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Tourism group wants $150K from county

PENN YAN—Legislators heard from representatives of the newly organized Finger Lakes Visitors Association (FLVA) during their Sept. 14 meeting. Board of directors member Carl Schwartz outlined some of the items identified as needs by the group such as a marketing director whose sole purpose is to bring tourists to Yates County, a Web page, more events, signage and encouraging new businesses. Schwartz also noted nearby counties are outspending Yates in tourism promotion. Legislators asked several questions including the relationship with the Yates County Chamber of Commerce to which Schwartz responded, “We want to maintain a healthy, positive relationship. They have a lot on their plate. A concerted, deliberate emphasis on tourism is needed.”
One of the first questions from legislators was regarding the so called bed tax. Legislator Dr. Timothy Dennis noted members of the group had sued Yates County after the tax was imposed. David Wegman, who is president of FLVA, said, “That is a separate agenda, not ours. It’s a bit of a black cloud over us. It’s not our group. Some who wear other hats are very valuable to our organization. We want to use their time, talent and treasure to grow tourism.”
Later in the meeting Assemblyman James Bacalles was asked for his opinion on the proposal. He said, “When you are looking at attracting tourists you have to have a number of hotels. You don’t have the capacity to keep people here, such as for small conventions.” Bacalles said, “It would be beneficial to see how you can piggyback on surrounding counties. You must look at what you can do with what you have here. I’m not saying you can’t grow it. You’ve got a challenge there.”
In other business: Dennis thanked the Board of Elections, stating, “They have gone out of their way. I appreciate the amount of work they have done.” Dennis said the office has taken their trailer to various parts of the county including on nights and weekends to help familiarize people with the new voting machines.
• Legislator Donna Alexander complimented Dennis for the dairy resolution he introduced at the August meeting of the legislature. The resolution detailed the drop in payment to dairy farmers for milk that is negatively impacting them. Alexander said she had taken the resolution to the Intercounty meeting where it was passed with enthusiasm. She said other counties are having similar problems.
• Legislator Taylor Fitch announced Casella Waste management will close the transfer station on Milo Mills Road Tuesdays as of Sept. 29. He said people who use the facility and want it to remain open Tuesday mornings may call Casella at 315-781-6500. Fitch also said state legislator Brian Kolb of Ontario County is interested in introducing legislation for a people’s convention. The next scheduled vote on a convention is in 2017 and Kolb would like to have one in 2011. Fitch urged county legislators to consider support of the earlier date, if not today, then at the October meeting.
Legislator Debra Flood reminded residents that the census is coming up and that it is important to be counted, noting it is extra important because the formula for federal funds is determined by census figures.
County administrator Sarah Purdy said she wanted to express her extreme gratitude for the legislature’s support when she became a member of the board, committee member and president of the New York State Association of Counties. Purdy said, “It is one of my greatest professional achievements. A byproduct is that a lot more people know about Yates County.” Purdy will complete her term as president of the organization later this week. Legislature chairman Robert Multer said, “We owe you thanks also. You have been great in advocating regarding some of the state mandates.”
• Scheduled a public hearing at 1:05 p.m. Oct. 13 to receive comments on proposed law 3-09 to increase the Reserve Fund from $300,000 to $500,000. The fund in question is the Workman’s Compensation Fund.
• Named Jerre Horning to fill the remainder of Mark Martin’s appointment to the Yates County Fire Advisory Board.
• Upon the approval the sheriff may sign the School Resource Officer Memorandum of Understanding with Dundee Central School for the 2009-10 school year.
• Authorized the sheriff to extend the contract with the Humane Society of Yates County for Animal Control Services. Dennis asked to clarify the fact that Yates County has its own animal control officer.
• Appropriated the Federal Aviation Agency grant for the Yates County Airport project in the amount $252,388.
• Appropriated funds in an amount not to exceed $58,000 for repair and optimization of the Low Band Radio Simulcast System. Dennis called it “Something that has been an issue for several years, a safety issue.”
• Multer read a proclamation naming the week of Sept. 17 to 23 Constitution Week.
• Following an executive session, provisionally appointed Sharon Dawes as county Probation Director.
• Changed the date of the October meeting of the Yates County Legislature to Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. in the Legislative Chamber in the county office complex. The meeting was changed due to the Columbus Day observance.

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