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Chemung County leaders optimistic despite busy 2013 agenda

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Chemung County leaders optimistic despite busy 2013 agenda
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From hydrofracking to the fiscal future, the new year brings plenty of uncertainties for leaders in the Twin Tiers. Our Katie Husband takes a look at what challenges Chemung County is facing and what projects they have on the horizon.

CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. -- "Now 2013 is here and we have to deal with what was bad about 2012," said Tom Santulli, Chemung County Executive.

Chemung County got hit with the announcement of the Sikorsky plant closing December 31st, which was a loss of over 600 jobs.

"By March they should be out of here. We're still in negotiations, nothing has been finalized relative to how it's going to turn out other than the fact of they're going to leave, but that was a big hit for this community. A big one," said Santulli.

To try and offset the $60 million loss of Sikorsky the county is hoping to hear from the state whether or not natural gas drilling will be allowed.

"I think it's going to bring countless opportunities and revenues and jobs to this region. All you have to do is look at Pennsylvania, you see counties that are getting eight and ten and twelve million dollar severance tax checks," said Santulli.

While that decision is in the hands of Governor Cuomo, Santulli is focused on another, more certain project: the $2.3 million road expansion for County Route 64 expected to begin this spring.

"From where Simmons-Rockwell is which has some larger lanes now but it's not fully four all the way down to Southern Tier Crossing where Wal Mart is. And, there's connections to both ends of the interstate from there. So that will be four lanes and it will be done by September," said Santulli.

There is a lot on the 2013 agenda but Santulli is optimistic there will be continued growth to keep the property taxes at the same rate for the ninth straight year.

The almost $4 million Elmira Corning Regional Airport project is expected to finish up at the end of the year.

Santulli also wants to look into consolidating more services to save money.

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