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Chautauqua County reduces proposed tax rate

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature Wednesday evening unanimously approved a tentative 2015 budget. The real property tax levy will be $62,790,611 and the tax rate will be $9.14 per $1,000 of full value.

The tax rate proposed by County Executive Vince Horrigan was $9.17 per $1,000; changes to the plan dropped the rate.

The Audit and Control Committee recommended the changes, including the addition of $549,000 to the Mental Hygiene Department; reducing the Social Services budget by $100,000; and removing $50,000 from the assigned counsel budget, part of Public Defender’s Office. The committee also recommended shaving $21,000 from the jail budget and $50,000 was taken from the Office for the Aging.

Earlier Wednesday, the Legislature unanimously approved financing for the purchase of an Dunkirk industrial site recently phased out by ConAgra.

The plan, according to members of the Planning and Economic Development Committee, is to resell the property to a yet-to-be-named company that hopes to take over the complex, creating new jobs.

ConAgra has closed or is closing several local sites, starting with the Petri Baking Co. in Silver Creek in 2013 and continuing with the former Carriage House production site in Fredonia. More than 650 jobs are affected.

The phase-out of the Fredonia location began this month and is expected to be done by February.

Legislator Paula DeJoy, D-Jamestown, announced her immediate resignation because she is moving outside of her district.

The Legislature also:

• Approved an agreement allowing other emergency services agencies the use of county facilities in Mayville.

• Approved two rental agreements, allowing inmates from other counties to be temporarily housed at county facilities – $80 per day for Niagara County and $50 per day for Cattaraugus.

• Approved a $110,000 Homeland Security grant for bomb-detection programs for the Sheriff’s Office.

• Approved a grant of $94,000 for handling hazardous materials – to be shared by Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties and the Seneca Nation of Indians.

• Authorized $305,000 for a preliminary plan to rebuild the bridge on South Main Street in Jamestown. The federal government will pay 80 percent of that cost.