Legislator Mills attends Village of Gowanda Board meeting
Legislator Mills had also been in Gowanda Aug. 6 for the Thatcher Brook Task Force meeting to discuss flood mitigation. "I wasn't the favorite person of the Army Corps of Engineers lady," Mills said. "... some of the things that I learned at that meeting disturbed me, what's been happening down here. I think it can be rectified; it will just take some focus on the part of the elected officials to do it, and you have to have a plan in place ... or we'll be talking about this like we talk about the Peace Bridge.
"With the help of Collins ... we want to start changing things around," he continued. "I think we need to focus in on benchmarks and a time line for things to get done in Gowanda, in the watershed area. A Watershed Advisory Committee is established now, and it's going to include this area here." The legislator will also be in attendance at the next Thatcher Brook Task Force meeting Aug. 20.
Mills also mentioned the Scenic Byway project that he hopes will include the Gowanda area; this will expand the Farm Trail, which is now in existence. "We have to start attracting more tourists TO our county," the legislator stated.
He additionally mentioned that he hopes signage on Route 219 will encourage travelers to exit the highway and to do business in the villages, instead of bypassing them.
Erie County officials will be focused on the 2013 budget, and Mills said that the Buffalo Bills contract and ECMC are just two of the areas that will be major parts of the budget process. Mills will be focusing on obtaining funds for watershed concerns, and for bridges and culverts.
The legislator is attempting to get a rabies clinic set up near Gowanda and is working with the health department commissioner to achieve this. Mills commented that the hot-dog roasts have done, and are doing, well this year. Proceeds benefit the libraries in his district. Plans for roasts for next year are under way.
Lastly, when asked about the pig that he purchased — and pardoned — Mills noted that the sow is on her second litter!
In an unrelated matter, Eleanor Andolsek inquired about the "pile of dirt" at the former Peter Cooper Corporation (Gateway Park) site, asking whether it would be left like that, just piled up.
Mayor Heather McKeever reassured her that the area will be graded. Also, work on Gateway Park should really be moving along by early spring.
Attorney Deb Chadsey noted that the "dirt," fill material was free, saving about $100,000 as the project goes along.
Ron Andolsek then asked about the railroad crossing on Hill Street, saying that its condition was bad. The board believes that the railroad company is responsible for the upkeep of the crossing. A letter will be sent to the company and the mayor will speak with Highway Superintendent Gary Denea about the matter as well.
Don Lazar approached the board about perhaps having hanging floral arrangements throughout the village, as he has noticed in other communities.
McKeever told Lazar that an Eagle Scout candidate was interested in building flower baskets/barrels but that the board would consider his suggestion.
Phil Palen then expressed his thanks to the Public Works Department for taking care of the weeds in the village, especially as there were two class reunions held recently. There were many positive comments.
Treasurer Cindy Schilling added that she had received a phone call from a resident who wished to remain anonymous, who also commended the DPW crew for keeping the village streets clean and in order.
In other matters, the board:
• Heard Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer Gary Brecker report that he had issued a business permit for the novelty ice-cream truck, a bottle/can redemption center on Broadway Road, and conditionally approved a business permit for a home office for a construction company on St. John Place. No construction vehicles will be allowed to park at the residence.
Brecker also informed the board that he was working with the Erie County Health Department on a rodent problem on Buffalo Street, and is keeping tabs on the former Tri-County Hospital site work.
• Received $100 from the Town of Collins for court fines.
• Announced that the next local National Drug Drop-off event will take place at the Municipal Building on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Heard Police Chief Joe Alessi's report for July that noted the following activity: 237 calls, 37 quick calls, 13 arrests, 44 tickets issued, three violent domestics, four motor vehicle accidents and 17 assists to other agencies.
• Learned that the village will receive $702 from the Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau for the Recreation Program.
It was also announced by Trustee Carol Sheibley that Andy Wolf of the Cattaraugus County Health Department inspected the Summer Recreation Day Camp and passed the program with "flying colors."
• Announced that the Gowanda Ambulance Board is looking for three village resident volunteers to sit on the board. Those interested may contact the village office; the village board will subsequently present their recommendations to the ambulance board.
• Noted that the next electronic recycling day will be Saturday, Sept. 22 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the wastewater treatment plant.
• Learned from the treasurer that she is still pursuing FEMA reimbursement.
• Agreed to remitting two payments of $19,212.29 each ($38,424.58 total) for the new truck.
• Agreed that the fire contracts will reflect a 3 percent increase per year for the next three years. The fire chief will be consulted on the matter as well.
• Approved extending the bid on the Veterans' Park project.
• Rejected the bid for surplus equipment as being too low; the equipment will be re-advertised.
• Agreed to send a letter of support to Healthy Community Alliance for the Safe Routes to School grant.
• Was informed by Village Clerk Kathy Mohawk that the deadline for Community Development Block Grant applications is Oct. 29; she suggested that the board start considering projects for the application.
Mohawk also announced that green envelopes are available at the village office for those who want to renew their registrations through the mail. By renewing with the Erie County Auto Bureau through the mail, the money stays in Erie County instead of going to Albany.
• Appointed Dr. Robert Heichberger to the UDAG Committee for a two-year term.
• Announced that 14-year-old Jordan Sanderson will be building flower boxes as his Eagle Scout project. The flower boxes will enhance beautification efforts in the village.
• Announced that the next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be held Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building Board Room.
The next Village of Gowanda Board meeting will be held Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building Board Room, to be preceded by a work session at 6 p.m.