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Village of Springville to raise sewer rates

SPRINGVILLE — What’s in a name? The Springville Village Board of Trustees was tasked with finding out at its Oct. 7 meeting, when Dave Batterson and Joel Maul presented a resolution to change the name of the park at the corner of Mechanic and Main streets to Village Clock Park. That park has no official name on the books, although it has been known as M&T Park, the pocket park and other monikers, throughout its history.

Batterson thanked the board for its support of the clock project and reported that the monies raised have exceeded the necessary amount for installation. The clock has been ordered and will be officially unveiled on Dec. 7.

“The clock will be a prominent focal point of downtown Springville,” Batterson explained. “We wanted a name [for the park] that was descriptive, so that people would know where it was.”

Springville Mayor William Krebs said that historically, if not by law, the park has been referred to as M&T Bank Park “by residents and municipalities,” but he had no objections to renaming it.

After a discussion, the board decided to table the matter, to give the public time to weigh in.

The board held a public hearing on the sewer rate increase, which will raise the rates from the $12.26 flat rate and $2.29 per 1,000 gallons rate to $16 flat and $2.50 per 1,000 gallons. The increase will help cover the increasing cost of the sewer fund that comes from the $3.5 million upgrade to the Waste Water Treatment Plant.

“It’s imperative to raise revenue for our infrastructure,” Krebs said. “We have to keep up with the ever-increasing, ever-stricter mandates of the [Department of Environmental Conservation] and the federal government. I think it’s money well-spent.”

Trustee Nils Wikman supported the motion, saying that he had spent “a good amount of time” at the plant and, “It’s one of the finest facilities I’ve seen, if you can say that about a waste water treatment plant. It’s state-of-the-art for a relatively reasonable cost, given the facility we have down there.”

Village Administrator Tim Horner pointed out that the sewer rates have not increased in 15 years.

The motion passed, and sewer rates will increase to the new figures.

After a public hearing, in which no public comment was presented, the Community Development Block Grant projects were approved. That program, which is administered through a consortium with Housing and Urban Development, funds specific programs in municipalities, each year. The two projects the board presented were the village’s participation in the rural transit van program, which the board submits annually, and a water project on Smith and Franklin streets, that Krebs reported is “shovel-ready,” if the funds come through. This CDBG funding would cover $100,000 of the $294,000 price tag on that project.

“The village always has a project that’s down and dirty, that can be administered if the funds come through,” Krebs said.

Horner reported that the village has received four bids for the park “formerly known as M&T Park.” The lowest bid was accepted from Birch Grove Landscape and Nursery, which comes in under the budgeted amount for that landscaping.

“Part of the bid package is to have it completed by Nov. 16,” Krebs noted. “This is a New York Main project, which will fund part of it. The village residents are picking up the tab for the rest.”

Code Enforcement Officer Mike Kaleta told the board that construction at Crosby’s on Main Street will be starting soon, and will require overnight construction, including some jackhammering.

Construction at the future Art’s Cafe at 5 East Main St. has begun, and the first driveway and alleyway leading into the municipal parking lot between Main and Buffalo streets will be closed, while workers remove material from inside the building. The sidewalk in front of that building will also be closed, during work hours. Kaleta said he had no specific timeline for how long it would take, but he expected at least several weeks of closure.

Kaleta also reported on the appearance of anti-Obama protesters in the village on Oct. 3.

“I look at it as freedom of speech versus public safety,” Kaleta said, when addressing how he chose to handle the protesters who set up an umbrella, signs and display in front of Rite Aid on Main Street.

“They throw the first amendment back in your face. It doesn’t seem like anybody wants to touch it,” he added.

Kaleta noted that there was a car crash on Main Street that afternoon that, in his view, was due to the drivers’ looking at the protesters, rather than the road and other vehicles.

Krebs said that there is a chapter in the code book that requires prior board approval and a permit for protests, but that it had never been invoked before, in similar circumstances.

“The purpose [of that code] is not to restrict first amendment rights to say something or believe something. If you’re going to protest, you have to tell us where, how many people and you have to not impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Our intent is to make sure our residents are safe and secure.”

Board Attorney Johanna Healy said that, “from a legal perspective, the first amendment protects their opinion. It does not protect them from having to tell us where they’re going to be and when.”

Healy also acknowledged that “shutting them down would have looked like shutting them down for political reasons, because we haven’t enforced the code, in the past.”

The board will examine the code and the proper response to such an issue, going forward.

A grant to outfit the justice court with new metal detectors, security measures for the judge, chairs and a display rack was approved by the board. If received, the grant is 100 percent funded.

The board ratified a three-year fire protection contract with the town of Concord. That municipality pays the Springville Fire Department for protection, outside of the village boundaries.

The new contract, which has been in the works for some time, covers fire protection and emergency medical services. It includes a 3 percent cost increase, per year, which Horner said was “adequate” according to the village’s cost analysis.

A moratorium on transient sales was approved. More information on that discussion can be found in a separate article on Page 1.

The next meeting will take place on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building on Franklin Street in Springville.


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