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Legislature Opposes Governor ‘Fast Tracking’ Renewable Energy Projects

MAYVILLE — The Chautauqua County Legislature on Wednesday approved a motion opposing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to potentially speed up the process for renewable energy projects.

As a part of the governor’s 30-day state budget amendments last month, Cuomo proposed speeding up the permitting and construction of renewable energy projects.

Legislator Mark Odell, R-Brocton, said if Cuomo’s proposal is approved it would limit local public input into renewable energy projects, which includes wind turbine farms. He opposes the governor’s attempt to fast track renewable energy projects.

“This is very inappropriate,” he said.

Elisabeth Rankin, R-Jamestown, said Cuomo’s proposal would takeaway the opportunity for local input and control of a renewable energy project. “Local input is valuable,” she said.

Lisa Vanstrom, R-Jamestown, said the proposal would curtail town, village, city and county government officials from being involved in projects that would be constructed in their local municipalities.

“I disagree with the governor’s overreach,” she said.

The motion states that if Cuomo’s amendment is passed as part of the state budget process, which has a deadline of April 1, the changes would replace Article 10 with a new, fast track method of energy project siting, effectively removing local control in the decision making process and any input from municipalities, citizens or local environmental groups.

In other business, the legislature approved a resolution to fund the Chautauqua Hometown Heroes Veterans Memorial $6,500 for educational kiosks. The estimated cost of the project is $90,000. Other organizations funding the project include $10,000 from the town of Chautauqua; $10,000 from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation; $8,800 from the village of Mayville; and $5,000 from the North Chautauqua Community Foundation, along with funding from private donors.

The Chautauqua Hometown Heroes Veterans Memorial is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to P.O. Box 102, Mayville, NY 14757 or online donations accepted at crcfonline.org. For more information, call 581-1790.

The county Legislature also approved resolutions requesting the state Legislature to renew its 1% additional sales tax and 5% occupancy tax. Both taxes, if approved by the state Legislature, will be renewed for three years.

The legislature also approved a resolution scheduling a public hearing at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, for the county to apply for a Community Development Block Grant of $450,000 for The Lodge At Chautauqua Lake project. In August 2018, the Webb family of Mayville announced the lodge project that will consist of condominiums.

The legislature also approved a resolution to accept state grand funding of $40,543. The funding will be used to make Americans With Disabilities Act improvements to the early voting area at the Chautauqua County Fair Grounds, which will include the construction of a handicapped-accessible ramp.

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