WESTFIELD - With all the uncertainty surrounding the new Tax Cap legislation, the Village of Westfield Board of Trustees passed a local law to override the limit.
At its meeting on Monday, Jan.16, the board unanimously passed Local Law No. 1-2012 "To Override the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law." Village of Westfield Mayor David Carr explained that if the Village makes a mistake in the budget which is not found until a few years from now, the Village would have to pay that money back.
"I just don't want us to get in trouble inadvertently and have to pay money back because we did something wrong that we thought was right," Carr said.
Photo by Jenna Loughlin
The Westfield Village Board of Trustees opened its meeting on Monday, Jan. 16 with a public hearing on a local law to override the tax levy limit. Pictured behind the bench, from left to right, are: Trustee Rob Cochran; Deputy Mayor Chris Jaynes; Mayor Dave Carr; and Trustee Rick Raynor. Seated at the table, from left to right, are: Treasurer Rebecca Betts-Paternosh; Westfield Police Chief Robert Genthner; and Recreation Coordinator Venn Blakely.
According to Village Treasurer Rebecca Betts-Paternosh, NYCOM has been doing a survey and as of Dec. 30, 2011, 158 villages, towns, cities and counties have passed similar laws, 98 have not and 46 are undecided.
"The majority are passing the law just to be on the safe side," Betts-Paternosh said.
During the public hearing for the local law, there was no discussion from the board and no comments from the audience.
The mayor also commented on the issue of the Village of Westfield Police Department dealing with calls outside its jurisdiction. Carr said he had a meeting with Brocton Village Mayor J. Dale Abram, who said absolutely not due to budget constraints, and the Mayville Village Mayor Martin Bova Jr., who said basically the same thing.
"I do believe they understand our situation," Carr said. "Everybody's hard up."
He also said he had a meeting with Portland Town Supervisor Daniel Schrantz and had another one scheduled for Monday, Jan. 23, though he did not say what Schrantz said about the Village's request for surrounding municipalities to pay when Westfield's police officers respond to a call.
"I have said that we shouldn't be subsidizing the Sheriff's Department, State Police for service in the townships outside our jurisdiction," Carr said.
In addition, Carr said he had a "very good" three-hour meeting with New York State Police Captain Steven Graap where Carr commented on his disappointment not seeing more troopers in the area. Graap assured Carr no State Troopers would be moved out of Chautauqua County, but that there would not be any new ones coming in due to the state budget.
First Assistant Chief for the Westfield Fire Department and Vice President for the Chautauqua County Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen Stephen Pacanowski made a request to the board to allow Westfield to host the 2013 annual Fire Convention. The convention was held in Westfield eight years ago and Code Enforcement Officer James Pacanowski, who is also the secretary for the SWAVF, commented that since then rules and other changes have been made to help make the event less rowdy and less loud.
"I can remember that one eight years ago and that was an embarrassment not only to the fire department, but to the Village, some of the crap that went on," Carr said.
In addition, rules for the convention are now sent out ahead of time and the Association's planning committee invites liaisons from the Town and Village boards and the police chief to sit in on its meetings.
"There's gonna be a lot of changes from what was here eight years ago," James Pacanowski said. "It's a fairly good money maker."
A motion was made and approved to table the issue until more information is obtained.
Westfield Police Chief Robert Genthner requested approval for the hiring of two part time grossing guards for Westfield Academy and Central School. The request was approved unanimously.
"I think it's a good idea to have two on hand," Carr said.
In his report, Public Works Supervisor Ed LeBarron asked for permission to sell surplus wood which the Village removed before Christmas. Once it was cut down, LeBarron said multiple people approached him wanting to buy the wood. However, since the wood is still large logs on Village property, individuals cannot cut the wood due to liability concerns and the Village does not want to cut the wood itself. Therefore, it was decided all the wood would be put up as one bid for someone who can pick it up and process it.
During public comment, an audience member asked Genthner if a program to teach students to be crossing guards was still available at local schools.
"It was not a course, but it was something that was offered to the kids," she said. "We all learned the safeties, the rules and the children in Mayville were all crossed by the students. We've got a lot of smart kids that just might jump at the chance to do something like this."
Genthner said he had never heard of it and was worried about the liability to the Village, but that he would look into it.
In other business:
A request by Recreation Department Coordinator Venn Blakely to declare multiple items from the old Teen Center as surplus in order to dispose of them was approved;
A request by Genthner to send Brent Burgess to a seminar for supervisors put of by the Sheriff's Department was approved;
A request by Wastewater Treatment Plant Contract Operations Manager Stephen Sandle for two employees to attend necessary training courses was approved; and
A request by Sandle to appoint Andrew Thompson to 4A Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator was approved.