Officials Represent County At NYSAC Conference

ALBANY – New York state leaders met in the state capital this week, including two from Chautauqua County.

Vince Horrigan, county executive, and Bill Daly, director of planning and economic development, traveled to Albany for the New York State Association of Counties legislative conference and said they gained new perspectives from the convention.

“The conference was very useful, especially looking at challenges everyone has in economic development,” Horrigan said.

Among other statewide issues, he said the heroin epidemic isn’t exclusive to Chautauqua County.

“In Albany County, it’s all over the news,” Horrigan said, mentioning an upcoming communitywide forum on March 12 concerning opiate abuse in Chautauqua County. “It’s a problem that’s across our region and it’s just interesting that other people are struggling with that as well.”

Horrigan said he enjoyed a presentation from John Zogby, a public opinion pollster and author whose latest book, “First Globals: Understanding, Managing and Unleashing the Potential of Our Millennial Generation,” delves into the dynamics of the generation born from 1979-1994.

Horrigan said Zogby’s presentation inspired him to engage Chautauqua County’s millenial generation for solutions to local challenges.

“Zogby’s premise is that the millenials are global and leave and move,” he said. “We have to find a way to engage the hearts of the 20- and 30-year-olds that are so important to our community and ask them what’s cool and what’s not cool about this place and engage their entrepreneurial spirits. We need to have more attractions to younger people.”

In meeting with other counties, Horrigan said he discussed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget with other county leaders, particularly shared services.

“I’m very proud of where we are with that in Chautauqua County,” Horrigan said, citing the importance of a north county regional water district and implementation of a sewer system around Chautauqua Lake.

In terms of challenges in job creation and economic development, he said Chautauqua County’s challenges are not unique.

“The conference got me motivated to do my very, very best, and that’s what I’m prepared to do,” Horrigan said.

Daly said the conference covered a wide spectrum of topics, and he thoroughly enjoyed Zogby’s presentation as well.

“We need to focus on keeping millenials in our communities,” Daly said. “I think, when we participate in the planning functions, we should take special care to look out for opportunities where we engage the millenials.”

Other discussions Daly attended involved agriculture and property taxes.

He said a resolution was drafted in support of a recent farm bill, which provides financial relief for rural farmers and had unanimous support.

A second resolution dealt with county responsibilities involving contaminated brownfield properties and changing county requirements.

“What happens is, the county has a lot of reasons why it would like to take titles to those properties, but the minute they take the titles out of foreclosure, the county becomes responsible for cleanup of environmental issues,” Daly said. “That’s why it’s so often that these brownfield properties languish for so many years.”