By Caitlin Croft
The September meeting of the Town Board opened with approving the minutes from the August 2017 meeting. There were no corrections, a motion was made to approve; there was a second and council approved.
Next Privilege of the Floor was given to Mike Fleming regarding Sugartown Road and the speed of the cars traveling down it. He asked the council to consider reducing the speed limit to 35 mph from the current 45 mph. He felt this route, which is heavily traveled by pedestrians and bikers, is extremely unsafe right now. The board agreed that it is not the safest road for pedestrians and bikers. Town Supervisor Matt McAndrew advised he had spoken with members of the county and the process to reduce the speed limit takes 3-4 months and it is only a temporary fix as shoulders would be a more permanent solution. He feels the reality of reducing to 35 would see a lot of backlash as it is a heavily traveled route by many motor vehicles to get between NYS 98 and NYS 219. Town Planning Board Vice Chair John Zerfas spoke from the public that he felt reducing the speed could lead to an increase of vehicles passing each other and increased accidents. Fleming spoke back up and stated if it was policed more heavily, maybe the public would reduce its speeds and we would attract people from all over to use the route and stay in our village.
The entire board is in agreement that something needs to be done. They urged Fleming to have members of the community write letters in support of pedestrian/bike lanes and contact the Town Hall on who to send them to.
This conversation moved into the update on the Ellicottville Great Valley Trail, a 21-mile bike trail going all the way to Great Valley via Sugartown Road. The Department of Transportation (DOT) advised the town to put it into the Master Plan and this was done. They have applied for two TAP Grants from the state and have not been awarded the grants. In addition, they have also applied for two TIGER Discretionary Grants, which are right from the DOT. They have also been turned down for these. A grant writer has been brought on board to aid in the process. More letters from residents are requested. This is a two-million-dollar project and Phase 1 will enhance the likelihood of obtaining a TIGER Discretionary Grant.
Currently, they are working with the Army Corps of Engineers to work through Wetland procedure. The State Historic Preservation Officer needs to approve the project. An archeologist was consulted and is writing a letter to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) that states the plan should be approved by the State Historic Preservation Officer.
The County Department of Public Works completed all the surveys for the project and the Grading Release will aid with completing easements. The next step would be clearing the pathways and next year the goal is to start grading. There are a few drainage issues that must be addressed, along with the potential disturbance of the northern long nose bat’s nesting trees.
The board discussed how this project is being funded; they have offered to back 20 percent of the project and will be the entity to hold the easements. They will hold any coverage necessary. The board made a motion to ask the county for pedestrian/bike paths on either side of Sugartown Road; there was a second and the council approved. They will also add extra enforcement of the current speed limit.
Next was discussion on the Evans Agency Insurance package. Workers Compensation went up due to there being more payroll dollars than in the past. Overall, the cost of the package is down $145 from last year. There was discussion on the professionalism and attention to detail of the Evans Agency when a question of shopping the plan around came up. The board made a motion to accept the Evans Agency Commercial Insurance Plan for this year; there was a second and the council approved.
During the Audit of Claims there was a motion to approve the bills on Distribution Report #08-17; there was a second and the council approved.
During the Supervisor’s Reports, there was a motion to accept Supervisor’s August 2017 Financial Report.
Next, the Four Flushers Meeting was discussed regarding the Grant the Village received and it is expected to go to bid in January 2018. Also discussed was the funding options for entering data collected into the GIS Mapping of Village and Town Assets. The County has offered to host the GIS system.
Five candidates have been interviewed for the Town/Village Public Works Position. They have narrowed it down to three and the next round of interviews will be Friday, Sept. 29.
At the Cattaraugus County Shared Services Meeting on Sept. 7, the plan was passed by all towns and villages and it also received county approval. The plan has now been sent to the state for review. We are one of the only counties in the state to complete this process in 2017 thanks to the tireless work of Jack Searles County Administrator’s Office.
All department reports had a motion for approval made; there was a second and the council approved.
A concern with Fire Alarms again has been raised and the council feels we need to properly enforce the fines that are currently in place.
The line locator was broken, because there is a new one budgeted into the grant McAndrew hesitates to purchase a new one. Until then, the town will rent or borrow one.
The Energy Authority completed their Energy Audit and the council waits for those results.
Innovative Mechanical, who did the new HVAC system at the Town Hall, has offered a service contract where two times per year they will inspect the entire system. This will include replacing filters and lube. They have committed to be available for emergency service and will service the snow melt components as well. This is for $700, the council made a motion to accept this service agreement; there was a second and it was approved.
A punch list has been created for the contractor on Booster Station #1, which should be complete the week of the 23rd. This winds down the project. There was a motion to pay for parts that were purchased from Great Valley Builders by Win-Sum for the Booster; there was a second and it was approved.
Upper Holiday Valley Road engineering project is in the early stages. The county has completed the survey and this project will address the water shed in that area. The goal is to slow down water above the entrance to Tannenbaum Lodge. There will be a total of 1200’ in question and there are concerns on how much the curb will cost because it is such a small amount. They also plan to reconstruct the aprons on each driveway in question to better aid with the water shed.
In new business, there was a Jefferson Street Cemetery Update. Gail Carucci wrote a letter addressing the stones that are now in need of repair. Considering so much work was put into restoring the cemetery Carucci does not want to see it revert to the state it was in. The council will ask Mr. Crandall (who did the initial repairs) to check it out and give an estimate on repairs.
Next in new business was 6515 Donlen Drive, a “Zombie Home.” There is now a list of homes that if that property is on the bank must foreclose and this will force them to care for the property. Kelly Fredrickson, the Code Enforcement Officer, is spearheading the investigation into the process so we can hopefully address this issue.
The board closed the meeting and moved to executive session. The next meeting of the Town Board will be on Oct. 23, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall.