The city of Dunkirk was represented in Albany on Wednesday at Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address.
For the second straight year, city of Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was in Albany to hear the governor talk of the state's accomplishments along with plans and proposals for the future.
While Dolce went to Albany with Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan, he came back with Assemblyman Andrew Goodell and was reached by the OBSERVER during the trip back to the county. He was asked what he heard that will benefit the city.
"One thing that Assemblyman Goodell and I have been talking about on the way back is the tax commission findings and their proposal, Gov. Cuomo's proposal, and how he is incentivizing keeping the property taxes under 2 percent," Dolce replied. "We're still waiting for all the details to be released and how it will get worked out through the budget process and the legislation process, but the goal would be, as we were able to do in 2014, keep the taxes at a zero percent increase for property owners."
The governor's plan calls for rewarding governments that are working toward consolidation and Dolce said that was part of the tax incentive.
"We continue to work on those efforts. It's one of those things where we all want it to happen, but how you get there is the difficult part," he added. "It's a time-consuming process, but the city keeps talking to our surrounding area and working toward seeing more consolidation, like the arrangement that's still working out very well with the town of Dunkirk and our police department patrolling the town. We need to do more of that."
Dolce added there wasn't anything left unsaid that he wanted to hear.
"There were some very exciting things from the speech. A couple of things that stood out to me," the mayor continued. "He did touch briefly on the overall energy superhighway and the need for transmission lines upgrades. We have the power and the need to get it to downstate."
Part of the good news is a cutback on permitting timelines for powerline work.
"Currently it takes about two years to get the correct permitting, to cut that process down to 10 months hopefully encourages places to upgrade lines," Dolce explained.
Cuomo's proposal for a New York Adventure Permit caught the mayor's attention.
"It would basically be one-stop shopping for all of the hunting and fishing and all of that. That could have a tremendous and positive impact on Chautauqua County," Dolce explained. "We have so much of that that goes on. I know we do many hunting and fishing licenses in City Hall and to be able to have that kind of one-stop service for our residents would be tremendous."
While the city currently gets a cut from the license fees, there is another benefit to the proposal.
"Instead of keep having to come in, to have one card that looks like a driver's license and be able to use that all across, in conjunction with his plan to open up 50 state-owned properties that are currently closed," Dolce explained. "One more thing Assemblyman Goodell and I were talking about that we both loved was the manufacturing tax credits, what a tremendous proposal. We have a lot of manufacturing in the city of Dunkirk and Chautauqua County and it would be a tremendous help to those businesses.
"(Cuomo) would propose that they become zero, and on top of it a 20 percent property tax reduction, which I believe would equal the 1968 level if that reduction were to go through."
Where the funding for that initiative would come from the governor didn't state.
Dolce said he did get to do some networking.
"I was able to meet with a lot of Assembly members and had a couple more opportunities to talk to Empire State Development folks," he explained. "Just being here is a great opportunity to do that and advocate for the city and Chautauqua County."
Dolce said he expects to be back in City Hall today.
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