Public Facilities Committee Makes No Recommendations

MAYVILLE – The Department of Public Facilities still has $300,000 in additional funding for the county’s roads and bridges following the Public Facilities Committee’s budget hearings.

The committee heard from George Spanos, director of public facilities for the county, and several of the managers in areas falling under public facilities Tuesday regarding the 2014 proposed budget. No recommendations were made following the presentations.

“We had presentations on Department of Public Facilities, from various representatives of the departments,” said committee Chairman David Himelein, R-Findley Lake. “We had very cordial conversations about their budgets. We asked very pointed questions, I thought. We did not come up with any cuts anywhere.”

One of the biggest changes the committee heard during the discussions came from CARTS. Effective in early 2014, the New York State Department of Health will hire a regional transportation manager to replace the county’s local Medicaid coordination initiative, which was set up in the county in 1997. Now, all Medicaid patients will be accommodated through a call center, as opposed to locally, and the call center will take care of transportation.

The committee opted to make no changes to Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards’ tentative Chautauqua County 2014 budget following discussions.

“The additional $300,000 that the county executive had in his tentative budget, we left in there,” Himelein said. “In my opinion, we have to maintain our infrastructure if we are going to be a visitor Mecca, as we want the county to be, we have to maintain our roads and bridges to get people where they want to go in the county.”

Himelein also explained there was no change to the sewer districts in the county, which he said are enterprise departments, which maintain their own boards and are only able to spend what revenue they make.

“The landfill still keeps going, chugging along,” Himelein said. “There’s been a decrease in the amount taken into the landfill, it’s slowly declining. Our revenue off the methane that we generate off the landfill that the generating plant turns into electric, it looks like we’re going to be money ahead this year from what we budgeted. Next year, it will probably be back down to what it was the previous year. Other than that, airports are maintaining their own.

“I wish we could do more with those airports, but our airport director, Sam Arcadipane, I think is doing a very good job of getting out and trying to make those more viable and bring, hopefully, a new company in to offer passenger service here,” Himelein continued. “With that, maybe our ridership will go up, and maybe it will become a little more self-sustaining.”

The committee will present its findings to the Audit and Control Committee on Oct. 8.