MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk remains in the possession of Chautauqua County and if it is eventually going to be sold, it will still take a super majority to do it.
Last night the Chautauqua County Legislature voted 14 to 10 against a proposed local law that would change the way the legislature approves the sale of property. The local law, which was proposed by Majority Leader Larry Barmore (R-Gerry) called for changing the vote that is needed to approve the sale of county property from a two-thirds, super majority to just a simply majority.
Several legislators had their concerns with the law, saying that when it was first put in place over 35 years ago, lawmakers had given it unanimous approval. In addition, Keith Ahlstrom (D-Dunkirk) said that the timing was wrong for even discussing the local law, because lawmakers are currently considering the sale of the County Home…
“There are good times and bad times to do things and in the heat of the battle is not when we should be making this type of decision,” Ahlstrom explained prior to the vote. “Mr. Barmore both in committee and tonight has been very upfront in saying that this change in the local law is to sell the county home, but it also affects many other things that the county owns, and at some point in time we may regret, or our children may regret, that we gave the ability to do this.”
Prior to voting on the local law, lawmakers also discussed at length the sale of the county home for $16.5 million to Altitude Health Services, Inc. of Chicago, owned by William “Avi” Rothner. The resolution contained the same contract and stipulations that were voted down last month by the lawmakers by a vote of 9 to 16 – with a super majority, or 17 votes, being needed. Last night, the sale of the county home was again voted down, this time by a vote of 9 to 15 with legislator Vicki James (D-Jamestown) absent from the meeting.
Last night’s legislature meeting lasted for nearly four-and-a-half hours. The entire first hour of the meeting came from public comment. Of the 26 individuals who spoke, 19 were in support of having the county keep the home or not selling it to Altitude Health Services.
Several also spoke out against the proposed change to the local law.
The meeting was also well attended by 2nd Amendment advocates who were on hand to show their support for a motion calling for the repeal of the 2013 NY SAFE Act, which puts further restrictions and regulations in place for rifle and gun owners. That motion was the first order of business by the legislature and was approved by a vote of 21 to 3. Despite the vote at the start of the meeting, three individuals still spoke during the public comment criticize the law.
Also discussed at the meeting, was a resolution by legislator Tim Hoyer (D-Jamestown), which called for removing prayer from the start of each monthly voting session and replacing it with the New York State oath of office. Furthermore, it called for the removal the entire Pledge of Allegiance from being said at the start of each voting session. The resolution was defeated 18-5. Voting in support of the resolution were Hoyer, along with legislators William Coughlin (D-Fredonia), Tom Erlandson (D-Frewsburg), Rod Rogers (Green – Forestville) and Bob Whitney (D-Jamestown).