Chautauqua board talks County Home, police consolidation

MAYVILLE – Another attempt to sell the Chautauqua County Home and the way forward for proposed Jamestown Police and county sheriff’s department consolidation were addressed by three county legislators during the monthly Town of Chautauqua board meeting Monday.

It’s likely the sale of the home will be put in front of the county legislature around Oct. 1, according to Fred Croscut (R-Sherman) who spoke during the public comment portion of the town meeting.

However, Croscut did not name a possible buyer.

“I have no idea what it is, so I can’t really comment on it,” Croscut said.

In an interview following the meeting Croscut, Vince Horrigan (R-Ellery) and Dave Himelein (R-Clymer) all said the next attempt to sell the home has been, according to Croscut, “talked about and discussed” by County Executive Greg Edwards.

Sale of the home requires a so-called super majority of legislators voting in favor. Last February the legislature lacked that super majority, and a sale to a private owner was not approved.

Pay and benefits received by city police, substantially more than sheriff’s personnel, loom as just one of the difficult issues ahead in what has been termed the second phase of a proposed consolidation, according to the three legislators and town board member Tom Carlson during public comments.

“The stumbling block, I’m not afraid to say, will be the (Jamestown) union contracts,” Croscut said.

“I don’t think we (the county) can afford 20-year retirement plans anymore,” Carlson said.

He added city police have a contract which ensures both substantially greater salaries and benefits than the sheriff’s department offers.

Himelein said he would favor the city paying for any differentials if a consolidation happens, but after the meeting said such a plan would be “one of the options.”

Croscut said the city police union has been completely mum so far about the contract differences.

Recent take over of police duties in Silver Creek did not require a settlement of contract differences, according to Horrigan.

“Basically the Silver Creek PD went away,” he said, explaining that the chief retired June 1, and all but one part-time officer found other employment.

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