WESTFIELD - Add one check in the win column.
At the Westfield Town Board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 4, Town Supervisor Martha Bills announced the Town will be receiving a $200,000 grant from the Department of State to be used for waterfront revitalization. According to Bills, half of the grant will be available to help the Town pay for the new water lines desperately needed in Barcelona.
"In July of 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the creation of 10 regional economic development councils to transform New York's operating model for economic development and created a web-based consolidated funding application to serve as a single application for economic development projects," Bills read from a letter sent by New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales. "On behalf of Governor Cuomo, I am pleased to inform you that your project was selected for funding through the Local Waterfront Revitalization program of the Department of State" to undertake Barcelona Harbor and hamlet improvements.
Photo by Jenna Loughlin
As part of its annual reorganizational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 4, elected officials for the Town of Westfield were sworn in by Town Justice Jerry LaPorte, far right. Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are: Town Clerk Timothy Smith; Town Supervisor Martha Bills; and Town Councilman David Brown. In the back row, from left to right, are: Town Councilman James Herbert and Town Highway Supervisor David Babcock.
The goal of applying for the funding was to obtain money for replacing the water pipes serving the Barcelona area of the Town. The second half of the funding will go towards revitalizing the waterfront areas in the Town of Westfield.
"I'm really happy that we've been working for the past few years on a waterfront development plan and we've had two or three grants now," Bills said. "Because we have that in place it enabled us, with a little hustling, to get an application in in less than a month and be one of the communities that was awarded this funding and I'm hoping it really will do what it set out to do."
Since the money awarded is a grant, the Town will not have to pay back any of the funding, however the Town will have to match the funds in order to receive them. However, this matching does not necessarily have to be a cash match. That and many other details still have to be worked out when the Town negotiates the contract with the Department of State. Plans and drawings will be publicized at that time.
In the article "Town awarded grant for improving waterfront," in the Jan. 26 edition of this paper, David Brown was incorrectly said to own the Steelhead Run Recreation Area. David Spann is the correct owner of the property.
In addition, Bills said the revised application for another grant, this one from the United States Department of Agriculture for rural development, is complete and is ready to be submitted. This application is also for funding to help pay for new Barcelona water lines.
"Hopefully within a short period of time we will get an idea of our eligibility for that particular funding source," Bills said.
Since the meeting was the first of the new year, it was the Town's annual reorganization meeting, and all of the board members, the Town Clerk and the Town Supervisor were sworn in by Town Justice Jerry LaPorte. New this year, the Town Supervisor Martha Bills, Town Clerk Tim Smith and Highway Superintendent Dave Babcock were sworn in for four year terms as per Proposition No. 1 which passed a public vote in November 2011. Board member Ray Schuster was unanimously voted in as deputy supervisor.
The board scheduled a public hearing to amend the Steelhead Run Recreation Area's special use permit at 7:25 p.m., before the board's regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The property, which is near Chautauqua Creek, is owned by board member David Brown, so he was required to step down while the meeting was set. Currently, the use permit allows for four camping sites including one cottage and the amendment is asking for permission for two cottages.
Westfield Fire Department Chief Randy Edwards was asked about the new ambulance and reported it already had over 1,000 miles on it. In addition, Edwards reported his department has responded to 490 calls since April. One of the board members also asked about the "Help wanted" message which was on the sign outside of the fire hall. Edwards responded the all-volunteer department was about 25 to 30 firemen short and is 20 percent down from when Edwards first started with 46 volunteers now compared to 75 in the mid 1980's.
"We could always use firemen," Edwards said. "You don't have to be an EMT, just a guy who wants to help out on a call. That's a start."
"We appreciate your service," Bills said. "I know it takes a lot of time."
Also, newly elected Chautauqua County Legislator John Hemmer was in attendance and Bills welcomed and congratulated him. Hemmer said he wants to keep in touch with what is going on with the Town and the Village and be able to report to the municipalities anything going on at the county level which might affect them.
In other business, the board passed a resolution waiving any required fees for building permits, sing permits or variance hearings applied for the Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association since it is non-profit organization. The Association is planning on putting up new signs for the Grape Belt.
During public comment, an audience member who lives next door and downstream to the house which burned down on July 2, 2011 on Portage Road in Barcelona asked for an update on what is being down with the demolished house. With the winds, he has seen debris from the house strewn around and someone even picked up and left a garbage bag of the debris in front of the property, he said. One of his worry is about water flow after it rains going into his yard and eventually into Lake Erie. He said he complained around Labor Day, asking if this was going to be a problem into the winter and he said he was told no, but here it is six months after the fire and the pile of debris is still there. He asked what progress has been made and pressure is being put on the property owner to get the debris cleaned up.
"I was afraid it was going to get snow-covered, and was assured it wasn't; we're snow covered," he said. "Now I'm afraid it's going to be spring. It's time to move."
Code Enforcement Officer and Building Inspector James Pacanowski was not at the meeting, so Bills responded that at the last meeting the board requested Pacanowski speak to the property owner. In his report for the January board meeting, Pacanowski reported the property owner received insurance money for the removal to be done, but that when she contacted a company to remove the debris, they were not certified to do the work due to asbestos. So, she has contacted certified companies, but they are all busy and do not have an idea when their work will be done. Pacanowski reported he told the property owner he would be sending her a follow-up letter with a violation notice and would be giving her 30 days to correct the situation.
Board member Ray Schuster said he has talked with other building inspectors in other towns about this issue and they are having the same issues. Town Attorney Joel Seachrist suggested contacting the agency responsible for the new asbestos law.
"I just think the actions that are available to collectively the town should be underway a heck of a lot sooner than this," the audience member said. "It's taken too long to get to this point."
"It'll get resolved," Bills said. "Their intention to resolve it is what they're telling us and so we've tried to work with them as well, but we understand the frustration of the neighbors, we're frustrated too. We'd like to see it cleaned up."
As part of the annual reorganization, the board set the official meeting place as Eason Hall, 23 Elm Street in Westfield on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m., and the following salaries: highway employees, laborers minimum $7.50 per hour, MEO's minimum $10 to $19.56 per hour and maximum $29.34 per hour; supervisor, $16,000 annual; code enforcement, $13,000 annual; deputy supervisor, $2,700 annual; councilmen, $3,000 annual; Justice Spann, $7,000 annual; Justice LaPorte, $7,000 annual; court clerk, $12 per hour; town clerk/deputy tax collector, $31,249 annual; bookkeeper/deputy town clerk/tax collector, $30,074 annual; historian, $1,000 annual; highway superintendent, $48,330.65 annual; deputy highway superintendent, $1,600 annual; assessor, $42,025 annual; utility workers, minimum $7.25 per hour and maximum $8.50 per hour; and civil defense $750 annual.
The Town set its official banks as HSBC Bank of Westfield, M & T Bank of Jamestown and Mayville, MBIA Class and Key Bank of Westfield and its official newspapers are the Westfield Republican and the Observer.
Annual appointments are as follows: Timothy Smith, registrar, bingo inspector, records management office and deputy tax collector; Donna Sanderson, bookkeeper, tax collector, deputy town clerk and deputy registrar; James Pacanowski, code enforcement and zoning officer; Marybelle Beigh, Town historian; Kathleen Alexander, clerk to the court; Jock Phillips, harbor master; Scott Frudd, deputy highway superintendent; Michael Landon, dog control officer; and Vincent Calarco, civil defense director.
The Board of Assessment Review will be done by Julie Fisher whose five-year term expires in September 2016.
The Planning Board consists of Smith as chairman, Chad Schofield, James Brotz, Diane Hamann, Amy Gregory and John Hemmer as the alternate.
The Zoning Board of Appeals will consist of Wayne Harrington as chairman, Abbie Cardy, Will Northrop, Linda Wolfe and Bradley Szymczak.
The Barcelona Harbor Commission will consist of Julie Travis as chairman, Michael Ptak, David Gembala, George Kolibar, Jamie Jaynes, Dan Champam and Kelly Brown
Town committee assignments are as follows: David Spann and James Herbert, harbor; David Brown, security and technology; Ray Schuster, transfer station; Ray Schuster and David Spann, highway; David Brown and Ray Schuster, ad hoc and personnel; David Brown, Mary Bivens, Martha Bills, Tim Smith and Joel Seachrist, website; and Donnie Paddock and Timothy Smith, recreation committee, where their three-year terms expire in December 2014.
Fire department liaison will be David Brown, process servers will be David Haskin and Max Baker and town constable is Peter Kunow.