the Year by the American Legion. Simpson has been employed by the Sheriff’s Department since 1991. He has been the youth officer and Dundee Central School Resource Officer and DARE Instructor since 2009. According to Sheriff Ronald Spike, Simpson was the first deputy on the scene for a 2011 mass casualty incident on Pre-Emption Road and made the arrest for DWI by vehicle manslaughter. He was the first deputy on the scene where a body was discovered in a wooded area in Jerusalem, and in 2018 on Arrowhead Beach Road, where he encountered a murder suspect and took him into custody.