JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – County Executive PJ Wendel participated in a public panel Friday morning to answer questions posed by community members in hopes to alleviate worries and give an update on Chautauqua County as a whole.
Wendel covered a wide variety of topics ranging from the county’s immigrant policy and workforce readiness, to the state of Chautauqua Lake.
Many residents of the county voiced their concern about the rising migrant population in Chautauqua.
“The state of emergency was enacted by myself and now 38 other counties across New York State bipartisanly to stop New York City from arbitrarily sending busloads of individuals to your county and leaving them there. Tell them that we can’t take more people because we don’t have the services to provide,” Wendel explained.
Chautauqua Lake is a staple of our region, and Wendel recognizes that there is work to be done.
“We’re looking at sedimentation traps, it’s large rocks that you put in to try and stop that sedimentation from coming in. The federal government has to appropriate $100,000 to a New Start program. Should that happen, we’re very encouraged right now, the army corps will run a scoping study for an aquatic ecosystem restoration project,” Wendel said.
While Wendel recognizes that college is a great choice for those who want to attend, he also notes that it’s important to be prepared to enter the workforce out of high school if one chooses.
“We need to focus on getting people into trades. We’ve gotten away from vocation, we’ve gotten away from preparing kids to be ready to enter the workforce instead of going to college. If you choose to go to college, that’s your choice but if you choose to enter the workforce that’s what we need to be ready for,” said Wendel.
In the end, Wendel is seemingly very hopeful for the future of Chautauqua County.
“My plan is to finish out these few more years of my current term, then to run again. We’re just going to keep pushing, we’re gonna keep opening doors and making opportunities happen,” Wendel said.
The county executive is also currently looking into micro-nuclear energy as a way to present a cleaner Chautauqua, ending his panel with this phrase, “if not now, when? If not us, who?” and stating that when it comes to our county, the sky’s the limit.