By Jann Wiswall
Following a public hearing at its Wednesday, June 15 meeting, the Town of Ellicottville’s board passed a local law permitting the board to override the tax levy limit for fiscal year 2017. The board does not intend to take this action, but the step was taken in case of emergency.
The Town and Village, which already share many infrastructure and community services, are prepared to partner on several other activities in the near future. Town Supervisor Matt McAndrew and Village Mayor John Burrell met after Monday’s Village Board meeting and McAndrew brought several items to the attention of the board. (See Village Board story, this page, for additional detail)
New Software: The town and village both propose to purchase a new municipal software program for water/sewer billing, payroll and accounting, which will save both municipalities significant dollars annually. Town Clerk Robyn George said that she has been very impressed with the program and technical support. She also said she heard positive reviews from other municipalities that use the program. The board approved the project.
Tablet Purchase: The town board agreed to share the cost of a new, rugged tablet computer with GPS software for the sewer department. The estimated cost with all necessary software is $4500. The board approved the purchase.
Tennis Court Restoration: McAndrew also asked the board to consider sharing the cost of restoring the tennis and basketball courts at the Village Park. One estimate of $20,740 has been obtained by the mayor. Additional estimates are being sought. The town board approved the use of $10,000 already budgeted for the park to go toward this project.
EVGV Trail: McAndrew reported that Mayor Burrell is hoping to form a partnership between the village, two developers, the Ellicottville-Great Valley Recreational Trail board and the town to jumpstart construction of a first section of trail. McAndrew said Burrell has approached the two developers that are building housing developments on opposite sides of Fillmore Drive. As part of their building permits, both are required to construct sidewalks. Some sidewalks already have been completed, but Burrell asked them to contribute the $25,000 funds earmarked for some of the rest of the sidewalks to the trail board. The funds would be used to help build a section of trail from the trailhead at Nannen Arboretum along Parkside Dr. to Mechanic St.
McAndrew and town engineer Mark Alianello, who also serves on the Trail Board, said that a survey and engineering designs must be completed before accurate estimates can be obtained. Alianello said that $25K probably will not cover the cost.
McAndrew said the county has agreed to do the survey.
The board felt Burrell’s idea is a creative solution to getting part of the trail done and that, while there is still research to be done, it’s “worth doing.” Ken Hinman, president of the trail board, said that the trail board currently has no funds to contribute, but that he expects fundraising to begin soon.
Hinman also reported that BOCES instructor Terry Fuller is supervising a group of students to saw the timbers to be used in the construction of the trailhead pavilion. The plan is for students to start construction in September, with completion expected in the fall.
Youth Commission: McAndrew reported that he, Ellicottville Central School District Superintendent Mark Ward, Youth Commission Director Tracy Stokes and Mayor Burrell met recently to discuss expanding the Ellicottville Summer Youth Program by regionalizing the program. Great Valley, Mansfield and Ashford have all expressed interest and have agreed to meet in August to look at opportunities.
In other business, McAndrew noted that board members each received revised zoning law amendments from town planner Gary Palumbo for their review. The board felt the revisions were minor and that a public hearing on the changes should be scheduled for next month’s meeting. Palumbo will be asked to attend the meeting to address any concerns or questions from the board or the public.
New Highway Superintendent Tom Scharf said he attended a very useful and productive “Highway School” in June, and he attended a workshop in Ithaca with the department’s intern to be trained on the Cornell Asset Management Program, a multi-faceted computer program that will be used to inventory all Ellicottville roads.
Scharf said the department is working hard and making good progress on its summer repair and improvement projects. He also said the staff is working on cleaning up the exterior of the highway building. McAndrew asked him to look for a location to create a small garden where a tree will be planted and a bench dedicated to former Highway Superintendent Dave Golley. A ceremony is planned for the fall.
Alianello asked the board for its approval to advertise for bids on a booster pump and a building structure for the pump. He also requested its OK to advertise for HVAC system bids. The board approved both requests.
Finally, the board approved the final draft of a new procurement policy.
The next meeting of the town board will be held on Wednesday, July 20 at 6 p.m. in the town/village hall.