Town Board Reviews Ongoing Projects in Ellicottville
Tim Hortons Waterline Delayed • Cold Storage Barn Now in Use
By Jann Wiswall
Town Supervisor John Burrell adjusted the agenda for the December 12, 2012, board meeting in order to allow Town Engineer Mark Alianello to leave early for another commitment that evening. This agenda change also required moving up an executive session for board members and Alianello to discuss an agreement with another municipality.
Alianello reported that the waterline extension needed at Routes 242 and 219 for the new Tim Hortons property owned by Ray Miranda has been delayed for the time being. Miranda agreed to store the materials already purchased for the waterline project in the old town highway garage on that property.
The floodplain study is still on schedule to be completed by the end of January and Alianello said he would share the report with the board for approval at its February meeting. Following approval, the study will be submitted to FEMA for final approval.
Alianello also stated that National Fuel Gas Company’s proposed costs for heating the new highway garage were too high; he recommended that the building be heated with propane instead. The board concurred.
Supervisor’s Report: Following the executive session, the board resumed the meeting, beginning with the Supervisor’s Report. Burrell reported that the town’s fund balance currently stands at $2.7 million, though a number of bills need to be paid before the end of the calendar year. At the end of 2011, the fund balance was $1.5 million. He projects the town will be ahead of last year after all 2012 bills are paid.
Burrell reported that progress has been made on the intended purchase by the town of the County Extension Services Building. Both the State Attorney General’s office and the State Supreme Court have officially approved the sale, which means executive director Lucy Benson of the Extension Service is now authorized to sign the paperwork. Town Attorney Kathleen Moriarty said she would draw up the formal agreement.
Burrell summarized some research he had done on some town insurance issues. He said that the town’s workman’s compensation costs have gone up this year due to an increase in claims. He met with Dave Turner, of the New York State Insurance Fund, who found that a large percentage of employee injuries were the result of being struck by something. Turner suggested that relevant town departments hold safety awareness training to help educate employees about how to avoid such injuries. The board agreed.
Burrell also shared information about Ellicottville’s real property tax rates compared to the rest of the county. Ellicottville’s tax rate in 2011 of $1.21 per $1,000 of assessed property value was the second lowest in the county in 2011.
Department Head Reports: Police Chief Don Auge was not present at Wednesday night’s meeting, so Highway Superintendent Dave Golley proceeded with his report on his department’s major projects.
The Cold Storage Barn is now in use while final interior finishes are being completed. Meanwhile, construction is moving along in the highway garage with one major glitch: the windows have been delayed. This, therefore, delays other work, including pouring the concrete floors for the truck parking and maintenance areas. Work that can be completed in the interim includes installation of exhaust systems, digging the pit and preparing the fuel system for operation. Golley also plans to have the 4-inch concrete floor poured in the offices, break room and restrooms, and believes they will be able to occupy the building in January.
Despite the delay, Golley is confident the barn and garage project will come in under budget. He said the final actual and projected costs can be calculated and ready to share with the board at the January meeting. Burrell complimented Golley on the “great job” he has done on this project, and Board Member John Northrup added that he has “saved the town a lot of money.” Golley commended his crew for their excellent work and said “they have ownership of it now, too.”
Other Business: The board discussed and approved a motion to transfer up to $500,000 as needed to the General Fund to pay for expenses related to the highway barn and cold storage barn projects. Burrell explained that the state had approved a maximum of $500,000 for the project, but that only what is needed to pay actual bills will be transferred.
Board Member Ken Hinman relayed that he and the rest of the recreational trail committee are continuing to build community support for the project. He said he expects that progress will slow a bit over the holidays, but things will gear up again after the first of the year.
And, finally, Burrell relayed an invitation to the board from Holiday Valley President Dennis Eshbaugh to attend the grand opening celebration of the new Holiday Valley Lodge on Dec. 15. From 2-3:30 p.m., the board and others will get a tour, hear a brief presentation and enjoy refreshments.
The next meeting of the town board will be held Jan. 16 at 6 p.m.