Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — This past election season voters passed a proposition allowing for more casinos in New York State.
The Orleans County Legislature passed its own resolution Wednesday in opposition to those casinos being located in Western New York.
The resolution described how 11 WNY counties and two cities established the Western Regional Off-Track Betting (OTB) Corporation in 1973 thanks in no way to state funding. The funds consisted solely of money from the treasuries of the participating municipalities.
Since that time 40 years ago, four more counties have joined the corporation, which controls local gaming. Over that time, the resolution said, the corporation has “generated over $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities, a group that includes Orleans County.
The resolution specifically opposed the Seneca Nation’s current plans to “locate a full gaming casino in the Town of Henrietta,” which is in Monroe County. With Batavia Downs in such close proximity to both Orleans County and Henrietta, the legislative measure said an additional casino “will over saturate the regional gaming marketplace and cause financial distress with Western Regional OTB and to the 17 municipal stakeholders.”
The measure, which passed unanimously, also included language urging the state to oppose any new casino in Western New York west of Route 14.
In other legislative news, Orleans County took another measure to oppose the SAFE Act.
Part of that controversial legislation requires county seals to be included on pistol permit recertification notices. The county legislature, in unanimously passing its measure Wednesday, effectively said to the state that it will seek to deny permission for State Police to use its county “name, seal, letterhead or address” with regards to gun permits.
The resolution was passed to show support for the NYSACC Western Region County Clerks.
Legislator Lynne Johnson, in explaining the resolution, stated, “In summary, the state’s gun control law clearly states the enforcement is the responsibility of the New York State Police.”
County Clerk Karen Lake-Maynard was in attendance and thanked the legislature for its support on the matter.
After the main portion of the meeting ended and the floor was opened for public comment, some discussion was had regarding the relocation of Claims Recovery Financial Services (CRFS) to Albion. The company announced in late 2013 that it was moving to the vacated JPMorgan Chase building.
Gabrielle Barone of the Economic Development Agency clarified that CRFS has been granted a sales tax exemption to aid in its move. “They are hiring more people and buying more equipment,” Barone said. “We did not give them any community money.”
Chuck Nesbitt, chief administrative officer for Orleans County, agreed. He said nothing was “given away.” He further stated that if sales tax were required for the company it likely would have been paid in Texas, as it could have possibly moved.
Added Barone, “We were competing to keep CRFS here in Orleans County; they were being recruited by Texas.”
Johnson commended the EDA for getting businesses to located and stay in the county as they are the “lifeblood” of the area. As for CRFS, it is on its way to becoming the largest employer in Orleans County. Barone noted, “My understanding is that CRFS is at about 600 employees and that it will eventually occupy both floors of the building.”
She added that at its peak, former tenant Washington Mutual had roughly 900 employees. That is something that could possibly happen for CRFS in the future.
“We’re being optimistic,” said Barone. “We have a local woman who’s grown her company, and we like to think she’ll continue to grow it locally.”