Better Police Presence in the Works
By Jann Wiswall
The Town of Ellicottville has received $118,545 in Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funds this year, which represents an $18,000+ increase over what the board estimated the contribution would be for 2015. The boost is primarily the result of the state’s Winter Recovery Fund contributions to areas impacted by the harsh 2015 winter.
This good news was reported by Town Supervisor John Burrell during the Tuesday, April 21 meeting of the town board.
Burrell also reported that he and Village of Ellicottville Mayor Charles Coolidge had been approached by the local state police which would like to station two more officers in Ellicottville, rather than in Machias. Two officers are already stationed in Ellicottville.
Because the Ellicottville area is more populated and has significant through-traffic, the state police see more activity in the area, so being stationed in the town is more efficient for them.
Burrell said he likes the idea since having more police visibility in the area will benefit residents and businesses. The board was in support of the idea, though Burrell said there are still some details such as finding garage space for their vehicles that need to be worked out.
Burrell reported that the town of Ellicottville is among the many municipalities working on providing the state with efficiency plans to demonstrate how they will save 1% of their operating costs by sharing services with other jurisdictions. The plans are tied to qualified homeowner property tax reimbursements (see Mansfield Board story, cover, for more background).
Burrell said that most local municipalities have been sharing services for years, though they have been doing so on an informal basis. Burrell said he will work to formalize and quantify these arrangements with other jurisdictions in accordance with the state’s criteria. The efficiency plans must be implemented in each of three years beginning in 2017.
Police Department: Police Officer in Charge Don Auge reported that there are two open positions in his department for part-time officers and said he has found one applicant “who would be a good fit for Ellicottville.” He asked the board for authority to offer the applicant the position. The board agreed.
Auge also said the department had been loaned a body camera, which has been tested unofficially by most of his officers and reviews have been favorable. No cameras will be purchased, however, until the department and board approve a policy for their use. He hopes a policy document will be ready for board review at its May 20 meeting.
Highway Department: The board approved the purchase of a Peterbilt truck, cab and chassis from Hunter Truck in Buffalo following bid review and the recommendation of Superintendent Loyd Hovey. Hovey and Town Engineer Mark Alianello will soon be requesting bids from surveyors to prepare for construction of plow turnarounds at four locations.
Engineering Department: Alianello asked the board to approve two change orders to the East Tank project. One is to replace a vault lid; the other is to develop plans to replace a water supply line to the village reservoir. Those plans must be submitted to the state Health Department. The board approved the change orders.
Alianello informed the board that he has asked FEMA to reconsider two elevation certificates for neighboring homeowners whose base flood elevations (BFEs) were determined by FEMA using different interpretations of new flood plain maps. Alianello stated that the many years of work on the part of Ellicottville and FEMA to redo the flood plain maps were intended to eliminate ambiguity in establishing BFEs, but that in FEMA’s very first reviews, ambiguities are still apparent. He hopes to have the issue resolved soon.
He also reported that the street light at Elk Street and Maples Road has been moved and now meets with a nearby homeowner’s approval.
The next regular meeting of the Town of Ellicottville board will be held on Wednesday, May 20 at 6 p.m. in the town/village hall.