Yates legislators support wine in food stores
PENN YAN—Yates County Legislators voted unanimously to support the sale of wine in New York food stores during their meeting on Monday, March 14. The resolution read, in part, “The sale of wine in New York food stores is a timely and necessary updating of New York law that will have broad positive economic benefits for New York consumers, grape growers, vintners and distributors of New York wines.” The legislature approved the same measure last year.
Prior to the vote, Scott Osborn asked for support of the resolution. Osborn is president of Fox Run Vineyards and the New York Wine Industry Association. Osborn said, “Our wineries and vineyards are a state treasure.”
Peter Martini, President of Yates County Farm Bureau also spoke. He said Farm Bureau has supported the sale of wine in food stores for 30 years. Martini said he is concerned about the cuts in agriculture programs. Martini said wine sales in grocery stores could help raise funds for needed programs.
In other business: Legislators voted to ask New York State to maintain funding streams for the Youth Bureau. In addition, the resolution urged elimination of competitive bid funding. The Governor’s proposal offers distribution of funds on a competitive basis to counties. This will result in the elimination of funding to many rural counties. It will promote inequities in prevention and positive youth development services across New York State. The proposed competitive bidding process will result in a loss of local planning and control and will dismantle the current youth bureau system, structure and funding streams. If this portion of the budget is adopted, it will result in the minimal loss of almost $85,000 of youth services dollars for Yates County.
• Legislators requested New York State maintain funding streams for the Summer Youth Employment Program using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. The proposed state budget eliminates financial support for this program.
• Administrator Sarah Purdy was authorized to seek proposals for the potential sale of the Yates County Department of Health’s Certificate of Need for its Certified Home Health Agency. Following the meeting Purdy said no decision has been made regarding sale of the agency.
• Legislature Chairman Taylor Fitch was authorized to sign an agreement with New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for video recording equipment. It would be used for the taking of statements in certain designated felony cases. The total grant is for $9,620. The equipment is for “custodial” interviews, etc. at the public safety building or the Penn Yan police station. Custodial interviews are usually interviews of someone who is under arrest or who has been brought in for questioning. Use will be established by the Yates County District Attorney for cases within Yates County.
• Yates County Chamber of Commerce is Yates County’s Tourist Promotion Agency. Chamber of Commerce President Mike Linehan made a presentation to legislators on the 2010 season results. Linehan said it was an incredible year for tourism locally. Referring to a winery survey which has been done since 1995, Linehan said there was $17.8 million in retail sales of wine in 2010. There were 579,000 visitors to wineries in the area that includes Yates, Schuyler, Chemung and Steuben Counties in 2010. In contrast, wine sales in 1999 were $7.6 million and there were 282,000 visitors.
One goal this year is hospitality training. Linehan said, “We’re not convinced we are delivering the experience we are promising.”
Linehan said he has met with Finger Lakes Community College and Workforce Development to discuss a program for front line employees.
Linehan said high gas prices may not discourage visitors from coming here this year. He said 60 million people live within a one day drive of Yates County. Linehan also spoke about the current Shop Locally campaign.
• Appointed Mary Ann Zelazny to the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center and Finger Lakes Horizon Economic Development Corporation boards.
• Appointed Karl Tober of the town of Potter and Wayne Davidson of the village of Penn Yan to represent their municipalities on the Yates County Planning Board. At Large member Kevin North was reappointed to the Yates County Planning Board. Terms end March 14, 2014.
• Appointed members to the Yates County EMS Advisory Board for terms ending Dec. 31.
The next meeting of the Yates County Legislature will be at 1 p.m. Monday, May 9 in legislative chambers in the county office building on Liberty Street in Penn Yan.