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County, Fredonia Central School Settle Tax Dispute

A settlement has been reached between Chautauqua County and the Fredonia Central School District regarding a tax error.

During the January county legislature meeting, lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution requiring the school to pay the county $36,318 for chargeback of tax debt.

During the legislature’s committee meetings, county attorney Patrick Slagle explained the resolution. He said a parcel was assigned a new number, but the old number was not taken off. “For many years there were taxes as if there were two parcels being taxed, two separate owners, and that wasn’t the case,” he said.

Chautauqua County contacted Fredonia Central School to let them know they were overpaid by $85,047 over a 20-year time period and requested the county be paid back that amount.

In response, the school district retained legal counsel to fight the issue, saying that amount would hurt their budget.

“It essentially came down to our position that we can charge back the full amount, and their position is you can’t,” said Slagle. “We went back and forth … and finally we came to an agreement – a tentative agreement – that six years would be the amount that we would agree upon.”

Slagle called the agreement a “compromise” and said he felt it was their best option. “If we decide to go to court over this, by the time we pay legal fees, we could end up paying more in legal fees than what we’d actually recoup for the full amount,” he said.

The legislature unanimously approved the agreement.

In other business:

– The county agreed to use $12,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds for the county jail’s Property Packaging System. The machine will vacuum seal inmates’ property so jail staff does not come in contact with it.

– The county agreed to spend $71,411 of ARPA funds for the Marketing Assistance to Business and Not-for-Profits project. Previously the county spent $400,000 of ARPA funds and received another $258,000 to assist 35 local businesses with marketing. There were another nine businesses that didn’t receive funding and this money will be used to assist them.

– Legislator Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, was appointed to the county Parks Commission.

– Legislator Phillip Landy, D-Jamestown and John Shedd of Lakewood were appointed to the Airport Commission. Legislator David Wilfong, R-Jamestown, was reappointed.

– Legislator John Penhollow, R-Stockton, was appointed to the county Landfill Commission.

– Legislator Dalton Anthony, R-Frewsburg, was appointed to the state Fish and Wildlife Management Board.

– David Thomas of Mayville was reappointed to the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District Board.

– Thomas Erlandson of Frewsburg was reappointed to the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts Board.

– John Hamels of Ripley and Diane Hannum of Dunkirk were reappointed to the county Ethics Board.

– Twenty four people were appointed to the county Fire Advisory Board. New appointments include Lisa Babcock of Ripley, David Walker of Westfield, Mike Gleason of Mayville, and Brenton Yager of Falconer.

– Thirteen people were appointed to the county Emergency Medical Services Council. New appointments include Samantha Stokes of Dunkirk, Lisa Babcock of Ripley, Shannon Raynor of Dewittville, Charlene Unger of Jamestown, Kayla Justham of Celoron, and Hanny Qardri of Jamestown.

– Legislator Anthony was appointed to the county Youth Board.

– Legislator Fred Johnson, R-Westfield, and William Northrop of Westfield were appointed to the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board.

– Legislator Marcus Buchanan, D-Dunkirk, was appointed to the Lake Erie Management Commission.

– Legislator Fred Larson, D-Jamestown was appointed to the county Visitors Bureau Board of Directors and Legislator Martin Proctor, R-Mina, was reappointed.

– Kevin Muldowney of Dunkirk was appointed to the county Industrial Agency Board of Directors. His position takes the spot of Rhonda Johnson who resigned last year.

– January was proclaimed “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” in the county.

– February was proclaimed “Black History Month” in the county.

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