By Jann Wiswall

Town of Ellicottville Supervisor Matt McAndrew briefed the board on several topics during the March 16 meeting.

First off, he reported that Southern Tier West has a record storage program available to municipalities that may be of interest to the Town of Ellicottville. The program takes hard copy documents, scans them and stores the electronic documents on disk.

Several board members were familiar with electronic records programs and thought it could be useful as long as the electronic files are user-friendly and searchable. They asked McAndrew to get more information about STW’s program and report back.

McAndrew met with the Rotary Club this month to work out a memorandum of understanding for the Rotary Auditorium at the Town Center. Town Attorney Kathleen Moriarty said she would share the proposed MOU with the board for its review.

Village DPW Chief Harold Morton was invited to meet with the Nannen Arboretum Society and McAndrew to discuss lawn mowing. It was agreed that the village will meet with Society members early in the season to coordinate needs and scheduling mowing in advance of special events.

While reviewing activities and issues at the Town Center, McAndrew identified some possible insurance gaps, notably adequate coverage during special events where alcoholic beverages are served. In looking at those needs, he recommended that the Arboretum Society look at strengthening its liability insurance coverage. The town’s insurance agent will be invited to present his recommendations to the board when appropriate.

McAndrew was invited to be part of a new “Route 219 Corridor Development Committee,” which met for the first time on Thursday, March 3. He explained that the committee is working to push for state and federal funding of a two-mile section of the Rt. 219 extension from a new 219 interchange (Exit 22) at I-86 in Salamanca. The exit would lead to a new four-lane highway via a new bridge that would go around the city and join the old 219 in Great Valley.

The first task requested of committee members was for each to send a prepared letter to Governor Cuomo. McAndrew said he has completed this task.

The town will soon be advertising for lawn mowing bids, but it has come to local municipalities’ attention (not just Ellicottville’s) that state law requires that lawn companies pay employees who do work on municipal properties the county’s prevailing wage. They also must provide payroll documentation to the municipality that certifies that they pay that wage. Sole proprietors are exempt.

It is still unclear what that prevailing wage is, however. And few contractors are prepared to comply without increasing their bids. The board agreed to do the best it can within the state’s requirements.

Department Head Reports

Police Officer in Charge Don Auge explained that his department has gotten three bids for two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). The bids were within $100 of each other but there were some slight differences between products. The board authorized the department to purchase the models that best fit their needs.

Auge also reported that about half of the Ellicottville police force, including all four of its full-time officers, attended advanced training on March 5 and are now authorized to make use of some new devices.

He also reported that Mardi Gras went well for the most part. State police and the sheriff’s department helped keep traffic moving and there were only two arrests and two incidents at the bars.

Mark Alianello, who is serving as acting highway superintendent, has begun the search for a summer intern to inventory all Ellicottville roads using the Cornell Asset Management Program. The intern and a highway department staff member will work together to learn the software and conduct the inventory. The staffer will keep the inventory up-to-date in the long term.

Alianello also is working with highway department staff to survey and prioritize projects for the coming months. While he wants to get a plan in place, he also wants to involve a new highway superintendent in that decision making.

There was no discussion of the superintendent search during the open board meeting, but it was the subject of an executive session at the end of the meeting.

As Town Engineer, Alianello briefed the board on a problem with a sewer line near the Town Center. McAndrew said there are several possible solutions – some short-term and some long-term – and all have budget implications. Further information is being gathered.

Finally, the board asked McAndrew to research costs on having an HVAC system installed in the town hall. The idea was investigated several years ago and it was too expensive at the time, but new products are now on the market that may make it affordable. McAndrew said he would look into it.

The next meeting of the town board will be held on Wednesday, April 20 at 6 p.m. in the town/village hall. All are welcomed.