The second regular session of the Allegany County Legislature convened at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 27, 2017. Marine Corps Corporal Gregory Bock led us in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Greg enlisted on February 26, 2013, and was just discharged on February 25, 2017. His primary specialty was Engineer Equipment Mechanic. He plans on seeking further education using his GI education benefits. His father, mother and brother accompanied him to our meeting.
Privilege of the Floor was granted to the President of the Allegany County Chapter of Farm Bureau. She reported that agriculture is strong and growing in Allegany County. Membership in our County Farm Bureau has been increasing, and they have received awards and prizes because of their success. This is great news for this key industry in Allegany County. I want to thank our County Farm Bureau officers and members, and all of our farmers, for all that they do.
Eleven resolutions were considered and approved at this session of the Legislature. Six of those resolutions dealt with routine financial matters.
Resolution 34-17 requested our State Legislators to introduce and seek passage of Legislation authorizing Allegany County to continue the additional 1.5% county sales tax for four years. This action has been taken every two years for my entire time on the Legislature. (The 3.0% county sales tax rate is permanent and does not require biennial renewal.)
On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, the State Broadband Office announced the award of Round 2 Grants for Broadband Service. A total of about $25 million was awarded to Southern Tier Counties. Five towns in Allegany County (Andover, Independence, Centerville, Hume and Rushford) were identified as destinations for new Broadband facilities. I have mixed feelings about these grants. I am thankful that NYS has directed funding towards towns in our County. However, I wish that the State would be more flexible in its eligibility criteria. Current criteria make it impossible for local companies to qualify for these grants. The State also dictates that applicants use fiber-optic or coaxial cable technology that isn’t well-suited for our terrain. It will be interesting to see how well these grants work.