MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association has not changed its stance on the so-called "Hold Harmless" sales tax stipulation since Monday.
In Monday's edition of The Post-Journal was an article which quoted Todd Tranum, Chamber president and chief executive officer. The piece also referenced the Chamber's support of eliminating the "Hold Harmless" payment to local municipalities.
In response to the article, Jamestown City Councilman Vince DeJoy sent Tranum and The Post-Journal an email Monday evening, asking that the Chamber reconsider its position on the issue.
Jamestown City Councilman Vince DeJoy addressed the Chautauqua County Legislature during its regular April business meeting about the so-called “Hold Harmless” payments to local municipalities.
P-J photo by Nicholas L. Dean
"I sincerely believe that they're way off base here in trying to change the distribution formula," DeJoy told The Post-Journal on Tuesday. "There's no such thing as 'Hold Harmless.' And they also want to take a greater portion of the percent that's split now. I think they're playing with fire there."
DeJoy's full email to Tranum can be found linked from this article online at www.post-journal.com, as can comments from County Executive Greg Edwards on the issue.
Tranum told The Post-Journal on Tuesday that the Chamber remains in support of eliminating the sales tax revenue payments made by the county to the local towns, villages and cities.
"We're not persuaded by Mr. DeJoy's argument," Tranum said. "We respect his opinion and his perspective, but that's our position."
Tranum continued on to say that the chamber would like to see a much larger discussion take place regarding the distribution of sales tax revenues as well as the many services which the county has taken over from local municipalities in recent years.
"We think there needs to be a sea change here in terms of the way we're approaching the multiple layers of government," Tranum said. "We can no longer afford it. And I would like to add that pitting our local communities in political battles with the county benefits no one."
DeJoy concluded his comments to Tranum by saying that the local municipalities didn't create the challenges in the county budget, calling them self-inflicted.
"To suggest somehow that perhaps the financial problems of the county are self-inflicted," Tranum said Tuesday, "we would say that a great deal of the issues faced by the municipalities and the county are both self-inflicted and have been forced upon us by state government. The city of Jamestown, by no means, is immune to its own fiscal challenges. And if Mr. DeJoy's concern is that the taxes, sales tax or the energy tax was regressive, would he support reducing the sales tax to 6 percent and eliminating it on clothing and eliminating it on footwear so we can compete with Erie County, Pa.?"