Legislator John Mills and village board collaborate on community matters
Saying it was “nice to be back in the village of Springville,” Mills said he is working on “getting more dollars for the Southern Tier.”
He called the hot dog roast he hosted at the Concord Public Library on July 19 “successful,” reporting that “we sold out. That goes to show you that, even when it’s raining, the people will come. From day one, this library has been the leader.” He said that the Concord Library’s proceeds have improved from between 7 and 12 percent, every year.
The legislator said he has spoken with Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway President Bob Lennartz about the possibility of extending the length of the byway. “It’s a good way to attract people to what’s happening in the Southern Tier,” Mills said, adding that he and Lennartz brainstormed about reaching into Sardinia, Holland, Gowanda, Collins, North Collins, Eden, parts of Brant and Evans and other places, with the Scenic Byway. “This is something that could be done within 18 months,” he said.
Bringing to the board a report on the county’s 2013 budget, Mills said, “There are only a few flies in the ointment: [Erie County Medical Center] and the Buffalo Bills.” He called these two entities “wild cards” in the budget, but added that he is “optimistic” about this year’s financial plan.
Village of Springville Mayor William Krebs told Mills that Springville has been requested to increase its contribution to the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, by $65,000. The village is currently contributing $318,000 annually to this department and, per Village Administrator Tim Horner, has not been asked for an increase in 12 years.
“We rely on [the sheriff’s department] heavily and have examined the cost of police protection in the village,” Krebs said. “Every village provides for its public safety in a different way. We will take this request for an increase, consider it and respond.”
This matter of public safety, the village’s largest expense from its general fund, is supported by property taxes. The road patrols include one car 24 hours per day, seven days per week, as well as dispatching.
“That’s a 20 percent increase, if I’m doing the math correctly,” Mills said. “That’s a lot of money. I will mention to [Erie County Executive] Mark [Poloncarz] that I spoke to you. I’ll ask him just how many people from Springville are in the Erie County Holding Center and find out the rationale behind this thought process, on his part. This is a big hit on the village’s general fund.” With a promise to “talk to the big guy,” Mills told the board to “keep me in the loop” with regard to this matter.
In other board news:
– Following a public hearing, the board voted in favor of prohibiting the use of all self-propelled and motorized devices on East Main Street, between Buffalo and Elk streets. “We’ve had a lot of complaints about [vehicles] in the village center,” Krebs said. “Sidewalks in that area are very narrow, especially compared to other places.”
– Krebs announced that the Springville Center for the Arts officially became the owner of the building at 5 East Main St., through the cooperation of the village and Erie County, in order to “remedy this distressed property in our village center.” The SCA has expressed the desire to rehabilitate this building, which has been declared “unusable.”
The SCA has three years to turn the building around and, according to the village, has announced plans to establish an arts cafe with gallery and residence space for visiting artists. “This project, with its joint cooperation of the county, the village government and a non-profit organization, is one method of resolving the blight caused by a property which is structurally and financially broken,” Krebs said.
SCA Executive Director Seth Wochensky said, “Due to business proposals currently under review by several agencies, I am unable to comment in any way at this time. A formal announcement regarding the role of Springville Center for the Arts in this project will be released within a few weeks.”
– The ground-breaking ceremony for People Inc.’s new independent senior living location will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23 at 1 p.m. The structure will be located at 276 Waverly St.
– Police Chief John Fox reported that the Springville Police Department will be conducting commercial vehicle safety checks during August, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Transportation.
– The village instated a policy for monitoring exempt bonds, as per a recommendation by the Internal Revenue Service, and declared Horner, as village treasurer, the compliance officer. Under this designation, Horner will become familiar with tax laws, receive annual training through seminars and “ensure we follow our own policies,” he said, adding, “This is not an IRS requirement, but it is going to minimize our chance of an IRS audit.”
– The board passed a resolution with a shortened negative environmental assessment form, declaring the village the lead agency on the current water line replacement on Eaton Street. Horner asked the board to approve a bond resolution for repairs on the project, which is not to exceed a total of $250,000.
– The board accepted a bid from Emerling Chevrolet of Boston for a new, 1-ton utility truck. Although the board had budgeted $30,000 for the vehicle, Emerling’s low bid came in at less than $23,000.
– Springville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dennis Dains announced that a five-year tuition reimbursement program for any degree is available through the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. “I’m hoping this will be an encouragement for people to join as volunteers,” Dains said. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.
– Dains updated the board on the town of Concord’s contract with Rural/Metro Ambulance. “We would like to be able to dispatch ambulances from our control center, but Rural/Metro has not been inclined to do so,” he said.
– Village of Springville’s Code Enforcement Officer and Building Inspector Michael Kaleta announced that Cindy Lou’s Frozen Yogurt and Olympia Sports are both now open in the village.
– The board passed a resolution seeking the right to manage 1.7 abandoned miles of the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad for the Pop Warner Trail. “We will forward this resolution to government bodies, including the county, department of parks and the railroad, indicating that we cannot wait forever for the state and railroad to negotiate their railbanking contract,” Krebs said.
The B&P Railroad is indicating that all 27 miles of the abandoned railway must be railbanked before being signed over to local municipalities, but New York state has said that it “cannot afford to railbank that much,” according to Krebs.
“This is a public safety concern in the village,” he said. “Many residents think [the railroad] is already open and some cars have been driving on it. The local police defer to the railroad police, but this section is abandoned. Their police are not going to come down here for problems we have.”
– A prototype of the village’s Scenic Byway sign and the historic, cultural and scenic information that will be placed on it were presented to the board and the audience. Each town or village along the byway will have one of these signs installed. The first sign was recently unveiled in Orchard Park. Springville’s sign will include three photographs, a map and information about Springville and its attractions.
– Springville-Griffith Institute sent the village a request to utilize Springville’s tennis courts for one year for the tennis team’s practice. Section 6 Athletic Council has declared S-GI’s tennis courts to be “unusable.” The girls’ home matches will be held at Pioneer Central School.
Board Member Nils Wikman asked that the agreement include the village’s request that the school repair its tennis courts in a timely manner and keep the village updated on the rehabilitation progress.
– The village approved a $250 membership with the Scenic Byway.
The next Springville Village Board meeting will be held on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m.