Wednesday , August 23 2017
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Broadband, Shared Services Discussed by Town Board

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By Jennifer Weber

The Town of Ellicottville Board met on Wednesday, July 19 at 6 p.m., with Supervisor Matthew McAndrew opening a public hearing for Local Law No. 1 “A Local Law to Override the Tax Levy for Fiscal Year 2018.”

This law will allow for the formality of the Town of Ellicottville to go over the tax levy, if needed, and provides flexibility when working with the budget; passing the law would not mean the Town plans on going over the levy.  The law was approved at the end of the meeting.

The Board granted Privilege of the Floor to John Zerfas, who has been working on gathering information about progress of the New York State Broadband Initiative. Zerfas will be meeting with a Councilman from Ashford and is trying to get additional information about the current status of the initiative.

Phase Three of the Broadband program targets all the remaining unserved areas, seeking to provide access to high-speed broadband to the most rural communities with the goal to achieve statewide access to all of New York by the end of 2018. The deadline for request for proposals for Phase Three is Aug. 15, 2017. For more information on this program, visit www.nysbroadband.ny.gov.

McAndrew’s report included reviewing the minutes from the Four Flushers meeting. The Board agreed that the Village should go forward with the project to remove sludge from lagoon No. 1 at the approximate cost of $400,000-$500,000. The project had previously been scheduled to be done with the updating of the Waste Water Treatment Plant, but was removed from this plan to keep costs down.

The Board voted to establish a Joint Engineering Department between the Town and Village of Ellicottville, with the Village of Ellicottville entering into a shared services agreement utilizing the services of the Town engineering office. The Town is applying for a local government efficiency grant from New York State to assist with the cost of equipping the engineering department. The grant application will be finalized next week. If the grant is approved, the board may consider hiring an Engineering Assistant. The Town/Village of Ellicottville Public Works Engineering Position description is complete and will be advertised within the week.

McAndrew reported on the Cattaraugus County Shared Services Meeting, which identified 28 possible areas for sharing services throughout the county, about 5 or 6 of these proposals being feasible for the Town of Ellicottville. A workshop meeting with the Board, Engineer, Assessor and Highway Superintendent was scheduled for Wednesday, July 26 at 4 p.m.

Harry Weissman, Town Assessor, reviewed his report with the Board, stating overall sales are up in the area. The Board of Assessment Review handled 12-13 grievances, 6-8 correction of errors and 4 stipulations. The current level of assessment is at 99 percent for the year.

In other news, the Board approved a motion to bid out the project to fix the damaged part of Sommerville Valley Road; a meeting to discuss the Canada Hill Road Culvert construction took place and work is expected to begin this week; a section of pipe was replaced on upper Holiday Valley Road and the HVAC system now seems to be working and running, with only a few glitches.

Jeffrey Williams, President of the Valley Village Association, wrote a letter to the Town Board offering possible solutions to deal with the deteriorating Valley Village Drive and presented it to the board at the meeting. The Board agreed the road needs attention and will work with  the Association to find a solution that would be beneficial to both parties.

The Board concluded the meeting with a call to enter executive session. The next meeting of the Ellicottville Town Board will be held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

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