Although some clearly state that the decline of the County’s economy has occurred gradually over the past 50 years, statistical evidence proves that the collapse of our economy is more recent.
Historically, it is true that Chautauqua County began losing manufacturing, mostly in the non-union South, 50 years ago in the 1970s. But those losses were greatly reduced with the advent of the Cummins Engine. in 1974, with Joe Gerace as Senate President and for the first time in Chautauqua County’s history, he controlled the County Legislature. Cummins’ eventual arrival has resulted in at least 1,000 jobs to date.
The 1970s and early 1980s saw another major breakthrough in economic development. The regional leaders have committed themselves to doing something very difficult. The county government led the way in creating a drainage district around Chautauqua Lake (when the lakeside towns did not move to build sewers beyond Lakewood and Celoron) which led to the increase in lakefront property values and the construction of multi-million dollar homes. a simple seasonal hut at one time.
The head of the village at that time also volunteered to take responsibility for waste management for the entire municipality. Until then, almost every city, town and village has its own disposal which is very harmful to the environment.
In fact, the region’s economy was relatively stable in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2008. The New York Department of Labor, for example, reported that our workforce remained at about 68,000. there during these ten years. Since 2008, our workforce has decreased by 18% to approximately 56,000. Today, 12,000 more people are working or looking for work in Chautauqua County than in 2008.
The county’s population declined from 147,000 in 1970 to 140,000 in 2000 or 4.8% in 30 years.
In contrast, the county’s population has fallen from 140,000 in 2000 to 128,000 in 2020, or 8.6% in just 20 years. . Considering the loss of 12,000 residents in just 20 years, this is equivalent to the loss of the entire population of the city of Dunkirk, or 2,400 more people than the 9,600 population of Fredonia, our largest city. .
The 2005 Republican county executive election that defeated an eight-year Democratic incumbent marked the beginning of a return to one-party rule in Mayville.
In recent weeks, he has voiced his concerns about The Post-Journal and the OBSERVER “not eager” district legislators, 15 of 19 are Republicans, which “Sit in their hands at monthly meetings with the status quo that does nothing to advance the province.” For example, in August 2016, the county used $200,000 in state funds to purchase 66 acres of land from Bush Industries in the South County Industrial Park. It was a wise decision. It was then that municipal officials said they would improve the building by building the access road and installing utilities, among other works they said. but to repair the place where the shovel is. However, in January 2023, 66 hectares are the same vacant fields as in August 2016.
The 19 deputies in all districts will be elected this November 2023.
The combination of “not eager” legislators and the absence of “vision” combined to form what is known as a newspaper “long swim” for Chautauqua County.
The newspaper issued a call to action on the ground: “But Mayville needs to wake up – and the elected officials in the city, town and city. There are 60 other districts that are better than this one in this state. This is not Albany’s problem. It’s ours.”
The last thing this shrinking district needs is to allow the County Executive to spend at least $100,000 to hire a public relations person (called a “Information Authority”) to tell us every day about the hard work of the Chautauqua County Executive and what is important in Chautauqua County. We don’t need paid PR people, we need the truth from Mayville. It’s been 49 years since we had a District Executive who didn’t use our money as a public relations spokesperson. We shouldn’t start now.
In general, Americans have always believed that competition is a good thing. Federal antitrust laws ensure that there is competition in American businesses and industries. The competition gives us better quality at a lower price.
The lack of competition in municipal electoral politics since 2005 seems to give us “not eager” legislators are fed up with our county’s population decline and economic collapse and the lack of “vision” from our elected officials.
Chautauqua County can do better. Sixty of the state’s 62 districts already exist.
Fred Larson is a Jamestown resident, former Chautauqua County legislator, former city judge and former Chautauqua County attorney.