South County Office Building sale moves on

MAYVILLE — Despite public comment against the move and a few “no” votes from legislators, the sale of the South County Office Building is moving forward.

Two other buildings, including the Frank W. Bratt Agricultural Center in Ellicott and the Sherman Shop Maintenance Facility were also approved for sale during the Wednesday night Legislature meeting.

During public comment, both Frank Besse, legislature candidate for Jamestown, and Mike Ferguson, county executive candidate, voiced opposition to the sale of the South County Office Building. Besse said as a business person, he could find no “financial sense” in the move, while Ferguson urged caution.

While the other sale-related resolutions passed without much ado, the South County Office Building resolution was met with some resistance. Robert Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, made a motion to table the resolution.

“I’d like to see us hire someone to market that facility,” Bankoski said. “I find it very difficult to believe that we only had two people interested in buying such a beautiful building in downtown Jamestown. I’d just like to see us market the building and entertain maybe other offers. We probably could get more money for that facility than what is being offered.”

Charles Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, seconded the motion. He said he had some concerns regarding the sale of the building, especially since in the sale, the county would lose control of the building, per se.

“This is a vital asset to downtown Jamestown,” Nazzaro said. “I want to see these services remain in Jamestown, and after 10 years, there’s no guarantee of that.”

Nazzaro said he was not comfortable approving of the resolution at that time.

The legislature then voted on the motion to table the sale of the South County Office Building, which failed with five “yes” votes and 14 “no” votes.

Before the vote on the sale, George Borrello, R-Irving, pointed out that the sale would allow the South County Office Building to be put back on the tax rolls.

Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, said there was a detailed financial review of the sale, which included a net present value analysis with a 10-year and a 20-year horizon. The net present value is the value of cash flows at present as opposed to in the future, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Chagnon said the building is old and is in need of substantial repairs.

“As we have seen before, the cost of government contracting is expensive compared to the cost of a private entity, especially when it comes to capital projects,” Chagnon said.

In the subsequent vote regarding the sale of the building, the resolution passed with 15 “yes” votes and four “no” votes.

In other news, a motion was approved unanimously by the legislature in support of the proposed Cassadaga Lake Nature Park. The park was recently presented to the Chautauqua County Legislature’s Planning and Economic Development committee by John Jablonski, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy executive director. He said the Conservancy has been working closely with the Cassadaga Lake Association for several years to attempt to conserve the important habitat around the Cassadaga Lakes.

Likewise, Daniel W. Pavlock was approved for the open seat of District 14, replacing Legislator Mark Tarbrake.