By Jann Wiswall

The Village of Ellicottville’s board has decided to absorb the first year’s payment on the East Tank project into its 2015-16 budget.

The only other feasible and legal option was to add a fee onto Village water bills.

Mayor Charlie Coolidge started out the meeting with good news on the tax revenue front. He reported that sales tax revenues were much higher than projected and property assessments are up in the village by $1 million, due primarily to new construction.

As a result of this positive economic news, Coolidge and the board agreed that the 2015-16 village budget could absorb the $15,000 East Tank payment, at least for the coming fiscal year. Going forward, the board agreed to look at the impact of the costs annually.

Coolidge reminded the board that major repairs of the village’s aging water mains are in its future and, while state and federal aid will be sought to offset the costs, some additional fees to water bills likely are on the horizon.

“We don’t want to charge people now if we’re going to need to increase rates later,” he said.

Business from the Floor

Before going into its regular agenda, the board heard from Nature’s Remedy owner Gretchen Mendel and one of her tenants, who were concerned about odors emanating from a dumpster owned by the Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC) and on its property.

Mendel said she and at least two other nearby business owners are interested in using/constructing rear decks for customer use, but cannot do so unless the dumpster is moved.

According to Mendel, the dumpster was supposed to be placed near the creek, but it is currently located behind EBC near the alley, just “15 feet from Nature’s Remedy.”

Mayor Coolidge agreed to look into any zoning guidelines or agreements between the Village Planning Board and EBC regarding the placement issue. He also said he would be happy to attend a meeting to discuss solutions to the problem with all involved parties.

DPW Report

DPW Superintendent Harold Morton reported that the department is in the midst of repairing and blacktopping village streets, including Jefferson, Mill and part of Mechanic streets. Outdoor benches have been placed on Washington and Monroe streets, maintenance of the ball park is under way and regular mowing has begun.

The Alley Katz (the village beautification volunteer group) has asked the DPW to have its flower barrels placed on designated street corners by May 19. Planting will be completed in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Mayor Coolidge noted that State Department of Transportation (DOT) grants are available for other beautification projects for municipal streets. He said he is looking into applying for grants to help fund repairs on Monroe Street and other locations.

Engineering Report

Village Engineer Mike Smith reported that the DOT’s HoliMont sidewalk project along Route 242 has been delayed due to the international Migratory Bird Treaty. Smith explained that state workers did not remove a number of trees to make way for the sidewalk before a protected species of migratory bat began nesting. The project will resume as soon as the nesting season is over. Work on the pedestrian/handicapped ramps at several village intersections will begin on schedule after Memorial Day.

Smith also reported that the due date for applications for the state’s Consolidated Funding grants has been moved up to June. The village is applying for these grants to help fund up to 40 percent of its multi-million dollar waste water treatment plant project.

As a result of the surprise deadline change, Smith asked the board to approve hiring a consultant to prepare the grant application. The board approved the “not to exceed” $4,500 consulting fee. Smith’s engineering firm, Nussbaumer & Clarke, will prepare the required background documentation.

Smith also said that he and the consultant will be meeting with advisors from the Empire Development Corporation to help structure the application in the most strategic way possible.

The next meeting of the village board will be held on Monday, June 9 at 6 p.m. at the Village/Town Hall. All are welcome.