Revenue sharing, EMS, and the Sheriff-elect dominate the well-attended meeting
On Nov. 29th, Allegany County District 4 legislators held a town hall meeting in Andover NY. The Wellsville Sun wasn’t able to attend, but this accounting of the meeting by the Allegany County Democratic Committee District 4 Representative is detailed and well done. One official who attended the meeting called the report, “accurate and unbiased”
The Allegany County Democratic Committee’s representative for Legislative District 4, Mark Holt of Andover, attended the meeting and provided the following summary:
Three Allegany County legislators representing District 4 conducted the meeting that was held in Andover: Steven Havey, Gary Barnes and Jim Rumfelt. The legislators were joined by newly elected Allegany County Sheriff Scott Cicerello and newly named Undersheriff Walt Mackney. Attendees were mostly town and village officials from Andover and Wellsville, along with one legislator from District 3 (Adam Cyr) and one member of the news media. Important topics from the meeting:
Sharing Tax Revenue: Much of the discussion in the hour-long meeting focused on the possibility of Allegany County sharing some portion of tax revenue with towns and villages. According to Havey, Allegany County is one of only 11 counties in the state that currently do not share tax revenue with local governments. Our neighbors, Steuben and Cattaraugus Counties, share some portion of tax revenue with towns and villages. Counties across the state are benefiting from online sales tax revenue, and this is another source of income that could be shared with towns and villages, since the online shoppers live in those towns and villages. According to some officials present, the budget situation for town and village budgets has grown worse as they are subject to a 2% cap on tax increases, while operating expenses have grown 20% to 30% or more over the last year. If Allegany County could share some portion of its tax revenue with local governments, this would greatly alleviate the problems towns and villages are facing. Havey, Barnes and Rumfelt stated that they are all in favor of some form of revenue sharing, though a majority of the current Allegany County Legislature appears to be against it (by 10 to 5). Havey said that District 4 legislators would continue to raise the issue and push for it, and said that residents of the other legislative districts should push their legislators to support it.
Emergency Medical Services: Legislator Jim Rumfelt serves as the legislative representative to the emergency services committee that is currently conducting a comprehensive review to look at the issue of support to — or potential purchase of — the Medical Transport Service (MTS) in Scio. Like local ambulances and other emergency services, MTS is struggling to stay afloat. Two major problems cited were the slow reimbursements and low reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid. Currently, Allegany County has provided $100,000 in support to MTS, with the potential to provide up to $600,000, and the possibility of purchasing MTS at the end of the comprehensive study. All of the legislators present said they don’t really want to be in the ambulance business, but they recognize that many towns in Allegany County are currently not served by local ambulance services, and they don’t want that trend to continue. Rumfelt stated that he envisioned MTS supporting and working in partnership with existing local ambulance services, to make sure emergency response is available throughout the county. Stay tuned; there is a lot more to come on this issue.
Read the Wellsville Sun’s previous reporting on the MTS agreement:
Public Safety: Sheriff-elect Scott Cicerello of Wellsville introduced his pick for Undersheriff, Walt Mackney. Mackney resides in Andover and has a long history in law enforcement investigation. Cicerello outlined his duties (in no particular order) as continuing to operate the county jail, provide security for the Courthouse complex, operate a Civil Division, and where possible, partner with local law enforcement to promote safe communities. The sheriff-elect said he does not currently see any need for the Sheriff’s Department to operate road patrols throughout Allegany County, as he believes the well-staffed State Police barracks in Amity and Fillmore fill that need very effectively, though he acknowledged that the situation could change in the future and would be revisited at that time. Cicerello said he will continue to advocate for state-level changes to the bail reform law, to keep more accused criminals in custody while awaiting trial. Cicerello said Allegany County communities are awash in illegal drugs, and as Sheriff, his Department will prioritize enforcement of drug laws. Shortly after they take office on January 1, Cicerello and Mackney plan to make a public statement on the current process for applying for “pistol permits” as there seems to be a lot of confusion over changing requirements.
Future Meetings: District 4 legislators plan to continue to hold quarterly public meetings, alternating between Andover and Wellsville. Members of the public are invited and encouraged to attend.
Visit our webpage at www.alleganycountydemocrats.org to read his summary and other news from the Allegany County Democrats