MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello said his first year as county executive was filled with overall success.
In an interview Monday with WNYNewsNow, the Hanover Republican said he’s grateful of what his office was able to accomplish in 2018.
“Looking back at the first year, we were really fortunate we got a lot accomplished,” Borrello said. “I’m proud to say we’ve changed the conversation in Chautauqua County. We’re now talking about local businesses and doing what we can so they can grow.”
“This is not about attracting new jobs. This is about attracting new talent, and being able to develop homegrown new talent so that these businesses can grow here.”
Borrello said that he’s visited over 150 businesses since taking office, including his accomplishment of visiting 100 businesses in his first 100 days.
The County Executive said he’s also proud of the way his Countywide Alliance for Enforcement and Rehabilitation (CAER) initiative was able to “get its arms” around the opioid epidemic.
Borrello said the collaboration between numerous organizations has increased thus far, and hopes the discussions will continue in the future.
“Not only is it a huge human toll, and a quality of life toll here in Chautauqua County, it’s also a toll on our economy,” Borrello said. “We have to look at the opioid epidemic as an economic development issue.”
Borrello said, in 2019, organizations such as Jamestown Community College will dedicate more resources to workforce development and training.
“We have to redefine what we consider to be the main issue, and instead of saying, ‘We need jobs,’ we need to change that to, ‘We need people,'” Borrello said.
Borrello said it’s important to focus on already existing businesses so they can grow, expand, and meet the needs of their workforce.
A website, chautauquajobs.org, is currently being developed to serve as a “single point of access,” to list jobs that are available throughout the county.
The county official also discussed how he envisions 2019 in regards to law enforcement. Borrello said he’s confident that Sheriff-elect Jim Quattrone will be a strong Sheriff who will improve collaboration.
“I have all the confidence in the world that our new Sheriff is going to work with us on continuing this effort to collaborate among all organizations and government entities to address this issue,” Borrello said. “I think it’s critically important that all of our law enforcement agencies are able to work together, to communicate and to collaborate.”
Borrello said he agrees with the CAER committee’s recommendation to combine the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force. At the minimum, he’d like to see the collaboration increase between the two forces.
WNYNewsNow Multimedia Journalist Justin Gould contributed to this report.