The Jamestown City Council will shortly begin work on Mayor Sam Teresi's 33.6-million dollar, 2014 budget that increases taxes by 2.68-percent. Teresi unveiled his tentative spending plan at city hall Tuesday afternoon. He calls it "a starting point" for this year's deliberations... but, adds it's especially that way for the largest single expense in the spending plan. Teresi says each department has been able to hold down employee wages each year through good management. This year's increase is about 436-thousand dollars... or a 2.9-percent. However... Teresi adds that the city still working off expired agreements with all six of it's labor unions... and, they are going to arbitration with one unit. The city has been able to hold down any tax increase in recent years by using it's fund balance. Teresi's proposed spending plan includes the "reluctant use" of 175-thousand dollars from the "undesigned" part of the fund balance to offset taxes. He adds another 130-thousand will be used to hold the city's debt service "harmless." The proposed budget increases the tax rate by 55-cents per thousand full value.
While the tax increase is 2.68-percent... Teresi says when exclusions are added in... the budget is about 63-thousand-500 dollars BELOW the state's 2-percent property tax cap. The city council must approve a spending plan by December 1st.
In addition to the repaving of the rough section of West Third Street... city lawmakers also learned at Monday night's work session that two major bridges will be overhauled in Jamestown in 2014 and 2015. Mayor Sam Teresi says it may not seem it... but, both the Third and Sixth Street spans were last overhauled... or replaced... more than 25 years ago. With that... he says they're "due for some work." He says the bridge discussion came up when he was speaking with Region Department of Transportation Director Darrell Kaminski. The bridge work was not expected until at least a year later than was announced. Teresi says the DOT did not indicate which span would be done first.
The town of Ellicott has a tentative, 3.9-million dollar budget proposal for next year that raises taxes by about 3-percent. That from Town Supervisor Cecil Miller... who presented the 2014 budget at Monday night's town board meeting. Miller says the tax levy -- or amount to be raised by taxes -- is 2.29-million dollars. That's a 79-thousand dollar increase... which he says is being caused by increases in several area -- most of which are out of their control. Miller says contractually... employees can be compensated for sick time not used. He says they did a better job of holding down costs with the help of their employee unions. However... he says revenues are basically flat. Miller says that'll make it "very difficult" to cut that tax increase below the 2-percent property tax cap. Miller says they'll hold a hearing on the budget at their next meeting on October 21st. The tax rate in the town -- outside the villages -- is up 11-cents to 4-dollars-89 cents per thousand. Miller says in the villages of Celoron and Falconer... the rate is up 16-cents to 4--41 per thousand. A vote on the budget is tentatively set for November 4th.
A joint investigation by Chautauqua County Fire Investigators and National Fuel Gas have determined the cause of yesterday morning's house explosion in Ripley. Sheriff Joe Gerace says Thomas Hawkins... owner of the house at 24 Lakeview Avenue... had apparently tried to fix a gas line break himself last January. However... Gerace says the ground recently shifted. Gerace says it's fortunate that no one was inside the home... and, there were no injuries. He advises anyone with gas line break or leak to report it immediately to their utility. Ripley fire crews were called to the scene about 11:30 AM. They were assisted at the scene by South Ripley, Westfield, and Sherman firefighters... as well as the Crescent and Fuller Hose Companies from Northeast, Pennsylvania.
An incumbant county legislator from the town of Ellicott has announced he is running for re-election to the new District 14 seat. Life-long County resident Mark Tarbrake is seeking election to that seat... which represents portions of the towns of Ellicott, Charlotte, Gerry, and Ellington. Tarbrake is currently the chairman of the legislature's Human Services Committee... which oversees operations of such entities as the County Home. Tarbrake says he "strongly believes" the county should sell the home to ease the "financial burden" on local taxpayers. The Lakewood native has worked at SKF Aero Engine for the past 34 years.
Two suburban Rochester volunteer firefighters killed in the Christmas Eve ambush are among nine names that have been added to the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Albany. Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy joined other officials and firefighters from across the state at a ceremony held Tuesday at the Firefighters Memorial at the Empire State Plaza. The names of Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka are now on the memorial, which was established in 1998 to honor firefighters who died in the line of duty. The two Rochester-area firefighters were killed and two other members of the West Webster Fire Department were wounded when a gunman opened fire on them after setting his home ablaze last December 24th. The names of nearly 2,400 firefighters are on the memorial.