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Springville applies for housing grant, retains grant-writer for preservation

SPRINGVILLE — “We provide $8 million worth of services to the village. If we go away, someone else has to pick up that tab. When New York State [Gov. Andrew Cuomo] says we have too much government in this state, that shows a misunderstanding of how we function,” said Springville Mayor William Krebs, of Cuomo’s recent proposed tax credits for consolidating local governments.

At its Jan. 21 meeting, days after Cuomo first spoke on the issue and hours after Cuomo’s 2014 executive budget announcement, the Springville Village Board of Trustees agreed that it needs more information on what that would mean, for villages and their residents.

“We should probably have some education on what that means, so we can educate our constituents,” said Village Trustee Nils Wikman.

Krebs agreed, saying that he and Village Administrator Tim Horner are attending the New York Conference of Mayors in Albany next month, where the issue is sure to be a topic of conversation.

“Right now, it’s just a man speaking,” he said. “It’s still too new to say.”

The annexation of 14063 South Cascade Drive from the town of Concord into the village of Springville was made official, after the final in a series of meetings and hearings, to ensure that the annexation would be beneficial to the village and not enact any undue hardship on any of the entities involved.

Local law B-2014 to override the New York state tax cap was introduced, after a recommendation by Horner. This is a local law that is passed every year, as a formality, although Krebs noted that the village has never actually exceeded the cap.

“We’ve been advised by NYCOM to do this because the tax cap is subject to computation and it prevents us from fines, down the line, if the comptroller were to audit the village and find we had computed the tax cap erroneously,” said Krebs. “It keeps the control local. We’ve never exceeded the tax cap, and that shows sound fiscal management on the part of the village.”

A public hearing on the local law was set for Feb. 18.

A recommendation to retain S&S Engineering PC, of Batavia, N.Y., to provide services to the electric department was approved. That engineering firm will be retained for approximately 200 hours of consulting per year, at a rate of $130 per hour.

Horner also introduced a number of budget adjustments to “zero out the budget,” which are regular motions that result in a zero net effect on the budget. In addition, he recommended that the village purchase a new truck outright, to replace an old truck that was sold at a rate of $65,000 to the village’s water department. Horner recommended that, instead of spending the money on leasing a new truck, unappropriated fund balance would be better utilized in an outright purchase.

“I think it’s a more efficient use of our money,” he explained.

The cost of the truck was $118,017, which meant the village needed to adjust the budget by $53,000, to make up the difference, once the old truck was sold.

The village voted to retain Alma Brown as a grant-writer for historic preservation grant-writing. Brown is already working on grants for the New York Main projects, as well as helping to garner funding for other improvements in the village.

“[Brown] will position the village to apply for Certified Local Government grants, involving the preservation league and positioning the village for the New York Main grants,” Krebs explained. “We’re asking to continue to keep using her to help us move forward on grants to help develop our village center.”

Krebs noted that, with Brown’s help, the village may be able to position itself to have more properties included on the national registry of historic places, since Brown can help identify which local spots are eligible for inclusion, such as the Joylan Theatre on Main Street.

“This is separate from the Main Street Grant; it’s another area,” Krebs noted. “Both help our certified local government to make opportunities available to the residents of our village to enhance our neighborhoods by historic preservation.”

Wikman, who attended a meeting on historical preservation with Brown, said that he thought retaining her services in this area would be beneficial.

“A fresh set of eyes will be money well-spent, since she can provide some direction,” Wikman said. “Everyone comes to us with their own shopping list; she could provide some input.”

The village also addressed a letter of support for the extension of the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway south to Ellicottville, a motion for which that entity and the town of Ashford have already expressed their support.

“This is something in which we’re very much interested,” Krebs noted. “It’s really exciting because it brings in the [Ellicottville] tourist destination into the byway, all the interest that exists there and all the money that exists there, promoting the development of that part of Cattaraugus County and our southern Erie County.”

Krebs added that the proposal does suggest routing traffic down the Route 219 expressway, rather than down South Cascade Drive, through the village, but that other parts of the byway and the literature depicting it, does suggest that byway travelers head off the beaten path, and provides maps for “alternate routes” from the byway, that would be able to include South Cascade.

“The vista from the overlook across from the golf course is just gorgeous,” Krebs said. “We’d hate for people to miss that.”

The resolution will go to New York state, where the final decision will be made, expressing the village’s support.

Krebs received a letter from Michael Riegel of Belmont Housing Resources for WNY Inc., including an application for Federal Low-Income Tax Credits to renovate the Springbrook Apartments on North Buffalo Street. An application has been submitted to the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, for federal assistance in the project. The proposed upgrade would be in the amount of $4 million for the 63 units, which were first constructed in the late 1960s or early 1970s, according to the board’s best estimate.

“This is a very significant investment in housing in Springville,” Krebs said. “A letter of support from the village [for the grant application process] would certainly help.”

He added that the grant approvals should come out in May, and if received, construction would not begin until next year. He did not expect that any residents would be displaced during renovations, but that new tenants would not be accepted, during that time.

The board agreed to send a letter of support for the grant application.

Krebs also announced that the village of Springville has received an Erie County Smart Growth Fund Award in the amount of $325,000, but that he has only received a phone call about the award so far, and does not have any details about how it will be implemented.

“I was shocked,” he said. “This will help us in planning for our village center development. It’s only preliminary approval, but it’s very exciting.”

The next village of Springville board meeting will be held on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the village municipal building.

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