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January 20, 2016 - 9:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, batavia, Batavia HS.

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After the injury to point guard Maddy McCully that put her out for the season, Batavia's Head Coach Marty Hein said the Lady Blue Devils would be a team in search of a new identity.

That thought was back on Hein's mind last night after Batavia narrowly escaped with its 13th win, 58-55, over Irondequoit.

Batavia surrendered a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, allowing Irondequoit to put 25 points on the scoreboard and with less than a minute left, pulling within a point of the lead.

"(McCulley was) the floor general at any given point in time," Hein said. Ryann (Stefaniak) and Tiara (Filbert) are doing a super job, but when the chips seem to be falling a bit, there was always, 'OK, Maddy, you run the point now.' That was freeing up Tiara to do whatever. She doesn't have to bring the ball up. Now, it's kind of that little identity crisis of, OK, when things start going south, who is going to be that step-up person to take that role. We played a good 24 minutes of basketball, and then the last eight..."

Filbert scored 18. Taylor Stefaniak added 16, including dropping three buckets from behind the arc. Ryann scored 14 and Sam Cecere had seven.

For Irondequoit, Megan Dano scored 16, Kylee Kanealey, 12, and Quinn Melidona, 13.

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To purchase prints, click here.

January 19, 2016 - 4:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in farmers markets, BID, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) would like to announce the merger of the Downtown Batavia Public Market and the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market. The joint venture would consolidate the markets and their vendors into one large farmer’s market located Downtown at the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place.

The market would retain the name Downtown Batavia Public Market and would be run by the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market Board, in which Executive Director of the BID, Laurie Oltramari, was named as a board member.

With the City’s approval, the market would increase its operations to be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. After visiting surrounding businesses to get their feedback, the increase of operations was well-received by area businesses who enjoy using the market to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and more.

The markets' merger addresses the City of Batavia’s “highly distressed” census tracts to have access to essential goods for healthy living. The public market is located with the City of Batavia’s BOA plan and with the City in its process of updating its Comprehensive Plan, which is focused on smart growth and sustainable practices, the merger was a well-timed collaboration.

The Downtown area has had a walkability audit to record the needs of both walkers and drivers. Within the immediate vicinity of the downtown public market is senior housing, healthcare facilities, the historic downtown core, and the bordering neighborhoods. With this mix, it lends itself to the greater success of the Downtown Batavia Public Market.

The BID envisions the market growing and it is excited to have the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market ready and able to take on the new venture. The Genesee Country Farmer’s Market enjoyed being at the Batavia Downs parking lot and thanks them for their support through the years, but the new move will reinforce the sustainable model for the farmers and tap into the trending desire to be located in downtowns.

If you would like more information regarding the merger of the markets or the BID in general, please contact Laurie Oltramari at (585) 344-0900 or e-mail[email protected]. If you are interested in volunteering or being a vendor at the Downtown Batavia Public Market, please contact Bob Austen at[email protected].

January 19, 2016 - 3:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in warming center, batavia.

The Warming Center is open tonight from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for women and children in need of shelter at the United Methodist Church, Lewiston Road, Batavia.

For assistance, call (585) 993-6371.

There will be pickups at both McDonald's locations in Batavia.

Light meals will be served.

January 19, 2016 - 1:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, community action, tax preparation.

Press release:

Community Action of Orleans & Genesee is again offering Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) at its Batavia office. April 15 is the deadline to file taxes.

This program is designated to help those with low to moderate income with their tax preparation and filing.

Trained volunteers are in the Batavia office, located at 5073 Clinton Street Road, on Feb. 4 through April 14.

Please call 343-7798 to schedule your appointment. 

This is a volunteer program offered free of charge. FREE E-Filing available, too!

January 19, 2016 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ports, football, batavia.

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Tony Mancuso shared this photo from the 1940s of the semi-pro football team that used to call Batavia home. That's Tony's father in the front row with the bandage on his head. Can you identify anybody else in the picture?

January 19, 2016 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, batavia, Stafford, Le Roy.
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Ingrid Crosson

Ingrid E. Crosson, 43, of South Wales, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Crosson is accused of entering a residence in Stafford and stealing a laptop, German air pistol, small pocketknife, three jars of coins, and a pillow case valued at more than $600. Crosson was identified through a note she left at the scene. Following arraignment in Town of Batavia Court, Crosson was released on her own recognizance.

Michele Anne Stamp, 51, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or more, speed not reasonable and prudent, and moving from lane unsafely. Stamp was involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 7:03 p.m. Sunday on Lewiston Road, Alabama. She was transported to the Genesee County Jail where she submitted to a chemical test. She allegedly tested for a BAC of .21. She was arrested by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Nicholas S. Gillett, 25, of Italy Valley Road, Middlesex, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Gillett was arrested as the result of an investigation in the Town of Bergen. He was allegedly found in possession of a rifle in violation of probation as a result of a felony conviction.

Andrew K. Wright, 25, of Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wright allegedly pushed a woman and struck her several times with a broom during an argument. He was jailed on $500 bail.

Timothy C. Pabone, 42, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, menacing, 2nd and DWI. Pabone was reportedly involved in an argument at 12:38 p.m. Saturday at 220 W. Main St., Batavia, over where a vehicle was parked. Pabone allegedly brandished a knife and threatened another person. He then allegedly tried to flee the scene in a vehicle, driving through a back yard and over the parkway. He was also charged with unlicensed operator, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, failure to stop at stop sign, failure to keep right, unregistered motor vehicle, driving without insurance, switched plates, and improper registration sticker. Pabone was jailed without bail.

Nicholas Allen Clark, 26, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of hypodermic instrument. Clark was arrested following a complaint at 2:04 p.m. Saturday of a person injecting himself while driving a vehicle on Liberty Street.

Shawna M. Pursel, 38, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Pursel was allegedly found in possession of a glass pipe commonly used for smoking crack cocaine.

Joseph W. Gottstine, 26, of Beaver Meadow Road, of Java Center, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic violation.

Raymond L. Morgan, 44, of State Route 31, Lyons, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Morgan was arrested on a warrant. He is currently incarcerated in Wayne County on an unrelated charge.

Victor D. Guy, 29, of West Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic violation.

Cheryl M. Lyons, 50, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. She was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Cheryl A. Kowalik, 55, of Alexander Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a charge of issuing a bad check.

Samuel Anthony Nigro, 64, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd. Nigro was allegedly found in possession of a billy club during a home visit by a probation officer. Nigro has a prior felony conviction. He was jailed without bail pending review by Superior Court. Upon review, he was released under supervision of the Probation Department.

Melissa M. Lesage, 36, of Lake Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic citation. She was released on $500 bail.

Terry E. Smith, 38, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with side window tint, no plate lamp, unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Smith was stopped at 2:04 a.m. Jan. 10 on McKinley Avenue by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Samantha L. Tate, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Tate was arrested on a warrant stemming from an alleged shoplifting incident at 415 E. Main St., Batavia.

Joey A. Evans, 25, of Maple Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for allegedly violating released under supervision conditions. Evans allegedly failed to appear for required meetings. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Loretta L. Baer, 44, of School Street, Batavia, is charged with resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. Baer was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Frank J. Yanik, 39, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and failure to stop at stop sign. Yanik was stopped at 1:21 a.m. Saturday on Liberty Street by Officer Peter Flanagan.

January 18, 2016 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, walmart, batavia.

A manager tells a deputy on scene that he's seen smoke from a possible fire in a wall at Walmart.

The alarm originally came in as a pull station activation.

A first responder reports the possible electrical fire may be out.

Town of Batavia fire was dispatched.

January 17, 2016 - 6:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia.

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An accident is reported at 127 Jackson St., between Morton Avenue and Maple Street, and there is possible entrapment and perhaps injuries. City fire and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 7:08 p.m. (by Howard): Two vehicles involved. One person transported to UMMC. One vehicle received front-end damage and the other vehicle had a banged-in door on the passenger side. Firefighters needed to pry open the driver-side door and help the driver from the vehicle, who was then loaded onto a stretcher. Police had not yet determined the cause of the accident. Jackson Street has a dusting of snow covering a thin layer of ice.

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January 16, 2016 - 9:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A pedestrian has been reportedly been struck by a car on East Main Street at Swan Street.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 9:52 p.m.: Person is conscious and alert.

January 16, 2016 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Budget.

There are ample reasons to be optimistic about Batavia's future, City Manager Jason Molino says in his annual budget message delivered yesterday to City Council Members along with the proposed 2016-17 budget, even though the coming year will be hampered slightly by an uncertain sales tax picture.

Downward pressure on oil prices is likely to mean a decrease in sales tax revenue for the City as gas prices remain low and could fall further, according to Molino's projections.

Meanwhile, some expenses continue to go up and the city's property tax base is seeing only modest growth. Therefore, Molino said, the city probably needs to raise property taxes by 13 cents, putting the rate a $9.29 per thousand of assesses value. The tax levy would increase by $55,621, or 1.10 percent.

For a home assessed at $80,000, the proposed increase adds $10.40 to the annual tax bill.

While sales tax on gas is only 18 to 20 percent of total sales tax receipts for the city, sales tax is the city's largest general fund revenue source at 39 percent of the city's general fund.

"We project a slowdown in the coming year," Molino said, "but how much is hard to project."

That's why the city needs to continue its focus on economic growth, which will expand the city's most stable revenue source -- property tax, Molino said.

The budget calls for the continuation of programs that will help, and are helping, to drive the city's growth, such as brownfield redevelopment, as well as capital investments in sidewalks and roadways, along with the ongoing, multi-year effort to invest $22 million in upgrades to sewer and water infrastructure. All of these programs will have a significant impact on the willingness for businesses to locate or expand in and around Batavia, Molino said.

There's already been progress in the city on brownfield redevelopment, such as the conversion of the former Carr's warehouse into a business and residential complex as well as the work under way to start a brewery and restaurant in the former Newberry's building. There are other projects in the works, Molino said.

"These areas didn't become blighted overnight and we won't correct the blight overnight," Molino said. "It will take time, it will take people and it will take energy."

Over the past decade, the city has made tremendous budgetary progress, Molino noted, going from a city operating at a deficit with little credit to one with a $8 million fund balance and an A-1 credit rating.

At the same time, the city has managed to replace nearly $3 million of antiquated equipment.

While the budget will use reserves for capital improvements, Molino notes that the projected decline in sales tax revenue will inhibit the city's ability to replenish those funds this year, but he sees the current economic environment as temporary and expects the economy to pick up, especially locally, over the next couple of years.

A potential bright spot on the sales tax picture is the planned construction of a plant for 1366 Technologies in the STAMP project in Alabama, Molino noted. It's hard to project the potential impact of that project, but Molino noted in his budget message that the construction of two yogurt plants in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park helped the city realize 4 to 6 percent sales tax growth in 2012 and 2013.

Another positive note coming out of 2015 is single-family home sales reach 122 closed escrows, up from 80 in 2013.

The city is also benefiting from a slight uptick in the assessed value of properties, as a couple of properties that were previously exempt from property taxes because of PILOT guarantees are now getting those increased assessed values taxed. Some of the additional revenue, however, is offset by the loss of PILOT payments from property owners. (PILOT = payment in lieu of taxes; taxes are exempt at a pre-defined formula on the increase of assessed value on a redeveloped property, but the property owner pays a fee to receive that benefit. That fee is split among the taxing jurisdictions that would otherwise receive the abated property tax.)

With the city facing ever escalating workers compensation insurance costs, Molino is also proposing the city adopt a self-funded insurance program, which will result in about a $250,000 cost savings. The assistant city manager and HR director would administer the new program.

The proposed spending from all funds for 2016-17 is $24,798,158. The general fund expenditure is proposed at $16,204,570. That's an annual increase of $499,806.

It's critical, Molino said, that the city continue to invest in its future, because only through economic growth can it meet future financial challenges and continue or improve city services.

There's a lot of positive momentum, a renaissance, in Batavia, in Genesee County and throughout the region, from Rochester to Buffalo, Molino said. Batavia needs to be a part of that positive trend.

"Let's stop with the negative perceptions about what Batavia can't be and talk about what Batavia can do," Molino said.

Molino ended the intro to his budget message on a similar high note, sounding a bold and ambitious vision statement for the city:

We need to become a community where employers don’t think twice when considering expansion. Our government services must strive for excellence and foster cooperation. It’s imperative our organizational culture and physical assets reflect immense pride in our City. We need to become a community where people of all ages truly enjoy life. Our vision is simple, to make Batavia the community of choice, in which the quality of life is unmatched and opportunity is around every corner.

January 15, 2016 - 6:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

City firefighters responded to 13 Chestnut St. after the odor of gas was reported in the basement. They discovered the strong smell of gasoline and are checking for the source. Neighbors are asked to check their basements, too, and the responders will be "popping some manholes" to check for the source of gasoline.

UPDATE 6:47 p.m.: Command on scene tells a dispatcher "We're going to need to have someone from Waste Management notified. We have the strong odor of gasoline in the sanitary sewer here."

UPDATE 7:13 p.m.: A caller reports the smell of gasoline "flooding the basement and making alarms go off" at 129 Liberty St., which isn't far from the Chestnut Street incident. City fire is responding and the first platoon is called to stand by in headquarters.

UPDATE 8:11 p.m. (by Howard): Spoke with Capt. Bob Fix at the scene. The resident at 13 Chestnut came home to the smell of gas in the house. It was coming up through the drainpipe and seems to have originated in the sewer system. There's no indication how gas might have gotten into the sewer system. "Even a small cup (of gasoline)" could have caused the odor, Fix said. A wastewater crew is responding to the scene to flush the system. Residents on Chestnut are being asked to run a little water down their drains to clear out their own systems. There's no present danger. The call on Liberty was unrelated and the result of a faulty detector. The first and third platoons have been called in to fill in at the Fire Hall with two city trucks tied up on Chestnut until the sewer is flushed. Chestnut is closed to vehicle traffic until crews have completed their work.

UPDATE 9:11 p.m.: City assignment back in service.

January 15, 2016 - 5:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A man is allegedly refusing to leave the ATM machine outside the Five Star Bank at 390 W. Main St., Batavia, and refusing to let others use the machine after complaining that it "ate" his ATM card. A dispatcher said a teller informed the irritated customer their machines are not the kind that can take the cards and not allow them to be retrieved. Police are responding.

January 15, 2016 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia.

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A portion of Park Road is being shut down this afternoon so work crews can remove a scaffold raised for the construction of the new hotel at Batavia Downs that was damaged in last week's windstorm, Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post said.

It's a matter of public safety, Post said, to close the road while the scaffolding is removed.

The project took some time to get to, Post said, after the damage, because the project needed to be carefully planned.

Batavia Downs will remain open, Post said, as well as the other businesses on Park Road.

There's no estimate on how long the project will take to complete.

January 15, 2016 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bergen, batavia, Oakfield.

Francine Pauleete Francioli, 34, of Erie Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, unlawful possession of marijuana and inadequate taillights. Francioli was stopped at 4:47 p.m. Thursday on North Bergen Road, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Francioli was allegedly found in possession of alprazolam, hydrocodone and marijuana during the traffic stop. 

Benjamin Ross Corke, 28, of Tracey Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Corke was arrested on a warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Rene Norma Brouchu III, 32, of Lewiston Road, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Brouchu allegedly stole several items from Walmart with a value of $174.61.

January 15, 2016 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming has closed the books on another record year, making it 10 straight years in which the facility increased revenues from the previous one. In 2015 the 787+ video lottery terminals at the track’s gaming facility generated $52.6 million in net winnings, up 7.37 percent from 2014’s $48.9 million. This percentage increase in net growth was first among NYS facilities for the second year in a row.

“After the completion of our gaming floor expansion and the opening of our new lobby, patron visits have increased as have revenues,” said Michael D. Kane, CEO and president for Batavia Downs Gaming. “With the construction of a new 84-room hotel, opening in midsummer, we look forward to further serving our customers in the Western New York area while expanding our reach even further.

2015’s increase comes on the heels of 2014’s 5.37-percent net winnings increase over 2013. In 2014 Batavia Downs was one of only two NY state facilities to show an increase. This marks the third time in the last four years that Batavia Downs Gaming leads NYS facilities in terms of percentage growth.

“We’re happy to show continued growth,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Gaming. “We also had a record year of payouts, with $627 million in winnings paid out to our visitors. These increases also benefit the counties and cities that own us. As a public benefit corporation, all revenues net expenses are distributed to our member municipalities.”

Western OTB is a public benefit corporation owned and operated by 17 Western New York municipalities: Cattaraugus County, Cayuga County, Chautauqua County, Erie County, Genesee County, Livingston County, Monroe County, Niagara County, Orleans County, Oswego County, Schuyler County, Seneca County, Steuben County, Wayne County, Wyoming County as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Headquartered in Batavia, WROTB owns and operates 27 OTB branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

January 15, 2016 - 11:07am

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) at its Jan. 14 board meeting authorized the transfer of a PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement to Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) as a result of the sale of the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant in Batavia. The PILOT agreement will be in effect for the remainder of 2016.

A key provision of the PILOT that will be transferred to DFA is a $300,000 payment from DFA for water and waste water/sewer infrastructure sustainability to the town of Batavia and the assumption of fire district fees.

“We are extremely pleased that Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to purchase the manufacturing facility in the Genesee Agri-Business Park,” said Paul Battaglia, chairman of the Board of Directors of the GCEDC. “I think it shows that DFA is a company with a great deal of integrity as well as a commitment to our community.”

“This is another great example of how all of our public and private partners in the economic growth and sustainability model we embraced over the last 10 years continue to excel in making sure our taxpayers and water/sewer customers are well served and able to rely on stable rates in the face of unpredictable events,” said Gregory H. Post, supervisor of the Town of Batavia.

“The efforts made on behalf of the Town of Batavia and the region by Steve Hyde and the staff at GCEDC and the extraordinary investment in our Town by DFA during the transfer of PILOT agreement allow us to continue to offer and provide the infrastructure and support necessary to efficiently serve our community’s ever growing needs. We stand ready, willing and able to assist the new owners and offer thanks to all involved in this negotiation.”

It is expected that within the next few months that DFA will present its plans for operating the manufacturing facility and submit its own application for assistance at the appropriate time.

“We expect many, if not all of the jobs lost from the plant’s closure last month to be restored, but that is going to take some time as DFA prepares its plans,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC. “We remain committed to assisting the DFA in this transition to ensure the plant will continue operations as one of the region’s largest agricultural food production facilities, as well as serve as a major economic driver in the region.”

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a national dairy marketing cooperative that serves and is owned by more than 14,000 members on more than 8,000 farms in 48 states. DFA is also one of the county’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients and is a leader in formulating and packaging shelf-stable dairy products.

January 15, 2016 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department has received multiple complaints of fraudulent posts on social media (Craigslist, Facebook, and other similar Web sites) claiming to be John Gerace, a realtor of RealityUSA with property “for rent.” The postings are requesting a $700 deposit in exchange for keys to the residence. The only contact information on the postings is for [email protected].

The Batavia Police Department with the assistance of John Gerace, would like to remind the community not to give money upfront for a rental apartment without first walking through the apartment and signing a lease agreement. This is a reoccurring issue. If you feel have been part of this scam please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 to report the incident.

Previously: Real estate agent turns the tables on craigslist scammer

January 14, 2016 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, business, batavia.

Press release:

Genesee ARC is moving ahead with plans to close down one section of its recycling operation and work with individuals employed there to find new positions.

The change affects the sorting line at the recycling center where as many as 14 people work each week. In the restructuring, the individuals with disabilities employed at the transfer station, on the trash and recycling routes, redemption center and Genesee Data Management will maintain their jobs.

“We will still be picking up recyclables from our curbside trash customers and accepting them at our transfer station,” Executive Director Donna Saskowski said.

Cardboard will still be sorted and bundled at the plant but all other recyclable materials will be collected and shipped to larger facilities with automated sorting.

“The cost of operating the line has increased over time and the prices we were able to secure for the baled recyclables have decreased considerably over the past 18 months, resulting in an untenable financial situation,” the director said.

Key employment services staff will be working with the individuals to assist them with job placement through the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR). A job at ARC’s Sheltered Work Center on Walnut Street is not an option due to State regulations, effective July 2014, prohibiting the acceptance of any new (or returning) work center placements.

Genesee ARC was the sole trash and recycling contractor for residents of the City of Batavia, from 1983 to 2013. The nonprofit began offering private trash collection and recycling services after a decision by city council to opt out of the trash business altogether, leaving residents to find their own local provider. This created its own set of challenges as Genesee ARC for the first time had to develop pricing, options and an entire new system to bill for the services. And, while a few new providers sprang up overnight, Genesee ARC has a majority of City of Batavia residents as its customer base for curbside trash and recycling. A large percentage of city residents also take advantage Genesee ARC’s transfer station services.

“This was a very tough decision for our leadership and Board of Directors,” Saskowski shared.  “We will do everything we can to help secure new job placements – this is a priority.”

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