Legislature Approves IDA Wind Farm Request

Pictured are members of the Jamestown Raiders High School Club Hockey Team, who won the AAU state championship. The players were accompanied by their coach, Joe Gerace, and several legislators. The Chautauqua County Legislature recognized them at Wednesday night’s meeting. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

MAYVILLE — The Chautauqua County Legislature approved a resolution Wednesday requesting that the county Industrial Development Agency not approve further agreements for wind energy projects that produce more than 5 megawatts of power.

In the public comment period, several individuals thanked the legislature for approving the measure, which asks that the IDA not issue payments in lieu of tax agreements to companies that build wind turbines capable of producing more than 5 megawatts.

One area resident said if the county could do anything to help those living Arkwright, it would be viewed as a “godsend.”

After the meeting, County Executive George Borrello said the IDA is technically an entity of the state and separate from the county. While the county has the ability to appoint members to the board including the CEO, the county cannot force the organization to do anything.

“We do not have the ability to mandate policy,” Borrello said. “That being said, this body is certainly sending this recommendation, and I fully expect the IDA board to follow that recommendation.”

Borrello said he feels badly for the people who are living in areas that are dealing with wind farm project construction right now, such as those who live in Arkwright.

“It looks horrible in Arkwright right now, this formerly beautiful, pristine woodland community is now really looking like a landfill, to be honest with you,” Borrello said. “My hope is they will be able to repair and restore the infrastructure. Ultimately, those wind turbines are going to be a detriment and a blot on our community.”

Borrello said the turbines don’t deliver the promised energy, and “would not exist without government subsidy.”

The legislature also approved a change to administrative code that would allow six coroners, up from the current four coroners. Borrello said there has been some issues with coroners being able to respond when requested, so the added positions would be helpful. The legislature also approved a move to pay coroners on a case-by-case basis instead of a daily flat rate.

Borrello said there isn’t a concern about the cost at this point.

“At this point, the need is great enough,” he said. “We’ll see what happens going forward.”

In other news, the Jamestown Raiders High School Hockey Team was recognized as state champions by the legislature. The team won the AAU state championship earlier this month at Northwest Arena. Legislator Lisa Vanstrom, R-Jamestown, read a commendation from the legislature honoring the team. Legislators John Davis, Mark Odell and Pierre Chagnon all stood with the team to congratulate them on their win.

Coach Joe Gerace also stood at the front of the legislative chambers, offering words of praise to the team.

“I want to thank you for recognizing the team, and tell you what an honor it was to coach these young men,” Gerace said. “Winning a state championship is a huge honor for us.”

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