MAYVILLE - During his 2013 State of the County Address, Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards announced the Department of Public Facilities' construction crews will once again report to the Sherman shop this summer as the county and Village and Town of Sherman will move forward in analyzing highway consolidation efforts.
"The decision to keep the Sherman shop open this summer is based on the commitment we received from the Village of Sherman and the Town of Sherman to enter into a professional analysis of our collective highway efforts," Edwards said. "This study will determine if we can bring potential savings to taxpayers by maintaining the same services, but by sharing a single facility for all three of these operations and sharing our resources."
In November 2012, it was announced the Department of Public Facilities was reviewing the opportunity to save taxpayers approximately $250,000 by closing the Sherman shop. This savings could be recognized by eliminating the District Supervisor position, having year-round mechanics reassigned to the Falconer or Sheridan shops and having 17 members of the Sherman road crew report to Falconer or Sheridan during the construction season.
Since then, the proposed changes have been met with resistance from staff and the Sherman community. After Edwards met with Village of Sherman Mayor John Patterson and Town of Sherman Supervisor Mark Persons to discuss the Sherman shop, they discovered grant opportunities through the New York State Shared Municipal Incentive program and other programs, which could assist in funding a professional analysis of each highway operation.
"The Sherman shop and its employees have a positive impact on businesses in our village," Patterson said. "I have promised my residents that we would do everything that we possibly can to keep this facility open and I am pleased that we will be working with the county to analyze the benefits of having town, village and county operations in Sherman housed at one location."
"As we pursue this study, it is important that we all work together to ensure that each highway department receives the attention it deserves," Persons said. "By keeping all of these services in Sherman it will continue to support our local economy."
The study is expected to be completed by next summer. After it is reviewed, a decision will be made on the future of highway operations in Sherman.
"This effort of villages and towns coming together to provide a benefit to taxpayers is something that all municipalities need to investigate, and I am encouraged by our efforts to refine and consolidate services," Edwards said.