Whitney Replaces Cornell

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature is set for another year, with Jay Gould, R-Ashville, once again serving as chairman.

Legislators met Wednesday for their first meeting of the year. The group once again appointed Gould as legislator for District 19, towns of Harmony, North Harmony and a portion of the town of Busti. He had to be reappointed, as he stepped down from the position Dec. 28 when he retired from the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District. Because his legislative position and the position with the Soil and Water Conservation District are both county jobs, he was required to step down from the legislature when he retired. Following his reappointment into the legislature, Gould was then reappointed as chairman.

“I would like to thank this body for your confidence and support to again lead this Legislature in 2013,” Gould said. “This past year tested our ability to work together, to resolve some very critical issues facing our county. We met some challenges head on and left others unresolved.”

Gould also spoke about saving money for taxpayers in the county, despite having no relief from federal and state mandates.

“Unfortunately (county government) can’t keep pace with the mandated requirements,” he said. “Raising property taxes is not the answer to funding these mandates and short term gimmicks are not an answer for the long-term solutions we need to take as a county. We will have to face some difficult issues this year.”

One of the difficult issues Gould said he foresees this year is the possible sale of the Chautauqua County Home. The other is the 2014 budget.

“The last two years, we’ve been behind $11 or $12 million and we’ve had what I call found money,” Gould said. “The first year, the state made a mistake, and we cleaned out our savings account this year. So, it’s going to be a real challenge next year.”

However, Gould said despite the challenges 2013 will bring to the County Legislature, he enjoys being chairman and working with the people.

Also during the meeting, Larry Barmore, R-Gerry, was reappointed as the legislative majority leader, with David Himelein, R-Findley Lake, resuming the role of assistant majority leader.

On the democratic side, Robert Whitney, D-Jamestown, replaced Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown, as the legislative minority leader. And, William Coughlin, D-Fredonia, replaced Whitney as the assistant minority leader.

Katherine Tampio of Silver Creek was appointed as clerk to the legislature during the meeting. Lori Foster of Portland, was appointed secretary to the legislature. The Post-Journal and the Dunkirk OBSERVER were designated the official newspapers of the county. And, the legislature also voted to allow Gould authority to approve certain refunds during the year.