WESTFIELD - The Town of Westfield is one step closer to a grant and loan to improve the water infrastructure in Barcelona.
"It's a great first step in the right direction," Bills said.
Town Supervisor Martha Bills made the announcement at the town's last meeting on May 2. After completing an addendum to its application with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development to change the scope of the project, the town received a phone call from the department asking to meet in person. At the meeting, the town was presented with two letters saying the project is eligible for funding through the water and environmental program.
"This is process, this type of application," Bills said. "It's not a yes or a no."
The application received 95 priority points and has been chosen to receive preliminary funding estimate of the maximum grant available of $750,000 plus a subsidized loan which would break down to $133.56 per user per year. Users spent over $90 this past year for repairs.
"This is very good news," Bills said.
The town has 90 days to respond from the time of the letter if it wants to try and receive the funds for this fiscal year instead of next so long as the funds are available, and in order to comply with the timeline, the town held a special meeting on Tuesday, May 22 in order to create a Barcelona Water Benefit District.
"Time is of the essence," Bills said.
She added a meeting would be scheduled for everyone living in the Barcelona area once a more concrete information is available in order to share what is going on and allow residents to ask questions.
During public comment, a gentleman complimented the town after receiving a letter regarding the funding situation in Barcelona.
"This is the kind of communication we'd like to see more of," he said.
Both he and another audience member offered to help the town meet its goals to receive this funding.
In other business, the board set a public hearing for 7:20 p.m., right before the town's meeting, on Wednesday, June 6 regarding potential changes to Local Law No. 1 which covers zoning laws.
Board member David Brown reminded those in attendance there will be a Civil War re-enactment put on by the Chautauqua County Historical Society in Moore Park the weekend of June 9 and 10, including a fife and drum corps.
"It should be a very special weekend," Brown said.
Bills brought up an appeal she received asking for public officials and the public to write letters to their congressmen and senators supporting an amendment to a state transportation bill which is in conference committee after having past both the assembly and the senate. The amendment would guarantee money collected on cargo for harbor maintenance fund will actually be spent to maintain harbors throughout the Great Lakes.
Code Enforcement Officer Jim Pacanowski gave the board on update on the burned down house on Portage Street. He said the property owner has hired an attorney and so the case was adjourned again until May 28.
An audience informed the board that someone had stolen a Hardscrabble Road sign during public comment. Highway Supervisor David Babcock said he was aware of the situation. Another audience member complained about the Village of Westfield Electric Department workers waking him and his wife up at 6 a.m. to ask permission to be on their property followed up by the workers cutting down a pine tree and leaving their mess behind.
"We've lost our rights as citizens," he said.
Bills suggested he bring his complaint to the village since it is in charge of the workers who caused the problem.
Finally, Thomas Hudson was issued a special use permit to construct a 6-inch high vinyl fence on his property after a public hearing was held.