Suggestions made for use of Lancaster's community block grant, budget talk
The intention of this grant is to provide areas within a community decent housing and a suitable living environment, and to expand economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income. The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees the program.
Lancaster resident Donald Symer suggested using the grant funds toward an architectural engineering study of the overall parking lot situation at the library in order to provide the best and safest parking ingression and degression from the building.
“So, that low income, unemployed, underemployed, handicap, and other citizens of all ages can readily access the library building to utilize its valuable resources in order to improve their general welfare,” Symer said.
Lancaster Town Board Council Member John Abraham added a few suggestions of his own. He questioned whether the funds can be used for a new roof on the Lancaster Historical building, but the board was unsure if the funds could be used for this project.
He also suggested using the funds for doors and a ramp that is needed for the Little Red Schoolhouse, which is located on Bowen Road. Lastly, he said the senior center is in need of a new handicap access van.
Bringing one last idea to the table, an Aurora Street resident said he thinks the town should use the funds for new sidewalks in some places and for those places that don’t have sidewalks such as Lake Avenue.
“There are no sidewalks at all and there is barely any space for people to walk or ride and pass Como Park on Aurora Street, there are no sidewalks,” he remarked. “I personally almost got hit by several cars walking down the street. It would be beneficial for the community.”
However, due to the width of the road on Lake Avenue putting in sidewalks or a bike path is not an option, because there isn’t enough room, said town officials.
Lancaster Town Board Council Member Donna Stempniak said they might be able to tie in the sidewalks on Aurora Street with the senior center being there.
The board took into consideration what the public suggested and did not make any decisions on this matter.
In other town news, there was some discussion in regard to the 2013 budget during the work session. On Oct. 15, the board plans to schedule a public hearing for the budget on Nov. 5.
Town of Lancaster Supervisor Dino Fudoli commented that they are anticipating an increase in town employee pension costs.
The town currently contributes 19 percent toward a town employee’s pension, which will increase to 21 percent for next year. This does not include the members of the police force, but according to Fudoli, their pension costs are expected to increase too.
Fudoli said it looks like a two percent increase, but really the overall dollar is increasing by 10 percent.
He also said borrowing costs are up “substantially” because of the bond the board approved for the new police and court facility. To offset the borrowing costs, Fudoli mentioned he hopes to accomplish that by selling the former Colecraft Building.
“We’re taking action and measures to minimize the impact on the taxpayers,” commented Fudoli. “I am trying to hold my promise of not increasing spending. I’m doing my best. Right now, my intention is to submit a budget with no increase.”
The town board plans to adopt the final budget Nov. 19.
The next Town of Lancaster Board meeting will be held at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, in the town hall, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster.