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Selection committee formed for Springville's Main Street Grant

SPRINGVILLE — The village of Springville was awarded a $250,000 Main Street Grant on Dec. 20. During the Springville Village Board meeting held Jan. 28, Mayor Bill Krebs said that a contract for the grant has been sent to the state, for review.

This grant must be used for economic development. As soon as the village receives the OK from New York state, it will, with area businesses, put together a list of projects eligible for the grant money.

While the village sent letters of intent from area business owners, along with its application for this grant, those were not actual applications. Krebs said that business owners who submitted those letters of intent were merely showing their interest in having projects covered, by the Main Street Grant.

Merchants not included in that initial process will also have the opportunity to apply for grant funds, when application forms are disseminated by the village.

Krebs said that he has already done a presentation at a recent Springville Area Chamber of Commerce meeting, informing local business owners about the grant, and is planning to hold a public meeting on the topic, in the future.

Projects covered by the grant must be completed by Dec. 20, 2014.

The board was asked to approve the hiring of Clinton Brown Company to oversee the grant process. Per Krebs, Alma Brown, a grant writer, “is very well-connected and is familiar with everything that has to be done. She will be a good asset.”

The board approved the signing of a contract with Clinton Brown Company, at $67 per hour, not to exceed $18,000, over two years. This amount is already allowed by the grant.

Krebs said that a selection committee is being formed, to determine eligible projects to apply grant money toward.

He said he asked SACC Executive Director Kate Moody to be a part of the committee, “because she is closely connected to the downtown area.” Also on the list of committee members are Springville Downtown Economic Development Group President Anne Cooper and engineer Jim Bentley, who Krebs said “has management ability and experience and [who] can read blueprints and diagrams, and is a great numbers guy.”

Krebs recommended having Brown advise this committee, without voting. “We needed people who were closely related, but who did not have self-interest in this,” Krebs said.

This selection committee will review applications from businesses and will approve projects. “We wouldn’t want to approve a project that would then get rejected by the state,” Krebs said. “It is not our goal to have people submit projects and be rejected at the last minute, for technical problems.”

The mayor said that the village already received a “really strong” response from area businesses, about this grant, and will be releasing details about the process, when they become available.

In other matters:
– Village Administrator Tim Horner said that he reviewed all outstanding bonds in the village to see if any could be refinanced. He found two Rural Development bonds that were recallable, saving the village a total of $133,790. Horner said that he believed the refinancing process can be closed by late May.

– The board introduced local law A-2013, which would permit the village of Springville to have a property tax levy in excess of the limits set by “what is commonly called the 2 percent tax cap,” according to Krebs. While Horner said that the village does not have a final number, he pointed out that, last year, “we exceeded that cap by just a couple of hundred dollars.”

Krebs said that, while the village must implement this law, every year, prior to adopting its budget, “this will allow us to legally exceed that cap. We, as a local board, have the power to do that, but we are still answerable to our constituents.”

A public hearing will be held on this matter, at the board’s next meeting.

– Board Member Alan Chamberlin announced that the Springville Control Center has hired two per diem employees, but that two full-time, evening openings are still available.

– The board approved a resolution allowing the Springville Center for the Arts four additional months to complete stabilization on its building at 5 East Main St.

– Krebs announced that plans are being made for a four- or five-bay fire garage, which may be situated behind the Springville Municipal Building. He said that any trucks bought in the future will be too high to fit into the existing garage.

The village is looking into placing the garage near the Springville SkatePlex, on land that Springville already owns. Krebs said that, if a new structure is built, the existing garage could be used for office space, police car storage or shared facilities with the town of Concord.

“We need to start planning to make that land usable for the public, the way it was intended,” he said, about the area near the skateplex. Board Member Nils Wikman said that he would be interested in holding a public forum on the issue.

Wikman and Krebs will be forming a 65 Franklin Public Use Committee, which will also include Code Enforcement Officer Michael Kaleta, Horner, Superintendent of Public Works Karl Lux, Police Chief John Fox and a representative from the Springville Volunteer Fire Department. “We will conduct a public forum to obtain residents input concerning the use and design of the property in back of the building and extending to the skateplex,” Krebs said. “Already, there is a SVFD/village committee in place, planning a new fire garage.”

– A conceptual plan has been presented, with input from the chamber and historic preservation committee, for the placement of a WNY Scenic Byway sign in M&T Park, near Main Street. Krebs said that those plans tentatively include a four-sided, programmable clock; crushed limestone pathways; perennials and a sod lawn. “We are reaching out to M&T Bank, to extend the park north, onto their property,” Krebs said.

– The board forgave $144.27 for the owner of a Franklin Street property, for the second occurrence of a water leak. The forgiveness included the board’s recommendation that the landowner “look for a lasting solution” to the issue.

– A preliminary discussion was held about whether or not the board will support a new state law, requiring banks to disclose a contact person to municipalities, when foreclosing on distressed properties. Per Kaleta, this has been an ongoing issue in Springville.

– Krebs asked the board for direction, in responding to a request from the Erie County Association of Governments. That body is asking county constituents to join together in asking that the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 be rescinded.

“People are concerned about how the law was rushed through, without due process,” Krebs said. “I am asking for direction about how you would like me to vote, on this.” The item will be discussed in further detail at the next board meeting.

– Wikman expressed his thanks to the Springville Volunteer Fire Department for the annual installation dinner held Jan. 26. “Their work is not trumpeted enough,” he said. “It’s great to see how young kids have really stepped up.” Board Member Terry Skelton echoed Wikman’s sentiments, adding, “The amount of hours and dedication from these people is phenomenal.”

The next village of Springville Board meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.

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