In Chautauqua County there has been some concern and anticipation surrounding the county’s decision to utilize tax dollars in preparation for the upcoming solar eclipse on April 8th.

“We’ve coined the phrase, 'We want to be over prepared and underwhelmed, rather than overwhelmed and underprepared',” stated PJ Wendell, Chautauqua County Executive.

While the eclipse itself is not a threat, Chautauqua County is drawing lessons from past events to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for all.

Surges in visitors have the potential to strain local services and resources, overwhelm accommodations, increase traffic, and cause unexpected demands on Emergency Services.

The county plans to use allocated funds from hotel taxes to better support these resources and avoid any pitfalls.
Purchases will include new and updated technology and safety devices.

“We asked to purchase a device that will help backup if a cell tower would go down," stated Noel Guttman, Director of Emergency Services for Chautauqua County. "So 9-1-1 calls can pass through our dispatch center and provide us some backup communication in case the systems get overloaded at our Emergency Operations Center."

County Representatives stressed that taxpayer money is not being utilized solely for protective eyeglasses. 

The legislature voted to utilize taxes collected from hotels throughout the county in addition to undesignated funds, for emergency services and public safety usage.

“The investments we are making are going to be used, not only for the eclipse, but the reason why it was supported by the legislature almost unanimously was that these are pieces of equipment that we can used down the road as well, so it’s not eclipse based,” added Wendell.

As Chautauqua County gears up for the celestial event, the focus remains on thorough preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

For more information on solar eclipse events happening throughout Chautauqua County, visit here.