Cornell Cooperative Extension pleased with lease resolution

MAYVILLE – Representatives of Cornell Cooperative Extension breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday night at the county legislature’s Public Facilities Committee meeting.

A resolution was discussed, which, if approved, will allow them to remain at the county-owned Frank W. Bratt Agriculture Center building at 3542 Turner Road in Jamestown.

At last month’s meeting, CCE representatives came forth to question a proposed rent increase of $2,660.25 per month, which would cause the nonprofit to lay off staff or move to a new location.

“After the resolution last month was tabled, I went back and I reviewed the impact of the lease arrangement and the cost and impact on Cornell Cooperative Extension,” said Vince Horrigan, county executive. “It’s in the best interest of Cornell Cooperative Extension to keep their lease the same.”

The increase came about after the USDA moved out of the agriculture center, leaving Cornell to pay the remainder of the rent.

Rent will remain at $1,390 per month for the remainder of 2014 under the new resolution.

“We are very appreciative,” said Laurie Livingston, executive director for CCE.

Kitty Crow, director of finance, said she had reviewed the absence of the USDA at the agriculture center and noted the impact on the 2014 budget.

“We began with budgeted loss for this building,” Crow said, adding that $29,000 in revenue was budgeted, with an expense of $38,000. “We did not anticipate fully covering our costs for 2014 to begin with.”

Additionally, Crow said the county is not required to make up the difference in a shortfall of revenue, but is obligated to make budget amendments.

George Spanos, director of public facilities, said the county will continue to seek a new tenant for the 4,000 square feet of space.

In other matters, both county airports could soon boast new names in an effort to show recognition of two prominent Chautauqua County individuals.

A resolution was discussed to rename Jamestown’s airport “The Greater Chautauqua-Jamestown Airport Robert H. Jackson Field.” Dunkirk’s airport would operate as “The Chautauqua-Dunkirk Airport John J. Nalbone Sr. Field.”

Robert H. Jackson Center’s board of directors requested the Jamestown name change, which was unanimously approved by the county Airport Commission.

“In many respects, this is the completion of a job which started in 1973, when the airport terminal was dedicated and named in honor of R.H.J.,” said James Johnson, president of the Robert H. Jackson Center, who attended Tuesday night’s meeting. “Now, 41 years later, I would submit to you that this is more relevant today than it was at that time.”

Legislators agreed with the resolution.

“It’s an honor to Jackson,” Johnson said. “It’s an honor to the county and community. It’s as timely now as it ever was to name the field after Robert H. Jackson.”

During his tenure as Supreme Court Justice, Jackson represented the United States by setting up the International Military Tribunal and serving as chief counsel at the Nuremberg Trials.

Carl Bjurlin, who works at both county airports, also attended the meeting to express support for the Dunkirk Airport to add Nalbone’s name.

“On behalf of the Nalbone family, I’d like to greatly thank the committee for their consideration,” Bjurlin said.

Nalbone was heavily involved after the county assumed ownership of the airport in 1985, and helped secure grants to resurface the original runway. During his 25-year tenure, he built five of the current hangars at his own expense, along with an addition to the airport’s office.

Dave Wilfong, R-Jamestown, asked if renaming would be of any cost to the taxpayers of the county, to which Spanos responded it would not be a significant cost to add the names to each respective airport sign.

All resolutions must be approved by the full County Legislature at this month’s regular meeting on Feb. 26 at 6:30 in the legislative chambers of the Gerace Office Building.