Morning News Brief
Written by Michael Baldwin on January 28, 2021
The Genesee County Legislature has approved some upcoming bridge work. A construction contract with Union Concrete and Construction Corp in West Seneca was given the green light in the amount of $1.7 million. The work involved the replacement of bridges on Meadville Road over Canal Feeder in the Town of Alabama, Sharrick Road over Murder Creek in the Town of Darien and Tower Hill Road over Spring Creek in the Town of Byron. Ninety-five percent of the capital project will be paid by federal aid, with a 5 percent local match taken from the 1 percent sales tax fund. The Legislature also approved a consultant agreement with C&S Companies of Rochester, for an amount not to exceed $109,000 in connection with the replacement of the Upton Road over Bowen Creek bridge in the Town of Batavia. Work, which will be covered by federal aid at the 95 percent level, is expected to start immediately.
Twenty-eight new positive COVID cases have been confirmed in Genesee County. The new infections impact a dozen communities. Twenty-three of the positive individuals are hospitalized. The Health Department also confirms a community member over the age of 65 has died from virus-related complications. Orleans County also reports 28 new cases while 13 additional cases were confirmed in Wyoming County.
It’s not a surprise but the unemployment rate ticked up across the region. According to the state Labor Department, there were 1,500 fewer workers in Genesee County last month when compared to December 2019. Year-over-year, the unemployment rate jumped 1%, landing at 5.4% last month. Orleans County had very similar results. The figures, from the state Labor Department, were released this week.
All Orange and Yellow zone COVID restrictions in upstate New York have been lifted. Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during his briefing on Wednesday, citing the drops in COVID positivity rates across Upstate New York. State officials stressed certain statewide restrictions, such as a 10 p.m. curfew for on-site service at bars and restaurants, continue.
The Genesee County Legislature will begin a phased-in process of resuming in-person meetings beginning Monday. Legislators and administration will meet in-person with all others participating via Zoom videoconference. Starting March 1st, department heads and persons scheduled to present to a standing committee or the full legislature will meet in-person along with legislators and administration. In April, the public may be added to in-person meetings which will be held in the third floor Legislative Chambers at the Old Courthouse in Batavia. A face mask covering the nose and mouth is required and everyone entering the building will sign in and out. Legislature Chairperson Rochelle Stein said the County Legislature is taking steps forward in a cautious and calculated manner while closely monitoring every health metric.
After extended internal consultation and discussion among Finger Lakes and Western Region County Health Officials, it has been determined that higher-risk and moderate risk sports may proceed in Genesee and Orleans counties in accordance with New York State guidelines…that in a press release Wednesday from Paul Pettit, director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. Per current State guidance, indoor facilities must limit their capacity to no more than 50 percent occupancy and a maximum of two spectators per player. In addition, protocols to ensure social distancing, use of face coverings, and enhanced disinfection protocols must be implemented.
NY State Senator Tom O’Mara who is the newly appointed Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee, this week highlighted the need for a stronger state commitment to local roads and bridges throughout Upstate New York. Over the next several weeks, the Legislature’s fiscal committees will hold 13 virtual hearings examining Gov. Cuomo’s proposals in key issue areas. O’Mara has been a leader in the Local Roads Matter campaign.