By Caitlin Croft
In the regularly scheduled meeting of the Village Board (VB) on March 13, the Public Hearing was held regarding the 2017-2018 Village Budget.
Spencer Murray and John Rounds, two members of the community, raised questions regarding the proposed budget. All questions were about discrepancies between this new proposed budget and the 2016-2017 budget. Many of the questions were answered by Mayor John Burrell, accounting for certain expenses in a new fashion as to get a healthier picture of where the village labor and dollars are being spent.
In addition to a more in-depth way of accounting, Burrell has given the Village Clerk a 5 percent raise as he feels this better compensates the clerk for duties performed. Along with that raise, all village employees will receive a 2 percent raise this coming fiscal year. Burrell also has budgeted for a new part- time employee. Along with a new part-time employee, the VB has increased the engineering expense in hopes of hiring a full-time engineer and cease using their current firm.
The Village Park budget was increased so that new boards can be put on the bleachers, along with fixing the current fence.
For all increases, one-third of the expense will be allocated to each fund: general, sewer and water.
A special meeting of VB will take place on Monday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the Village Hall to discuss the budget further and potentially adopt the 2017-2018 budget. Please note that the village has until May, 31, 2017 to adopt a budget, but Burrell wants this to be done as soon as possible so they can start planning now for projects in the summer. Board Trustees have requested a report of Tax Exempt Properties within the village for the meeting as well.
Next on the table was good news. The new Waste Water Treatment Plant’s new blower motor is not working properly. After investigation by Koester, the supplier of the blowers, the issue will be covered under warranty.
The Charter Communications Franchise Check was received in the amount of $4,230.22, which is significantly lower than in years past. An inquiry was made as to why the decrease and Charter Communications has elected to send quarterly checks from this point forward. The sales tax from the county was received in the amount of $91,278.30, which is down 3 percent from last year. This is due to sales across Cattaraugus County being down.
The State Comptroller Office issued their annual State Fiscal Stress Monitoring System Status Notification. This is essentially a study of all village and towns in New York State and it assesses their fiscal health. With a score of 45-55 percent, a village/town is classified as Susceptible to Fiscal Stress, 55-65 percent is Moderate Fiscal Stress and 75-100 percent is Significant Fiscal Stress. The Village of
Ellicottville in 2014 had a 6.7 percent rating, 2015 and 2016 was a 5 percent rating and the projected rating for 2017 is 3.9 percent. This is a fabulous rating to have— near perfect and is a great indicator of the direction the Village is going.
The board approved the minutes from last month’s meeting and the chair voted in favor for the Treasurer’s Report and Audit of Claims. A member of the board asked if they could receive a summary report as to save paper and only print a quarterly detailed report. A motion was made to adopt this suggestion, it had a second and the chair voted in favor.
In the Mayor’s report, the Joint Fire Commission Meeting Minutes were reviewed, along with the insurance meeting minutes. In the insurance meeting, it has come to light that several village assets do not have insurance. The board discussed how replacement costs were derived and they want to further investigate proper insurance levels for all buildings, equipment and contents.
The VB attended a meeting with the Town Board to hear a presentation from Grants Writer Diana Chihak who came very highly recommended and has had a lot of success in Ellicottville and Western New York. After further discussion, the board will see if, in conjunction with the Town Board, this is an avenue they want to pursue. There is a history of the two boards working together to hire a grant writer.
Burrell presented to the board an idea about joining two groups, the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) and The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN), which are both free memberships. This would allow the village to have better purchasing power when it comes to equipment and capital improvements. These groups establish and provide nationally-leveraged and competitively solicited purchasing contracts under the guidance of the Uniform Municipal Contracting Law. The VB made a motion, there was a second and the chair voted in favor.
Mayor Burrell attended the Scenic Byway meeting in Springville and they are aiming to get an interpretive sign in Ellicottville about the early years of skiing in Ellicottville.
The Village Elections are to be held on March 21 from 12 to 9 p.m.
In the Department of Public Works report, the DPW has received two quotes for new fire hydrants.
Prices are only about $30 different, but the more expensive hydrant comes with complete service training. Two new hookups need to be added on Mill Street. Northrup Construction has agreed to do this work for $1,000.
Lastly, the Village needs to purchase a new 3-in- 1 or 4-in- 1 plow blade for the new truck. All items are to be discussed further.
Much of the Engineer’s report was discussed at the beginning of the meeting in regards to the uninsured buildings and the WWTP. From the 2015 WWTP improvements, Nussbaumer & Clarke are still waiting on a revised payment application. Nussbaumer has requested this information on five separate occasions and still awaits the revised application.
Work on a new Duties and Responsibilities Checklist continues. The Village will eventually be able to generate work reports for recurring duties. The target completion date is April 3, 2017.
Next, Stillhouse Brewery has requested a meeting with the Village and Town Officials to discuss requirements with Carl Calarco and his client, Bill Bursee. At issue are the guidelines from sewer use law and what needs to submitted to the village that has yet to be submitted. Nussbaumer & Clarke have sent the requirements to Bursee on several occasions with no response. The VB discussed a proposed committee that is needed for extraordinary expenses and who should pay for them. In addition,
Documentation Request Processes need to be re-evaluated and better tracked. A motion, second and chair voted in favor to accept all written and oral reports.
Village Trustee Joe DiPasquale is working on new banners as part of the beautification project.
Village Trustee Sherman Wilkens addressed the parking situation and has requested that law enforcement crack down on tickets. This is to be discussed further with Village Police.
Two applications for Special Events have been received — one for the annual Summer Festival and the other for Ellicottville’s newest event, Stroll the Streets, which will be expanding this year.
The Village Clerk advised that the online website to pay sewer and water tax should be up and running for April 1, 2017.
In old business, the VB made a motion, there was a second and the chair voted in favor to the MDA 2/13/2017 proposal which involves creating a detailed inventory of water lines and valves. The Town had already approved and was waiting on the VB to do the same.
In new business, the Division of Land and Forests, Annual Recognition Ceremony will be held and the VBhas approved to send the Village Forester to the event held in Albany, NY. Next, they have approved to join the South Town’s Scenic Byway for a fee of $250.
The next meeting of the Village Board will be the Special Meeting on Monday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the Village Hall. The April meeting will be held on Monday, April 10 at 6 p.m. at the Village Hall.