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January 22, 2018 - 10:41am

The post-Jason Molino era for the City of Batavia gets under way tonight with City Council taking on a packed agenda that includes four budget resolutions requiring public hearings, the Redfield Parkway pillars, Healthy Schools sidewalk project, Habitat for Humanity’s proposal to build a home in the flood zone, leasing City Centre Mall space to Batavia Players and a Dwyer Stadium sub-lease with the New York-Penn League to operate the Batavia Muckdogs baseball team.

The Council’s Conference meeting, which is expected to be followed by a special business meeting to address the Dwyer Stadium issue, is scheduled for 7 o’clock at the City Centre Council Board Room.

Summaries of the planned discussions are as follows:

Budget resolutions with public hearings

Interim City Manager Matthew Worth is introducing resolutions that deal with the proposed budget ordinance, water rate changes, Business Improvement District plan and City Centre concourse user fee local law amendments. His proposal requests that these topics be acted upon at the Feb. 12 Business Meeting, with public hearings set for Feb. 26.

The 2018-19 budget calls for $5,249,947 to be raised by taxes, with previous reports indicating that the tax rate is expected to decrease by 3 percent – to $8.99 per $1,000 of assessed value. Total expenditures are $24.3 million (an increase of 1.9 percent).

Water rates will go up by 3.5 percent, with slightly higher increases in meter and capital improvement fees. There is no increase proposed for the sewer rate.

Since the BID plan has not been updated since 2005, the City proposes amendments that include a change in the district assessment charge to properly reflect operations, capital accounting for surplus funds, compliance with Open Meetings Law and Freedom of Information Law, and other budgetary compliance reporting.

The City Centre Concourse user fee proposal sets costs to Mall business owners at $2 per square foot, effective April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2021, and going up to $2.04 in 2021-22 and $2.06 in 2022-23.

Redfield Parkway pillars

City officials reached out to In Site: Architecture LLP, of Perry, to address the deteriorating condition of the pillars at the north entrance of Redfield Parkway.

The firm came back with a proposal to investigate the existing conditions, conduct design work as required related to lighting, preparation of bid documents, construction specifications, bidding coordination and construction administration at a cost of $4,860.

Council will be asked to appropriate the funds, contingent upon receiving a construction cost estimate prior to bidding the project.

Healthy Schools sidewalk project

Worth is reporting that Roman Construction Development Corp. of North Tonawanda has offered the low bid of $721,566 to complete construction of 12,300 linear feet of sideway in the City as part of the Healthy Schools Corridor Project.

Seventy-five percent of the project cost will be paid by the Federal Highway Administration and 25 percent will be paid from City sidewalk reserves and Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), Worth said.

Habitat for Humanity’s proposal

Habitat for Humanity is looking to renovate and restore a home at 116 Swan St., property that was transferred by the City to the organization. However, this is the first property to be transferred that is in the 100-year flood zone, resulting in additional costs.

According to Lauren Casey, Habitat for Humanity executive director, the cost to demolish the existing structure and build a new home is $104,000, including $17,395 for engineering and architectural costs to design a flood-compliant home.

In a memo from Molino dated Jan. 11 (the day before his last day on the job), Council will be asked to cover the $17,395, utilizing some of the $48,000 remaining from the former Vibrant Batavia initiative. Molino said that the engineering/architectural information could be used for future new builds in the City.

Batavia Players lease

A lease agreement with Batavia Players Inc. to utilize three City Centre parcels for their productions calls for monthly rent charges of $747.92 for months one through six ($1 per square foot), $1,223.86 for months seven through 12 ($3 per square foot), and $2,991.66 for months 13 through 60 ($4 per square foot).

In a memo, Worth writes that relocation of the theater to the downtown area has been identified in the City’s 2012 Community Improvement Plan and 2017 Comprehensive Plan, and is under consideration in the City’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative application.

The lease agreement gives the City the right to terminate it upon 180 days’ notice and allows the City to sell the property as it sees fit.

Sublease of Dwyer Stadium to NY-P

With the Rochester Community Baseball organization (Rochester Red Wings) out of the picture, the New York-Penn League has assumed ownership of the Batavia Muckdogs.

According to Worth, the NY-P is agreeable to operating the team at Dwyer Stadium under the terms and conditions of the previous sublease to the Batavia Regional Recreation Corporation and Genesee County Baseball Club Inc. and declaration to the Rochester Community Baseball for the coming season.

Worth, in a memo dated Jan. 19, said that the league has been made aware of the proposed budget and funds that may be available for improvements and “have an understanding of these limitations.”

October 29, 2017 - 1:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, Basom, Alabama, news.

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Jenn Boyki will move into her new home on Bloomingdale Road in Basom with a new sense of opportunity and freedom thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

Volunteers started working on the house, built in 1900, before a potential Habitat owner had been identified, so by the time Boyki applied and was approved, there wasn't much time for her to complete the required 300 hours of "sweat equity" to qualify for the purchase of the property.

But she got it done, all while raising two young children and working as a supervisor at Tim Horton's in Batavia.

"This speaks to her dedication and determination to provide a safe and stable home for her family," said Lauren Casey, CEO of Habitat in Genesee County.

The work was worth it, Boyki said.

"I loved it," she said. "I absolutely loved it. It gives you more enjoyment of being a homeowner versus just moving into a house."

With a piece of property out of the city she thinks she and her kids will have more freedom for themselves.

'It's an opportunity," she said. "The kids love animals, so we will be able to own some animals. I don't have to worry about a landlord and if something breaks, them fixing it on their own time."

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Mary Case presented Boyki with a quilt she made to add comfort to the new home during the dedication ceremony.

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Marie Scofield presented a symbolic loaf of bread.

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May 6, 2017 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, albama, Habitat for Humanity, news.

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Diane Winters cuts a board for the new front porch going onto the front of 1299 Bloomingdale Road, Basom, as part of a restoration effort on the latest project home for Genesee County Habitat for Humanity.

It was Women's Build Day.

The thing about this house, originally built in 1900, is that a future owner has not yet been selected. Habitat for Humanity is still accepting applicants.

"This was a house outside our normal rehab area so we're excited about expanding our service area to families," said Lauren Casey, president of the board. "It’s been a little bit of a struggle for us, as it turns out, to find a family. We’re still searching for a family, but that was the opportunity we wanted to seize."

Casey said for the right family, the three-bedroom, 1,648-square-foot house on a half-acre lot, is going to be a beautiful home. But that family isn't likely to come from the area of Habitat's normal reach, which is Batavia.

"I think it’s going to be tough for a family where we normally communicate with our families in Batavia to have them relocate, especially if they have kids to have them come out to this area," Casey said. "I think somebody in the Oakfield-Alabama School District is going to be our best bet for a family."

The family will need to put in 500 hours of "sweat equity" into the home, plus meet other financial qualifications (there is both a minimum and maximum level of income -- for more information, click here).

"I think it’s going to be a beautiful house. I think it’s just a matter of finding the right family," Casey said.

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April 15, 2017 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, Habitat for Humanity.

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A house becomes a home when it's filled with love, Pastor Vern Saile reminded the Odom family today during the dedication of their Habitat for Humanity restored house on State Street, Batavia.

"The Bible says unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain," Saile said. "I know the Lord has been building this house. ... I know much of the Lord’s love has been in every nail that’s been pounded into the wall and every board that’s been put up and everything that’s been painted and sanded and cleaned."

The Odoms -- Brandon, Tiffany, Madden, 9, and Maleeya, 1 -- expressed gratitude for their new home and Brandon said he will never forget the volunteers who helped with the project over the past 11 months while he put in 500 hours of labor into the project. He won't forget, he said, restoring the hardwood floor upstairs or putting in the tile of the backsplash in the kitchen.

"Brandon was meticulous in his work," said Jaylene Smith Kilner, executive director of Genesee County Habitat for Humanity. 

P.J. Riner, construction director, got a little choked up talking about the Odom family and Brandon's dedication to the project.

"He’s worked very, very hard," Riner said. "He’s been a joy to work with and I’m confident he’s going to be a key part of this community for a long time."

Brandon has worked at Home Depot for nine years and is a part-time as a bus driver.

For his part, Madden couldn't wait to show off his new bedroom to visitors following the dedication ceremony.

One of the next potential projects for Habitat, said Board President Lauren Casey, is the restoration of a house on Bloomingdale Road, Basom. The project is awaiting applicants from potential homeowners who qualify for a Habitat home.

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Part of the tradition of a Habitat home dedication are symbolic gifts: bread, so the new owners may never know hunger; sugar, so the home is always sweet; light, so that the home never knows darkness; flowers, to fill the home with beauty; and, a Bible, so there is always a blessing on the house.

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Lauren Casey

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June 25, 2016 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, news, Oak Street.

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Today, Habitat for Humanity dedicated the new home on Oak Street of Sheila and Jada Rolle.

Sheila expressed her gratitude for the staff and volunteers who helped them with a beautiful home.

"There’s so much love and peace and the angels all around because everyone who took part in this project blessed us so much, and I thank all of you for the love that you’ve shown us and you have given us," Sheila said.

Previously:

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May 22, 2016 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, news.

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It was a long journey for James and Jessica Maskell and their two young children, Bailey and Sophie, to finally get to the day where they could move into their new home on Pearl Street.

The journey started long before the Maskells even knew they would get a home through Habitat for Humanity, when City Manager Jason Molino guided Habitat's Jessica Maguire-Tomidy and P.J. Riner through the house and Riner argued against Habitat taking on the project. 

The house was such a mess, but according to Riner's account, Molino pressed the issue and Maguire-Tomidy agreed they should give it a try.

"The city is instrumental in its vision in developing these homes and these neighborhoods," Riner said. "Jason has brought that vision to fruition here in this home. He walked us through and I said, 'no.' I think it was the first time I ever said no to a house. This house looked terrible, but after we got started on this house, we found there was much here to be saved."

He said the house has a great floor plan, had a solid structure and turned out to be worth saving.

"I actually like doing these rehabs more than the new builds," he said. "These houses have more character and more space."

The long journey included hundreds of hours of volunteer labor from people throughout the community and students from RIT and thousands of dollars in donated material from area businesses.

"We after week, they show up when it's raining, it's snowing, it's cold, it's hot and they do the hard and very important work of building the actual house," Maguire-Tomidy said.

James Maskell said he and his wife were so grateful to all the volunteers and the donors that made their new home possible.  

"We really didn't expect this to happen," Maskell said. "When we first signed up, we thought, why not give it a chance, and now, here we are."

Like all new Habitat homeowners, James and Jessica also pitched in on the rehab effort as their down payment on their mortgage.

"When we hand over a project like this that's complete, we feel like we've made a difference not only the in lives of the family but in the community we live in, Maguire-Tomidy said.

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May 4, 2016 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, news.

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A neighbor on South Main Pearl Street is obviously grateful for Habitat for Humanity's restoration of a house two doors down.

The house is nearly complete and the family that will move in is in escrow on the purchase. A dedication is expected May 21.

Habitat currently has another project in progress on State Street.

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July 29, 2015 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in IAFF Local 896, batavia, Habitat for Humanity, City Fire.

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Today, off duty city firefighters, members of Local 896, are volunteering their time to help work on the Habitat for Humanity house on Oak Street.

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June 8, 2015 - 11:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia.

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Sunday was a day of sun and smiles for Muriel Austin and her daughters. A Habitat for Humanity home at 2 McKinley Ave., Batavia, is now their home.

"When we actually came and saw the house (when it first became available) and it didn't look anything like this," Austin said. "It looked the way it did before it looked like this and I fell in love with it anyway. 'Oh, my God, I'm going to have a house and it's so big.' I'm not thinking anything beyond that. I just saw that Jessica and other staff members found it in their heart that this would be suitable for you and your girls."

After a brief welcome by Habitat CEO Jessica Maguire-Tomidy, and the gift of a mirror from Lauren Casey, president of the Habitat board, Austin played a recording of a song taken from a verse of the Quran that means "protection."

Austin has five children and four of them live with her (the oldest is an adult). They are LaMonika, Brooklyn, Antoinette and Khadija.

She thanked all the volunteers who helped her with her new home, noting how hard they worked, the expertise and skill many of them brought to the job and the support they offered throughout the process.

"I realized what Habitat is about," Austin said. "It's not about religion. It's not about color. It's not about anything like that. It's about family, community and making a difference, not only making a difference, but also getting people to push in a (better) direction."

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May 10, 2015 - 7:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity.

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Saturday was "Women Build Day" for Habitat for Humanity and in Batavia more than 50 women signed up to assist with the current project for Genesee County, at 26 Oak St.

The prospective homeowner is Sheila Rolle and her daughter Jada. Local Habitat CEO Jessica Maguire-Tomidy said she is particularly excited about this project because Rolle was the first potential homeowner who came to her when she started six years ago and Rolle has worked hard to get herself in a position to qualify for a Habitat home.

It was a hot, dusty day at the construction site.

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February 24, 2015 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity.

The city's tax lien auction list for 2015 includes 12 parcels, with five single-family homes and two commercial buildings.

City staff is also recommending the sale of three vacant homes in poor condition to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation and sale to a low-income family.

There's also a piece of vacant property on Law Street next to the city's current yard waste collection center -- the center is on leased land -- that may be suitable for a new yard waste facility.

These four properties aren't included on the list of properties slated to be auctioned off March 14 at Bontrager's on Wortendyke Road, Town of Batavia.

In a memo to City Council, City Manager Jason Molino noted that the city has previously sold seven single-family homes to Habitat for Humanity, and these homes have been successfully rehabilitated and occupied, increasing the average assessment by 38 percent.

The three properties to be offered to Habitat this year are:

  • 54 Oak St., which has been vacant since March 2011, for $2,500
  • 131 Pearl St., which has been vacant since August 2012, for $1,000
  • 240 State St., whose owner died, for $2,500

The foreclosed properties slated for auction are:

Address Type Delinquency Value
214 Ellicott St. Commercial $13,396 $70,000
Ellicott Street, rear Vacant land $2,923 $31,000
Hall, City Centre Commercial $1,146 $10,000
30 Hutchins Place Vacant land $2,458 $3,600
26-28 Hutchins Place Vacant land $17,421 $35,000
South Main St. Vacant land $88 $100
159 Bank St. Single family $22,017 $72,000
33 Clinton St. Single family $37,630 $79,000
42 Lyon St. Single family $24,479 $69,000
27 Oak St. Single family $31,817 $60,000
210 Ross St. Single family $32,532 $68,000
214 Swan St. Two family $32,532 $68,000
141 Liberty St. Vacant land $9,325 $6,800

As in previous years, buyers will be reviewed by city staff and the city reserves the right to reject a purchase a buyer it believes is not qualified to maintain the property.

January 25, 2015 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Habitat for Humanity.

As a 22-year-old single mother, Megan Curry never thought homeownership was a realistic goal, but then a coworker told her about Habitat for Humanity and how the organization helped her move into her own house.

Soon, Curry and her son Kayden will be living in their own home on Old Oak Orchard Road, Elba.

The property was donated by MY-T Acres Farm and the Call family. Habitat volunteers, along with Curry, built the three bedroom house from the basement up.

"I never thought something like this would be possible, so the fact that I can be a homeowner and the fact that I helped build my own house is a big deal," Curry said. "It's really empowering."

Pictured are Stephen Curry, Megan's father, Kayden and Megan, her grandmother Phyllis Darling, sister Kayla Curry and her mother, Laura Curry.

June 4, 2014 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Habitat for Humanity, Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew.

There should be some fun times at the Smokin' Eagle in Le Roy tonight -- it's the annual Habitat for Humanity fundraiser, "Pour You A Drink."

All tips to the celebrity bartenders will benefit Habitat.

I'll be there, with Mayor Greg "Porp" Rogers, Bill Pitcher from the Ghost Riders, Joe "The Comedian" Condidorio and Rick Ellis, from the famed band Duke Jupiter. 

The fun starts at 6 p.m. and doesn't stop until 10 p.m.

May 10, 2014 - 10:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, McKinley Avenue.

Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County has made good progress on its latest project, a home on McKinley Avenue for Muriel Austin and her daughter Brooklyn, who were on the job today to help with the restoration.

Alicia Calcote, a student at RIT, with Sarah Harley and Brooklyn.

April 11, 2014 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, Batavia HS.

Spencer Hubbard, 2014 Mr. Batavia, presented a $2,200 check today to Jess Tomidy, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Genesee County. The Mr. Batavia competition at Batavia High School raises money for the winner's charity of choice. After winning the competition last month, Hubbard said he picked Habitat because, "I feel like it's a basic need, that people need homes. A lot of people are homeless who don't deserve to be. They really need that help."

February 11, 2014 - 9:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity.

Of the past half decade, vacant and abandoned homes have become problem in Batavia, according to City Manager Jason Molino.

Vacant and abandoned homes bring down residential home values in the immediate area, attract crime, suck up city resources with code enforcement and police responses and eventually the city ends up paying for property clean-up.

On the other hand, a vacant home filled with a family adds $20,000 in retail buying power to the city's economy.

"Vacant homes are a burden on any municipality," Molino said. "Whether it's the resources we have to use to address them, the lack of buying power because of the vacancy, the deterioration of the home itself or the deterioration of the neighborhood around it, there's a lot of studies, a lot of data on the impact of vacant and abandoned homes and they have a negative impact."

Over the past two years, the City of Batavia has taken properties taken in foreclosure for lack of property tax payments and deeded the properties to Habitat for Humanity.

The program has proven a resounding success, Molino said. Properties restored by Habitat have increased in assessed value by 30 to 40 percent and are occupied by families that take care of the properties.

"You've got owner-occupants who take pride in their home," Molino said. "It's a good program. I wish we could do more of it."

One of the tasks for the yet-to-be-hired assistant city manager will be to look at ways to get more vacant and abandoned houses into the hands of responsible homeowners.

"With continued focus and leadership the city could make an aggressive effort to target four or five properties annually with more partnerships similar to that with Habitat for Humanity," Molino wrote in a report to City Council. "This includes several initiatives such as attempting taking title of abandoned properties quicker, greater accountability of mortgage holders and partnering with not-for-profits for rehabilitation and investment in these properties."

Monday night, the council approved the sale of four house seized for back taxes (six properties total). The houses are at 5-7 Buell St., 6 Madison Ave., 3 Manhattan Ave., and 11 S. Spruce St.

So far, there's no deal in place to deed one or more of the homes to Habitat, but Molino said such an arrangement is still possible. If an agreement is reached, the council would have to approve the transfer.

No date has been announced for auction of the seized properties.

November 3, 2013 - 11:28am
posted by Billie Owens in Habitat for Humanity, five star bank.

Press release:

Five Star Bank has announced a $5,000 donation to Genesee County Habitat for Humanity for the construction of a family home in the area.

"We are committed to the well being of the communities we serve,” said Marty Griffith, regional president of Five Star Bank. “Genesee County Habitat for Humanity serves its community with diligence and sincerity, and Five Star Bank fully supports their mission. We want to help foster strong, safe communities, and they are the ideal partner for this vision."

Five Star Bank has also announced $5,000 gifts to the counties of Livingston, Chemung, Orleans, and Ontario, as well as Genesee Valley Habitat for Humanity organizations in support of the bank’s commitment to the communities it serves. The bank also served as the 2013 presenting sponsor of the Habitat for Humanity Leaders Build Luncheon, and the co-sponsor of the Leaders House.

October 24, 2013 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, IAFF Local 896, City Fire.

City firefighters, members of IAFF Local 896, have been volunteering their time to help with the revitalization of a house on Harvester Avenue by Habitat for Humanity.

Joining in the tasks today were Dave Adams, Tim Stengel, Chuck Hammon, Mike Dorgan, Adam Palumbo, Nathan Kinne, Mark Mikolajczyk and Christina Marinaccio.

Top photo, Kinne and Palumbo. Bottom, Marinaccio and Stengel.

October 9, 2013 - 12:16pm
posted by Jessica Maguire... in Part time, Habitat for Humanity, retail.
Company Name: 
Habitat for Humanity
Job Type: 
Part-Time
Habitat for Humanity is seeking an individual to serve as a part time ReStore Manager. Our ReStore is a thrift style store with a focus on furnishings and home improvement items. 
May 11, 2013 - 8:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, Harvester Avenue.

Today was Women Build Day at the Habitant for Humanity project house on Harvester Avenue. More than 75 percent of the workers at the job site were women, part of a national week that recognizes women in the construction trades.

Work on the house began Wednesday with the Day of Caring.

Above, Kelly McCaffery, of Rochester, removes from debris from the house. Also pictured below, Charlotte Dickson (carrying wood out of the house) and Marsha (no last name given) from Wyoming, who was prying wood from the walls of the kitchen.

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