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Boston town board clarifies political endorsements policy at meeting

BOSTON — Town of Boston Supervisor Martin Ballowe informed the public that the Boston Town Board does not endorse political parties, at the board’s Sept. 4 meeting. The wording in a recent letter from Heidi Higgins, who is running for a council seat in the town of Boston, implied that she had, on the contrary, received endorsement from the town board.

“We [the board] come from all different parties, but when we sit here, we come from no parties,” Ballowe said. “We make decisions on what’s best for the town of Boston, for 8,300 people who live in this town. We don’t discuss political backgrounds. We may disagree on how we’re going to do things or what’s the proper way to do them, but we don’t endorse.”

Higgins’s letter has been turned over to town attorney Michael Kobiolka, who will handle the matter. A letter from Kobiolka to Higgins had not been answered, at the time of the board meeting.

“It’s just confusing to the voter,” said Kobiolka, regarding the letter. “It doesn’t represent what this town board does and can do and will do.”

Ballowe added that the town board has never endorsed candidates and does not plan to endorse them.

Councilman Larry Murtha pointed out that the issue may be stemming from a typo. “Being a teacher and working with young people, I see young people make mistakes, all the time,” Murtha said. “We must exercise patience to see the best of them come out, and that goes for adults, too. We all do make mistakes, and, looking over this, I’m wondering – and I have a strong opinion about this – that this isn’t just a typo and maybe we’re making something out of nothing. I think it would behoove someone to call Heidi and see if that wasn’t the case, if that’s all it was.”

Murtha agreed to contact Higgins, to clarify the issue with her.

In other board matters:
– This summer’s recreation program was a success, according to Recreation Director Tony Zeniuk.

“[Zeniuk] did exactly what we thought he would do, running this program,” Ballowe said. Zeniuk reported that 170 kids participated in the day camp, this summer, which included field trips to Old Fort Niagara, Lasertron, Darien Lake, Buffalo Zoo, Fantasy Island and Sky Zone. Other events included visits from all three volunteer fire companies, the Niagara University Theater Group and a dental hygienist from the University at Buffalo. The program was concluded with Family Fun Day, which included a talent show.

This year’s summer day camp also saved money on transportation, according to Zeniuk. “Last year, the rec program spent approximately $8,000, and this year, a contract with Fisher Bus saved approximately $2,800, over last year.”

– The public hearing for the annual Community Development Block Grant was rescheduled to take place on Oct. 2 at 7:40 p.m.

– Ballowe is working with local businesses to participate in the Waste Management rewards program. “It’s nice, because they have basically all national chains on there, but we are allowed to [add] Bella [Pizza] and Brunner’s [Eatery] and restaurants and stuff, in our town, so when you sign up for the Waste Management and receive those points for recycling, it’s a good thing.”

– Town/county snow plowing contracts for 2014-16 were tabled.

– Resident Judy Ramos wrote a letter to Erie County Commissioner of Public Works John Loffredo, stating that she has “some concerns with the conditions of the county roads located within [Boston].”

Councilman Jay Boardway commended Ramos for her involvement.

He added that Highway Superintendent Robert Telaak is involved with the correspondence between Ramos and county representatives, about the conditions of the roads.

– Town Clerk Jennifer Mule’ reported that her office applied for and obtained a local government records management fund grant for “the converting of town board minutes, vital statistics and payroll records in the amount of $46,000.”

Boardway said that, for Mule’s budget, the grant is “a huge sum of money.

“[She] and I talked about all the potential disasters that could happen, with our records that we are required to keep. These records we have in this town hall are 100 years old and they cannot be replaced, so anything down there will be very helpful.”

– Boardway reported that, since the fire contracts were approved at the last town board meeting, the contracts have been sent back to the fire companies. The board expects those signed contracts returned, within two weeks of that meeting.

– The summer concert series ended on Aug. 27. The concerts were free to the public, due to local sponsorship and a $500 grant from the Art Service Initiative of Western New York and the New York State Council of Arts, according to Zeniuk.

– “Friday Night Rec” begins Nov. 8 and goes until April 11, a timeframe that includes five more dates than last year. Staff training will take place on Oct. 24 at the Boston Valley Elementary School.

The next Boston Town Board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston.


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