Chamber hosts state-of-the-area forum

Last week, local officials addressed approximately 50 area business people, officials and residents at a state-of-the-area forum hosted by the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce Jan. 6 at Cazenovia College.

Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Monforte, town of Nelson Supervisor Richard Williams, town of Cazenovia Supervisor Elizabeth C. Moran and village of Cazenovia

Mayor Tom Dougherty spoke at the event.

Monforte discussed a recent investment by the chamber to create a store within the Chamber that will offer Cazenovia-branded products. Proceeds of sales will go to the Cazenovia Historic Business District.

The chamber also is working with the Cazenovia Area Senior Association to look into bringing senior living facilities to Cazenovia. A recent study, said Monforte, showed that "there were a lot of seniors who were leaving our community because they needed certain housing."

The chamber is raising funds for a feasibility study to determine what sort of facility, if any, would be appropriate for the community.

Williams thanked the Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce for hosting the event.

"You guys provide us with a little stimulus we need as elected officials," he said.

According to Williams, the town recently surveyed Nelson residents.

"The survey concluded that we had five very important issues," said Williams, running down a list of taxes and fees, Tuscarora Lake, open space, farming and agriculture and small-town character.

Moran discussed five issues important in 2008 and for 2009: Environmental issues, staffing and labor relations issues, Cazenovia Lake issues, highway and infrastructure related issues and communication between local government and residents.

"I think that we tried to make some advances in all these categories in 2008," she said.

Moran also addressed the worsening economy and its effect on growth in the town.

"In 2008, we had the lowest number of new housing starts since we've been keeping track," Moran said. "Typically we have 25, 28. In 2008, we had six."

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