Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to Jesse Robbins, Busti town supervisor, and the Busti Town Board for removing the $120,000 from its budget that had been spent in previous years supporting the Hazeltine Public Library in Busti and the Lakewood Memorial Library in Lakewood. The libraries will now receive funding as part of a separate tax levy through the Southwestern Central School District. Taxpayers could have really been hurt, however, if Busti and the village of Lakewood didn’t remove from their budget the money they had been spending on the libraries. The budget proposed by Robbins does just that. Busti taxpayers, before any additional changes are made to the town’s budget, are looking at a 21 cent per $1,000 of assessed valuation decrease on their taxes. Lakewood should take the same course when it broaches its budget in the spring.

Thumbs down to yet another round of damage to city offices as part of the ongoing construction project on Tracy Plaza. Almost a year ago, the Jamestown Police Department offices were damaged when rain water poured into the department. The Second Street entrance to the police department has been closed since, creating a major inconvenience to city residents. Now, a water leak has damaged Jamestown Fire Department offices. Jeff Lehman, city public works director, said it is expected the general contractor’s insurance company will pay to repair the fire department offices. Tracy Plaza had better be beautiful when it’s finished, because this construction project has been nothing but a headache for the city’s first responders and the taxpayers they serve.

Thumbs up to the DoubleTree Hotel project’s continuing use of local companies in its $13 million renovation project. Windows in the Fourth Street hotel project were made and installed by D&S Glass. Now, Hamister Group officials are teaming up with Artone, which will make between 700 and 800 pieces of furniture at its Jamestown plant. Some of the project’s $13 million price tag are coming from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the Jamestown Local Development Corporation. It’s good to see that taxpayer-backed money being used to support local companies who employ area residents. Thumbs up, as well, to the grand opening of the breathtaking new Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron and the dozens of new jobs, filled by local residents, it brings to the local economy. In addition to bringing a beautiful new building and adding jobs to the local economy, Hart Hotels officials have said they want to be part of the solution to the weed and algal bloom issues plaguing Chautauqua Lake.

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