By Jann Wiswall
The Village of Ellicottville’s board passed Local Law No. 1 of 2016, which amends its previous Alarm Law, following a public hearing during its Sept. 12 monthly meeting. The law was amended to be consistent with the town of Ellicottville’s Alarm Law, so the fire and police departments follow the same rules and procedures when it comes to home and property alarm systems.
The top priority for the board currently is filling two vacancies in the department of public works.
Mayor Burrell said that 15 applications have been received and interviews are under way. “We have some excellent candidates with the required licenses,” he said.
Burrell also recommended a plan to ensure that the department always has employees who can substitute for each other when there are vacancies or absences.
The plan would encourage and motivate DPW employees to take water and sewer operation licensing courses by funding course fees and providing financial incentives for those who pass their license exams. Financial incentives also would be contingent on keeping their licenses up-to-date through continuing education.
“Ensuring that we have people who are dual-qualified and cross-trained in water and sewer operation is just good business,” Burrell said. “Tying licenses to hourly rate increases will motivate staff to get and keep their licensing, and will protect the department from service interruption for the long-term.”
Burrell said that, already, three employees are taking D and C water licensing courses this week. Two others will be going for their B licenses in October.
The board approved the salary incentive and continuing education measures.
Burrell also reported on a long list of meetings attended, actions taken and tasks completed over the last month. Among them, he has: talked with a lighting expert about improving outdoor holiday lighting for the upcoming Christmas season; been asked to join the board of the WNY Southtowns Scenic Byways organization; signed a contract with the new village attorney; resigned his Ellicottville-Great Valley Trail board membership; and recommended Joe Nosbisch to complete departing ZBA members Christina Barlow’s term.
He asked the board to approve his recommendation to appoint John Northrup to take his place on the EVGV Trail board.
He also reported that the Village’s sales tax revenues for second quarter 2016 are down 9.71 percent (more than $8K) from last year’s revenues during the same time period.
The board is considering amendments to two local laws and set public hearings for the October meeting. One amendment is to strengthen the village’s leash law. The other is to repeal Local Law No. 1 of 2014, which made Hughey Alley one way. Two village board members (Patra Lowes and Sherman Wilkins) are opposed to repealing that law, but the proposal to hold a public hearing passed by a 3-2 vote.
Burrell also asked the board to fund an audit by a certified CPA of the village Justice Court. The board approved a motion to do so and authorized Burrell to obtain bids.
Engineering department head Mike Smith reported that the contractor is working on the final punch list for the waste water treatment plant project and the electrical contractor has requested another time extension of two weeks to complete its task list. The board approved the extension.
Smith also reported that a noise complaint from a resident on Donlen Drive is being addressed. Decibel readings have been taken and are within an acceptable range. However, there may be a frequency issue and Smith is checking with the manufacturer to see what can be done. There may be other steps that can be taken, as well.
Wilkins, who is in charge of monitoring the condition of village sidewalks, noted that a sidewalk on Madison Street meets a sidewalk along Washington Street but does not go all the way to the road. He said that a path over the lawn is usually plowed during the winter, which ruins the lawn. He suggested that the board budget next year for that short sidewalk extension. The board agreed.
Board Member Greg Cappelli said that the new security system for the village park has been delivered and that Time Warner Cable is scheduled to install underground wiring to connect the system within the next few weeks. A bonus benefit to the security system, Cappelli said, is that the park will be wired for WiFi, providing internet connections to anyone visiting the park, as well as to the park program director and others.
Village Clerk Mary Klahn reported that all data is being entered into the new software system the town and village have purchased and, so far, systems are transitioning well. However, data for water, sewer and refuse billing is still in process. Klahn expressed some concern that it may not be fully tested in time for October quarterly billing. Burrell suggested that, if it’s not up to Klahn’s standards, she should use the old system in October to generate the invoices.
The board approved submitted plans for the Christmas Stroll and Christmas in Ellicottville. Fall Festival plans have not yet been submitted, however, and the event occurs before the next regular board meeting. Burrell said that a special meeting will need to be scheduled to approve the appointment of the two new DPW employees, so Fall Festival plans can be approved then. That meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 8 a.m.
The next regular meeting date of the board falls on a holiday (Columbus Day), so it has been rescheduled for Monday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. in the town hall.