LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County lawmakers passed a local law Wednesday to collect a mortgage tax — retroactive to Dec.1, 2018.

The county’s mortgage tax — 25 cents for each $100 real property mortgage — expired Nov. 30.

The State Legislature adjourned last year before straightening out a snafu created after the Senate passed the reauthorization in a separate bill and the Assembly lumped it in a bill with three other counties.

County Clerk Alan Bernstein said the county has already lost more than $110,000 in 3½ months of not collecting the mortgage tax. That’s almost 25 percent of the total $400,000 included as revenue in the clerk’s office this year.

If you recorded a mortgage since Nov. 30, don’t worry, the county’s not coming for you to collect a tax retroactively.

Assistant county attorney Nicholas DiCerbo told legislators that despite having passed a similar local law last month, state legislative sources recommended it be resubmitted.

By using the wording in the old law — effective Dec. 1, 2018 — DiCerbo said he hoped the State Legislature could be persuaded to make up the county’s losses, as well as those of the other three counties affected.

“We need to get this to Albany and hope the Legislature won’t put us at the end of the line,” DiCerbo said. The New York State Association of Counties is helping the four counties get their local law reauthorized, he added.

The counties wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask state lawmakers to make up for their losses because the Assembly and Senate passed different bills.

Legislature Chairman James J. Snyder, R-Olean, the sponsor, said a second public hearing was not needed because there were no substantial changes.

No one spoke at a public hearing on a local law for 2 percent cost-of-living raises for county officers for 2019.

The positions, followed by bi-weekly salaries, include:

County Administrator, $4,336.37.

County Attorney, $4,879.05.

Director of Aging, $2,819.91.

Director of Community Services, $3,331.65.

Public Health director, $4,178.63.

Commissioner of Social Services, $3,818.88.

Personnel Officer/Human Resources director, $3,204.33.

Information Services director, $3,573.62.

Economic Development, Planning & Tourism director, $3,338.57.

Real Property Tax director, $3,081.27.

Director of Emergency Preparedness/Services, $2,435.54.

Commissioner of Public Works, $3,405.93.

Public Defender, $3,821.32.

Election Commissioner (two), $2,411.25.

County historian, $ 598.98.

Museum curator, $ 598.98.

Probation director, $3,276.06.

Veterans Services director, $2,304.34.

Youth Bureau director, $2,632.02.

County clerk, $80,943.02 (annually)

County coroners (four), $11,713.09 annually.

Sheriff, $108,427.29 (annually).


  • Legislators named Thomas Brady of Great Valley county attorney at a bi-weekly salary of $4,879, to succeed Eric Firkel, the former county attorney who recently resigned.
  • Lawmakers accepted a bid of $111,105 from RAM Forest Products Inc., Shinglehouse, Pa., for marked ash trees and other timber on the county’s Bone Run Road forest in the town of South Valley.
  • The chairman was authorized to apply for a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant for $400,000 for a fund to repair or replace failed septic systems and contaminated private water systems. The county has helped dozens of eligible homeowners over the past several years with the program.
  • Lawmakers accepted bids for the demolition and removal of several structures in Olean, Randolph, Franklinville and Yorkshire before their transfer to the Cattaraugus County Land Bank for disposition.
  • A low bid of $120,120 from A&B Construction, Harper, Iowa, was accepted for a roofing system and cover for the new West Valley highway barn sand and salt storage facility.
  • Lawmakers agreed to reallocate $200,000 to the city of Olean for development of a farmer’s market in Lincoln Park. The funding was authorized last year, but the funds went back into the general fund after Dec. 31.
  • A contract was approved with the state Agriculture Department for $40,000 to update the county’s Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. Agricultural and Community Development Services, Columbia, Md. will assist the county in developing the plan for $49,975.
  • The Legislature adjourned in memory of the late Donald Milligan, a former county legislator from Gowanda, who served as election commissioner and chairman of the Cattaraugus County Democratic party.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)