Chamber Corner

A clear choice for county legislature: Say ‘yes’ to private investment

By TODD TRANUM

President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

Our County Legislature will have a choice this week. It can help the County Home remain in operation – saving jobs, reducing taxpayer costs and expanding the tax base; or it can say ‘no’ to the creating an opportunity for private investment Chautauqua County.

Saying ‘yes’ to the sale of the County Home will help us work our way off this notorious list:

If the Legislature fails to approve the sale of the County Home it is risking future sustainability of the facility, the jobs it provides, and the important service it delivers. The numbers have made it clear that the facility is not a sustainable operation while under county control. New York state has placed a variety of restrictions on county-run nursing homes. As counties are prohibited from offering assisted living and independent living care it is impossible for county run facilities to make the operations financially whole. Yet, privately-operated homes can make investments to expand into and offer assisted living and independent care options. There are excellent examples right here in Chautauqua County. These are the types of investments and care diversification that will make the County Home facility sustainable if sold to a private company.

We hear grumbling from taxpayers and some elected officials including county legislators about the multiple layers of government and tax payer supported services in Chautauqua County. Currently, Chautauqua County tax payers are paying the cost of supporting 18 school districts, 27 towns, 15 villages and two cities. We know these are luxuries we can no longer afford. Yet, there is nothing the legislature can do this week to change this situation. These are long term challenges that require continued effort to change. But the legislature can approve the sale of the County Home, reduce the burden on property tax payers and increase tax revenues. Our County legislative leaders have the opportunity to say “YES” to private investment and “YES” to a strong future for the jobs and services currently provided at the County Home facility. We ask for their support.

Register for Winter Festival Treasure Hunt

The Medallion Treasure Hunt will again take place in conjunction with the 2013 President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival. The medallion, especially created for the festival by artist David Stutzman for the 2006 Winter Festival, will be hidden on accessible public property somewhere in Chautauqua County. New rules allow prior treasure hunt winners from 2011 and previous years to participate again this year. Last year’s winner will not be eligible.

This year all treasure hunters must be registered to be eligible to win the $100 cash prize. More prizes may be included. Registration opens Jan. 22 and will continue until Feb. 3. Once the clues begin on Feb. 4, the registration will be closed. Details are included on the registration forms, which are available at the following Mayville businesses: Mayville Hardware, Webb’s Year-Round Resort Candy/Gift Shop, The Cottage Collection at Webb’s Year-Round Resort, Lighthouse Point Grocery, Home Chic, Chautauqua Suites Meeting & Expo Center (register at desk), as well as Chautauqua County branches of M & T Bank and Northwest Savings Bank (Jamestown Savings Bank). There will be a $2 registration fee per entry.

Clues will begin to appear in the media beginning Monday, Feb. 4 and continue each weekday only until Friday, Feb. 15. The clues will appear in both daily newspapers in the county as well as on many local radio stations.

Major Sponsors of the Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival are the town of Chautauqua and Clark Patterson Lee Architecture and Engineering/Habiterra. Additional sponsors are: M&T Bank, Northwest Savings Bank, Irwin Bay Cottages and Welch’s. A full schedule of events can be found on the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce website or on the Winter Festival Facebook page.