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County Leaders Concerned Over OTB Changes


Changes to the structure of Western Regional Off-Track Betting have Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and other local leaders concerned.

The bill changes the structure of Western Regional Off-Track Betting (OTB) and will effectively diminish the role and input of rural Western New York counties including Cayuga, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, and Wayne.

Local leaders from across Western New York joined Tenney in condemning the highly politicized backroom deal, which upends decades of precedent to reduce the input of rural communities and hand disproportionate power to Democrat-leaning cities. The decision was made without any input or consultation from regional stakeholders.

“Negotiated and agreed upon in the dead of night without any input outside of Erie County and the City of Buffalo, the termination of every appointed commissioner of the Western Regional Off Track Betting Corporation is an attack on rural New York counties,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “For half a century, the Western Regional OTB has operated under shared control between 15 county governments and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, promoting economic growth, jobs, and tax revenue across Western New York. With the passage of New York’s Big Ugly Budget, the Western Regional OTB has been politicized and the role of rural counties has been greatly diminished, with far more power now set to go to the cities. Now more than ever, when crime rates are skyrocketing, taxes are soaring, and people are fleeing the state at unprecedented rates, Governor Hochul should be focused on correcting these problems, not destroying the Western Regional OTB.”

“With the proposed legislation including changes to the language in New York State’s Budget agreement regarding the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation will limit the number of representation Cayuga County has and negatively impact our county. This new plan will immediately remove the current OTB Directors and create a new board, giving more power to larger municipal governments in the public benefit corporation’s service area and taking away the voices of both smaller and rural counties. Ultimately, I strongly oppose any changes to this new agreement as it will create an unfair representation and take economic benefits away from Cayuga County and its surrounding counties,” said David Gould, Cayuga County Legislature Chair.

“To take a fair voting system that has worked for over 50 years and turn it into an unfair politicized system is no more than three people in backroom politics. Its sole purpose is to take our voices away and it will do just that. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I urge my colleagues to vote no,” said Chairman Michael Enslow, Seneca County Board of Supervisors.

“Wayne County needs equal representation in regard to the OTB setup. There are a lot of people that come from Wayne County that come to participate at the OTB and we need a voice in what goes on there,” said Phil Eygnor, Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chair.

“The Western Regional OTB language snuck into the state budget is Albany’s latest attack on rural communities. Governor Hochul and Albany Democrats have conspired to eliminate the longstanding arrangement that allowed 15 counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo to have balanced representation on the OTB board. The voice of rural counties is being smothered out simply because they are represented by Republicans. This is nothing more than a partisan power grab disguised as reform,” said New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

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