By Caitlin Croft

The town of Ellicottville’s engineering department has been busy this past month, undergoing a review of the current Town and Village permit applications, forms and rate structure.

The current rates and forms hadn’t been updated in years. To streamline the application process and increase efficiency, the department has consolidated the existing forms so they are identical for the town and village.

Niles Pierson, engineer for the town and village, explained how they came up with the new rate schedule.

“We took into account the cost of labor associated with reviewing a project and overhead,” he said. “The cost of a building permit has gone down, but there will be additional fees if a project has to go to the Planning Board and ZBA or other review.”

The overall increase in fees is approximately 16 percent.

The GIS map is 75 percent complete and includes Town Highway culvert inventory, water and sewer inventory. Training in the use of a handheld GPS device will be held on Dec. 11. The engineering website is now live and a link can be found on the town’s website. The new IT server and phone system has been installed.

The redesign of drainage layout on Upper Holiday Valley Road is approximately 30 percent complete and ongoing. The Environmental Facilities Corporation Grant Award announcements should be made in the next two weeks. New water and sewer rates are being written.

The board was presented with updated detail drawings at last month’s meeting.  The biggest change was to the Town Road Standard, requiring new roads to be more substantial. They accepted the updated detail drawing as presented, noting that there may be revisions as design standards change.

Spectrum will only offer fiber internet at the highway barn and it will cost $360 a month in addition to the initial cost of $5,000 to have the line brought from the pole to the building. The consensus was that that was a lot of money for the service that was being provided. Pierson will be looking into other options.

Pierson presented a proposal from Dude Solutions for permitting software for the Building Department. The initial fee for set-up and implementation is $22,305.42, which includes a one-year contract.  Pricing for First Renewal Term is $7,675. The program will tie into the GIS software which is also from Dude Solutions. It will allow the Building Department to be more efficient and organized.

Pierson believes that there could be cost savings over time because it would make it possible for the department to share their services with other municipalities.

Mr. McAndrew asked if there would be an additional licensing fee to add another municipality to the software. Pierson advised he will look into that.

In light of the substantial cost of the subscription, the board would like Pierson to get more information and recommendations from other municipalities who use this or other software.

Pierson advertised for bids to allow the town to partner with a tree service company every year to trim limbs out of the right of way on town roads. The bids were opened on Oct. 19. The board accepted the low bid from Fries Tree Service for $175 an hour.

IN OTHER BUSINESS, the town’s 2019 budget was adopted on Nov. 7. The town stayed under the tax cap with a tax increase of a little over 1 percent. That amounts to about 2 cents per thousand. The rate is 1.29004, one of the lowest in the county.

Windmill projects in Farmersville and Franklinville are progressing. The county is working on a formula for quantifying the value of shared services to qualify for a grant.

A public hearing for the Comprehensive Plan Amendments was set for Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. The Comprehensive Plan has not been updated and amended since 2012.

The EVGV Trail is still working on Liability and Insurance issues. Attorney Moriarty presented an updated Intermunicipal Agreement for Shared Services of Code Enforcement Officer.  It is the town’s intention for the CEO to become a town employee Jan. 1.

Town Center has received a grant to replace their windows. Pierson will put the design together and put the project out for bid in the spring.

The next meeting of the Town of Ellicottville Board will be Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.