By Dave Dahl
A planned 15-mile bicycling and hiking trail has taken a step forward in the Town of Ellicottville.
Wood cutting for the Ellicottville – Great Valley Trail’s entrance in the town’s center began Friday.
Supervisor Matthew McAndrew expressed optimism about the trail.
“It’s another safe source to get to destinations,” he said.
Town Board members agreed to contribute $10,000 for a portion of the trail’s engineering costs last week. The funding will come from the town’s $100,000 cultural and recreation account.
Trail committee members have raised $9,000 and plan to seek more donations, McAndrew said. He does not expect the town government to contribute again. “Future costs will be funded by donations,” he said.
The town’s donation will cover the trail’s engineering costs for the section from the town’s center to the Tim Horton’s Café and Bake Shop on Route 219.
Planned to run through Great Valley and Ellicottville, the trail will guide bicyclists and hikers to places such as Pumpkinville, Holiday Valley’s tubing park and Ellicottville Central School.
“There will be a map with points of interest at the entrance,” McAndrew said.
With a width varying from 8 to 10 feet In different sections, the trail’s surface will probably be made of a hard-packed stone base from Tim Horton’s to the town’s center, McAndrew said. In other sections, it could be paved.
Before surfacing the trail, town officials and trail committee members must receive permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
In another matter, McAndrew announced the Four Flushers, a group of town and Village of Ellicottville officials that meets monthly to discuss water and sewer issues, talked about the need to replace a water operator and sewer operator who left the village government.
The supervisor could not reveal any further details.
“We’re in the process of filling those positions,” he said.
McAndrew also told the board he must choose from among four companies to insure vehicles, buildings and employees. The town’s insurance coverage will expire Sept. 30.
He plans to select a company by the month’s end.
Responding to a resident’s complaint about tractor-trailers parked overnight in front of the National Fuel building on Route 242E, McAndrew announced “no parking” signs will be placed there. The state Department of Transportation authorized the town to erect the signs.
The neighbor voiced concerns about truck drivers sleeping there.
“She didn’t feel comfortable about it,” McAndrew said.
Board members also heard from Jim Bouchard, deputy police officer in charge, about security at upcoming festivals. Police met with town and village officials and Chamber of Commerce representatives to discuss how many officers will be needed at Fall Festival and the Christmas Stroll.
Cattaraugus County sheriff’s deputies will help the police at festivals on Saturdays, but not on Fridays, he said. Corrections officers and state Department of Transportation employees are also available to assist.
After a board member asked him about tractor-trailer drivers who park on both sides of Route 219 in front of Tim Horton’s, Bouchard replied that officers are aware of the problem. “We write tickets,” he said.
In the Highway Department, Highway Superintendent Thomas Scharf told the board a roof over an island at the fuel depot will cost $15,500.
In another matter, board members heard from Mark Alianello, town engineer, about a homeowner who contested her water bill.
Jennifer Kennedy, who owns a vacation home on Bella Vista Drive, questioned him about her $689 water bill for 174,400 gallons.
“She wrote a letter that it was impossible that she used that much,” he said.
Alianello believes a leaking toilet caused the unusually high three-month amount. He added that a home typically uses 12,000 to 15,000 gallons in that time.
Describing the situation as “not uncommon” in the town, he said some part-time residents receive high bills because of leaking toilets or sinks when no one lives in a home for a few months.
“If nobody was there the whole time, that could have happened,” he said.
Following an executive session, the board waived the late fee but insisted she pay the bill.
“We feel bad about it but we can’t let any exception because then you get into bigger issues,” McAndrew said.
Board members also listened to Harry Weissman, assessor, who told them the town has maintained its 100 percent equalization rate for property values.
McAndrew voiced his relief that the town will not need a revaluation.
Weissman also estimated that 60 to 70 single-family homes are for sale in the town, which he considers a normal number.
“There are always ‘for sale’ signs everywhere,” he said.
The Town board’s next meeting has been set for 6 p.m. on Oct. 19.