Forestville bailout must be a step toward dissolution

The village of Forestville is getting a temporary bailout, but leaders in the village still have a great deal of work to do. The Chautauqua County Legislature recently approved a plan that will provide a five-year, $150,000 loan to the village. Because of that loan, a tax increase that had previously been projected at over 445 percent was dramatically reduced. The tax rate in Forestville will still be doubled in the coming year, but it is a significantly smaller hit than residents would have taken if the county had failed to step in.

The loan is secured, since failure to pay it will result in Forestville losing sales tax revenue from the county. Forestville’s financial woes stem from debt accrued due to a waterline project and an emergency demolition project.

The county financial aid package, which was overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers from all corners of the county, also requires the village to seek grant funds for a study to determine the feasibility of dissolving the village. A dissolution plan in Forestville was rejected by residents last year, and dissolving a municipal entity is not an easy process. Nevertheless, the village of Forestville needs to seriously consider the option.

The Chamber had long held the opinion that there are far too many layers of government in Chautauqua County. As an organization, the Chamber is squarely in favor of reducing those layers of government by merging or dissolving municipal entities, so that there are fewer taxing jurisdictions. These steps can go a long way toward reducing the overall property tax burden in Chautauqua County. Sharing services is just one step in that path. Consolidating governmental entities is a stronger step toward reducing the tax burden for business and homeowners.

The Chamber commends the county legislature for assisting a local government in a time of dire need, and for doing it in a way that makes sense for all taxpayers in the county. The Chamber urges the village of Forestville to move forward now with a dissolution plan. This is a necessary next step as that municipal government works to get its financial house in order.

Experience Chautauqua Networking Event May 9

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce helps to create opportunities for business people to network and reach out to new customers and markets. The next Experience Chautauqua Networking Event will do just that on Friday, May 9 at Shawbucks Press Room in Jamestown. This event is being held as a preview to National Train Day festivities the following day at the historic Gateway Train State, right across the street.

Chamber members are welcome to attend this event, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at the low pre-registered cost of $10. It is sponsored by Blackstone NEY Ultrasonics, Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro, Dahlstrom Roll Form, DFT Communications, Jamestown Jammers Baseball, KeyBank, the OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, UBS Financial Services, Univera Healthcare Southern Tier, VIE for Fitness and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX. Make your reservation online now or call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101.

Mayville-Chautauqua Business After Hours May 14

The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce will host a Business After Hours on Wednesday, May 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Athenaeum Hotel at Chautauqua Institution. This is a networking opportunity for Chamber member businesses and prospective members. There will be a brief presentation on the newly formed Chautauqua Lake Alliance, along with some networking games. Attendees are encouraged to bring their business cards and Chamber members are invited to bring business brochures to distribute.

The cost is $5 per person, payable at the door. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided and a cash bar will be available. You can register online at www.chautauquachamber.org or call the Chamber at 484-1101 or 753-3113.

Grape Expectations May 16

The Fredonia and Dunkirk Community Chambers of Commerce are hosting Grape Expectations on Friday, May 16 at the White Inn in Fredonia. This annual event includes a wine tasting, food, music, raffles and other entertainment, along with a great opportunity to mingle with other community and business leaders. Grape Expectations is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information, contact Heidi Seddon at 467-4326. Advance registration is not required. There will be a fee at the door.

Chautauqua Tech Wars May 20

Dream It Do It Western New York, the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce are proud to help present Chautauqua Tech Wars on May 20 on the Jamestown campus of Jamestown Community College. This extraordinary event will combine a number of activities for high school students and manufacturers alike. In all, an estimated 500 high school students from all over Chautauqua County are expected to attend.

Tech Wars events, sponsored by NYSTEEA, will allow students to display or demonstrate their projects for the year in JCC’s Physical Education Complex. The Hamilton Collegiate Center will house Science Olympiad informational sessions sponsored by Dream It Do It and hosted by local non-profits, while the nearby Carnahan Center will host local manufacturers for a career fair sponsored by the Chautauqua Leadership Network.

The mission of Dream It Do It WNY is to increase the skilled workforce pipeline entering manufacturing careers. Its vision is to be a catalyst for developing a workforce trained to meet the rigorous demands of manufacturers in the Western New York region. For more information about Tech Wars and related events, contact Justin Hanft at DIDIWNY at 484-1101.

County Executive Breakfast June 6

Each year the Chamber of Commerce provides an opportunity for its members to meet directly with the county executive and ask questions. This year, with Vince Horrigan new in the role of county executive, and with a number of important issues facing county government, the Chamber expects the business community to turn out in force for this event.

The County Executive Breakfast will be held Friday, June 6 at the White Inn in Fredonia. Breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m., with registration opening at 8 a.m.

The event is sponsored by Chautauqua Institution, DFT Communications, SUNY Fredonia, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Mattress Company, KeyBank, Nestle Purina PetCare, Phillips Lytle LLP, Serta Mattress Company, SKF Aeroengine North America, Southern Tier Environments for Living, Univera Healthcare, WCA Hospital and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX. To make reservations, call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101, or register online at www.chautauquachamber.org.