By Jann Wiswall

Ellicottville Supervisor John Burrell began the Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, Ellicottville Town Board meeting with some good news: Ellicottville received a letter from New York State Assemblyman Joe Giglio stating that the town will receive $82,021 from the State’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Program (CHIPS) and $7,425 from the State’s Aid and Incentives for Municipalities program.

This announcement was followed by two presentations from the public.

The first, Ellicottville School Board Member Carl Calarco described the proposed school capital improvement plan. He explained that 85 percent of the project is related to maintenance and renovation of the sections of the building constructed more than 50 years ago in 1962. The remaining 15 percent – including a 100’ x 50’ addition – is a practical and cost-effective way to create a multi-purpose gymnasium that can safely accommodate sports, performances, graduations, etc., and provides updated locker and restroom facilities for students.

Calarco also explained that 65 percent of the approximately $9.9 million project would be funded by the state. Three percent will be covered by the district’s capital reserve. The last 32 percent (about $3.5 million) would cost taxpayers roughly $16 to $42 a year per $100,000 in assessed property value, depending on the owner’s STAR rating.

Calarco and School Board Chair Roger Spell pointed out that if the project is voted down, the district will still have to do some $5 million in repairs without state aid. So voting against the project would cost taxpayers more, and, as Town Board Member John Northrop pointed out, “we’d get a lot less.” The referendum will take place March 19 from 1-8 p.m. in the Elementary School Foyer.

The board next heard a presentation from Pat Kerl, a member of the Nannen Arboretum Committee. Kerl, accompanied by several other committee members, described the funding of the Arboretum and its operation. Given the fact that it is now owned by the town, Kerl pointed out that its non-profit status is likely to end. She presented questions regarding implications of the ownership change, including how policies and procedures would be determined, who on the board would serve as liaison to the committee, how the property will be maintained, etc.

Burrell agreed that all these issues needed to be promptly addressed, and that he would add it to next month’s board meeting agenda.

Following the presentations, Burrell brought up some other issues related to the town’s ownership of the Extension Service Building. He reported that he is still discussing a possible move of the courts offices to the building. Locks have been changed, and a search for a part-time facilities manager for the property needs to begin. Board Member Steve Crowley suggested that a job description be developed and advertised and that the board should hold a special meeting to discuss the other details of this new project. The meeting was scheduled for March 6 at 6 p.m. at the Extension Service Building.

Burrell also proposed that the board think about whether the town and village should discuss expansion of their joint fire department coverage arrangement to include the Town of Mansfield. The idea was prompted by the expansion plans at HoliMont, which is located in Mansfield but is physically closer to Ellicottville’s fire department. The board agreed that Burrell should discuss the idea with Mansfield’s supervisor and board.

Department Head Reports:

Police Officer Don Auge reported that his department’s new radios have been installed and that the new police vehicle should be arriving soon.

Highway Department Head Dave Golley said the new maintenance garage is nearly complete, with drywall finishing and painting scheduled to begin this week.

Town Engineer Mark Alianello is working on plans, land acquisition, topographic surveys and related activities with the intention to complete the East Tank Project before the end of this year. He also reported that the Routes 219/242 waterline extension is almost complete, but asked the board to approve a proposal to extend 2-inch piping to the other side of the road to enable residents on that side to tap into the system if they choose. The board gave its approval, agreeing that this is the time to do this preparatory work.

Finally, Board Member Ken Hinman updated the board about progress on the proposed recreational trail. Earlier this month, the trail committee met with the Industrial Development Agency, which provided encouraging and important advice on next steps. The trail continues to attract considerable enthusiasm, he said, and the committee had its first inquiry about corporate support for the project.

The next meeting of the Town of Ellicottville Board will be held on Wednesday, March 20 at 6 p.m.

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