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Village Board Sets Public Hearing on 2015-16 Budget

TownhallwinterBy Jann Wiswall

The Village of Ellicottville board held a relatively brief meeting Monday, Feb. 9 to finalize several issues and hear updates on ongoing projects. It also set a public hearing to allow comment on the 2015-16 budget.

DPW Report

DPW Chief Harold Morton reported that his department is doing its best to keep up with changing weather and road conditions, vehicle and equipment repairs and other routine tasks. The department also responded to reports of sewer main problems only to find that the sewer laterals in several locations were frozen. Repair of sewer laterals is the property owner’s responsibility.

Building and Engineer’s Report

Mayor Charlie Coolidge reported that he had met with Village Planning Board Chair Nancy Rogan and Building Inspector Tom Abriatis to go over processes and procedures for compliance with conditions placed on developer’s projects. One new procedure will require both Rogan and Abriatis to sign off on conditions before certificates of occupancy are issued. In that context, board members last month noted that a condition on requiring additional parking for the Armor Inn in the Wingate Hotel lot had not been met. Coolidge has been assured that parking will be designated with signage as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the village’s research on changing the fee structure for building demolition is ongoing. Coolidge said he is also looking into changing the fee for title searches, as well, based on other municipalities’ procedures. He expects to present those options to the board for review soon.

Village Engineer Mike Smith reported that the wastewater treatment plant project is on schedule. The final 76 pages of plans for the plant were submitted to the Department of Environmental Conservation on schedule. Once the DEC has approved the plans, bids can be advertised.

Smith said he is working with Holiday Valley to obtain 8,000 yards of fill from its road realignment project for use at lagoon #4 in order to help save some money. HV’s project, which will reroute Holiday Valley Rd. to provide for better traffic flow, parking access and pedestrian safety, is scheduled to begin this spring. Lagoon #4 requires the fill to stabilize some equipment.

And, Smith said the village is submitting an application to the state for a “hardship loan” that, if approved, would allow the village to borrow funds for the wastewater treatment plant at 0%.

The hardship loans were recently announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make it “easier for municipalities with fewer than 300,000 people to obtain interest-free financing for up to 30 years to improve wastewater collection and treatment systems.”

The plant, which is required under a consent order by the state, requires the village to issue $4.9 million in bonds to cover its cost. The 30-year bond must be paid for over 30 years by municipal sewer customers in the town and village of Ellicottville and by WestMont Ridge customers whose properties are located in Mansfield.

If approved, the state loan could save the village and taxpayers some $60,000 in interest per year. Smith said that the Ellicottville project clearly meets the state’s eligibility criteria for the loan. The city of Olean recently was awarded a zero percent loan under this program, which will save its taxpayers $425,000 over financing the project on its own.

Smith also asked the board to pass a resolution to resolve a minor State Environmental Quality Review paperwork issue.

Old Business

Mayor Coolidge reported that bids for village trash service will be opened on the morning of March 9 and the board will award the contract at its meeting that night.

The hearing on the village’s 2015-16 budget will be the first item on the agenda at the next meeting of the village board at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 9 at the village/town hall. The budget is available for review during regular office hours at the village clerk’s office.

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