P.M. NEWS FRIDAY 3-28-14

Delaware County Department of Emergency Services announced today that the fire at the former Rexmere Hotel in Stamford on Tuesday is being investigated by the Delaware County Cause & Origin Team, Delaware County Emergency Management and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. Due to the size of the structure the investigation is ongoing and no determination has yet been made for a cause.  24 fire companies from 4 counties responded, along with 4 law enforcement agencies, with 4 million gallons of water poured on the massive structure.


Governor Cuomo announced additional efforts to protect New Yorkers from potential disasters involving the transport of crude oil by train, including a 2nd round of rail inspections to enforce existing freight rail safety regulations.  Cuomo is urging changes to federal spill response plans to better reflect and properly address threats posed by the increasing transport of crude oil throughout New York State.  Governor Cuomo raised concerns about the issue Following several severe accidents across the U.S. and Canada of trains transport volatile chemicals, he issued an Executive Order as crude oil involved in train explosions in North Dakota is transported across Upstate New York by rail, through many communities.


State Senator Jim Seward called on assembly Democrats to join with senate Republicans in enacting a final state budget that will addresses the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which has removed millions of dollars in education aid to struggling upstate school districts.


(Seward 3-28-14)


The Gap Elimination Adjustment was enacted in 2010, Seward said that the 1-house budget resolution approved by State Senate this year included up to $686 million in funding for Gap Elimination Adjustment, which was more than twice the level proposed by Governor Cuomo, and more than 8 times the level proposed by the Assembly leadership.


Legislative leaders & Governor Cuomo are moving toward a budget agreement that would increase school aid by 1.1 billion dollars, install a 2 year property tax freeze, and would delay the implementation of new testing standards for students.  The agreement is expected to be finalized today, 3 days before the end of the state’s fiscal year.  Cuomo has pressed for a 2 year property tax freeze that would require local governments & schools to cap property taxes, and in year 2, agree to cut the tax levy, in exchange for homeowners getting a rebate check that averages $350 a year.  Also schools & local governments would have to develop a plan to share services, but it would not be pegged to any specific cuts on the tax levy.


New York State’s private sector job count grew by 12,800, or 0.2%, in February 2014, according to preliminary figures released today by the New York State Department of Labor. This latest monthly gain raised New York State’s private sector job count to 7,543,100, an all-time high. The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.8%, which is a five-year low. Since the beginning of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration, the New York State economy has added 440,500 private sector jobs and experienced employment growth in 33 of the past 38 months.


Congressman Chris Gibson announced today that The IRS is alerting the public of a new phishing scam in which taxpayers receive emails purporting to be from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Gibson said that the emails have the IRS logo and contain a bogus case number, the emails claim that the person receiving the email is having their 2013 income is flagged for review due to a document processing error, and the case has been forwarded to the Taxpayer Advocate Service.  The email contains a link soliciting personal information from the recipient; the congressman & the IRS advise people not to click on the link, & to forward the email to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov. More information is available at IRS.gov.


Sidney residents with homes in the 100 year flood plain should be aware of the state recovery housing programs, which can lead to buyouts of homes no matter the level of damage sustained.  The programs can pay for repairs, rehabilitation or elevation; residents must apply by April 11th.  State representatives will be available Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM in the village office at the Sidney Civic Center; information is also available at stormrecovery.ny.gov.

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