Cattaraugus County lawmakers approve three-year extension of 5% bed tax | News

LITTLE VALLEY — The Cattaraugus County Legislature on Wednesday approved a three-year extension of the county’s bed tax.

The bed tax, which brings in more than $1 million annually—primarily from the Ellicottville, Olean, and Allegany hotels—is used to fund the Ellicottville, Olean, and Salamanca Chambers of Commerce. The rest goes into the general fund.

No one spoke at a public hearing held ahead of the vote on the local hotel and motel tax extension bill, which was introduced at the Legislature’s Jan. 5 organizing meeting.

The 2022 bed tax allocations include $91,181 for the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, $46,390 for the Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce and $22,395 for the Seneca/Salamanca Chamber of Commerce.

An additional $106,644 was allocated to cover advertising expenses for festivals and tourism marketing initiatives.

Lawmakers on Wednesday introduced two more local laws involving the splitting up of the Public Works Department.

A local law creates the Department of Buildings and Grounds and a Department Director, which is currently a division of the Public Works Department under Commissioner Kathleen Ellis.

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The second local law creates the Department of Public Works under the Commissioner and repeals the local law of 1985 that created the Department of Public Works in its current form. Local law also removes the Buildings and Land Division from the Public Works Division. Both local laws were sponsored by Legislative Chairman Howard VanRensselaer, R-Randolph. The separation of the Buildings and Lands Department from Public Works was not publicly discussed by the Public Works Committee for the past year.

The committee will discuss proposed local public works reorganization legislation at its first meeting next month. Local laws would come into effect on February 14.

The legislature accepted a $785,000 bid from Northville-based Wadsworth Lumber Inc. for the County Forest’s Ashford Softwood Timber Tract. The bid was the highest of nine received for the area and was recommended by Generations Forestry, the county’s ranger.

Lawmaker Kip Morrow, R-Portville, the area coordinator for the Olean Toys For Tots campaign, told fellow lawmakers that 1,688 children were cared for by the program last Christmas.

“We gave out 11,082 toys, including 1,380 books,” Morrow said. “We bought about 2,000 toys locally and collected 7,342 toys, 374 books and 500 hosiery items.” Each child received about seven toys. Volunteers contributed 1,016 hours, including 171 hours on the day of distribution, Morrow said.

In addition to the volunteers, Morrow thanked all the people who filled in the white boxes, the district employees and department heads who donated.

The lawmakers adjourned in memory of John Sampson of Salamanca, the county’s former veteran service officer, who retired in 2012 after 22 years in office. He died on Tuesday.

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