By Jann Wiswall
Town Supervisor John Burrell opened the Town of Ellicottville board meeting on Wednesday, March 19 by sharing a letter of commendation he wrote to own police officer Kelly Bigos, who responded to a 911 call from Hoagie’s restaurant, where employees reported a grease fire on the grill. Officer Bigos was on the scene three to four minutes before the fire department and used her fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Burrell noted that once the fire department arrived, Bigos continued to keep the fire scene safe and secure.
“This is truly ‘community policing’ at its best,” Burrell wrote.
Another letter commending the entire police department for its excellent work over Mardi Gras weekend came from Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian McFadden, chamber board member Kathy Pritchard and Village of Ellicottville board members.
Town board member Ken Hinman added that he has been hearing nothing but good things about the department and the job it is doing.
Burrell also reported that Tracy Stokes, who has been serving as deputy town clerk on a part-time basis, accepted a full-time position. In the new role, Stokes serves both as deputy clerk and as supervisor’s clerk. She is already working with the town’s accountant to learn processes and procedures. The board formally ratified the appointment.
Burrell reported on the status of a number of ongoing issues including:
Scenic Byway: At the county supervisor’s monthly meeting on March 6, Burrell learned that all counties potentially impacted by a proposal to extend a scenic byway from southern Erie County into Cattaraugus County along Route 219 for about 25 miles have endorsed the project. However, some members of the county legislature have expressed opposition. Burrell asked the board to allow him to write a letter to certain legislators to explain Ellicottville’s reasons for supporting the project.
Town Center: Most renovation projects have been completed at the Town Center (formerly known as the Cooperative Extension Service building) and attendees of an Ellicottville Rotary event at the facility were impressed with the improvements. Burrell said several individuals asked about booking the auditorium for events.
As part of the renovations, Burrell had MJ Mechanical assess the condition of the heating system at the site. The company found and corrected a number of problems and systems are now working well. Burrell then asked them to take a look at the Village/Town Hall system. Again, a number of problems were found and many were fixed, but more maintenance may be needed. MJ Mechanical is preparing a list of recommended actions, along with estimates.
Police Evidence Room: Burrell asked the board to approve his proposal to construct an 8’ by 40’ shed adjacent to the police garage to provide an adequate and secure space to store evidence. The board approved the project.
Free Fireworks Show: Starlite Fireworks Company asked Burrell if it could conduct a required fire safety training exercise with the Ellicottville Fire Department on Saturday, April 5. In exchange, the company is offering to put on a free fireworks show that evening. The board approved the idea. More details will be coming soon.
CCSE: The board approved Burrell’s suggestion that the town join the Cattaraugus County School Employees Federal Credit Union as a benefit to town employees. The town cannot have an account there, but employees can.
Officer in Charge Don Auge said that the department’s new plate reader is up and running and has already help identify several vehicles with suspended or revoked registrations. Auge said that he has heard about some concerns about privacy related to the readers but assured the board that no personal information about drivers is available to police. Only information about the license plates can be viewed. Auge did say that the technology will be especially useful for locating stolen vehicles. It also will be extremely helpful if there is an Amber Alert.
Town Engineer Mark Alianello updated the board on the East Tank water project. A bond counselor was hired to come up with a bonding plan for the four municipalities that will benefit from the tank — the Town and Village of Ellicottville, the Town of Mansfield and the Town of Great Valley. Some details still need to be worked out, but Alianello said that the Town of Ellicottville will carry the bond, and the other municipalities will collect funds from their taxpayers according to assessments and then pay Ellicottville back. A joint public hearing for all municipalities will be scheduled for May.
The April meeting of the Town of Ellicottville board will be held a week later than usual, on Wednesday, April 23. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and is held at the Village/Town Hall.