Calling on his 27 years in the United States Air Force, Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan has an operation for Chautauqua County: Operation Jump Start. In his first County Executive Breakfast sponsored by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, Horrigan spoke about his plans to jump start Chautauqua County.
Horrigan was introduced by Chamber President Todd Tranum who said Horrigan is "dedicated to community and country." Tranum believes by the chamber working with Horrigan, much will be accomplished by working with the businesses and community partners.
One of the points his plan included was addressing property taxes. He said by growing businesses within the county, property taxes will decrease. Business leaders and owners who maintain a positive and optimistic attitude, will create momentum. That momentum will bring in buzz and hopefully additional businesses to the area. Horrigan added there is not much left in the fiscal budget for the county to cut.
“It's time to spark a new day, and find new businesses and new jobs, while expanding our existing businesses.”
County Executive Vince Horrigan
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
County Executive Vince Horrigan (left) and Chautauqua County Chamber President Todd Tranum (right) discuss how to grow Chautauqua County.
He also wants to expand the efficiency between non-profit organizations and the public sector, improve coordination for various county coalitions to measure progress and increase shared services among municipalities.
It is Horrigan's goal to keep existing jobs and reach out to at least 100 area businesses to see what can be done to help those businesses thrive. He also recognized all the various types of renewable energy coming into the county including methane gas, solar and wind power and NRG converting to natural gas.
The surprise of ConAgra closing the Dunkirk and Fredonia plants cannot happen again, Horrigan said. Staying in touch with out-of-area business owners is crucial so the county will never be blindsided by a closure. The county is in touch with five large businesses to come and tour the facilities in hopes of a sale of the plants slated to close next year.
Growing tourism in the county by 20 percent is another key point of Operation Jump Start. Horrigan said the lakes and various trails are a "great asset to Chautauqua County" to attract tourists to stay and spend money locally. He also said the county needs to bring tourism in from the north, particularly the Buffalo area and Canada.
In order to move people better throughout the county, Route 60 - which Horrigan described as a "highway of death" - needs to be addressed to make the road safer and more easily accessible.
"We've got to move people from the south to the north and the north to the south in an efficient, fun way. I believe Route 60 is very important for that," Horrigan said.
A final component of Operation Jump Start included having a healthy and motivated county. The county will also undergo a new marketing strategy to market Chautauqua County as it has never been marketed before.
"I'm very optimistic. This is a great time. My strategy is to work together, to come together but I'll tell you, I can't do this by myself. If we're going to succeed on this mission, it depends on all of us - your ideas, your energy and your optimism," Horrigan said.
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