By Todd J. Tranum
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
We applaud the continued efforts of County Executive Greg Edwards to find a qualified company to purchase the County Home. The County Home is an important employer and provides a valuable service to Chautauqua County residents.
Over the past couple of decades changes in state law have made it impossible to operate the facility in a way that will make the Home financially viable. The struggles of the County Home are not a reflection of the hard working people who care for our County residents who live there. Instead, they are the result of legislation in New York State that has made it difficult for such publicly owned facilities to compete. For example, county operated homes are prohibited from offering assisted living and independent living care. These types of services are less labor intensive and therefore more profitable in comparison to skilled nursing services.
Private nursing homes are able to offer a diversity of care such as skilled nursing care, assisted living and independent living. This type of diversification allows privately owned nursing homes to be profitable and sustainable.
Privatizing the County Home will save jobs, continue the provision of important services to our elderly population, and open the door to expansion and the development of new services at the facility.
Right now, there is an offer on the table from a serious buyer who owns and operates other nursing homes in Western New York. As with any business person interested in investing in our community, this potential purchaser deserves a fair hearing and courteous treatment from our County Legislature and our community. Let's keep our mind open to the opportunities.
Thanks for Support of NRG Repowering
The outpouring of support for the proposed repowering of the NRG plant in Dunkirk has been tremendous. Thousands of people turned out for a public hearing at SUNY Fredonia, and many hundreds of submitted comments online to the state Public Service Commission. We suspect there are still others who sent letters and emails.
The NRG repowering plan represents the single largest economic development project in Chautauqua County at this time. If the facility closes it will be a huge loss for the entire county, resulting in a substantial reduction in tax revenue. The burden will be especially hard to bear in Dunkirk where both municipal and school taxes will face a dramatic decline. On the other hand, turning the old coal-fired plant into a natural gas fired plant will create and preserve jobs, substantially improve air quality by reducing emissions, and sustain our critically important tax base which provides municipal and school district services. At the same time, it will preserve power production in New York State.
We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who spoke, wrote, or carried a sign. Your support can be truly meaningful. The decision now rests with the PSC. We hope the commission will do the right thing.
Marketing Opportunities through the Chamber
Right now, Chamber members have two proven and effective marketing opportunities to consider, with advertising space available in both the upcoming Chamber Tabloid and in the 2014 Business Builder Source Book.
You may have recently received a letter from the Chamber of Commerce encouraging you to consider advertising in the Chamber Tabloid. This piece will be published by and distributed in the OBSERVER and The Post-Journal in September. It provides an overview of County and Community Chamber activity throughout the year and pays tribute to all of those who will be presented with Chamber awards during our annual Awards Banquet in October. For information about advertising in the Tabloid, please contact either the OBSERVER or The Post-Journal.
The Business Builder Source Book is being published this year directly by the Chamber and offers your best opportunity to promote yourself business-to-business in Chautauqua County. It will be distributed in January to all Chamber members and through other avenues to local business people. For details about the 2014 Business Builder Source Book, contact the Chamber at 484-1101 or 366-6200.
The ACA Effect on Your Business
The effect of the Affordable Care Act on you and your business will be the topic of an upcoming seminar presented by the Community Chamber Development Corporation. The session will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the Lakeshore Assembly of God Church, 252 East Main Street, Westfield and will start at 7:30 a.m.
Both employers and employees will need to make important health insurance decisions before the end of the year. These sessions are part of the Small Business Assistance Program series being offered by the CCDC, a subsidiary of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. CCDC and Chamber staff is well-versed in the challenges and opportunities presented by the ACA and can provide an overview of access, rates, and programs in the New York State Health Insurance Exchange which will be available January 1st.
In addition, there will be a brief presentation on the CCDC's new strategic partnership with Client Solutions Group to offer discounted business services to its members. This presentation is open to anyone associated with a small business, regardless of your membership in the Chamber of Commerce. A continental breakfast will be served. If you have concerns or questions about health insurance needs for your business or your employees, please call us at 484-1101 or 366-6200.