By Jennie Acklin
On Oct. 17, Mayor John Burrell opened the Village of Ellicottville meeting by updating the board on the Cattaraugus County Municipal Officials Assoc. meeting held last week at Holiday Valley. The program was presented by Peter Baynes and Barbara VanEpps from the NY conference of Mayor’s and Municipal Officials (NYCOM). Baynes was very complimentary of Ellicottville in a letter sent after the meeting to Burrell, which he read aloud.
Burrell also introduced two new DPW employees, Mark Chudy and Joe Lowry.
Two public hearings were on the agenda for the evening: repealing Local Law No. 1-2014 which made Hughey Alley a one-way alley, and the Village Leash Law.
“My question to the board – is it more confusing now that it is a two-way alley (again) versus when it was one-way?” asked Burrell.
Delivery trucks are causing a congestion problem, and concerns are about potential accidents happening when vehicles come out of the alley onto Monroe Street and don’t see pedestrians or other vehicles coming down the street. Three business owners were mentioned as wanting Hughey Alley to go back to being a two-way alley.
The proposed leash law amendment states that, “It shall be unlawful for any owner of any dog in the Village to permit or allow such dog to run at large; a dog owner is required to keep his or her dog on a leash at all times unless the dog is contained on private property with the permission of the property owner.” The current law allows a dog to run at large if the owner or responsible person accompanies a dog and is under the full control of such owner or person (without requiring a leash).
Both public hearings were left open for the duration of the meeting, and ultimately were passed as the last order of business before the meeting adjourned. Local Law No. 3-2016 repeals the law that made Hughey Alley a one-way alley, and will now be a two-way alley. The leash law now requires all dogs to be restrained on an adequate leash (unless contained on private property).
The condition of village benches was the next item for discussion. A recent meeting with Burrell and Harold Morton of the DPW with the Lion’s Club resulted in a program for maintenance of approximately 30 benches. As the benches are taken down this fall (for annual winter storage), the Lions Club will replace 10-12 of them with new lumber, and then re-plane and sand the old lumber on subsequent benches, along with painting and additional required maintenance. The labor will be done on a volunteer basis by the Lion’s Club, and the Village will pay for maintenance items, which will be a minimal cost, according to Burrell.
“I just want them to look better,” said Burrell.
Finnerty’s Tap Room, Plans in the Works
Bill Finnerty addressed the board about his plans to open a new restaurant, to be called Finnerty’s Pub, in the former Armor Inn Tap Room building on Mill Street, next to Kwik Fill and across from the Wingate Hotel. Finnerty was in attendance at the board meeting to also request a waiver of the State Liquor Authority (SLA) 30 day notice, which the board did grant as their last order of business for the night. He hopes to address all licensing approvals with the SLA and Village Planning Board, and looks towards a mid-December 2016 opening of his pub.
“I’m overwhelmed with the progress of the village over the years,” said Finnerty. My family and I are excited to join the community, if you’ll have us!”
His plans for the “upscale pub” include a family-oriented restaurant, featuring small-scale acoustic music and a blend of menu ideas, as well as being part of the Ellicottville community with events throughout the year.
New Christmas Lighting
Jim Carls of Dina’s approached Mayor Burrell with a suggestion to try some different Christmas lighting ideas for this upcoming season, and suggested meeting with Doug Sitler, owner of Sitler HQ, best known for creating the Night Lights events at Griffis Sculpture Park, the Nannen Arboretum, the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens and the Heron.
A second meeting at the Ellicottville Chamber office outlined some design details of the lighting plan, which would be accomplished with the help of the Village DPW crew. The idea was also presented at the Chamber business owners and board of directors meeting. Several businesses, including Holiday Valley, Ellicottville Brewing Company, HoliMont, Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, Dina’s Restaurant, Krysick & Company, Cathy Pritchard, Kathleen Moriarty, the Ellicottville Rotary, and the Village of Ellicottville, contributed money to the Christmas Lighting idea, so that no money will be needed from the Village budget.
During the DPW report, Harold Morton reminded board members that the village hydrants are scheduled for flushing on Monday, Oct. 24 and Tuesday, Oct. 25., starting at 7 a.m. each day.
It was announced that Village Code Enforcement officer Tom Abraitis will be retiring in March 2017.
The Village dog park is nearing completion, and will be named “Elmer’s Dog Park” in recognition of Elmer the dog’s owner, who donated the fence for the park. Security cameras are one of the last items that need to be installed. It was suggested that directional signage be installed on various street corners, so that locals and visitors know how to get to the park.
New Business Announcements
Lisa Saunders was appointed to the ZBA, to replace Jody Bentley. The board discussed the hiring of a part-time temporary water maintenance manager by the Town of Ellicottville, to oversee the Ellicottville Joint Water District. The Town of Ellicottville is asking the Village of Ellicottville to pay for this manager, and Village board members agreed that more time was needed to look into the matter further, once they had the necessary data and pertinent information. A Public Works Director may also be hired, and Village board members voted in favor of authorizing a study of the possibility of having a joint Town and Village Superintendent of Public Works. Lastly, John Burrell and Village Clerk Mary Klahn announced that they had discovered a payroll error with employee health insurance deductions and determined that village employees had too much money deducted from their paychecks. $20,845.21 was over-deducted over a 28 month period, and refunds would be issued to everyone during a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 9 a.m.