MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County lawmakers this month plan to discuss a proposed county resolution that calls for local labor and suppliers to be used when a development project receives assistance from the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency.
Legislator Bob Whitney (D-Jamestown) – who also serves as the minority leader – introduced the resolution in July. It calls for 90 percent of labor and suppliers to come from the local area when the county provides financial assistance (such as tax abatement or low-interest loans) for development projects. Whitney said that under his proposed resolution, workers could be pulled from five counties in the region, including Chautauqua County along with Erie and Cattaraugus Counties in New York and Warren and Erie Counties in Pennsylvania.
During last month’s regular meeting of the legislature, Whitney said a similar law is already on the books in Erie County, New York.
“Everything’s covered in here. This is about putting local people to work that are paying the taxes – local contractors to work and local suppliers to work. Plain and simple, that is all this is about.”
So far, the resolution has yet to be acted on. It has been tabled on two separate occasions by the legislator’s Planning and Economic Development Committee and also on the floor of the legislature during the August regular voting session.
Legislator George Borello (R-Irving) was against acting on the measure, saying that there are several things that need to be looked into, including whether or not it violates any federal commerce laws.
“There was really very little legal oversight on this to make sure it is being done properly. More importantly, there was no discussion with the IDA or the IDA board – the directors or the CEO – to formulate this. I would think they would be the first people you’d want to speak to about this,” Borello said.
During the August meeting, lawmakers voted to table the resolution. It will return to committee for discussion and possible action later this month.