At a marathon meeting that lasted until 2:45 a.m. today, the Chautauqua County Legislature rejected two budget proposals, meaning the original spending package proposed by County Executive Andrew Goodell will automatically go into effect.
The budget totals $127 million and calls for a tax hike of 5 percent, but the package is out of balance because Goodell's budget counted on the sale of the county landfill for additional revenue but the sale was turned down.
Changes will have to be made to make up the revenue shortfall, but minority Democrats like the executive's budget because it called for lower taxes.
The Finance Committee's version would have imposed a 17 percent tax hike and Goodell's budget as amended would have boosted taxes by about 9 percent. Both were turned down.
The stage was set for the budget defeat after the Republican caucus' move to appoint James E. Caflisch of Clymer to fill the vacant 21st District seat was rejected. Dennis Goggin, a Republican, resigned the seat after his Marine Corps Reserve unit was called to active duty.
Democrats and maverick Republican Robert Stanley of Ellery voted against the Caflisch appointment, which lost in a 12-12 tie.
Legislator Charles Porpiglia, D-Dunkirk, noted that Goggin's letter of resignation took effect Dec. 18, four days after the resolution appointing Caflisch to a "vacancy," which did not yet exist, was filed.
Legislator John Champion, R-Jamestown, who is recovering from a mild stroke got a round of applause when he appeared for the Legislature meeting but the Republicans were still one member short.
The Legislature defeated a proposal calling for expansion of the Chautauqua County Airport in the Town of Ellicott.
The measure needed 17 votes to pass and received only 15. Lawmakers did endorse a new three-year contract with the Civil Service Employees Association calling for a pay hike over three years of just over 14 percent. The contract was approved earlier by the 1,000-member union.