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Municipalities should sign water district agreement

September 24, 2015
By Todd J. Tranum - President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Sout , Westfield Republican

The proposed Northern Chautauqua Regional Water District must move forward. Several municipalities have provided ongoing input and support of this effort and should be applauded for their efforts. Yet we are concerned that the recent loss of some grant funding for a portion of the project is an indication that it is losing steam. The business community is looking to all the municipalities that are part of the plan to stay engaged in the process and move this project forward. Our community cannot afford to lose the momentum this project has had, therefore we look to the elected leaders and key decision makers and ask for your support of this critically important water district.

The Chamber and MAST are strongly in support of the project for a variety of reasons. An abundant supply of clean water at a reasonable price is critical to both economic development and the overall quality of life in Northern Chautauqua County. The Northern Chautauqua Regional Water District will stabilize water rates, expand service to homes and businesses, provide consistent and reliable water supplies, improve a deteriorating infrastructure that has caused health concerns, and develop a regional system that will maintain jobs and foster economic growth. Some of our largest industries, especially food and beverage processors, rely on water to produce their products. It is also crucial for commercial businesses, schools, and housing developments. Water is not only a vital natural resource, but also central to our current economy and the growth of jobs in our region.

We echo the call by County Executive Vince Horrigan to keep this project on track. An inter-municipal agreement has been drafted that provides a structure for implementing the regional system. We encourage all Chamber and MAST members to bring this up as a critical issue before your municipal government.

At a time when our region faces other substantive challenges including the closing of some industrial facilities and uncertainty regarding the repowering of NRG, this should be one area we can all support. Additional grand funding is at stake if no progress is demonstrated. It's time to pull together as a county and a region, and see this important project through to fruition.

Health insurance

information/open enrollment sessions set

Health insurance remains a hot topic for businesses and their employees, and the Chamber is here to help. We can serve your needs, whether you are a sole proprietor or a small, medium, or large business. We can make sure you get the coverage you need at a price that works for you, your company and your workers. This year, Chamber staff has the ability to provide a wide variety of choices to connect you with health, dental, vision, and other ancillary insurance products that will best suit your needs.

To help you make a sound decision around health insurance and ancillary products for the coming year, the Chamber is holding a series of free open enrollment and informational sessions. Our goal is to provide a thorough overview of changes and options that may be available.

These sessions will be held at JCC in Dunkirk on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.; at the YWCA of Westfield on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m.; Tom's Family Restaurant in Irving on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m., and the Main Gate Welcome Center at Chautauqua Institution on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Whether you are an existing Chamber insurance client or not, we strongly encourage you to attend one of these sessions. While they are free, we appreciate advance registration so we know how many people to expect. These forums are sponsored by KeyBank, Lawley Insurance, and Univera Healthcare. The complete calendar and online registration is available at or you can call us at 366-6200 or 484-1101.

Chamber Awards Banquet is Oct. 8

All Chamber members are receiving invitations to attend the Chamber Annual Awards Banquet Oct. 8 at the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia. This annual event pays tribute to the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Award winner and Person of the Year, as well as Community Service Award winners from each of our community Chambers countywide.

The Economic Development Award is being presented jointly this year to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation. Together, the two community foundations provided over $3.5-million in the past year in grants and scholarships to both local non-profit organizations and local students attending colleges and universities nationwide. The Person of the Year is Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy and the National Comedy Center, who is being recognized for her strong leadership and vision for the future of comedy in Chautauqua County. Community Service Awards are being given as follows: Dunkirk Chamber, the Dunkirk High School Army Junior ROTC program; Fredonia Chamber, Fredonia Beaver Club; Hanover Chamber, Estelle Crino; Jamestown Chamber, George Panebianco; Mayville-Chautauqua Chamber, Ken Shearer; and Westfield-Barcelona Chamber, Jack and Kathie Horst.

The banquet is sponsored by DFT Communications, Lawley Insurance, NRG Dunkirk Power, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and Star Media. Anyone is welcome to attend this event and registration is now open online through the Chamber website at

Chautauqua County Restaurant Week

Oct. 19-25

Once again this year, the Chamber of Commerce is proud to present Restaurant Week, Oct. 19-25 in Chautauqua County. Restaurant Week is all about celebrating our local cuisine and dining culture! Chamber member restaurants may participate in our promotional and advertising plans which will include print and electronic media. For more information call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101 or email Jason Toczydlowski at



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