County Legislator John Runkle makes some good points. On this Labor Day weekend, the lawmaker from Stockton noted on "Viewpoint" on WDOE earlier this week that Chautauqua County needs to make more progress on its welfare to work program.
The latest figures, Runkle says, shows the rate here is about 17 percent. Two years ago, those numbers had plummeted to around 10 percent
"Our welfare to work program is still behind the curve," he told news director Dave Rowley during Wednesday's show. "We have 57 counties in New York state and we're number 43 out of 57. In other words, we're 14th from the bottom of the list in terms of welfare to work participation rates."
County Legislator John Runkle wants better results from the welfare to work program.
Runkle would rather have that rate closer to the state average of 30 percent.
"It's getting better, but we still have to get to the point where we are at least average," the legislator said.
One of the great things about Runkle on the Legislature is his bipartisan spirit. Speaking as a conservative, Runkle is no fan of the county land bank, he understands the losing proposition of the County Home and rarely shows any bias toward pet projects.
His bipartisanship is so evident that Republicans in the Legislature know they cannot always count on his vote.
Within the Republican caucus, that is shameful. For those political junkies observing from the outside, it is refreshing.
A job increase
Speaking of workers in the county, July's report from the state Labor Department showed an increase from last year in the number of residents working in the county. Last year, 59,500 residents were working and this year it is 59,900 residents.
Also decreasing is the number of residents receiving assistance, according to New York state. Currently, 5,687 residents here, including children, received a combined total of $1.43 million in assistance. That equates to about $251 per month per person.
On the positive side, those numbers have decreased since 2012.
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John D'Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to email@example.com or call 366-3000, ext. 401.