Budget Brings Assistance To Chautauqua County

Funding included for Chautauqua Lake, agricultural programs, veterans’ services and senior citizens

Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R,C–Chautauqua) today voted on a budget that includes funding for many valuable programs for Chautauqua County, particularly for increased funding for the Chautauqua County Lake Association, agricultural programs, veterans’ services and senior citizens.

This year’s budget includes $50,000 in funding for helping to clean up Chautauqua Lake this summer. The Chautauqua Lake Association is preparing for an especially difficult summer as it relates to the control of seaweed and algae bloom.

“Chautauqua Lake offers residents and visitors with countless hours of relaxation and fun in the sun,” said Goodell. “But when not kept in check, the seaweed and algae can cost our region in personal enjoyment and in tourism dollars. I want to thank Senator Young for her efforts to secure additional funding so that the Lake Association can help keep our lake beautiful all summer long. I also am working with officials in county government to use the welfare-to-work program to help the Lake Association clean up the shoreline.”

The budget also provided aid to a number of key agricultural programs, including $3 million for the creation of the Agricultural Economic Development Program, $1.2 million for the Farm Viability Institute, $882,000 for the Pro-Dairy Program, and an additional $300,000 for Cornell Co-Operative Extension.

“Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar per-year industry in New York state and, here in Chautauqua County, it remains one of our leading economic drivers. We are blessed to have a wide variety of agricultural-related industries here in our community, from dairy production and vineyards like Cliffstar, Carriage House, Welch’s and many others. Local farmers also provide our communities with all kinds of fresh products, everything from milk and eggs to apples, corn and green beans. That is why I am proud to support this year’s budget, which reaffirms the commitment of state government to New York’s agricultural heritage,” said Goodell.

Another major component of this year’s budget was an increase in funding for veterans’ services. Chautauqua County is home to a vibrant veteran’s community and we need to provide strong programs for these local heroes.

“Veterans, who are our friends and neighbors, are owed an immeasurable debt for their selfless sacrifice in service to our country,” said Goodell. “I remain committed to providing them the assistance they need so that they can demonstrate how the skills and experience they gained serving our country can adapt to the changing civilian workforce. These men and women have given so much to our country to protect our freedoms. In return, I want to reaffirm New York State’s commitment to them.”

Finally, this year’s budget works to provide an out-stretched hand for senior citizens who continue to struggle to make ends meet. This help will come in the form of a restoration for the EPIC co-payment assistance program beginning in January 1, 2013.

“The elimination of the co-pay assistance program has created substantial hardship on our local senior citizens. Many of them live on fixed incomes and this assistance is integral to their day-to-day lives,” said Goodell.

“It is my objective to continue to lobby in Albany on behalf of Chautauqua County to put our interests first. Every budget is not perfect, but this year’s budget is a solid budget for New York State.”