By Caitlin Croft
The regular meeting of the Village Board opened with approval of the minutes from the January 2019 meeting. The board also approved the budget modifications and pay the bills with the condition that there would be confirmation and clarity on one bill from Nixon Peabody regarding recent charges of $2,200. With this, there was discussion regarding applying any legal fees for projects back to the applicant.
During the mayor’s report, the board approved Mayor John Burrell to sign the Municipal Solutions contract Renewal with Jeff Smith. Smith is consulting with the village and town on how to best consolidate the Water District. The goal on this consolidation is July 2020. Regarding the DRI Grant, the process is moving along.
Burrell attended the NYCOM Winter Legislative Meeting where the hot topics were Governor Cuomo’s budget and Cannabis legalization. In regard to the budget a hot topic is the elimination of AID funding to the villages across the state. With Ellicottville’s own budget coming up, they will have to raise taxes or cut services if this state budget is passed. Burrell and many other mayors across the state are agitated by this. The general consensus with cannabis legalization, if passed, is that they want the majority of tax revenue earned to stay at the state/local level.
Burrell discussed the hiring of a new village attorney. He asked that a request for quotes (RFQ) be sent out and recommendations be made so that a decision can be made at the March 2019 meeting. The board approved sending out the RFQ.
During the engineer’s report, Niles Pierson, Town/Village Engineer, gave a kudos to the new intern Brandon for taking all of the data collected last summer on the Water District and using free EPA software was able to plot and create an interactive GIS map of the system. Most mapping software costs upwards of $10,000, so this was a large savings to the town and village. This has already proven useful and has been able to help forcast what type of demand a large project would put on the system. The board approved sending three members of the DPW to water school.
There was some discussion regarding pay schedules. When employees attend this training they are given a raise, Patra Lowes, feels we do not need to spend the money to train every employee as most don’t end up in a position to use the training. Pierson advised her that with the new pay schedule, effective June 2019, all pay rates are merit based with annual reviews.
Last, Pierson proposed the purchase of a new Sewer truck as the old one is from the 1970s and essentially obsolete and if there was a large issue it would be useless. The board approved purchase of the new Sewer Truck for $338,710.
Lowes noted the sidewalks are still treacherous. She has been a firm advocate in the past for clean walkable sidewalks year round. She does not feel we can market Ellicottville as a “walkable” village if they are not properly maintained during the winter months.
There are currently three new parties who want to purchase dedication benches in the village. There will be a press release with all names of current bench plaques so that they can be renewed or returned to the original owners.
There board also approved Burrell to attend the NYCOM annual meeting in Cooperstown and accepted the resignation of Kelly Bigos.
The next meeting of the village board is schedule for March 18 at the Town/Village Hall.