RIPLEY - The Ripley Town Board unanimously passed a resolution Thursday night, Oct. 11 to invoke local law to override the state 2 percent tax cap.
The resolution was prompted by a change in the way Chautauqua County bills the town for workman's compensation and because of bond payments. Formerly, workman's compensation was paid through county taxes and then charged back to each municipality. However, now the monies must come from out of the town's general fund.
More than a dozen citizens attended a public hearing prior to the meeting to share their concerns and learn the reasons for seeking to override the tax cap.
Board member Patricia Hathaway expressed concern that exceeding the tax cap may be too difficult for Ripley residents.
"As a taxpayer, I have a hard time voting for this," she said. "We really need to try to make the budget work without raising taxes."
The board set two budget workdays for Tuesday, Oct. 23 and Thursday, Oct. 25.
Several of those who attended the hearing stayed for the regular meeting and raised questions about the possibility of getting the water line extended on West Lake Road and on Route 20 toward Shortman Road. Ripley has just completed a waterline extension project on Side Hill Road.
Many of those present expressed frustration with what they said were promises in the past to have the waterline extended toward the west side of Ripley. Many of them had wells that ran dry this summer.
"We have been here 17 years and figured it would take five years," said Joan Hart.
She said she had put in a $10,000 well some years ago, but still ran dry.
"I am a taxpayer," Hart said. "I don't get water. I don't get sewer. I don't even get gas. I don't get anything from the town of Ripley."
Supervisor Douglas Bowen assured those present the board was indeed looking for a way to bring water to their area.
"We are moving to get some major grants ... and we are hopeful," he said. "Your voice is not forgotten. We are diligently working on it."
In other business, board member Robert McIntosh reported the electrical outlets on the light poles on main street, used for Christmas lights, were dismantled when the poles were upgraded. Niagara Mohawk, the electrical provider, will install festoon outlets for a cost of $140 per pole plus an annual maintenance fee of $55.43.
There are 34 light poles in Ripley, McIntosh said. However it is not necessary to decorate each one, he said.
Board member Hathaway said the beautification committee for Ripley has suggested local businesses decorate their storefronts using village decorations. Those businesses would then pay for the electricity used.
"I'm not sure we can spend this much money on lights," she said.
Bowen said the board needed to give the matter more consideration before making a decision. "Everyone keep it in mind and we will come up with a couple of options," he said.