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By Lacey Gardner

Allegany County Planning and Economic Development Committee Meeting Minutes From March 17, 2021


Members Present: D. Root, G. Barnes, J. Burdick, P. Curran, W. Dibble, D. Healy, J. Hopkins, J. Ricci, C. Crandall

Others Present: D. Bigelow, C. Clark, D. Decker, K. Dirlam, J. Donigan, K. Graves, G. Hanchett, B. Harris, K. Hooker, C. Knapp, R. Lynch, B. Riehle, T. Ross, P. Stockin, M. Washer

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 2:03 p.m. by Planning & Economic Development Committee Chair Debra Root.


Employment and Training Director Reita Sobeck-Lynch attended the meeting and submitted her monthly report to the committee for review. Ms. Lynch stated the January 2021 unemployment rates were 6.8 percent nationwide, 9.4 percent across New York State, and 7.2 percent in Allegany County. Ms. Lynch continued their job board currently has 10 businesses listed that are hiring in the County. Legislator Healy referenced the 3 veterans who received assistance during the Saputo Job Fair and asked if they were hired. Ms. Lynch stated they won’t know until April who was hired from that Job Fair. Mr. Healy thanked Ms. Lynch for helping facilitate that and for all of the assistance her office provides to our veterans.


Planning Director Kier Dirlam attended the meeting and submitted his monthly report to the committee for review. Mr. Dirlam briefly highlighted the following items from his monthly report:


Mr. Dirlam stated they have been discussing installing new radios on the WXXY tower near Houghton/Rushford that will allow new customers to be connected in the spring. Southern Tier West and ACTDC are working together to apply for a $400,000 grant that will assist in replacing the 3.65 radios that are outdated with new LTE radios. These new radios will have better abilities to cut through tree coverage and expand the areas to serve customers.

Comprehensive Plans

Mr. Dirlam stated that the Town of Amity and Village of Belmont have tentatively agreed to work on a comprehensive plan. They have held two meetings so far, and they are going strong with planning in the next 2 to 3 months as Alfred State is planning on having a student project on visions of sustainability and growth in the Town of Amity and Village of Belmont.

Allegany County Pandemic Plan

Mr. Dirlam stated he has received no comments on the Allegany County Pandemic Plan that he submitted to the Board for review. The closing date for comments was on Friday, March 12, and with the exception of some formatting, the draft that was presented is what the Board will be approving by resolution at the March 22 Board meeting. Legislator Burdick asked if this plan has to be submitted to the state. Mr. Dirlam stated initially they believed so; however, they have since found out it only needs to be approved locally and made available to County employees.

Police Reform Plan

Mr. Dirlam stated Wednesday, March 17, is the last day for comments regarding the Police Reform Plan. Mr. Dirlam noted that this plan needs to be approved and submitted to the state by April 1, 2021, or the County could experience impacts on our funding from the state.

County Website

Legislator Barnes asked if Mr. Dirlam’s department handles the County’s website. Mr. Dirlam stated they do a majority of the maintenance; however, we do have Mason Digital that takes care of things beyond what the County can fix. Mr. Dirlam indicated he would be happy to train any department that wishes to maintain their own pages, adding it would be wonderful if they did, but he understands some don’t feel comfortable with it so his office takes care of it.


Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gretchen Hanchett attended the meeting and submitted her monthly report to the committee for review. Ms. Hanchett stated when she put this report together, the weather was warm, shots were getting in arms, and everyone was ready to get out and enjoy the Western NY Wilds. Ms. Hanchett continued that she thinks we’re going to start seeing more events open up, and a lot of people are just waiting to see if the governor will increase numbers of those who can attend.

20 Percent Hold

Ms. Hanchett stated she received an email from Levi Ross, Executive Director of Tourism indicating they will be reimbursing the 20 percent hold.

Travel Guides

Ms. Hanchett noted they are being conscious of the funds they have available to spend, adding due to them not being able to create new travel guides, they will be picking up any travel guides that were not able to be distributed.

Fresh Air Adventure Project

Ms. Hanchett stated they continue to work on the Fresh Air Adventure Program, and the next step will be finding a marketing firm to bring everything together.


Allegany County Development and Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Craig Clark attended the meeting and submitted his monthly report to the committee for review. Dr. Clark highlighted the following items from his monthly report:

Crossroads Project

Dr. Clark stated Dunkin Donuts signs are going up, and they are hoping to have it open and operational by May 2021.


The ANGEL Fund is now operational, and they are meeting weekly. They are currently reviewing a potential investment and project that could be significant to Allegany County.

Great Lakes Cheese

Dr. Clark stated they are close to acquiring the land for the Great Lakes Cheese project, adding there will be a third public hearing held Monday, March 22, at Crossroads as well as online. Dr. Clark noted that Clerk of the Board Brenda Rigby Riehle has the information to share for anyone interested. Legislator Barnes asked what the timeline is for Great Lakes Cheese to be fully operational. Dr. Clark stated once they break ground, it will be a 3 to 4-year project.

Microenterprise Grant

Dr. Clark stated that they have utilized all of the funds for the Microenterprise grant, and they plan to ask for additional funds in the fall. Committee Chair Root noted six businesses had their plans approved by the Allegany County IDA Board. Dr. Clark indicated they will be announcing the winners.

Good of the Order

Legislator Dibble acknowledged the County’s small businesses for staying alive during the pandemic, and he hopes they can continue to grow.


There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 2:23 p.m. following a motion by Legislator Healy, seconded by Legislator Curran, and carried.

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