LITTLE VALLEY - Norman Marsh will serve as Cattaraugus County Legislature chairman in 2013.
Marsh was elected legislature chairman during the body's organizational meeting recently.
"Again, there is still much to be done," Marsh said. "We do have a new budget in place and it was much easier on everybody last year than the previous year. Even though the budget is under the 'cap,' I think there is still some work to be done. I would like to see the finance committee look into forming a budget review board to work with Jack Searles to see what possible savings or recommendations could be incorporated into the 2014 budget. These findings would then be reported to the finance committee. This is up for discussion, but hopefully, something can be worked out.
James M. Snyder Sr. will serve as the legislature's vice-chairman. William Aiello will serve as majority leader, Donna Vickman will be the majority whip, James Boser will be minority leader and William Sprague will be the assistant minority leader.
In addition to dealing with state and federal mandates, Boser said the county must do more to embrace its agricultural background.
"Information I would like to share with you about the agricultural community of Cattaraugus County is that our county is a right-to-farm county," Boser said. "Outreach discussions will be held this year with our towns on right-to-farm issues. Our county once again will contract with Cornell for farmer assistance. We surely will get a large return for the financial support given them. Cattaraugus County held their first farmer-and-neighbor dinner this past year and it was hugely successful. In April, the second one will be held and it is expected to be twice as big as the first one. The Amish Trail promotes both the Agriculture and Tourism business. Acceptance far exceeded expectations. Agriculture is rapidly changing in our county. We now have organic farming and dairy farms with robotic milking parlors. Soybeans and corn have become major crops in many areas of our county. Farmland that has been idle for many years is now producing crops as well as income for the landowners. With the new production of Greek yogurt in Western New York, the increased demand for milk should enable our dairy farmers to prosper."
In other news, the legislature approved an application by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES for a Literacy Zone grant from the state Education Department.
The program, which has already been funded in the Jamestown area with programs housed at the Gateway Center, 31 Water St., is designed to close the achievement gap in urban and rural communities of concentrated poverty and high concentrations of families and individuals with limited literacy or English language proficiency.
Programs work to bridge the gap between high school, including high school equivalency, and college or training; provide transition services for individuals who are entering or re-entering the workforce; provide computer literacy instruction and Internet access for necessary services; provide health and financial literacy; make available resource library of culturally sensitive materials; and provide referral services.