By Caitlin Croft

The January meeting of the Ellicottville Village Board opened with good news.

A check was received from New York state for the amount of $28,923.29. The check comprised of payments from the following three funds: Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), PAVE-NY and WIRP. 

The board approved the previous meeting minutes with minor revisions including Patra Lowes voting against one motion. The board also approved budget modifications totaling roughly $18,188.00. Trustee Lowes abstaining as she just received the modifications and did not have time to review.

In the mayor’s report, there was discussion regarding the R.A. Mercer/Williamson Law Update Joint Session that took place on Jan. 11, 2019. Previously a bill was received from R.A. Mercer for work done on the year end accounting. This bill was significantly higher than the budgeted amount and what is characteristic of their usual agreement.

It was explained that there was a problem with the new accounting program purchased by the village and the compatibility with the data processing program needed to properly close out the year. The board has yet to pay this bill as the issue is still being worked out.

This meeting went smoothly and Trustee Greg Cappelli asked, “Is this problem resolved, if not why didn’t it get resolved initially?” This is in regard to the bill being presented in the second quarter of 2018 after the fiscal year of 2017 had been closed.

With fiscal year end approaching the board does not want to see these same issues arise as last year. There needs to be a resolution that works for all was the consensus of the board. This issue is ongoing but there has been reassurance that last years problems will not be repeated. 

There is a proposed elimination of AIM funding which accounted for roughly 2.21 percent of the budget and was a part of the funds received in this month’s good news. This is not good news for the village and is a statewide issue.

The village has not been reimbursed by the state for costs paid out that were instrumental in the formation of the Town/Village Engineering Department. These funds were promised via a CFA Engineering Grant where the village would be reimbursed for.

Part of the budget modifications made earlier in the meeting are due to the state not sending the reimbursements. The Department of State is looking into it and there will hopefully be a quick resolution. 

IN OTHER BUSINESS, Village Planner Gary Palumbo advised that some of the work he has put into the current Verizon Micro Cell Tower Project will be paid by Verizon. The Town is holding a joint Public Hearing on Monday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Town Center and Palumbo urged board members to attend as the village will have their public hearing next month. 

The board approved the second and third phase of the Lagoon Master Installation and awarded the bid to Gerwitz & McNeil. G&M was the lowest bid and has done the most work on the facility to date, therefore having an inherent understanding of the facility. The board established a Capital Fund Balance Policy.

There was discussion on the consolidation of the Town/Village Water District. Niles Pierson, Town/Village Engineer has set a goal of July 2020. There are two grants Pierson is working on. One is in regards to an infiltration study as the Town/Village infrastructure is dated. The other is in regard to a well house study including surrounding land uses.

The Engineering Department has been selected by RIT to work closely with two engineering student groups on a project for their degree. The students will, at no cost to the village, learn about the current facilities, processes and procedures. They are then charged to design a state of the art DPW Building.

Part of this project will include studying the economics of remodeling vs. building new. There will be a demo of a sewer truck and camera system that can inspect lines. Pierson feels this will be instrumental in the examination of sewer lines and prioritizing repairs and replacement in a fiscally responsible manner.

This can also be a way to generate income as it can be rented out to other municipalities. 

There have been a handful of issues with cars parking over the sidewalks in driveways. During the winter months, this makes it difficult to plow and maintain. Lowes asked if there is a way to ticket, as it’s illegal. This will be enforced in the future.

“Also, if we are promoting a ‘Walkable Village,’ the sidewalks must be plowed properly with no obstructions,” advocates Lowes. 

“Everything is beautiful, but the sidewalks,” said Joseph DiPasquale

I refuse, all is good except the issue with cardboard put out in the business district during peak visitor times. A solution is being worked towards.