Thursday, February 18, 2016

Allegany County: Planning & Economic Development Committee meeting minutes


February 8, 2016

Special Meeting


Committee Members Present: D. Root, D. Pullen, D. Healy, C. Jessup, J. Hopkins, K. LaForge, C. Crandall

Others Present: H. Budinger, S. Burt, P. Curran, D. Decker, K. Dirlam, D. Fanton, K. Graves, L. Gridley, R. Hollis, L. Hunsberger, J. Margeson, A. McGraw, T. Miner, T. O’Grady, B. Riehle, T. Ross, R. Scott, R. Sobeck-Lynch, J. Wood

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 2:46 p.m. by Planning & Economic Development Committee Chairman Deb Root.

Review and Approve Agreement with Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension

            Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension Executive Director Laura Hunsberger requested approval of an agreement between Allegany County and Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension in the amount of $243,000.  Ms. Hunsberger briefly reviewed the Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension Budget including revenue and expenses. 

            Legislator Pullen commented the Committee may have to look at a supplemental appropriation in the future.  Legislator Pullen stated Cornell Cooperative Extension has built up excellent programs, and he would hate to see them lose personnel and participation. He added there aren’t the administrative efficiencies they had when they were working jointly with Cattaraugus County. Legislator Pullen also stated as Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension moves forward, they are looking to do more things including economic development. Legislator Pullen stated he supports this agreement, but the Committee may have to look at more funds in the future.  He believes they may not be able to continue all of the programs without supplemental funds.

            Legislator O’Grady asked if the $243,000 is the same amount appropriated in the past.  Ms. Hunsberger replied yes.  She believes it has been the same amount for the last three years.   Legislator Healy asked if his understanding that there isn’t enough money, and they may need to supplement the money in the future is correct.  Legislator Pullen stated it is the choice of the Board.  However, if they don’t receive more money there may be some cutbacks in staffing because that is the vast majority of the expenditures. He stated some of the positions were shared with Cattaraugus County, but now they are stand-alone positions. Legislator Healy stated if this was the same funding level as before, Cattaraugus County received a better deal. They appropriated less funding, but received half of the services.  Legislator Pullen stated Cattaraugus County had a number of grant programs that is why their County appropriation was less. Legislator Healy asked if the demand has decreased.  Ms. Hunsberger stated they have had an increase in demand. She noted since being a single association, the 4-H Program has increased with 13 new afterschool programs, and enrollment has doubled.

            Legislator Pullen noted the Allegany County Cooperative Extension Board needs to look at where they stand, and then come back to the Committee. Legislator Graves said once the Allegany County Cooperative Extension knows more, then the Committee can make the critical decisions. Legislator Burt believes the program may have run its course with funding.  He would like to see a copy of the programs, the number of presentations made, and the number of attendees not including the staff presenting.  Ms. Hunsberger stated she can provide that information because she is required to report that to Cornell Cooperative Extension at the end of the year.

            Legislator Graves encouraged his colleagues to meet with Ms. Hunsberger, and talk about the economic impact of Cornell Cooperative Extension to the County.  Legislator Healy stated he is in favor of 4-H Programs, and his children have participated in the past. He believes it is worthwhile.  His only concern is how many times they are going to come back and ask for more money. Legislator Graves stated the leadership of the Board should work with Ms. Hunsberger to establish precedence.  He noted she is very negotiable, hardworking, and the programs are worthwhile.  The request was approved on a motion by Legislator Jessup, seconded by Legislator LaForge, and carried.  Refer to Ways & Means


            There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was adjourned at 3:02 p.m. following a motion by Legislator Hopkins, seconded by Legislator Pullen, and carried.
Respectfully submitted,

Rebecca Scott, Secretary to the Clerk of the Board
Allegany County Board of Legislators