By Jann Wiswall
The Town of Ellicottville’s board met Wednesday, May 18 to discuss a number of ongoing projects and issues and take action on several agenda items.
Town Supervisor Matt McAndrew reported that the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the town and the Rotary Club of Ellicottville regarding use of the Town Center auditorium was in final draft form and ready for the board’s approval. Town attorney Kathleen Moriarty said the Rotary Club officers have a meeting scheduled soon to approve the document. The board authorized McAndrew to sign the MOU on its behalf.
McAndrew also reported that another MOU between the town and the Nannen Arboretum Society is in draft stages. He said he hopes to have it resolved by the next board meeting.
McAndrew and Town Engineer Mark Alianello said that an outside expert was asked for his advice on a new HVAC system for the town hall. Two proposals using different systems (furnace vs. heat pump) had been received. Based on the age of the building, the expert’s recommendation and other factors, the board decided it would be better to go with a furnace system; Alianello will put together specifications and advertise the project for bid.
The board reviewed the text of an amended local law to allow the board to override the state’s tax levy limit in 2017 if needed. The action is taken in most years for primarily procedural reasons; to date the board has not needed to raise taxes above the limit. And while the board hopes an increase is not necessary next year, it is expecting sales tax revenues to be off significantly this year as a result of the poor winter tourist season. If that is the case, the town may have to raise additional funds for services in other ways – amending the law opens up one option.
A public hearing on the local law was scheduled for the June board meeting.
Police Officer in Charge Don Auge reported that officers directed traffic for a Relay for Life team’s very successful boot drive last month. The team raised some $3400 for the cause.
Auge also reported that one full-time officer has resigned and there is also a part-time position open. He said he has a candidate for the part-time position and will begin a search for a replacement for the full-time officer.
Board member Greg Fitzpatrick commended Auge and Officer Kelly Phillips for their response to an employee’s health emergency at his offices. Fitzpatrick said that, thanks to their training in first aid, they saved his employee’s life.
Highway Superintendent Tom Scharf, who was attending a board meeting for the first time in his new job, gave the floor to Mark Alianello who had been serving as acting superintendent until a few weeks ago. Alianello said that he and Scharf had been working on a department work plan for this year and asked the board to approve their recommendation for major highway improvement work on Sommerville Valley, Upper, Deer Crossing and Holiday Valley Roads. They also recommended replacing culverts on Upper, Holiday Valley and Simmons Roads. Alianello said there is also enough money in the budget to make smaller improvements on many other of the town’s roads during the summer and fall.
The board approved the plan as presented.
The board also approved Alianello’s request to go out to bid on a roof for the fuel storage area at the highway department.
Changing into his Town Engineer hat, Alianello next reported that he expects to be ready to go out for bid on the replacement booster pump and related equipment by the next board meeting. He also asked the board to approve his engineering firm’s work proposal and fees to design and engineer the project. The request was approved.
Town Clerk Robyn George updated the board on her research on paperless document storage and records management. She said she is talking with Southern Tier West about grant money that might be available later this year.
Finally, the board approved Tracy Stokes’ request to pay summer camp counselors $9 per hour and the assistant camp director $11.48 per hour. Stokes is Deputy Town Clerk and Summer Park Program Director.
The next meeting of the town board is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15 at 6 p.m. in the town/village hall. All are welcome.