They're called "Zombie properties..." or, homes that are 'underwater...' but, haven't been taken back by banks or mortgage companies. And... they've become a problem in Jamestown as well as the state. However... state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has introduced legislation to allow the current owner to stay in the home until there's a final resolution... and, to track down the financial institutions responsible for the vacant properties. That from Mayor Sam Teresi... who says Schneiderman has proposed the "Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act of 2014" to stem the local problem of abandoned properties. Teresi says the legislation... which has already been introduced in the Assembly... has four parts. The first... and probably key one for municipalities like Jamestown... is creation of a state-wide registry of abandoned properties. In fact... City Development Director Vince DeJoy says it's one of several items they pushed the Attorney General's Office to have in the legislation. DeJoy says his office isn't able to generate such a list -- with who holds the property -- right now. Teresi says another key part would force mortgage companies to create an "early legal notice" that tells the delinquent homeowner they can stay there until they get a court order telling them to leave.
A local manufacturer of containers to transport nuclear waste is being awarded a contract by the U-S Department of Energy for at least 1.5-million dollars to clean-up three regional sites. The good news was announced this morning by local Congressman Tom Reed... who adds that a final contract with RHI Monofrax of Falconer is being completed. Reed anticipates that should take place by sometime in July. The Corning Republican was pleased his office was able to move the agreement along. RHI Monofrax had seen a recent downturn in business... and, reports were that 74 of the approximately 180 employees at the plant had been laid off by mid March. Reed says there is a demand for the refractories at the Savannah River... Hartford... and, West Valley sites. He says Monofrax will likely be bringing at least some workers back... but, the exact number hasn't been made known. In a press release... Monofrax President Daryl Clendenen said they're "very grateful" for Reed's help. Clendenen says -- "his presence at our facility on multiple occasions and the work he has done to make this a success clearly shows his commitment to this facility and the men and women who work (here)."
Local, county and state officials continue to work on plan for the future after Carriage House closes its operations in Fredonia. Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he has weekly conference calls on the issue with State Empire Development officials along with other local leaders. He says today (Monday) that they are taking a dual approach to developing a plan... either with a major producer or possibly developing an agri-business park.
Congressman Tom Reed's office is also taking part in the weekly conference calls. Horrigan says it's important for all levels of government to work together. But... he says the primary driver in all this right now is ConAgra. Horrigan discussed the process of developing a plan during a recent meeting with the Chautauqua County League of Women voters.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the pension fund for state and local government workers has reached a record high of 176.2-billion dollars with a 13-percent return on investment last year. NiNapoli says that's from "riding a bull market" for stocks. DiNapoli, who is sole trustee of the Common Retirement Fund, says it also paid $9.7 billion to beneficiaries in the fiscal year that ended March 31st.
A two-month-old child suffered no "obvious injuries" when she apparently fell out of a second-story window on Jamestown's westside Sunday night. City Fire officials say they... along with Jamestown police and Alstar Ambulance... were called to the scene at 21 West Eighth Street shortly before 9 PM. A fire lieutenant says the child was secured on a back-board... and, taken to WCA Hospital for initial treatment. City Police say the toddler was later flown to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo as a pre-caution. No criminal wrongdoing was found... and, no charges were filed.
Chautauqua County's Representative in Congress says he wants to see a special prosecutor appointed to investigate former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner... who was found in Contempt of Congress late last week. Corning Republican Tom Reed says he was among the 250 House members who agreed with Speaker John Boehner to NOT have Lerner arrested after she was found in contempt in a 231-to-187 vote. Reed says the former head of the IRS's division in charge of Tax Exemptions made 17 separate factual assertions before invoking her Fifth Amendment rights under the constitution. Reed says the ball is now "in the court" of Attorney General Eric Holder... and, he wants to see where it goes before the Republican majority in Congress decides it's next move. Lerner is considered the focal point of an on-going investigation into whether the IRS intentionally, and unfairly scrutinized conservative and TEA Party groups seeking tax-exempt status. Reed made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media.