Renew Locally

MAYVILLE – If there is only one thing the Democratic and Republican candidates for county clerk have in common, it’s that the Renew Locally Campaign should be reinstated.

Democratic candidate Lori Cornell and Republican candidate Larry Barmore both have issued statements calling for the relaunch of the campaign. The original campaign ran in 2008 and 2009, encouraging residents to renew registrations locally, rather than mailing renewals.

The original campaign, which was granted $10,000 by the Chautauqua County Legislature, brought a $150,000 increase in revenue. When the local Department of Motor Vehicles office is used, Chautauqua County keeps 12.7 percent of the revenue from every transaction processed. When a resident uses the online service or mails renewals back to the state, virtually all of the money stays in Albany.

During hearings for the Chautauqua County 2014 budget, Cornell, who has served as a member of the Administrative Services Committee for the past four years, introduced a proposal to include $5,000 for a Renew Locally Campaign. In 2005, when Cornell ran against current County Clerk Sandy Sopak, she outlined her plan for a Renew Locally Campaign as well.

“Once again, I am pressing for a Renew Locally Campaign to keep our tax dollars here instead of Albany,” Cornell said. “Although Mr. Barmore was not supportive of my proposal during the meeting, I am encouraged that he put out a press release shortly thereafter endorsing a renew local effort and my longstanding push. This should be a bipartisan effort, and I remain hopeful that we can get it done. It has worked well in the past, and I see no reason why it wouldn’t work well again.”

Barmore announced in a press release Tuesday he would re-launch a Renew Local Campaign, should he be elected county clerk in November.

“The DMV offices will lose significant revenue over the next three years as driver’s license renewals decline due to the change from a five-year license to an eight-year license,” Barmore said. “To help offset that loss, we need to make the public aware of the benefits our county sees when they use the local DMV office.”

Barmore, who has been a legislator for six years and has operated a local business for more than 40 years, emphasized he is not a career politician, but a career businessman.

“I don’t believe politics has any place in the County Clerk’s Office,” he said. “The work is far too important to every resident of Chautauqua County. My recent experience in the legislature provides the needed knowledge of government operations, but my experience in business and customer service is what will keep the County Clerk’s Office running effectively and efficiently. It will not be a trial and error process. It will be a seamless transition with a renewed and invigorated focus on improving on the solid foundation laid by our current county clerk, Sandy Sopak.”

Cornell said history of the campaign has demonstrated that money used for marketing campaigns for renewing locally has returned its investment five-fold to county taxpayers.

“The effort to keep our hard-earned tax dollars here in Chautauqua County is one that I have pushed for some time,” Cornell said. “I think the message is starting to get through, and with Mr. Barmore now on board, I think we can work together and get it done.”