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The Chautauqua County Legislature Wednesday night approved borrowing $5.6 million to begin upgrading the county's industrial parks.

Lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of the measure.

In a companion resolution, the Legislature also approved, in concept, the overall $13.1 million project price tag to improve access as well as electric, water and sewage services to the county's five industrial parks.

That vote on the companion measure was 22 to 2, with Republicans Bruce Kidder of Busti and Fred Croscut of Sherman voting against it.

Kidder said he is against borrowing most of the $13.1 million. But he defended the resolution to borrow $5.6 million, saying it does not affect the county's debt load as much.

"It keeps us basically where we've been the past couple of years. I think we should take notes. There was $3.9 million put in the 1999 budget for this infrastructure project, so along with this $5.6 million we have a sizable amount of money to get this infrastructure program started to help job and business developments," Kidder said.

Planning and Economic Development committee chairman Leon Beightol, D-Ellington, remarked that both proposals passed unanimously in his committee.

"Really, I think the time has come for this. You can't keep your children here without jobs, and this is a start without undertaking too much," he said. County Economic Development Director Richard Alexander praised the Legislature and pointed to a "flurry" of interest "from people outside of the county."

He was not specific.

"I'm not going to announce them now, but we're excited about this. I don't think you're going to be disappointed in us," said Alexander, who vowed to keep the Legislature informed of future developments.

County Executive Mark Thomas said the Legislature's actions "involve a change in philosophy" of the past 20 years, in that the county was reactive instead of proactive to the needs of potential developers.

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