MAYVILLE - The chairman of the Bemus Bay Pops said he did not intend to threaten county legislators with the letter he sent Monday.
At the conclusion of the letter, Clayton Sweeney wrote of possibly taking the Pops out of Bemus Point and to another community if the county fails to partner with the summer entertainment series.
"The bottom line is that we expect Chautauqua County to be our partner, to invest in the economic work that we do," Sweeney wrote in the letter. "If not, many other communities are interested in our results. We will review all options at the end of the current season, and determine if we care to accept offers from communities in other regions who value the 480,000 people and $12 million impact we can bring to them instead of to Chautauqua County."
Sweeney does, however, continue on in the letter to say that it is the goal of the Pops to remain in the local community.
On Wednesday, Sweeney said he takes full responsibility for what was construed as a threat.
"I wish it had been written differently," Sweeney told the Legislature. "We did not come here in any way to threaten this body. We have no intention of leaving Chautauqua County, and you can blame me for the way that was worded. If you read the last sentence that follows after that, you realize that we say that very thing."
Sweeney addressed the legislature hoping to have tourism dollars which were cut by the body last month restored to the Pops.
"If I may put it colloquially, we ain't going anywhere, but we'd love you to reconsider the $12,800 that was taken away because we need it to stay viable," Sweeney said. "We are going to stay viable and we're going to do everything we need to do. We want to become your partner. And I think that perhaps we should think of another way to come to this legislature seeking funding for the next year and the year after that because we're going to need your help if we're going to continue doing what we're doing."
Legislators ultimately upheld the decision they made last month, instead allocating the tourism dollars which had been slated to go to the Pops to other festivals and organizations.