By Caitlin Croft

The January 2018 meeting of the Ellicottville Village Board (VB) opened with minor corrections to the minutes from the December 2018 meeting. There was a motion to approve the minutes as corrected; a second and they were approved.

Next, there was a motion to approve the Department of Public Works Report; there was a second and it was approved. After there was some discussion regarding the sidewalk plows. Currently, the best machine is down and waiting for a new part. The new sidewalk plow that was purchased does not seem to be doing the job needed with the amount of snowfall we have had this season.

After this, Arlene Solly of Kazoo II voiced her need for help when it comes to maintaining the sidewalks in front of businesses in the Village. Currently, the DPW clears the roads at 4 a.m. when there is no foot traffic and minimal cars parked. Solly feels that 4 a.m. is too early and by 9-10 a.m. when the customers are arriving, the sidewalks can easily be covered again. She also noted that with a couple empty store fronts on her side of the street, it can be tough because they don’t get maintained by shop keepers. Mayor John Burrell then advised they are currently working with three new vendors to have sidewalk plows brought down for demonstration and tests by the DPW workers who would be using them. Trustee Spencer Murray thanked Solly for her input and said they will do what they can to keep up with this winter’s abundant amount of snow.

Next was a presentation from April Hartloff of The Financial Guys. She was informing the Village of the new NYS Paid Family Leave Act. This program is mandatory in the private sector and optional in the public. This act gives employees paid time off to bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty. Hartloff advised that a decision must be made as the deadline was Dec. 1, 2017, but if the village chose to opt out they could opt in at any time. There was a motion to opt out; a second and the Village opted out.

Nancy Rogan, Chair of the Village Planning Board, and Gary Palumbo, Village and Town Planner, were in attendance to present their proposed zoning amendments. First there was a motion to approve the Planning Report; a second, and it was approved.

There are a few major changes: first, to eliminate the Floor to Area Ratio for the Village Commercial and Historic Overlay Districts, due to so many village buildings’ footprints equaling the size of the lot; second, to reduce the size of accessory buildings from 75 percent of the principle structure to 70 percent. In the calculation for Floor to Area Ratio, they would like to only include the principle building in the formula. Third, change the Open Space to 20 percent requirement. Fourth, they simplified the lighting regulations. Fifth, to add specific uses for the buildings on the Four Corners Overlay District. Sixth, roof tops signs are not permitted.

The last one caused some major discussion and that is to require a permit for sandwich board signs.  There are some businesses that depend on their signs. Code Enforcement Officer Kelly Fredrickson advised that there has been abuse in the past and the current regulations are not being followed. A permit would create a basis to enforce the already menial regulations. Murray said he would get all the business owners together to help find the best solution for all. There was no action taken on the proposed zoning amendments.

Next, there was a motion to approve the December Financial Report; there was a second and it was approved.

In the Mayor’s Report, there was discussion regarding fixed rates with Energy Mark, the Village’s energy provider. Energy Mark is working with the Village to get the best rates possible and the Mayor will keep the board informed as more information arises. There was a motion to have the Mayor sign the Inter-municipal agreement for Shared Services of the Town and Village Engineer. There was a change from the one that was approved last month, the line regarding the salary. It now reads they will be paid in accordance with the Town and Village Engineer Employment Contract. There was a second to the motion and the Mayor was approved to sign. There was a request from MDA Engineers for $1,600 more to finish the GIS mapping project. All the data has now been collected and Phase No. 1 is complete. Now the data needs to be properly formatted so that it will be compatible with the Cattaraugus County GIS. There was a motion to increase the contract with MDA Engineers by an amount not to exceed $1,600; there was a second and it was approved.

Next, there was a motion to approve the engineer’s report; a second and it was approved. Nick Dobmeier advised on the Sludge Removal Project, the tests were received, and all eight metals tested for by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were not detected. The results will be sent to the Department of Energy Conservation and they will pursue quotes for sludge removal.

There was a motion to approve the Sewer Report; a second and it was approved. Next, was a motion to approve the Code Enforcement Report; there was a second and it was approved. Fredrickson advised on the Zombie House at 33 E. Washington and it is in the process of being sold.

In Special Events, there was a motion to approve the Mardi Gras application; there was a second and it was approved.

Last, there was a motion for the Village Attorney to investigate a new method for Sewer Demand Rates; there was a second and it was approved.

There was a motion to adjourn in memory of Mayor Charles R. Coolidge, who served the Village as Mayor for 18 years, 1998-2016. May he rest in peace.

The next meeting of the Village Board will be Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Village Hall.