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Chautauqua County Government Announces Changes in Some County Services Due to COVID-19 Precautions

Submitted by gallagha on Wed, 03/18/2020 - 10:25

Updated on 3/20/20 at 2:21 p.m.:

 

MAYVILLE, N.Y.:-- Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel has announced that Chautauqua County Government has a plan in place to reduce its on-site staff by 50 percent in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19).

 

These actions are a result of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March 16, 2020 Executive Order to local governments to reduce their overall on-site staff by 50 percent and to allow nonessential employees to work from home.

 

“Chautauqua County Government will continue to run smoothly with a few changes in some of our services as we take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our employees, residents, and clients safe,” said Wendel.

 

Changes to county services include:

 

  • County Clerk’s Office:
    • Due to concerns about the coronavirus, Chautauqua County Clerk, Larry Barmore, has implemented the following policies effective Monday, March 23, 2020:
      • THE COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
        • All record searches are required to be completed online at www.searchiqs.com.
        • All other legal documents can be filed via:
          • E-Recording
          • E-Filing
          • Mail- 1 N. Erie St. P.O. Box 170 Mayville, NY 14757
        • Until further notice, the following in-person services will be suspended and will only be accepted by mail:
          • Business Certificates
          • Notary Public
          • Registrar & Notary Appointments/Clerk Certifications for Apostilles
          • Copies/Certified Copies of Documents
          • NO PASSPORTS WILL BE ACCEPTED AT THIS TIME.
        • ALL DMV OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
          • THERE WILL BE DROP OFF BOXES AT EACH DMV LOCATION

            Customers will be allowed to only drop off the items listed below:

          • New Registrations/Renewals
          • Invitations/Renewal Notice You Receive in the Mail
          • Plate Surrenders
          • Please have all your paperwork ready. You can obtain forms online at www.dmv.ny.gov.  You must leave your contact information as we will call you to process the payment over the phone. Only credit cards will be accepted at this time.

            VERY IMPORTANT: You NEED to leave all of your contact information (Phone number AND mailing address) with your paperwork. Without your contact information there will be NO transaction.

            ALL DEALER WORK NEEDS TO BE DROPPED OFF. WE WILL PROCESS YOUR WORK AS USUAL.

            All customers are encouraged to submit by mail. Please utilize https://chqgov.com/county-clerk/County-Clerk-1  for additional information.

 

  • County Legislature Office:
    • In order to ensure that social distancing is practiced in our County during this pandemic, the Chautauqua County Legislature is establishing precautionary procedures for all remaining March meetings. One of the Governor’s executive orders this month allows a waiver of the open meetings law and provision for non- public meetings, conference call meetings, or webinar meetings (or other similar technology) as long as the public is able to listen to the proceedings, and as long as a transcript is produced.
    • County Legislature Meeting. For the Legislature meeting on March 25, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. the following guidelines will be followed:

 

      • Although the Legislature meeting will remain open to the public within reduced capacity limits, the public is encouraged to avoid attending the meeting in person, and to follow the meeting on live stream. In lieu of making a statement in person, any and all comments to the Legislature that would be presented under either privilege of the floor should be emailed prior to the meeting to the Clerk of the Legislature at TampioK@co.chautauqua.ny.us. Emailed statements received by the Clerk shall be read during the appropriate privilege of the floor.

 

  • Department of Health and Human Services Operations:
    • In an effort to reduce face-to face contact, the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging all Social Services clients to not come in for scheduled appointments or nonemergency services.  Negative actions will not be taken on the case as a result of missing an appointment. 

      The Department of Health and Human Services is committed to continue to serve the public, while balancing the health and safety of the community.

      Services through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are being provided as follows:

    • Temporary Assistance, SNAP, – All Public Assistance eligibility, recertification, and emergency interviews can be done by phone. Domestic Violence and Drug/Alcohol Screenings will be done by phone. These interviews can be conducted without face-to-face contact through April 11, 2020 and recertification interviews can be conducted by phone through May 15, 2020. All applications and required documents can be mailed, e-mailed, faxed, scanned, or dropped off.  SNAP benefits can be applied for on-line at mybenefits.gov.
    • Temporary Housing Assistance (Homeless) and Non-PA Emergency Assistance applications and documentation can be mailed, e-mailed, faxed, scanned, or dropped off.
    • Employment Activities – All work activities for Temporary Assistance and SNAP applicants and recipients will be suspended until May 15, 2020. Employment assessments and employment plans for applicants and recipients may be completed via telephone contact.
    • HEAP – All requirements for face-to face interviews for any HEAP component is temporarily suspended. Applications and any supporting documents can be mailed, e-mailed, faxed, scanned, or dropped off.
    • MA Spenddown/Over-grant Claims and any other DSS payments – In person payments, may be sealed in an envelope with your name and reason for payment and placed in the designated “drop box” at the locations referenced below. Make the payment as close as possible to the correct amount. Any amounts overpaid will be credited to the following month.
    • Fair Hearings – Please contact the office of Administrative Hearing at 1-800-342-3334 for rescheduling.
    • Child Support – Can be emailed directly at cccseu@co.chautauqua.ny.us, Faxed (716) 753-4602, or Call (716) 753-4555.
    • Child Support Court appearances are administratively adjourned until April 30, 2020.  Adjourn dates will be sent out by mail to respondents.
    • Children Protective Services – Please call the Statewide Central Register 1-800-342-3720.
    • Adult Protective Services/CASA – For non-emergencies please call (716) 753-4447; mail can be sent to 7 N. Erie Street Mayville, NY 14757
    • Applications, both certification (initial) and recertification for assistance should be mailed to Chautauqua County Department of Social Services 110 E. 4th Street, Jamestown, NY 14701 or 319 Central Avenue, Dunkirk, New York 14048 or dropped off in either location – drop boxes are available.

      It is essential that all clients please include a working phone number so we can contact you for an interview by telephone. Emergency needs will still be addressed on site at our Dunkirk and Jamestown locations.

    • Environmental HealthThe Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services Environmental Health division has announced changes to public access to the Environmental Health office and water sample processing.

      • Until further notice, facility operators, contractors and members of the public will not be permitted in the Hall R. Clothier (HRC) Building in Mayville.  Anyone requiring assistance or doing business with Environmental Health, such as applying for permits, must call 716-753-4481 for assistance.  Do not expect to be assisted by stopping in.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

        The Environmental Health water lab will remain open but there are changes to sample drop off beginning Monday, March 23rd.  Until further notice all commercial customers, including water operators and permitted facility owners/operators, who use our lab are to drop off water samples in the entryway to the Gerace Office Building at 3 N. Erie Street, Mayville. This is the courthouse building located adjacent to the HRC Building whose parking lot is accessed from N. Erie Street/Route 394.

        The procedure is as follows:

        Bacterial Water Samples: 

      • Samples may be dropped off Monday through Thursday between 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM
      • Place water samples in the cooler located inside the main entrance near the security station

                             Nitrate Water Samples: 

  • Samples may be dropped off on Wednesdays between 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM.
  • Samples must be collected the same day they are dropped off.
  • Place water samples in the cooler located inside the main entrance near the security station.
  • Remember to complete the sample chain of custody/testing form; you must include your e-mail and phone number.
  • Attach the sample chain of custody/testing form and your check to the water bottle. Cash is not accepted. Test Assured will invoice those not including payment.
  • Record your facility name, date and time samples were dropped off on the clip board provided.
  • All customers who do not have sample bottles and need to pick them up must call 716-753-4481 for arrangements.  
  • Human Resources Department and Civil Service Exams:
    • Civil Service Exams. Due to recent public health and safety concerns, the Chautauqua County Department of Human Resources announces that ALL Chautauqua County Civil Service Exams scheduled to be held in Mayville, NY on March 21, 2020, March 28, 2020, and April 4, 2020 have been postponed.  At this time we are unable to provide an alternate test date.  All eligible applicants that received an admission letter for one of these exam dates will be notified by the Human Resources Office, Department of Civil Service, when an alternate test date has been determined. 

 

    • Human Resources Office. Effective March 18, 2020, the Chautauqua County Human Resources office will be closed for public access. Please contact the office at (716)753-4237 if you need assistance. We will take every effort to address needs in a timely manner.

 

We ask for your cooperation and patience as we navigate the current health and safety concerns.  Please be sure to stay informed of updates and additional employment information as it becomes available by checking the Chautauqua County website at www.co.chautauqua.ny.us then click on “Employment.”

 

 

  • Office for the Aging Operations: Office for the Aging staff continues to work every day to serve the seniors of Chautauqua County.  Due to COVID-19 and state and local guidance on distancing to protect older adults from infection, there have been some changes to services: 
    • Case management staff continues to call all the clients who receive our services, check on their wellbeing and make sure they have adequate food and medicine.  We are also giving people suggestions on things they can do to keep their mind and bodies active in positive ways.

 

    • Adult Day Care has been ordered to close but they are also checking on their participants and making sure they have all they need as well as emotional support.

 

    • Home delivered meals (MOW) is continuing and people in congregate meal programs have changed to take-out.  Seniors can use their dining out tickets for takeout from Meeders, Sure fine, and Central Station.

 

    • Homecare program: Most homecare services are continuing but aides who do housekeeping and chores may be limited to just running errands to pick up essentials.  Homecare providers are reaching out to clients if there are any changes to services.

 

    • HIICAP counseling and other meetings with clients:  Most of these have changed to telephonic meetings rather than in person for immediate needs or postponed if they can be.

 

    • NY Connects Helpline and Office Phone lines: Continue to be manned to answer questions, calm people’s fears and direct them to good information.

 

We can all help by calling older neighbors and church members to see if they are ok, run errands for food and prescriptions so they do not have to go, and just spend some time talking to them about things other than COVID-19.  Encourage seniors to take a walk outside if they are able, stay active inside if they are not, and reassure them that we are doing all we can to keep them safe and healthy. 

 

  • Department of Planning and Community Development: The Department of Planning and Community Development is closed for public access. Individuals are encouraged to mail any correspondence to the department at Chautauqua County Division of Planning and Community Development, 2 South Portage St., Westfield, NY 14787. A mail drop box is also available outside the office. Customers can also reach the department at (716) 753-4060.

 

  • Probation Department Operations: The Probation Office in Mayville will be closed for the duration of this event.  The Jamestown and Dunkirk offices will remain open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with public access by appointment only.  Anyone with questions can call (716) 363-3640 or (716) 661-8011. 

 

  • Department of Public Facilities (DPF) Operations:

 

    • DPF County Highway Transportation. The DPF County Highway Transportation operations in Falconer, Sheridan and Sherman will be closed starting March 18, 2020 until further notice.  For any County Highway related issues, please call the county highway dispatch number (716) 661-8401 or alternatively the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office at (716) 753-4232 as appropriate.  County Highway personnel will be available to respond as needed to ensure the safety of the travelling public.  

 

The Falconer County Highway Administration building and the Division of Parks and Recreation will also be closed starting March 19, 2020 until further notice.  Please see the county’s website for contact information for inquiries in these areas.

 

    • County Landfill.  In light of further clarification from the State that sanitation and solid waste are considered essential services and to minimize the inconvenience to the public, the North, South, and West County Transfer Stations will re-open to the public on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. These three transfer stations will be open on Saturdays for residential waste only. The County Landfill will continue to operate under normal operating hours and the Ellery Transfer Station will be open daily Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Chautauqua Area Regional Transit System (CARTS). CARTS will be adjusting public transportation services starting March 19, 2020.  All Saturday City Route Service will be suspended until further notice.  CARTS Rural Route Service will have modifications so call CARTS to find out further information.  CARTS Demand Response will be operating but in a limited capacity for essential transportation only.  Continue to check with CARTS at (716) 665-6466 or (716) 366-3500 or on our CARTS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CARTS.NY for further updates and continuing changes.

 

    • Jamestown and Dunkirk Airports. The Jamestown and Dunkirk Airports will remain open as normal with the Centric Aviation, the fixed based operator handling flight operations at both airports.  However, the Jamestown Airport Terminal building will be closed to the public until further notice.

 

 

  • Sheriff’s Office Operations:
    • Jail Division: Jail visitation and programs have been suspended until further notice. We are currently working with our phone provider to offer two free phone calls per week for the inmates. 

 

    • Pistol Permit Office: The Chautauqua County Pistol Permit Office will be closed until further notice. All pending pistol permit applications and any new permits will be placed on hold at this time. Other transactions can be sent to the Pistol Permit Office by mailing: Pistol Permit Division, 3 N. Erie St., P.O. Box 128, Mayville, NY 14757.

 

    • Records Division: The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office Records Division will be closed to the public. Requests for records can be made through mailing the request to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office Records Department, 15 E. Chautauqua Ave., Mayville, NY 14757. All requests will be handled as soon as possible but likely after the State of Emergency has been lifted. If an accident report is needed it is best to go to crashdocs.org to obtain a copy of the report.

 

“We appreciate our residents understanding and cooperation during this pandemic,” said Wendel. “Should more changes in county government operations arise, we will be sure to keep residents informed.”

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