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New legislature leads to changes in committees

MAYVILLE — With a new Chautauqua County Legislature chairman and new legislators, there are new committee assignments for 2020.

Last week, Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, was elected during the annual organizational meeting to be the Chautauqua County Legislature chairman. As a result, he can no longer be the chairman of the Audit and Control Committee.

Chagnon, who as chairman has the responsibility of assigning legislators and selecting chairs for each committee, said the new Audit and Control chairman will be Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown.

Along with Nazzaro, Jay Gould, R-Ashville, Terry Niebel, R-Sheridan, Mark Odell, R-Brocton, and Tom Harmon, R-Silver Creek, will serve on the Audit and Control Committee.

There will also be a new chairman for the Human Services Committee with Daniel Pavlock, R-Sinclairville, replacing David Wilfong, former Jamestown county legislator. Joining Pavlock on the committee will be Elisabeth Rankin, R-Jamestown, Paul Whitford, D-Jamestown, Bob Whitney, D-Jamestown, and the future appointee to District 10. PJ Wendel was the representative for District 10, but with his appointment to be Chautauqua County executive, someone new will be selected and approved by the legislature to serve the district that covers parts of Jamestown, Busti, Kiantone and Lakewood.

The Public Facilities Committee chairman will continue to be John Hemmer, R-Westfield, with other members including Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, Nazzaro, Gould and John Davis, R-Frewsburg. The Administrative Services Committee chairman will continue to be Scudder, with other members including Kevin Muldowney, R-Dunkirk, Christine Starks, D-Fredonia, Davis and Lisa Vanstrom, R-Jamestown. The Public Safety Committee will continued to be chaired by Niebel, with other members including Pavlock, Bob Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, Whitford and Hemmer.

The Planning and Economic Development Committee will continued to be chaired by Mark Odell, R-Brocton, along with other members including Starks, Muldowney, Harmon and Bill Ward, R-Mayville.

Even though Chagnon had to give up his responsibility as Audit and Control Committee chairman once he became the leader of the legislature, he didn’t have to give up his role on two lake agencies. Chagnon told The Post-Journal that he can continue to serve as chairman of the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency and the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance. He also said that the next scheduled meeting of the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency will be canceled because there is no new business to act on. The agency is continuing discussions with consultants Highland Planning, who was approved by the legislature to handle the public engagement proccess for the possible future district for Chautauqua Lake, Chagnon said.

Last month, the legislature approved a resolution to use 2% occupancy tax funding of $15,500 to hire Highland Planning of Rochester. The public engagement period will be from January to June.

During the legislature Audit and Control Committee meeting last month, Don McCord, county director of planning and community development, said the agency has been meeting since October 2018 to study the possible formation of a lake district. He said the first year was mostly a “fact finding” year. However, he said now the agency would like to acquire public input about the possible formation of a lake district.

During the November meeting of the agency, McCord said he had been in discussions with Highland Planning about public engagement. He said the firm will hold lake stakeholder interviews, which will involve both groups and individuals providing input about the potential lake district. He added that Highland Planning will also be conducting an online survey and will use social media to gather feedback from county residents.

Chagnon said the alliance will meet at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Stow Senior Center, located at 5377 Stow Ferry Road, Stow. Some of the items that will be discussed during the alliance’s meeting will be an update on local foundation grant request, an update from the alliance scientific review and advisory committee and an update from the lake management committee.

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