County Executive PJ Wendel says Chautauqua County is strong — and it’s hard to argue with much of Wendel’s State of the County message.
Tax rates have gone down, though no one should forget the role increased sales taxes play in the county’s decreased tax rates. Tax rates have also gone down because the county’s taxable assessment has increased, another oft-forgotten sign of growth in the county.
Unemployment in the county was 3.5% in 2021, the lowest rate Chautauqua County has seen since Bill Clinton was president. There is economic investment happening throughout the county through Athenex, Americold’s new storage facility in Dunkirk and the Welch’s building in Westfield.
But even Wendel knows there is still work to be done, particularly to reverse the county’s population loss.
“While this isn’t going to happen overnight, we are making progress toward this goal,” Wendel said of efforts to retain and boost population.
There are good things happening in Chautauqua County. But we’ll know Chautauqua County’s position is really strong when the county stops losing population — or maybe even ekeing out a population gain once in a while.