By Jann Wiswall

At the Ellicottville Town Board meeting on July 16, Town Supervisor John Burrell reported that all paperwork is signed and a pre-construction meeting with contractors and MDA Engineering was held Tuesday, meaning that the East Tank Project is officially underway. Town Engineer and MDA Engineering President Mark Alianello said that the “good team” of contractors will break ground on July 28 and the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

The East Tank Project involves installing a new water tank on the east side of Ellicottville and connecting water lines throughout the town, the village of Ellicottville, WestMont Ridge in Mansfield and Snow Pine in Great Valley. The project will alleviate water pressure problems throughout the area, improve fire hydrant performance and allow expansion efforts for public safety and development.

During the meeting this past Wednesday, the board had one last loose end that needed to be tied up regarding a small piece of land adjacent to the tank site off Route 219 that currently is in a conservation district. The board will ask the town planning board to make a zoning change on that land.

In other business, the board approved a new pay rate for two positions in the summer youth program. The head lifeguard will be paid $10 per hour and the head counselor will be paid $9 per hour.

Burrell said that he had spoken with Lisa Swayziack at the Department of Aging and asked again about reviving the Meals on Wheels lunch service at the Town Center. Burrell said the request has been stalled at the county level for several months. He and other board members recalled that there was strong community interest in the program for elderly residents and that a show of interest on their part with the county might help move the effort along.

Burrell relayed a complaint from an area homeowner whose house is currently vacant and for sale and is being shown by realtors. Apparently, someone used a toilet while on the premises and the toilet was left running. She discovered the problem when she received a water/sewer bill that was hundreds of dollars more than the normal minimum usage rate.

The board sympathized with her dilemma, but noted that town policy states that if the water and sewer system was used, the bill must be paid. It was suggested, however, that the owner probably had recourse with the realtor responsible. The town can help her pinpoint the date the problem began in order to help her make her argument. Village Attorney Kathleen Moriarty said the owner could, if necessary, take the violator to small claims court.

Engineer’s Report

In addition to discussion of the East Tank Project, Alianello reported that the village board asked the town board to review its new contract with the village’s engineering firm, Nussbaumer & Clarke, for a long list of projects it must do to prepare for the new wastewater treatment plant (see Village Board story). Alianello felt the firm’s estimate was reasonable and thorough and saw no issues. The board concurred.

Alianello also noted that telephone service at the water department will be cancelled at the end of the month since there is rarely anyone there to answer it.

Legal Issues

Town Attorney Kathleen Moriarty reported on projects she has been investigating for the board.

First, she shared the county’s Alarm System Law, which could be adopted by the town if the town abolishes its own local law on alarm systems. The board will review the document and revisit the issue next month.

Next, she explained the steps that must be taken to hold a referendum on turning an elected position into an appointed one. The board is interested in doing so with the town highway superintendent position. She said that in order to get the issue on the November 2014 ballot, the resolution must be in the hands of the Cattaraugus County Board of Elections by mid September. The board agreed to do all that is necessary to make that happen.

The next meeting of the Ellicottville Town Board will be held Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. in the Village/Town Hall.