The Chautauqua County Legislature last night took the first step toward's the creation of a North County Water District. Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved establishing a 12-member County Water Agency that will oversee development of the regional water district. County Attorney, and Acting County Executive, Stephen Abdella told the legislature that the agency is needed first to receive a 360-thousand dollar New York Department of State grant to look implementing a district. Up to this point... the Chadwick Bay Development Corporation has been working to bring the north county communities... namely Dunkirk and Fredonia... on board. However... Fredonia Mayor Steve Keefe has expressed concerns over the future ot the village's water reservoir. Bemus Point Legislator... and, County Executive Elect, Vince Horrigan... says it's time to move forward -- and have more discussions with those communities. Horrigan earlier proposed an amendment to increase the number of members to 12, including two members that would represent the city of Dunkirk. The legislature also approved an amendment to have it's chairman to appoint three legislators to the agency. That amendment was offered by Dunkirk Democrat Keith Ahlstrom. The final measure passed 20-to-1 with only Fredonia Democrat Bill Coughlin voting no.
Today is the "Great American Smoke-Out." It's the one day that the American Cancer Society... and, other anti-smoking groups... urge smokers to at least try quiting for a day. The hope is that those smokers will be able to kick the habit for good. One of those local groups involved is the Tri-County Tobacco Free Programs. Program Director Laurie Adams says the "Great American Smoke-Out" calls attention to the problem... and, the strong addiction nicotine has on people. If you're looking to quit for good... Adams urges smokers to use a "team approach...." Adams adds that New York State is trying to help smokers stop by making tobacco products expensive... mainly through taxes... and, education efforts. She says the Tobacco Free Programs work on the latter because tobacco deaths are the "number-one" cause of preventable death both here... and, across the state. The New York State Smoker's Quit Line is 1-800-866-NYQUITS. You can also go on-line to NYsmokefree-dot-COM.
A local law takes effect today that bans the use of tobacco products on all but some open air areas of Chautauqua County property and grounds. That from Tri-County Tobacco Free Programs Director Laurie Adams... who says the County Legislature voted late last July to enact the ban on today -- November 21st -- the day of the Great American Smoke-Out. Adams thanked lawmakers... and, says the measure goes "hand-in-hand" with the unacceptability of second-hand smoke both indoors and out. As part of the celebration... Adams says State Supreme Court Clerk, Stacy Caldwell, has pledged to quit as part of this year's "Smoke-Out." She adds that Caldwell will have lot of employer support in her effort. Adams says Caldwell is inviting other smokers to join her and quit today. As a current smoker... Caldwell says "this new law will assist me in my efforts to quit, leading me to a healthier lifestyle, and an even better environment for my daughters."
A 475-thousand dollar dividend payment from the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities to the city as part of the 2014 budget was not acted on during Tuesday's BPU Meeting. Business Manager Mike Anderson says the payments... which were made for the first time in 50 years to the city last year... are not part of the current Electric and Water Division budgets. BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says that discussion was put off because there was so much discussion and debate on other matters. Leathers says there will now be TWO board meetings in December. The dividend... which was paid to the city and put towards the 2013 spending plan... totalled 420-thousand dollars. Three-hundred-thousand of that came from the Electric Division... and, the other 120-thousand came from the Water Division. There was also some contentious debate among BPU members on the matter last year.
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has approved a Solid Waste Division budget for 2014 that includes no rate increase. However... it also includes a new incentive program that will lower the cost for users if they fully take part in the BPU's Recycling Program. Details of that program are still begin worked out. But... BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says it will save customers some real money IF they fully take part. Currently... Leathers says the BPU has only 35 to 38-percent compliance with their recycling program... even though recycling is the law in New York state. He says if they can really get a boost from the initiative... if would save the BPU a lot of money in tipping fees at the County Landfill. The Solid Waste Budget was re-adopted at Tuesday afternoon's monthly meeting... along with the basics of the recycling program.