By Jann Wiswall
Several Village residents had the floor for the first hour of the Village Board meeting on Monday, June 13.
First up was the Ellicottville Fire Department (EFD), which was represented by department member (and Village Mayor) John Burrell. Burrell said the EFD would like the Village to adopt the same language for its law regarding residential fire/burglar alarms that the Town of Ellicottville approved last year. The law would require residents with alarms to register with the village. Its intent would be to help reduce false alarms by encouraging owners to keep their systems maintained, and it would provide an enforcement mechanism.
The board agreed that the town law’s language would work. Village attorney Bob Simon will draft the amended language for the board’s review; a public hearing was scheduled for the next meeting.
Burrell also reported on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, which would like to have a bounce-house and climbing wall on the grounds of the 1887 building on Independence Day weekend. The board rejected the bounce-house for liability reasons but approved the climbing wall.
Deb Yantomasi, director of the Village beautification group, The Alley Katz, proposes to honor volunteers “past, present and future” with a plaque on the village/town hall grounds. The board approved the request and asked the mayor and Yantomasi to work together to propose a design and cost proposal.
Dominick Spicola, owner of the Winery of Ellicottville, explained to the board that he is interested in serving wine at outdoor tables on the sidewalk in front of his establishment on Monroe Street. He said the Village’s recent approval of sidewalk cafes applied only to restaurants.
The board asked Spicola to get input from the State Liquor Authority and then to draw up plans to illustrate his intent for the board’s review.
Spicola also said he is interested in constructing a balcony. The board said that is permitted by zoning law. Spicola will need to have architectural designs approved by the Village Planning Board and then get final approval from the Village board. Burrell noted that the village will need to coordinate replacing a section of sidewalk in front of the building with the balcony construction schedule.
Villaggio owner Nick Pitillo informed the board that the sidewalk in front of his restaurant on Monroe Street needs repairs. It has been a pedestrian hazard. The board asked the DPW and Village engineer for both short- and long-term repair plans.
Before continuing with the regular agenda, the board went into executive session with Village Planning Board chair Nancy Rogan to select a new Village planner. Following the session, the board appointed Gary Palumbo from AECOM to serve in the role. Palumbo also serves as the Town of Ellicottville’s planner.
Mayor Burrell reported that the town and village propose 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, pending town board approval.
Burrell announced that the village will host the September 8 meeting of the Cattaraugus County Municipal Officials. The organization has invited the director and deputy director of the New York Conference of Mayors to speak. Chautauqua and Erie county officials also will be invited to attend. The meeting will be held at Ellicottville Brewing Company.
Board member Joe DiPasquale brought to the board’s attention an issue with lawn maintenance at several unoccupied homes. He said the owners hire companies to mow, but the work is not being done. DiPasquale said he has been contacting owners and has offered to help find reliable service providers. He also reminds the community that owners can be ticketed for not maintaining their properties.
There are twelve new public parking spots in the village on Martha Street between Mill and Monroe! Burrell said the DPW pushed a fence further onto village property to make space for the 12 diagonal spots. They were paved and the lines were painted this week.
Burrell said that the town and village have been asked to consider restoring the tennis and basketball courts at the Village Park. He had an estimate of $20,740 for the work. The board asked Burrell to work with the town to see if it will share costs and, if so, to request three proposals. The board was open to holding a special meeting this month to approve a bid.
Both the town and village propose to switch to a new municipal software program for water/sewer billing, payroll and accounting. For the village, the new program will pay for itself in 1.9 years and save significant dollars every year. The town will save annually, as well. The village board approved the switch. The town board must also approve it.
Finally, Burrell described a proposal he made last week to the Ellicottville-Great Valley Recreational Trail board that involves exchanging what Burrell called “sidewalks to nowhere” for a first section of the Trail.
Burrell explained that two developers 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 suggested that the funds earmarked for some of the rest of the sidewalks be diverted to a section of trail from the trailhead at Nannen Arboretum along Parkside Dr. to Mechanic St.
Burrell reported that the two developers budgeted a total of $25,000 for the remaining sections of sidewalk, which they agreed to contribute to the trail effort. Estimates to build the entire section of sidewalk still need to be obtained. The board supported Burrell’s idea and said it would consider budgeting for a portion of the project once estimates are in hand.
The meeting was adjourned in memory of Bob McCarthy.
The next meeting of the Village Board is scheduled for Monday, July 11 at 6 p.m.