Local officials in Albany for address

On Dec. 15, New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Dunkirk to announce the retrofitting of three of NRG Dunkirk’s four coal-fired generators to natural gas. The announcement, along with the news that NRG would continue with its scheduled PILOT payments, was a great present for taxpayers.

Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was present to hear the governor’s NRG announcement, and today he is in Albany to hear Cuomo’s annual State of the State address. This is the second address Dolce will hear in person and the third trip he’s taken to the state capital since becoming mayor in January 2012.

Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan took office Jan. 1 and is attending his first State of the State address.

The pair were reached as they were heading together down a clear and “bone dry” I-86 Tuesday afternoon on their way to Albany.

“The biggest issue, or what I think is, the State of the State will focus on is the findings from the tax commission, bipartisan findings, so I’m looking forward to hearing those details,” Dolce stated, adding he was not expecting to hear anything in particular, but was going to do more networking and advocating for the city and county.

“A great deal can be accomplished with phone calls and emails, but I think a lot can be said for having a physical presence there,” he explained, adding an Assembly networking event was on the schedule for Tuesday night. “I’ll be looking to set up an appointment or two for (Wednesday), more networking, cram in as much as possible before 1:30 (Wednesday).”

Dolce said it was not guaranteed he could fit it in, but a meeting with Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, the chair of the Assembly’s Cities Committee, was a goal.

“He’s looking to meet with all city mayors and basically looking for their feedback as to what concerns we have as mayors, what issues affect our cities the most,” Dolce explained.

In addition to hearing what Cuomo has to say about what he sees as upcoming opportunities, Horrigan said he will also attend a meeting.

“I’ll be meeting, probably for the first time, a lot of other county executives, where we work together, share mutual concerns and at the same time network together, discuss and look for opportunities to work together,” Horrigan explained.

He was asked is there was anything on the county level he was hoping or expecting to hear from Cuomo.

“One of the primary issues gets to property taxes and as the mayor said, the tax commission has released some information. So I’m very interested, especially in anything that could relate to mandate relief,” Horrigan replied. “I don’t anticipate that in the State of the State, but of course those expenses are what drives our property taxes, therefore I’m always looking and listening carefully … to understand exactly what the governor sees going forward.”

While he has no appointments with state officials, Horrigan said he plans on meeting with area representatives Sen. Catharine Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell.

With Cuomo’s fourth State of the State address set for 1:30 p.m. today at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, both Dolce and Horrigan said they planned to be in their offices Thursday.

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