By Jann Wiswall

The town and village of Ellicottville are seeking grant funding to help the municipalities form a joint water and sewer district. A state grant would fund the research, asset inventory, data collection, administrative structure and legal costs required to create the joint districts.

As has been previously reported, the formation of a joint sewer and water district will include creating a new department of public works (DPW) director position, shared by the town and village, to oversee the joint district as well as the town highway department and the village’s current DPW.

During the town board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18, Town Supervisor Matt McAndrew said that, if the joint district is formed, the new DPW director will need office space. At the same time, the town historical society has asked McAndrew to find climate-controlled storage space for some of its delicate documents and antiquities.

McAndrew outlined a possible scenario that requires some “musical chairs” with office and storage space. One scenario could be to move the police department to the Town Center building, next to the town and village court, and use the current police department space in the town/village hall as the DPW director’s office. And, since a new air conditioning system is being installed in the town/village hall, dry space can be found for the historical society.

In general, the town board and Police Officer in Charge Don Auge felt McAndrew’s idea could work, though it is too soon to make any decisions.

In other business, the board approved a proposal to make the town’s water operator position a civil service job.

The board also approved a suggestion by Auge to keep the town/village hall locked on select festival weekends and to install chains blocking people from going to the second floor during certain hours. Auge said the suggestion was prompted by a recent vandalism incident.

Department Reports

Auge reported that people have been caught and ticketed for dumping their trash into private dumpsters. Under state Environmental Conservation law, Auge said people can be fined $1,500 or more for each occurrence.

Editor’s note: Refuse and recycling rules can be found on page 9.

Auge also reported that he has been working with the Ellicottville fire captain to prepare a database of residential fire and burglar alarms as part of an effort to reduce false alarms. Property owners with such alarms must register their systems with the town or village clerk’s office.

Highway Superintendent Tom Scharf reported that the department has just come off a challenging period of constant activity, with daily heavy snow for weeks, followed by warmer temperatures featuring heavy rain and melting. He said he has “an excellent group of people on staff” who “shut their lives down” to get the job done. He also noted that there have been several record weeks for overtime.

Town Engineer Mark Alianello presented the board with bids to insulate the attic and remove and replace the ceilings in the town/village hall. The work must be done as part of the installation of an air conditioning system. The bid from S&T Construction was accepted.

Bids for the A/C system will be advertised this month.

The board also approved a proposal from Tronconi, Segarra & Associates to conduct annual audits of town financials and every third-year audits of the town court.

Board member Ken Hinman reported that planning for phase one construction of the Ellicottville-Great Valley trail is nearly complete. There are still some legal issues with easements that must be worked out. Hinman said the trail committee is still waiting to hear about a state grant application, but that a federal grant proposal was rejected.

The next regular meeting of the Town of Ellicottville Board is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. in the town/village hall.