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Concord Board discusses state bill, facility improvements

CONCORD — The Concord Town Board approved a resolution noting its opposition to a state budget proposal to, among other things, limit judges’ authority in pleading down speeding tickets.

During its March 14 meeting, the board moved the adoption of Resolution 6, which related to New York State Senate bill 2605 and Assembly bill 3005C-2013. The board’s resolution noted that “towns, villages and cities throughout the state of New York are dependent upon the fine revenues collected in their courts, to cover a large share of justice court and police enforcement budgets.”

The resolution detailed that, if the aforementioned bills become law, New York state will receive a portion of fines collected from reduced vehicular and traffic violations. Those monies have traditionally been retained by local municipalities.

“If these Senate and Assembly bills should pass, it is most likely fewer plea bargains would be reached, which would lead to more trials, which would clog the courts and mean more expenses, not only to the local municipalities, but to the state of New York,” the resolution continued.

The board said that the New York State Association of Towns had previously stated its opposition to these bills, during a Jan. 20 session. The board passed the resolution and will send a copy to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and to each New York Assembly and Senate member.

The proposed bill may be read, in its entirety, at open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A3005c-2013.

Resolution 9, which authorized the reconstruction of and improvements to the Lucy Bensley Center, was also discussed. The proposed construction’s estimated maximum cost is $105,000.

This resolution authorized the use of $35,000 available town funds and the “issuance of serial bonds in an aggregate principal amount, not to exceed $70,000 from the town, pursuant to the local finance law, to finance said purpose.” That monetary amount would be offset by any federal, state, county and/or local funds received. Town Supervisor Gary Eppolito was given the power to issue bond anticipation notes, in advance of the sale of such bonds.

Eppolito worked with John Alessi, Esq. on this bond resolution. The improvements to the center will be those described in a plans and specifications report done by E&M Engineers and Surveyors P.C.

Proposed work includes removal of the existing heating system and the installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The center will also undergo asbestos removal, drywall repair, electrical work, insulation and the addition of carpet. Exterior work will include grading, replacement of existing brick and mortar, chimney repair and replacement of shingles and exterior wood trim.

All present board members voted in favor of this resolution. Board Member William Snyder noted that he is opposed to the process by which funding was secured and with the principal behind its obtainment. He also said that he believed the board should not borrow money for a project, when an excess fund reserve, from tax dollars could offset the cost.

In addition, Snyder said that he believes it is not in taxpayers’ best interest to fail to charge rent to the organizations which utilize the Lucy Bensley Center and then complete work in “excess of normal maintenance, to aid these organizations, in their use of the building.” Regardless of his opposition, Snyder voted in favor of the motion, “to avoid a special meeting at a later date, where the motion would have carried, anyway.”

In other matters:
– Eppolito presented the updated employee manual, which includes nine annual sick days for full-time employees. These would begin accrual, one month after individuals’ dates of employment, at the rate of six hours, per month. All employees now have a probationary period of six months.

– Highway Superintendent Dennis Dains reported that the Springville Fire Hall sign is now up and working. The fire department will be holding upcoming recruitment with the Fire Association of the State of New York.

– Village of Springville Code Enforcement Officer Michael Kaleta has placed signs on various local buildings, indicating whether or not it is safe for firefighters to go inside the structures.

– Eppolito was authorized to obtain requests for proposals for mowing the Spaulding Road Cemetery, beginning on Memorial Day.

– Town Clerk Darlene Schweikert was authorized to advertise for the spring trash pickup.

– Dains announced that he received correspondence from New York Sen. Patrick Gallivan, asking highway superintendents and village departments of public works to provide Gallivan with a list of infrastructure projects that could be submitted to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Two of the 33 projects Gallivan submitted are from Dains: Waterville and Rocky roads, for a total cost of $68,000.

– The Craneridge sewer project was awarded to Nova Site Co. LLC in the amount of $269,874. No start date has been scheduled. According to Dains, the local roads should not be closed, for any period of time, during this project. The time frame for completion was set at 120 days, because of the location’s fragile soil.

– The board approved Veteran’s Law – Gold Star Parent, which gives eligible families the same property tax breaks as veterans. This exemption will apply to the parents of children who died in the line of duty, while serving in the United States armed forces, during a period of war.

– The board awarded the fuel bid to Griffith Energy, per a recommendation by Dains. Gravel bids will soon be advertised, in conjunction with the town of Colden.

– Eppolito announced that he has been in discussion with Erie County Legislator John Mills, in regard to area roads. He has been advised that proposed cuts by County Executive Mark Poloncarz will not affect the county’s normal stone and chipping/ditching. Eppolito asked Dains to make a list of the local county roads and their conditions; that document will be sent to Mills.

– The board authorized Schweikert’s office to accept credit card payments for taxes, permits, licenses and more. Per a recommendation by Town Attorney Deborah Barone, that resolution was retroactive to November, when payments were first accepted, via MuniciPay©.

– Dog Control Officer Carolyn Robinson was authorized to attend a dog control seminar in Webster, N.Y. on April 23 and 24.

– Town Historian David Batterson will also be attending upcoming education. While the specific location and date were not yet available, Eppolito said that money was put into the budget, for this purpose.

– Schweikert will be attending a town clerk’s conference in Buffalo on April 29 and 30.

– Leslie Gibbin and Susan Randall were appointed to the library board. Both appointments will remain effective until March 2018.

– Schweikert announced that she and Eppolito have met with Springville-Griffith Institute School Business Administrator Ted Welch, regarding the possibility of the town clerk’s office’s collecting school taxes. Welch will come back to the town, with a proposal.

– The Erie County clerk’s office will be sponsoring a “Thank a Vet” program at the Concord Town Hall on April 19. Veterans who present their discharge papers will be issued an identification card from the county. That card may be used for discounts at local businesses.

– Eppolito said that he attended a recent meeting to discuss the local Meals on Wheels program, as well as the nutrition site, both of which he said have diminishing numbers. Another meeting about this matter will be held April 9.

– Local resident Pete Gabel has informed Eppolito about Gabel’s concerns regarding snowplow length restrictions in the village and town. The resident recommended that the town adopt a home rule, allowing a longer length plow. Eppolito pointed out that, if this guidance was followed, Concord would need to accept liability, in the event of an accident. The current restriction is 102 inches.

The next Concord Town Board meeting will be held April 11 at 7 p.m.
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