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Ellicottville Town Board hears presentation on solar

By Caitlin Croft 

The July meeting of the Town Board opened with two Public Hearings, one on Consolidated Water No. 1 and the other on Establishment of Extension No. 1 to Consolidated Water District No. 1. There were no members of the public in attendance to speak.

In attendance were three candidates running for County Legislature District No. 3, Michael Brisky, Sharon Mathe and Ginger Schroder.

Next, was a presentation from Omni Navitas, a company based in Boston, Mass. Joseph Mendelsohn spoke on behalf of the solar company that is proposing a one megawatt solar farm. This is a smaller project for Omni, whose projects are usually 2 to 5 megawatts.

This project is proposed to be on Simmons Road backing up to Dooley Road. It will take up 25 acres and will be fenced and locked. The fencing will be screened in with landscaping and greenery. This project would power 660 homes and would give any National Grid customer in the town the option for Community Solar, which would lower their energy bill. After the 25-year lease the landowner would have the option to renew or have the site decommissioned.

Town Supervisor Matthew McAndrew made a motion to form a Solar Committee, which was approved by the board. The committee will be made up of two board members, two to three planning board members, Kelly Fredrickson, Gary Palumbo and Niles Pierson, and they will be charged to research other similar communities and come up with a plan for solar zoning. 

In McAndrew’s report, he said a portion of CHIPS funding has been reinstated by the state in the amount of $19,025.26. The DRI Grant presentation took place on July 8 and went very well, he said. The results of the grant will be announced in October or November. McAndrew also thanked Niles Pierson for conducting the Sexual Harassment Training for the Town and Village. 

In the Police Report, the town hired a new part-time officer, Ronald Smith, of Salamanca. He came highly recommended with a few awards from the police academy.

In the Engineering Report, regarding the LED Street Light Conversion project, Pierson has advised that the conversion versus purchasing is the better decision. It will cost $1,000 to $1,200 to convert the lights to LED bulbs and will have a less than one year payback. Purchasing wouldn’t pay back on the project for 12 to 15 years. The board approved the conversion decision.

The street sign inventory is on-going by the engineering intern. The Town Center project is 30 percent complete. The lights have all been converted to LED bulbs. The project should be complete by the end of August. 

In the Highway Department, the DPW is doing their best to keep up with all of the storm water damage and blockage. There is a lot more storm water than in years past.

Shawn Lafferty was named as Interim Deputy Highway Superintendent.

In new business, the town board adopted Resolution Creating Extension No. 1 Subject to Permissive Referendum.

Under old business, the cemetery work has been completed. The EVGV Trail has been asked to apply for a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation. Before this happens the foundation wants to see an intermunicipal agreement plan for shared services of a regional trail. The application is due in September.

The next meeting of the Town Board will be August 21st at 6 PM at the Town/Village Hall. 

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