Jay Gould Prepares For Second Run As Legislature Chairman

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 15th in a series of articles highlighting major issues facing each of the 19 Chautauqua County districts and the legislators presiding over them.

As chairman of the Chautauqua County Legislature, Jay Gould, R-Ashville, wants to make sure meetings run smoothly and fairly.

He was elected chairman for the second time on Wednesday night, and in the coming term, he wants to schedule a few special meetings.

“We probably will, (concerning) the Chautauqua County Home before too long,” Gould said.

Also, he said there may even be some special work sessions involving fracking in Chautauqua County.

“We’ve got some people that want to try to educate the legislators on fracking,” Gould said. “We were going to do it at the end of last year but we decided we would wait and do it at the beginning of this term.”

According to Gould, plenty of land in the county is available to be drilled. However, he declined to comment until he knows more information on the topic.

“Economically, it’s good, I hear,” Gould said. “Environmentally, there are questions.”

Of the County Home, he said the next big question the legislature will have to answer will regard its future. If and when another buyer comes forward with another offer, a special meeting will be held to allow the new legislature to have their questions answered, he said.

Gould voted in favor of the skilled nursing facility’s privatization three times.

“Absolutely,” he said of voting for its sale in the future, adding that it could possibly create more jobs.

An issue in Gould’s district, which covers expansive farmland, is employment. Although Cummins is in District 17, more jobs need to be created.

In November 2013, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency expressed interest in issuing bonds in the amount of $300,000 to assist in the purchase, maintenance and development of the former Maplevale Farms warehouse and distribution facility in Clymer.

Three parties currently have expressed interest in the property and once it is formally owned by the IDA, they will begin to accept request for proposals.

“I don’t know any details but I’ve heard maybe there will be good things coming out of there before long,” Gould said.

He also supports the sewering of Chautauqua Lake where properties not connected to the current system have aging septic tanks. Sewering the entire lake would help prevent phosphorus from entering the water.

“It’s a necessity,” Gould said. “It should have been done the first time they sewered part of the lake. It should have been done years ago.”

In other matters, Gould said a committee was set up in order to discuss wages for elected officials a few years ago. The group proposed raises for representatives such as legislators, the county executive and county clerk.

“It was soundly defeated,” he said. “The wages aren’t anywhere near what they should be. It’s not a popular issue, but I think eventually elected officials should get 2 or 3 percent raise.”

During his time as a legislator, Gould said he stays busy, doing his work quietly.

“I’m really looking forward to this year,” he said. “I think all the new legislators and all the old ones are very positive people and I think that’s great. When you have positive people like that, you can generally get something done.”

Additionally, he said the Republican supermajority is a tremendous responsibility.

“I was in the minority for a long time, so I’ve seen both sides of it,” he said. “Both sides will work together. I think the world of some of those people on the other side of the isle.”