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Legislators call for watershed state standards

YATES COUNTY—Applause is rare during meetings of the Yates County Legislature, but there was applause from the audience after lawmakers passed a resolution that called on the governor and state legislature to apply the same standards to Yates County and the Finger Lakes watersheds that the Department of Environmental Conservation has indicated it will apply to the New York City and Syracuse watersheds.
The issue has drawn more interest since potential for drilling for gas in Marcellus Shale in this area has raised concerns about the environment. Legislature chairman Taylor Fitch complimented legislator Mark Morris for his work on the resolution.
In other business: Approved granting of an environmental easement to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for the former Penn Yan Marine Manufacturing property in Penn Yan. This is another step in the eventual sale of the property for development. County administrator Sarah Purdy was authorized to execute the required documents. Following the meeting, Purdy said the DEC must have the ability to be on the property for vapor monitoring. The easement approved will go with the land when it is sold.
• Legislators voted to support legislative bills to fund costs of Leandra’s Law to counties. The law created a felony charge in the state for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offenders with children under age 15 in the vehicle. The new law included the devices for offenders either on probation or conditional discharge. Provisions of the law mandate ignition interlock devices for all those convicted and required counties to monitor offenders sentenced. There is no funding available to help counties pay for the costs associated with monitoring these individuals, making the program an unfunded mandate. The resolution did not dispute the intention of the law, but offered a solution to pay for the law by redirecting money from fees currently charged to DWI offenders to insure the monies go to county STOP DWI programs. This would provide some fiscal relief to ensure the ignition interlock program has sufficient resources for its success.
• Fitch made two proclamations. The first designated Sept. 17 to 23 as U.S. Constitution Week. Sept. 30 is Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Day. Fitch said the Yates County SWCD is the second oldest in New York State. Legislators recognized Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 19 to 25.
• Legislators created the Director of Emergency Management position. The different title reflects the increased emphasis on emergency management.
• Appropriated an amount not to exceed $340,000 for the UHF infrastructure public safety radio equipment, engineering, installations at tower sites. A capital reserve fund was established in 1999 for the project. Motorola was the successful bidder for the project.
• An executive session to discuss collective bargaining followed the regular meeting.
The date of the October meeting of the Yates County Legislature was changed from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12, due to the Columbus Day holiday. The meeting will be at 1 p.m. in legislative chambers in the Yates County office building on Liberty Street in Penn Yan.



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