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Village Approves 2016-17 Budget

Will Propose Additions to WWTP Scope

By Jann Wiswall

A public hearing on the 2016-17 village budget was held on Monday, March 14, on the Eve of the village election for mayor and two village trustees. Two members of the public (including mayoral candidate John Burrell) attended the hearing and stayed for the meeting, but neither made any public comment.

The 2016-17 budget shows total appropriations of nearly $1.9 million for the general fund and the sewer and water departments.

The budget was approved as presented by roll call vote.

Village Engineer Mike Smith reported that 85 percent of the wastewater treatment plant’s total budget has been expended to date as the project nears its target completion by May 31. Contractor STC is 90 percent complete with its portion of the project, while the electrical contractor still has about half of its work to complete.

Smith recommended that the board consider adding three items to the scope of the project:  a lightning protection system and a stand-by power connection box, both of which were removed during the budgeting phase to cut costs, and a trailer-mounted generator.

As reported in December, the Village was awarded a $1.3 million grant from the NY Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to help offset the $5.3 million cost of the new plant. In EFC’s own budgeting process, $250,000 in contingency funds were included in the grant award to allow the village to make any necessary change orders that would improve the operation of the plant.

Smith explained that if the contingency funds are not used, the amount of the grant would be reduced by that amount. “Total indebtedness would stay the same,” he said.

The three change order items, which cost about half of the available contingency amount, are important to protect both the old and new equipment at the plant, Smith explained. All require EFC approval.

Another project that he recommended to the board is soil erosion control at lagoon 4, but the Department of Environmental Conservation must be consulted before that project can be proposed to EFC.

In other business, the board moved to set a public hearing on the proposed revisions to local zoning law. Per Village Attorney Bob Simon, a notice about the hearing with a full description of the amendments will be published in the village’s official newspapers (including the Ellicottville Times). The public hearing will be held at the beginning of the next Village board meeting on April 11.

For the most part, amendments relate to outdoor lighting and sign regulations in the village.

Department of Public Works head Harold Morton asked the board for approval to replace a broken 40-year-old garage door at the DPW shop. He had obtained three bids for a new overhead door with remote; the low bid was $2,999.

Mayor Charles Coolidge said there is about $9,600 in a contingency fund that can be used to pay for the door.

The shop has a total of five garage doors, all of which Morton said will need to be replaced. The board suggested he see if the supplier would reduce the per-door pricing if the Village agreed to purchase five doors over the next few years, and possibly as many as three before the end of this fiscal year with the available funds Coolidge mentioned. Morton agreed to look into it, but explained that the current broken door must be replaced immediately. The board said it would review additional bids and approve the purchase via email for expediency’s sake.

The next meeting of the Village Board is scheduled for Monday, April 11 at 6 p.m. in the village/town hall.

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