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JCC seeks increase in state aid

MAYVILLE — The Chautauqua County Legislature will likely vote later this month on a motion supporting an increase in state aid for Jamestown Community College.

On Thursday, Mike Martello, JCC vice president of administration, discussed the possible increase in state aid with the Chautauqua County Legislature Audit and Control Committee. He said the state Legislature is proposing to make changes to its state aid funding formula. Currently, the state aid funding floor is 98% of the previous year’s funding or a $100 increase per full-time equivalent student, whichever is greater. He added the possible change would be a funding floor of 100% of the previous year or $100 increase per full-time equivalent student, whichever is greater.

Martello said the possible funding increase would help college officials mitigate a loss in student enrollment.

“It sort of gives you a safety net,” said Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown and committee chairman.

Martello said JCC’s state aid is based on full-time equivalent students. He said a student has to have 30 credit hours a year to be considered full-time. He added that there are about 2,700 full-time students and overall there are around 4,000 people enrolled at JCC.

If enough legislators sign the motion, it will be voted on by the full legislature at its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on the third floor of the Gerace Office Building, located at 3 N. Erie St., Mayville.

In other business, the committee also approved a resolution to fund $10,000 in 3% undesignated off-cycle project occupancy tax funding for the Chadakoin River Business Plan. Mark Geise, Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency CEO, said the IDA, along with partners the Gebbie Foundation, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History and the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, would like to hire a business to develop a plan to allow for boat travel from Chautauqua Lake to the basin of the Chadakoin River located behind the National Comedy Center. He said around $50,000 in funding has already been acquired for the business plan. The resolution, if approved, would have the county provide $10,000 in funding for the plan.

In December, Geise said that Twan Leenders of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute was hired last spring and summer to perform a monthly bathymetric survey of the Chadakoin River between McCrea Point Park and the Warner Dam. The study concluded that the river is navigable by a majority of watercraft.

Following the bathymetric survey, IDA and Gebbie Foundation officials decided to produce a request for proposals to hire a business to develop a strategic business plan to bring the idea of attracting boaters off of Chautauqua Lake to downtown Jamestown. Geise said the business plan would include where docks would be installed, where buoys need to be located and a water barrier to keep boats from being near the Warner Dam.

Geise said, following the development of the business plan, it will take three to five years to turn the idea into a reality.

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