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Springville Board passes budget, looks to demolish Springville Hotel

CAVING IN — The roof of the Springville Hotel, located at 341 West Main Street, began to blow off during a recent windstorm, according to Springville Mayor William Krebs. Pictured, a piece of the roof has been removed, after it became hazardous. Photos by Lizz Schumer.
THE SKY IS FALLING — The alley between the hotel and Spring China is filled with debris from the roof of the building.
The Springville Village Board of Trustees passed the 2013-14 budget at its April 15 meeting, setting the property tax rate at 1.6 percent, or $1,612,690. That number is 1 percent higher than last year. The total appropriations, or the amount the village will spend, is $2,968,126, an increase of $122,219, from last year.

Despite passing Local Law 2013A, a measure that would have allowed the board of trustees to exceed the tax levy cap of $1,635,404, the levy Krebs proposed, for the upcoming fiscal year, still came in at $22,714 below that cap.

Of the $2,968,126 in the village’s general fund, Krebs said that the tax levy contributes 54 percent, with non-property taxes’ making up 20 percent, which is mostly comprised of sales tax from Erie County, departmental income as 11 percent and state aid at 4 percent. Those funds go toward general government support, public safety, transportation, economic development, culture and recreation, community services, employee benefits and debt services. Public safety receives 28 percent of that revenue and transportation, which includes sidewalk, streets and parking lot maintenance takes 22 percent.

Krebs said that, every year, the village trustees try to balance the budget, to undertake appropriation projects, such as upgrades for the control center, the department of public works replacement schedule, streetscaping, economic development and Rails to Trails, among others. The budget passed unanimously.

The Springville Hotel, located on West Main Street, began to lose parts of its roof, during a recent windstorm. Krebs reported that, since the structural integrity of that building was apparently compromised, the village officials are awaiting funding from Erie County, to enact demolition.

“Time is of the essence, here,” he said. “We have a court order, to demolish the building, so we can move right along. In public safety matters, we can declare it a threat and the mayor can sign an order of demolition. We want to wait and cooperate with Erie County, which would be to our financial advantage. But, make no mistake about it, if the building is going to fall down, we’ll move on it.”

The board passed a resolution to enable Village Attorney Johanna Healy to prepare a resolution for demolition and another resolution to authorize Building Inspector Mike Kaleta to obtain an asbestos abatement survey, which would determine how much of that material is in the building that would need to be removed and how much that would cost. After that survey, Kaleta would put out a bid for contractors to demolish the building, including the cost of asbestos removal.

“We want one contractor to take care of all of it. We don’t want multiple contractors, in there,” Kaleta explained. “If [the chosen contractor] wants to sub-contract it out, that’s up to him.” Krebs reported that Ken Swanekamp, a representative from the Erie County Housing and Urban Development department, previously had examined the building and “realizes the urgency of this project.

“He knows we will demolish it, if we need to,” Krebs said. “He has visited the site and will come out again, to check it out.”

Trustee Alan Chamberlin reported that he had been approached by resident Mark Maussner, who asked that the board revisit the use of fluoride in the village’s drinking water. Chamberlin brought the board a “hundreds-of-pages-long” document and two DVDs that Maussner had given him, for the board’s review.

“I have no side to choose from,” Chamberlin added. “I’m just distributing information. All [Maussner] wants is for us to review this information and he’d like to see it on the agenda.”

Krebs said that the village board had reviewed the same issue in 1995, and that a committee of doctors had decided to continue using fluoridated water.

“I have information from the New York State Department of Health, that I will get out to the trustees,” he said. “It’s not like we have not considered [the issue] before. A very professional decision was made and it was done in a public session. I know that Mr. Maussner had a committee meeting, hosted by the Springville Center for the Arts, but this is a village concern, now.”

Chamberlin requested that the board wait until its May 20 meeting, to address the issue, to allow the board members enough time to review the information. “This is a lot of info,” he said. “We’re only seeing one side, Maussner’s side, and I would like more time to educate ourselves.”

Krebs said that the board would vote, at that meeting, whether to set up a committee, to discuss the issue.

“Once we get doctors involved, this will have to be done in committee,” he said. “There’s not enough time, in a board meeting, and it’s not the appropriate venue. The nature of investigating the validity of dental work is professional work; erudite work. It should not be left to citizens who have no medical knowledge.”

In other board matters:
– Superintendent of Public Works Karl Lux recommended approval of an engineering proposal from E&M Engineers and Surveyors, PC for a proposed water project on Franklin and Smith streets. The project did not receive funding from the Community Development Block Grant, but Lux said that he wanted the board to be prepared, in the event that funding becomes available. The budgeted amount was $14,500, but the project was estimated at $14,200. The board passed a resolution, to approve that initiative.

– Lux also requested village approval for a general release, directed to the New York State Department of Transportation, regarding the street light portion of the ongoing Scoby Hill Road project. The village will receive a retainage of $3,000 on the $140,623 project.

– Chase Jackson and Benjamin Jackson were approved as linemen B apprentices, with the electric division. According to Lux, “Both employees received high praise for their great work ethic and professionalism, exhibited on a daily basis.”

– Village Administrator Tim Horner and Lux were approved to attend the New York Municipal Power Agency annual meeting on May 15 in Syracuse, N.Y.

– Fire Chief Dennis Dains reported that the Springville Fire Department will hold an open house on Saturday, April 27, during a state-wide unified recruitment drive. The drive will take place during national recruitment week. According to Dains, the open house will include equipment demonstrations, a Mercy Flight WNY landing, food, beverages and participation by the Explorers Junior Firefighters.

“This is a big to-do for us,” Dains said. “We’re hoping to get some public interest out of it.”

– Krebs presented Collin and Connor Edbauer with proclamations from the village, in recognition of their Boy Scout Eagle Awards, which both Scouts received, earlier this month.

– A flower contract from the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce was received and approved, for the installment of flower baskets along Main Street, in the Springville business district.

– The board declared May as Paint the Village Purple Days, in recognition of the Relay for Life, to be held on June 8, this year. The proclamation enabled Relay for Life activities, such as placing purple ribbons around streetlights, within the village.

– Krebs reported that there are 17 projects’ being considered for the Main Street Grant, and that “It looks very good, at this stage. This is working to the advantage of businesses.”

– The trustees designated May 11 as Spring Clean-Up Day in the village, sponsored by the Springville Property Rehabilitation Program. That event will kick off a series of clean-up initiatives, throughout the summer. Those will include a Fix-Up Fair on June 8, a work weekend undertaken by the Christian Youth Corps and a United Way Day of Caring day in August.

– A list of mayor’s appointments, including village personnel, committees and designated depositories for village funds, conference participation and regular meeting schedules, was approved.

The next meeting will take place on May 6 at 7 p.m. in the Springville Village Municipal Building.
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