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Boston town board approves fire company contracts

BOSTON — After a one-month hiatus, the board members for the town of Boston convened, to discuss the approval of the latest fire protection contracts. The contracts themselves were the result of four negotiation meetings, which left the board members involved “very pleased.” All three fire companies in town, which include North Boston, Patchin and Boston, will receive $160,100 in both 2014 and 2015, according to the new contract.

The three fire companies will now take the contracts back to their membership for voting, after meetings with respective executive staff. “[The contracts] are now signed by us,” said Councilman Jay Boardway. “They will be signed, we’ve been assured, by the chiefs and presidents of the companies and will be returned to us, so the fire issue is now resolved, for the next two years.”

Upon the approval of the contracts, Supervisor Martin Ballowe started out by saying, “The money we collect in taxes is well spent. It’s watched over, every penny, and how we spend it. Myself and Councilman Boardway took an effort to meet with the fire departments. The negotiations really went well – a big, big change, from a few years ago. It was nice to sit down and go through what their needs are, what the town can afford, what the future holds for the fire departments, as what their goals are to the town to what they’re looking for.

“I was very, very pleased with the negotiations,” Ballowe continued. “I can’t say enough about them. We accomplished this all, I think, within four meetings. The representation from the fire companies, I really do appreciate them taking time out of their days and nights to show up, to get involved in it. I know it’s a process for them. I know sometimes they’re not understanding the numbers that we constantly look at, day-to-day, where their budgets come from, that we can provide for them, the money that the town can provide to them.”

“I’d like to take the time to thank all the individuals involved with the fire service, that attended the various meetings with Supervisor Ballowe, our town attorney [Michael Kobiolka] and myself,” said Boardway. “These were all very productive meetings and these were meetings that needed to happen, to kind of bang out the issues with the contract.”

“I’d also like to thank all the fire companies,” said Ballowe. “The negotiations went smooth. It was definitely enjoyable. You try to learn what’s going on, with each company, so again, thank them for that.”

In other board matters:

– Correspondence from other municipalities was received and a resolution was carried, regarding snowplowing and de-icing services. Others that were involved included the following: Collins, Amherst, Sardina, Orchard Park, Alden, Concord, Marilla, Colden and West Seneca.

The board members of Boston resolved “that the town of Boston calls on the Erie County Executive and the Erie County Legislature to help resolve the issue between the Erie County Department of Public Works and the 25 towns, within the County of Erie, with regard to snow removal and de-icing of county roads within the towns that is fair and equitable to all parties.”

The motion was “wholeheartedly” seconded by Boardway. “What is going on in Erie County Hall is politics, pure and simple,” he said. “The county executive is picking and choosing which communities are getting his money for these services and picking and choosing to give our highway superintendents a hard time. This community, this town can’t afford to mess around with our roads and our plowing and our de-icing, when it comes wintertime here. We know wintertime comes quickly; it comes fast. Sometimes we have to wait four hours, for plows to come back. The plan [the county] has, for doing our snowplowing is quite ridiculous, to tell you the truth.

“Anything we can do to support our highway superintendents, as a group, in particular [Highway Superintendent Robert] Telaak, we need to do just that,” he concluded.

“The [current] contract runs out on Aug. 31, and it would be really good to get that signed,” Telaak said. “The towns are asking for 5 percent. Truthfully, myself, I’d be happy to settle this and get 3 percent and get it over with. The price of salt has really stabilized, [and] the price of fuel has stabilized, so I think 3 percent would be a fair rate.”

– Jim Martinez, principal of Boston Valley Elementary School said, “I’ve been here a year now, and I came here and told this community that I was going to make it a community school. I want to let you know, with the support of the community at large, parents and the staff members here, Boston Valley now has a community garden that’s for this community. In addition, the grades for these exams that the state, it’s not the end-all-be-all, but it’s the first time that Boston Valley was No. 1 in the Hamburg School District, in fourth grade math and ELA, and in fifth grade math, out of three counties, those teachers, parents and students were No. 2, and the only thing ahead of them was City Honor’s School. So, when you want to sell people to come out here and live out here, this is a community school that you have and you can convince them that it’s going to be a good education.”

Martinez also spoke concerning a recent accident in front of the school.

“A jeep rolled over in front of Boston Valley, and the young man has a severe arm injury. But they forgot to say on the news that it was a community of good Samaritans. I saw a parent from Boston Valley, a mother, start an IV on this kid’s arm. I saw two young people, when I worked at the high school, get into his ditch and went through an EMT program and help save this kid’s life. And I just saw two kids [that] were from the high school, they were there. A group of people from Boston Emergency Squad turned out. You have a good Samaritan community, and there was a young man there who was very, very lucky that you have a community like this. I just felt compelled, instead of writing an editorial, [to say] that I am very privileged to work here.”

– Telaak suggested that the town put the county on notice, concerning the condition of the roads. “Just about every county road in this town has got a lot of problems,” he said, citing such examples as “trees that are falling into the street” and “shoulders that have drop-offs on the road.

“The principal was in here tonight, talking about the accident that happened in front of the school on Backcreek Road, which is a county road,” Telaak continued. “There’s a nasty drop off, on the side of the road, where the blacktop’s all deteriorated and it needs to be repaved. The jeep got off on the side of the road, he overcompensated, crossed over, hit the guardrails and flipped over – very dangerous, and today, they still have done nothing there.

“There’s been a pothole on the shoulder of the road on West Tillen, which is a county road, all summer,” Telaak said. “A few weeks ago, a motorcycle hit it and crashed and got into an accident, and today, it’s still not fixed. The shoulders of the road are very dangerous and they need to be fixed, and I don’t see anything being done, on any road in this town, other than a little ditching here and there – but as far as any safety issues. Backcreek Road has potholes on the side of the shoulders, all over the place, and it’s going on the end of August, and there’s nothing being done.

“The county got $1.3 million increase in their [Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program] funding this year to fix roads. That’s above and beyond the $12 million they used to get. [A} $1.3 million increase, and they’re doing no road work, at least in our town.”

– Town Historian Keith Kaszubik reported, “The office of historian is a town department, albeit a one-person department, with its own budget. The Boston Historical Society is a private corporation, with their own budget. I’m happy to report that I have reduced my department’s budget by 50 percent, for 2014, from $1,000 – $500. For 2013, I expect to use less than $200, for the entire year. I’ve managed [to] cut expenses by utilizing the supervisor’s newspaper subscriptions for the town scrapbook of history, rather than using my budget for a historian’s subscription, combining trips, for instance buying a year’s worth of office supplies all at once, so as to not incur any unnecessary mileage expenses, cancelling membership in certain historical organizations, when it was more cost-effective to take advantage of their services on an as-need basis. These small savings go right back into the town’s general fund, to help further reduce our taxes. I sincerely believe in the philosophy of doing more with less.”

Councilman Larry Murtha reported that the Boston Historical Society will be holding a potluck dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The theme for that dinner will be “In the spirit of things.”

– The board scheduled a public hearing for the annual Community Development Block Grant for Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 7:40 p.m.

–Councilman Gary Vara, who was absent from the meeting, recommended via email that the town award the bid for “removing, putting down stone and blacktopping the area for the end of the [tennis] courts to the fence” to Capozzi Paving and Concrete. That bid was for $12,500 and carried by a three-to-one vote.

– Based on the recommendations of Town Engineer Jim Hannon and Councilman Jeff Genzel, the board awarded Highland Acres the bid for a water and sewer line for the North Boston Park. The bid was for $23,980.20 and was unanimously carried.

The next town board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. All Boston town board meetings are held at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road.


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