By Jann Wiswall
The Town of Ellicottville board held a public hearing on Wednesday, August 17 to hear public comment on a law giving property tax exemptions to senior citizens in two additional income brackets. This county law must be passed be each municipality. There were no comments from the public and the board passed the law.
Privilege of the Floor
Two Town of Ellicottville residents came to the board on Wednesday, August 17 to ask for its help on two separate matters.
Margaret LaCroix said she narrowly avoided being in a serious car accident at the T-intersection of Rt. 219 and 242 where all southbound traffic on 219 must stop at a flashing red signal to turn either way on Rt. 242; Rt. 219 continues to the right into Ellicottville.
She said a car turned left from Rt. 219 onto Rt. 242 without stopping or, apparently, looking both ways. She was driving on 242 toward Ellicottville and had to swerve to miss the turning car as well as another vehicle.
She felt that drivers often do not stop at the signal and that something needs to be done to improve safety at the intersection. She suggested perhaps adding signage noting that Rt. 242 cross traffic does not stop.
The board explained that both roads are state roads so the town has no authority to make any changes. However, the town can ask the state to conduct a traffic study. Town Supervisor Matt McAndrew asked Town Engineer Mark Alianello to write a letter to the Department of Transportation and LaCroix said she would write a letter about her experience and observations, which will be attached to Alianello’s correspondence.
In the meantime, Ellicottville’s Police Officer in Charge Don Auge said he would arrange to boost patrols there and ticket vehicles that don’t stop.
Next, Rosie Kelly informed the board about an issue at a National Fuel lot that has a utility building on Rt. 242 near the Village line. Kelly said she has noticed large trucks parking on the property for long periods or overnight. The trucks are not National Fuel vehicles. She believes they are long-haul truckers who just stop there to take a break.
Because this is private property, McAndrew pointed out that the town doesn’t have many options, but he asked Alianello to call National Fuel to come up with some solutions.
Regular Board Business
Justin Dineen, building manager of the Ellicottville Town Center, told the board that he has been dissatisfied with a vendor that is contracted to supply paper, cleaning and other supplies for the facility. While he is giving the company another chance for a month, he asked the board to consider ending the contract. The board had no objection and gave McAndrew authority to amend or dissolve the contract based on Dineen’s recommendation next month.
Dineen also reported that the auditorium and outdoor patio has been solidly booked for weddings and special events throughout the summer. A 220-guest wedding is scheduled for later this month.
McAndrew also reported that the village and town water/sewer management committee, known as the “Four Flushers,” met last week and spent the bulk of the meeting discussing the best way to fill two vacancies in the water department.
Department Head Reports
Auge informed the board that a special police officer resigned and that a replacement has been found. The board accepted the resignation and approved the new hire.
McAndrew asked Auge to monitor traffic speeds on Mill Street between Washington and McKinley at a resident’s request.
Highway Superintendent Tom Scharf and Alianello informed the board that two bids had been received for a fuel station structure at the highway barn and that both bids were nearly double what was budgeted. The board rejected both bids and asked that the scope of the project be reconsidered.
Scharf reported that Deputy Highway Superintendent Frank Moore will be retiring effective August 27. A new deputy must be named and a replacement mechanic/Class B driver must be found. Scharf said he will advertise the position opening as soon as possible. The board accepted Moore’s resignation.
The department has been busy with road maintenance and will be chipping and sealing several roads near Holiday Valley next week. The following week (beginning Aug. 29), Simmons Road will be closed to traffic for 3-4 days to allow the department to replace a culvert. Area residents will be informed in writing and signs will be posted to inform travelers.
Alianello reported that the State Health Department approved the engineering plans to replace Booster Pump #1 and asked the board for permission to go out to bid. The board approved the request and agreed to schedule bid opening for Sept. 16 at 10 a.m.
The Cornell Asset Management Program, a multi-faceted computer program that is being used to inventory all Ellicottville roads, is nearing completion. An intern hired to work with Scharf on the project is preparing a final report which will be shared at the September board meeting. Alianello said he expects the report will be a very valuable tool for maintenance scheduling and budgeting.
Alianello also reported that the town’s two older water tanks were inspected and both are in remarkably good shape. He said he is very pleased with the results.
McAndrew reported that the town planner had completed a State Environmental Quality Review of proposed changes to the town’s zoning law and determined that the amendments will not have a negative impact on the environment. With that in hand, the board voted to adopt the zoning amendments.
Board member Steve Crowley, who is heading up efforts for a Dave Golley Memorial, reported that efforts to raise donations toward the memorial are going well. Plans call for laying a brick patio, purchasing a bench, naming a road and more.
Ellicottville-Great Valley Trail board president Ken Hinman (who is also a member of the town board) reported that the dumpster used by the Town Center is being relocated and fenced in the next couple of weeks in time for BOCES students to begin construction of the trailhead structure once school begins in September.
The next meeting of the town board will be held on Wednesday, September 21 at 6 p.m. in the town/village hall.