By Jann Wiswall
Ellicottville visitors and residents may have noticed that a new shuttle service between the Seneca Allegany Casino and Ellicottville began operating after the first of the year. Currently, it operates every two hours on Fri.-Sun. beginning at 4 p.m. It plans to continue throughout the ski season.
Casino representative Chuck Kilroy and Villaggio restaurant owner Nick Pitillo attended the Village Board meeting on Jan. 11 to describe the service and request installation of “Shuttle Stop” signs at four locations in Ellicottville – in front of Villaggio, EBC and the Armor Inn and at the Wildflower development off Rt. 219 near Holiday Valley.
Some board members said they had heard complaints from some business owners that the shuttle would take visitors away from Ellicottville. In fact, Kilroy and Pitillo argued, it does the opposite, bringing far more casino patrons to Ellicottville than taking them to Salamanca.
Kilroy said casino guests already come to Ellicottville regularly for skiing, shopping, dining and other activities. The shuttle, he said, simply gets them to the Village without their cars. Both Kilroy and Pitillo remarked that the shuttle is one way to alleviate the Village’s persistent parking issues. The Board agreed with that sentiment.
Board members questioned the need for multiple shuttle stop locations.
“Wouldn’t one shuttle stop be enough?” a board member asked, noting that double-parking on the Village’s narrow streets to pick up and drop off guests is out of the question.
A few less-congested locations were suggested and Kilroy said he had spoken with Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian McFadden about finding a single location for a shuttle stop.
Pitillo, who said he was not representing any other restaurant or business owners by being at the meeting, said he would prefer to have a stop in front of his restaurant for obvious reasons.
Board members, however, reported that they had heard complaints about stops in front of some businesses and not others. All agreed that stops at even more locations would not be practical, and that a more neutral location might be a better option.
The board also was concerned about more signs in the village. Kilroy indicated that any signs would be small, but were necessary for communication.
In the end, the board suggested that Kilroy continue discussions with McFadden about a single stop and talk directly with every business owner to explain the shuttle’s benefits to the Village.
The board has been wrestling with problems associated with improper trash disposal, as people continue to place trash bags or cans without lids on the curb after trash day, inviting vermin to strew the bags’ contents all week long. To make matters worse, the white plastic trash bags many people use get plowed under and lost in the snow.
The board is preparing to require residents to use heavy-duty totes to manage the problem. This would require that the board set aside funds to purchase the totes in the 2016 budget. It also would add a small quarterly fee ($3-4) to residents’ trash bills.
Mayor Charlie Coolidge was asked to come up with a detailed summary of costs and procedures for administering the program and present that to the board at its February meeting. A public hearing will be scheduled as soon as details are worked out.
Coolidge reported that a meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 2 with the Village Planning Board to discuss regulating the number of sandwich-board signs permitted on Village Streets.
In other business, Nussbaumer & Clarke engineer Nick Dobmeier, sitting in for village engineer Mike Smith, reported that construction on the new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is 75 percent complete, thanks to favorable weather conditions through December. Both electrical and general contractors are “making good headway,” he said.
Finally, the board reviewed two bids for a one-ton truck with plow and authorized Department of Public Works head Harold Morton to purchase from the low bidder.
The next meeting of the Village Board will be held on Monday, February 8 in the village/town hall at 6 p.m.