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Springville Village Board opposes several of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s changes

SPRINGVILLE — Springville Mayor William Krebs asked the Springville Village Board for guidance about how to vote on an Erie County Association of Governments resolution opposing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013.

During its Feb. 19 meeting, the board discussed this and several other resolutions, some relating to recent changes made by Cuomo and the state government.

Krebs clarified that the Erie County Association of Governments is not a governing body, but will be sending its collective dissent regarding the SAFE Act to Cuomo and other elected state officials. “In my opinion, this is not a facet of village government, because of what we’re here for,” Krebs said. “This is beyond our scope of interest.” However, he clarified that he felt the SAFE Act is an issue of public safety.

While the resolution opposing the SAFE Act would come directly from the Erie County association, it would list which municipalities it is backed by. “This is very controversial,” Krebs said. “Everyone has an opinion.”

Board Member Gerald Lohrey said he would be in favor of backing the resolution, because of the way the SAFE Act was passed. While Board Member Terry Skelton said he agreed with Lohrey, Board Member Alan Chamberlin said he believed the SAFE Act was out of the village board’s scope.

“It affects us in the long run, because we’re part of the state,” Lohrey said. Skelton noted that the main reason he is against the SAFE Act is “because of the way it got ramrodded through.”

According to New York Senator Patrick Gallivan, who has voiced his opposition to the new legislation, the SAFE Act’s time frame was constitutional, but he noted that its backers did not allow any time for government officials to bring the act back to their districts for discussion or to consult experts, about the matter.

“I think it’s a poor law,” Krebs said. Lohrey concurred, adding, “It’s just a big photo op. It won’t do what it says it will do.”

All present board members except Chamberlin voted in favor of backing the association of governments’ opposition to the SAFE Act.

The board also agreed to support a resolution requiring banks to disclose owners of foreclosed properties. “We have this problem,” Krebs said. “Banks do not like to release this information, so properties sit vacant and nobody knows who they belong to.”

The board discussed a resolution opposing Cuomo’s budget proposal to limit judges’ authority in pleading down speeding tickets; that proposal would also place an $80 surcharge on parking tickets, etc., raising revenue for New York state.

According to Krebs, 62 percent of fines laid down in village court currently stays in the village, while the rest is sent on to the state and, occasionally, to the county of Erie. The mayor added that 60 percent of those village fines come from parking tickets. “The judge decides when speeding is reduced to a parking ticket. That money stays local,” Krebs said.

“We have a very active court,” Skelton said. “This will be quite a hit to us.” Krebs added that this change would also “restrict the decision-making a judge has.”

This item was written as an Erie County Association of Governments resolution, but the board also authorized a separate resolution coming from the village of Springville, itself.

Krebs called this a “timely matter,” because of the ongoing budget process. “We should let the people in Albany know what we think, about these things,” he said. All board members were in favor of this resolution.

The final resolution the board was asked to consider regarded an item on Cuomo’s proposed budget: a restriction on the use of sales tax exemption. Krebs called this the hampering of local control. The board agreed to create a resolution supporting the Erie County Association of Government’s opposition to this item.

In other matters:
– The board authorized Superintendent of Public Works Karl Lux to attend the Syracuse University Economic Finance Workshop at the Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. on April 23 – 25. The cost of this event is $240.

– Mark Smith was appointed to the water/sewer division. “Over the past six months, Mark has proved to be punctual, hardworking and cooperative, as an employee in the water/sewer division,” Lux said. “Mark’s appointment has the full endorsement of the water/sewer division and the department of public works.” Smith’s permanent employ was effective Feb. 16, at a rate of $20.79 per hour.

– The board welcomed Johanna Healy as its new village attorney.

– A public hearing was held, to allow the village to override the imposed tax limit. “We do this every year,” Krebs said. “We did it last year. This ensures that Springville retains local control over its budget and puts to rest any audits by the comptroller.” Lohrey pointed out that, although the board passed this override last year, it did not exceed the imposed tax limit.

– Village Administrator Timothy Horner presented a resolution authorizing the refunding of several bonds. This will save the village $61,000, during the course of the bond terms.

– Jeffrey Girst was appointed to an open position in the electric division. He will receive $20 per hour for the first six-month probation period, after which time his salary will increase to $21.21 per hour.

– Jordan Wozniak was hired to be a lineman in the electric division. He will receive $22.74 per hour, after his six-month probation period.

– Code Enforcement Officer Michael Kaleta announced that Platinum Productions will utilize the empty storefront on South Cascade Drive next to Cindy Lou’s Frozen Yogurt for an automobile sale, through March 5. The same event was held, last year. This year’s featured dealer is Kia of Jamestown.

– A request from the Preschool Learning Center to hold a run/walk on Aug. 10 was tabled. While some of the fundraiser’s route goes onto a village street, most of the area covered is located on Concord or Erie County roads. Krebs said he believed the permit for this request should delineate between the walkers and the runners and where they travel and added that he did not think the village could give consent for county and town road usage. More information will be obtained.

The next Springville Village Board meeting will be held March 4 at 7 p.m.
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