2017 Tree City USA
Village Board Welcomes Spencer Murry as Trustee
Story and photo By John Thomas
As he likes to be the bearer of good news, Village Mayor John Burrell started the meeting of the Board of Trustees with announcing two checks the Village has received. The first was from the county for $17,743.17 for returned Village taxes. The second check for $12,649.49 was from Time Warner (now Spectrum). The water leak at Fitzpatrick and Weller has been fixed at their expense. DPW Superintendent Harold Morton said the leak could account for up to 40% of the Village’s water use. The Mayor took a moment to welcome Spencer Murray to the Board of Trustees. Mr. Murray will replace Sherman Wilkens.
Business from the Floor
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian McFadden addressed the board. He would like to bring a Lacrosse tournament to the Village in September. The event will need eight fields for competition. He has spoken to ECS and obtained permission to use their fields and wanted permission from the board to use Village Park. The event will take place over three days, and McFadden was also seeking authorization to use the lawns in front of Town/Village Hall and the post office for vendors. Mr. McFadden says the tourney will bring up to four thousand people to the Village. There was a comment that the Chamber should go through the Special Events Committee for permission, but McFadden stressed he was in ongoing talks with the organizers and wanted to be sure he had permission before proceeding with contract negotiations. That was why he was appealing to the board directly. A motion was passed to grant use of the fields. The Director said he hopes to have a decision by the organizers in the next ten days.
Job Lowry is the Forester for the Village. He gave a report on the Tree City USA conference he attended in Albany. Ellicottville has been officially a Tree City USA for 36 years, and Mr. Lowry stated the Village is the third oldest Tree City in the state. At the conference, he learned about oak wilt disease. It can kill an oak tree in two weeks and is spread by the sap beetle. It has been reported in the middle of the state. He said grants are available for forestry from the DEC for developing a management plan. He requested permission to attend a forestry class in Tonawanda in May. Later in the meeting, a motion was approved to authorize no more than $100 for him to attend the class.
Mayor Burrell requested a motion to move the May meeting to May 1st so that he could attend the NYCOM conference in Albany. It was noted there are funds in the budget for several board members to attend the conference, but there were no takers. A motion was passed to move the regular board meeting to May 1. Another motion was passed to authorize the Mayor to attend the conference. Mr. Burrell said there would be a meeting with Randy Glenn from the Evans Agency in which he will bring three insurance quotes for consideration. The Mayor said the meeting with the grant writer went well but gave no details.
Department and Committee Reports
Village Planner Gary Palumbo has submitted his report on the proposal for 23 Washington Street. One board member said he was disappointed the report gave no specific recommendations about the proposed additions to the building. In a second report submitted by the planner, Palumbo said because of the historical district overlay; the project needs a Type I SEQR filing. Type I is a much more involved filing involving coordination between various state agencies and requires a lead agency to manage the process. Either the Village Board or the Planning Board could be the lead agency. It was noted, if the Planning Board is the lead agency, the Village Board must accept their decision. A motion was made and passed to table the discussion.
Harold Morton of the DPW reported his crews have swept the streets around the Village and started repairing the plow damage to the lawns in front of Town/Village Hall and the post office. The brush removal pick-up will be on the second weeks of May and June. It was discussed the DPW would pick up cuttings and garden debris most any time. The Engineering and Sewer report were accepted as submitted.
Kelly Fredrickson reported he is halfway through his training to become a code enforcement officer. He said eight new permits had been issued. There was a question about work being done at 26-28 Washington. He said the dumpster had been on Monroe for less than a week.
There was a discussion about the boulevards on Washington and Monroe. Beautification Chairman Joe DiPasquale want to remove them, saying they are ugly and a source of mud. He said he had received complaints about them. Mr. DiPasquale said he had talked to a contractor about the piecemeal removal of some of the boulevards, replacing them a few at a time. This brought disagreement from Patra Lowes, saying she had talked people who like the patches of grass between the sidewalk and the street. The Mayor asked citizens to call the Village office and express their opinion on the boulevards. It was agreed the Board will make the final decision on their fate.
The Mayor said he had received numerous complaints about the sidewalks. There are many spots where standing water collects, forcing people onto the street. It was noted the sidewalks on the west side of Mechanic are in very bad shape. Burrell said the board should consider having the worst spots fixed. Greg Cappelli said he would make a list of the areas needing the most attention. Burrell said there could be some CHIPS money for sidewalk repair.
Water & Sewer Bills
Village Clerk Mary Klahn reports the online payment system for water and sewer payments can now accept Canadian payments. She said the high consumption rates are now in effect, and people have been surprised at the higher water bills. The Village has 37 different water rates, while the Town has only four. Mayor Burrell said perhaps when the Joint Water District is created for the Town and Village; they may be able to consolidate some of the rates. Ms. Klahn said when the water bills are printed out, she goes through them and flags unusually high bills. She gives them to the water department at the DPW, and they check the property out. Several leaks have been found this way. There was a discussion about creating additional planning and zoning fees for permits.
Code of Ethics
The Mayor passed out a copy of a Code of Ethics created by NYCOM. He said the board is required by law to adopt a code of ethics. He also passed out a copy of the code adopted by the Town in 2012. Mr. Burrell said the board could use both as a template for devising their own set of ethics rules. He said the board would hold a public hearing before adopting them as local law. The meeting was adjourned, and after a break went into the Organizational Meeting.