County officials see lots of progress in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 January 2020 at 9:48 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson said the county has stayed under the tax cap while tackling several important infrastructure projects.

GAINES – Orleans County is seeing progress on many fronts, Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson told about 100 people today during the annual Orleans County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon.

The county has stayed under the state-imposed tax cap while maintaining services to residents and tackling infrastructure projects, including bridge and culvert replacements. The county last year also completed an $11 million addition to the County Administration Building, with the state paying more than $3 million of the project.

Johnson said the state and Gov. Cuomo have been attentive to the county, repaving some of the neglected Lake Ontario State Parkway, authorizing $10.7 million to overhaul seven canal bridges, and most recently approving $17 million for projects along Lake Ontario.

“There is so much good happening in Orleans County,” Johnson told the crowd at Tillman’s Village Inn. “There are so many reasons to stay in Orleans County. Orleans County is a great place to live, work and play.”

The $17 million in funding announced on Oct. 23 is part of the first round of funding under the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative and improve public land and infrastructure, including roads, a new sewer system in Kendall and Hamlin, and an improved Yates Town Park.

County Legislator Ken DeRoller said the local communities have an opportunity to use state funds for projects along the Lake Ontario shoreline and also in better utilizing the Erie Canal.

The state also awarded Orleans a $5,897,141 grant for four new radio towers, accompanying communication shelters, technology to connect separate radio systems and new radio channels. The project will strengthen communications between multiple jurisdictions and agencies. Three of the towers will be 180 feet high and they will be located by the Public Safety Building on Route 31 in Albion, Millers Road in Yates near the water tank, and at the Kendall Central School near the bus garage. The other tower will be 150 feet high and will be near the Holley water tank on Route 237.

The governor also announced $300 million will be available to Erie Canal communities to better utilize and promote the canal.

Johnson also noted the Leadership Orleans program is equipping about 25 people a year to better understand the needs and strengths of businesses, non-profits and government agencies in the county. The third class of the year-long program just started.

A new hotel on Maple Ridge Road in Medina also will open this year. Cobblestone Suites and its 58-room hotel should keep visitors in Orleans longer.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency also is working with a business that could add 200 jobs in Albion, Johnson said.

The Legislature chairwoman said the county continues to pursue grants to expand high-speed internet. It has been a nearly decade-long quest to expand high-speed internet. She is optimistic for good news the service will be expanded in the county.

The Legislature also is interviewing candidates to serve as the county’s chief administrative officer. Chuck Nesbitt served in the role for 14 ½ years before leaving last month for a job in the private sector.

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