Town Board Meeting
Public Hearing to be Scheduled on the Comprehensive Master Plan, East Tank Project
Wednesday April 18, Ellicottville Town Hall
The Town Board meeting was called to order by Supervisor John Burrell at 6pm. In attendance were Greg Fitzpatrick, Ken Hinman, John Northrup, Steve Crowley, Don Auge and Mark Alianello. Minutes from the March Board meeting were presented and approved.
Bob Guadagno introduced himself next, and thanked the Board for assisting him with a difficult situation with his neighboring property owner’s pond, which was newly constructed last year, and is overflowing onto his property. Guadagno has been in contact with Mark Alianello several times during the past year, and Alianello has inspected the situation. Current zoning laws state that you cannot redirect water onto neighboring property. Alianello will follow up with the homeowner and his contractor, and attempt to resolve the situation.
A brief discussion was held regarding the Cooperative Extension building acquisition. Statements made in recent newspaper articles that reported the Village Board meeting discussion about the status of the Co-op were addressed. The process was outlined again by the Town Board: The next step of the acquisition is that the purchase is subject to a permissive referendum, and that 30 day waiting period expires on Friday, April 20. At that point, if there is no opposition, the Cooperative Board must begin the legal process of preparing the deed for transfer/sale to the Town of Ellicottville, which was estimated to be a 90-day process. Until that step has taken place, the Town is not in any capacity to “make the transaction” with the Village. The Town Board will review the documents from the Cooperative Board’s attorneys, when received, and then discuss the status of the acquisition. Intentions are for the Town to “give” the Arboretum to the Village, and the Village will annex it into its property. The Village will maintain the arboretum grounds and the parking lot, and provide the water and sewer for the building at no cost to the Town.
A Public Hearing on the amended Comprehensive Master Plan, which includes hydro-fracking, water supply set-backs, town road usage and contamination concerns is set for May 16, 2012. It will be held during the regular Town Board meeting.
Don Auge presented the monthly Town Police Department Activity Report for March 2012. Total complaints/call for service reported were 132, resulting in 12 arrests. 40 traffic tickets were issued. Ashley Vogl ‘s status will be changed from Special Town Officer to part-time Officer, and Tim _________________will move into the vacancy of Special Town Officer. The old police car was recently auctioned and sold for $6055 plus a 9% auctioneer’s fee to a local woman.
Mark Alianello presented the Town Engineer’s report. His first presentation was a map of the Ellicottville water district, and a discussion followed about the pressure problems throughout the town that precipitated the need for the East Tank Project. The project was originally proposed during the mid-1980’s, as inevitably necessary at some point in the future. Development within the water zone was outlined, detailing the new “Glen Burn Trail” project, which currently has approval for 12 units out of a possible total of 80 units. The Health Department will approve the first phase of that development (12 units), but until the East Tank Project moves forward, will not approve any more than that.
A letter from Holiday Valley was presented to the Board, outlining an estimated 46% increase in water charges due to the East Tank Project. The letter stated that the “When the Town Board determines what must be done in order to maintain the community water supply we agree the distribution of costs should be done in a fair manner. It appears that the average residential customer will receive only a 25% surcharge based on your projection of $10 per quarter and a $40.00 base fee.” John Burrell commented, “I appreciate this letter, and I want to move ahead with the project. I’d like to have the Town tie up the property in our name. Soil borings need to be done. And the engineering reports need to be prepared. If there are funds and grants available, which we are investigating, then we are “shovel ready” if we receive a grant, and can move quickly on the project. Engineering drawing costs will be approximately $20,000 for the preliminaries, and approximately $55,000 in total. The Town and the Village must agree how to pay for the project.”
The Valley Village intersection with regards to the new water line “Loop” was talked about, and it was agreed that all improvements that could be made would be incremental, but extremely necessary. Because of the inherent limitations on the amount of useable land in that tight area, certain improvements to the intersection would be impossible to do.
Mark Alianello presented the cost of painting the Holimont/Holiday Valley reservoir tank. Painting companies were contacted, and bids were received averaging $230,000 to repaint the tank, involving lead abatement, and installing a second manway hole into the tank. The cost of a brand new glass fused steel tank was also presented, and estimated at $240,000 plus approximately $50,000 for the foundation. John Northrup pointed out that if the existing foundation should be upgraded, significant money could be saved. Alianello will look into the condition of the exisiting foundation, and will make a recommendation as to costs of upgrading it. All board members agreed that a new tank that took lead paint out of the water equation was a good idea.
Robyn George, Town clerk, presented the Retirement resolution. 3 months of logs have been received, and will be posted, then sent into the Retirement System. The new plan was adopted.
A letter of intent, dated April 18, 2012, was presented to the Town Board for the purchase of the old highway barns. The potential purchaser is proposing that they will provide the installation of a 10” water line (current water line proposal from the developer is for a 2” line, and the Town is recommending a 10” line for the project) if the Town pays for the material cost. This represents a significant savings to the Town. Mark Alainello will get cost estimates on the project and return the findings to the Town Board. If the proposed purchase is accepted and approved, the Town must begin their new building project asap, and it must be completed before winter 2012. It was suggested that a committee meeting be held to discuss the building of the new Town barns, and that a special Board meeting may need to be held in order to proceed in a timely manner with this project. The purchase proposal will go to the Town attorney for review.
Steve Crowley and Greg Fitzpatrick presented their findings on the Code of Ethics project. Potentially, a local law would be created that reviews policies in order to establish and maintain local government transparency. Current NYS compliance requires an ethics policy, but not an ethics board (which is a very complicated nominating process). NYS municipal law requires only a policy, and the goal is to have all towns compliant. The goal of the Town Board is to have a local law in place by October 12, 2012. Several sample documents were presented, and the recommendation of Crowley and Fitzpatrick was to take their findings to the Town attorney, and have a draft prepared. The Board authorized spending for the Town attorney to proceed with the Code of Ethics project.
John Burrell presented a draft of Rules and Regulations regarding Water Service, to be put on the Town Board’s May agenda.
The last item on the agenda, under new business, was a recent article in local paper (NOT the Ellicottville Times) , which was viewed by all members as inappropriate with regards to our local tourists and visitors, many of which are local homeowners and taxpayers. A letter from one of those homeowners was read to the Board, expressing his views by stating that the newspaper article was “tasteless and mocking of the very people that help make Ellicottville the success that it is.” And the letter went on to say “I have never seen anything so tasteless in my 31 years coming here (to Ellicottville). The Board discussed the article and letter, and also agreed that the article was not a positive representation of how visitors, guests, or local residents should be treated.