MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature will be meeting tonight in Mayville for its monthly voting session, with several items on the agenda.
Among the items to be acted on is an amendment to a local law that would provide occupancy tax amnesty to residents and business owners who rent out property. The amendment, sponsored by George Borrello (R-Irving), is designed to encourage those property owners to register with the county finance department before Dec. 31 of this year. If they do so, they will not be required to pay any back taxes. After that date, any renter who registers with the finance department may be subject to paying back taxes.
The legislature will also discuss expanding the county’s pilot program for the arraignment of criminal defendants in Jamestown City Court. Last month, lawmakers tabled the resolution after it was unclear if the program was resulting in a savings for the county by reducing the number of inmates being held in the county jail. Earlier this month, county Public Defender Ned Barone said that the program was indeed helping to keep fewer inmates behind bars, thus cutting back on the cost of incarceration. The total cost of extending the program for an additional year would be $47,000, with funding going to both the county District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices.
And lawmakers will consider a local law ammendment that would make it more difficult for the legislature to raid money in the county fund balance. If approved, the amendment would require two-thirds of the legislature, currently 17 votes, to transfer funds out of the unappropriated, unreserved fund balance. The amendment is in reaction to efforts by lawmakers in recent months to use money from the county fund balance to help pay for various projects. One of those projects involved $1.36 million as a matching grant for the county home, while another involved $50,000 for the removal of weeds on Chautauqua Lake. Both mid-year budget adjustments required a simple majority of 13 votes and came after lawmakers learned of a $10 million fund balance surplus left over from the 2011 budget.
- LOCAL LAW – PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS (NOT TO BE ACTED ON UNTIL AUGUST MEETING)
Tonight’s legislature meeting begins at 6:30 in the Gerace Office Building in Mayville and is open to the public.