WATERLOO — Economic development. Capital improvement projects. Infrastructure.

Those were among the eight priorities for Seneca County in 2017 set forth by new county Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Shipley.

Speaking at Tuesday’s board meeting, the Waterloo Republican spoke of his election as chairman of the 14-member board and his goals for the year.

“In the coming months, there is much work to be done. Failure is decidedly not an option, but neither is inactivity,” Shipley said.

He listed those priorities as:

• Being proactive in addressing the burden of Medicaid. He said this state mandate costs the county $111,958 a week or 60 percent of its tax levy.

• Encouraging a sound and targeted plan for economic development, one that properly aligns resources, involves both public and private stakeholders and anticipates future trends and opportunities.

• Focusing on the needs of the county’s workforce. He said that includes anticipated retirements, organizational changes and competitive disadvantages in pay and benefits.

• Finalizing and completing a capital improvement plan to consolidate resources, synchronize budgets and prevent inefficiencies.

• Effectively managing the county’s current major infrastructure projects, such as the Route 318 corridor sewer improvement project, Finger Lakes Regional Airport improvements and the new Health Department facilities.

• Searching for new economic development opportunities, specifically targeting the south end of the county.

• Looking for ways to increase the number of customers for the county’s water and sewer districts to lower operating and user costs.

• Continuing to aggressively fight the Cayuga Indian Nation land into trust application.

Shipley said he also plans to create a Business Advisory Group to help identify and leverage business-friendly opportunities to stimulate and grow the local economy.

“Further details will follow in the coming months. Our success must start from within and I believe there is much to gain from a cross section of our hometown industry leaders,” Shipley said. “It is readily apparent to me that we have an opportunity to make Seneca County a better place to live, work and visit.”

Shipley said the community already has proven its resilience. It has endured the closing of significant manufacturing and military operations and the loss of good and stable jobs.

“Yet for all the misfortune, the foundations of Seneca County remain as strong as ever and the potential for a better future has never been more apparent,” he said, adding that the county should not look to the state to solve issues that confront the county.

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