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Seneca supervisors consider extended chair term and backs local housing initiative

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Seneca County Board of Supervisors is contemplating a shift in its leadership structure with a proposed local law that would extend the chairperson’s term from one to two years.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

The change, aimed at providing stability and continuity, would require the chair to be elected at the organizational meeting by January 8 in even-numbered years. This proposal, already through the board’s Human Resources and Government Operations Committee, awaits final approval from the full board following a public hearing.

In a move to address the region’s affordable housing crunch, the board has also endorsed Seneca Housing Inc.’s bid to become a Rural Preservation Company, a designation that would open access to state funds for housing development.

This action follows the 2023 Housing Needs Assessment, which underscores the urgent demand for increased non-profit housing projects. The partnership with the Finger Lakes Regional Land Bank positions Seneca Housing Inc. as a pivotal force in revitalizing tax-delinquent properties and expanding both homeownership and rental options, with the county’s Planning and Community Development Department set to offer application support.

Additionally, the board is bolstering tourism by backing the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce’s renovation of a Route 318 property for a dual-purpose facility—housing the Chamber’s operations and creating a visitor center funded through room tax revenue.

The 15-year agreement includes a decade of paid rent followed by five years rent-free. Confirming the Chamber as the Tourism Promotion Agency for 2024, the board committed a substantial portion of the room tax to the Chamber, minus a nominal administrative fee, and allocated funds to support the upcoming Ovid Winter Festival, cementing the county’s dedication to both economic and community development.