Considers Stray  Cat Issue 

By Jann Wiswall

The Village of Ellicottville’s Board was asked by resident and local business owner Betsy Peyser to consider taking action to control a stray cat problem in the village. Peyser said she has seen increasing numbers of stray cats in and around the village, especially near dumpsters, and has heard negative comments regarding the issue from visitors and residents alike. She said the problem is only going to get worse as new litters of strays are born.

Peyser noted that there are several local organizations that will help trap the animals at no cost, spay/neuter them at village cost and then release them back into the community. While Peyser acknowledged that releasing them as strays is not ideal, there are not enough people to adopt so many animals. She said that by ensuring that they cannot procreate, the population growth problem will solve itself and that over a couple of years, the population would begin to drop.

Board member Bob Brogcinski recalled that the village had addressed this issue several years ago by hiring an organization to capture and relocate the animals to area farms and that the cost of doing so was expensive.

Peyser did not think there are enough farms that are interested in taking more strays, but offered to make some calls to area volunteer organizations to obtain estimates and to get back to Mayor Charlie Coolidge with that information. The board thanked Peyser for her assistance with this effort and agreed to discuss it again when associated costs are available.

Regular Meeting Business

DPW Head Harold Morton reported that his department has replaced a number of faded “No Parking” signs around the village, repaired water leaks on Elizabeth and Mechanic streets, read water meters and poured concrete for a section of sidewalk on Monroe Street. The department also completed eight dig requests and conducted all regular maintenance on the water and sewer systems.

Village Constable Howard Gifford said he had issued one traffic summons and 22 parking tickets in September. He also made one arrest for an open container violation and another arrest for public urination.

Village Engineer Mike Smith asked the board to approve a letter to be sent from the mayor to the State Department of Environmental Conservation requesting a time extension to respond to its compliance report on the village water system. The board approved the letter. Smith also reported that the “data logging” firm that was hired to do nighttime (low usage) analysis of 15,000 feet of village water pipes has begun work and is trying to locate leaks in the system. Once the leaks are repaired, the village should see improvements in its water pressure. Smith also said he had met with the State Department of Transportation regarding the planned Fillmore/East Washington/Elizabeth streets intersection improvement and the Route 242 sidewalk project and that both projects are on schedule. Construction will begin in spring 2014.

Special Events Committee Chair Patra Lowes said that the last item on her to-do list in advance of this weekend’s Fall Festival is to deliver information packets to all the bars in town, detailing the village’s expectations, rules and regulations. Mayor Coolidge said that the committee has done a “great job pulling all this together,” and has worked closely with law enforcement and bar owners to build consensus on expectations for the event. Lowes said the letter published in the local media describing the committee’s efforts to respond to the community’s concerns has had positive feedback.

Under new business, Mayor Coolidge asked the board to approve a public hearing regarding an amendment to Local Law 4 making Hughey Alley one way between Monroe and Jefferson streets. The board approved the motion and a public hearing will be held at the next meeting of the Village Board.  The board also approved the appointment of Jack Rogan as fire commissioner of the Ellicottville Joint Fire District to replace John Cady, who has resigned.

Please note: The November meeting of the Village Board has been changed. It will be held Monday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Village/Town Hall.