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January 17, 2018 - 8:41pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Clark Patterson Lee.

Realizing that future commercial and industrial development will require increased wastewater capacity and treatment, the Batavia Town Board tonight passed a pair of resolutions that seek to address the Town’s short-term and long-term needs.

The board, at its regular monthly meeting, authorized:

-- Acceptance of a $30,000 Engineering Planning Grant Award, which would pay most of the estimated $36,000 cost of a wastewater treatment assessment and planning study;

-- A contract with Clark Patterson Lee for engineering and grant assistance support services related to the study.

The EPG grant comes with the stipulation that the Town would be responsible for a 20 percent local match, up to $6,000.

The contract with Clark Patterson Lee is for $24,750.

“The grant is one of many that we have received, and helps support our strategic studies and needs assessment model that I have embraced,” said Town Supervisor Gregory Post. “We have a good handle on the collection (of wastewater) and this study will lead to upgrades to the pump station and gravity lines, as well as provide us with the design and construction of a permanent solution.”

The Town received EPGs in 2013 and 2014 for the development of long-term sanitary sewer collection system plans for the east and west sides of the Town. This current project is set up to address the wastewater treatment needs for the Town.

In a letter dated Jan. 12 to Town Engineer Steve Mountain, Eric Wies of Clark Patterson Lee wrote that the “primary alternative will be the upgrade of the joint City/Town Wastewater Treatment Facility … and the report will be a tool that can be used to guide the Town through potential treatment upgrades at each phase of future development.”

Post said the study will “give us a better timeline in order to complete the work that is imperative for us.”

“We’re looking for a design for needed improvements that enhance our score for getting grants and loans,” he said. “Agencies tend to support ready-to-go projects, not those where no plan is in place. Our purpose is to be ahead of every potential failure by 20 years.”

Post noted that developers are more apt to choose locations where strategic planning is evident, and that those new businesses will, in turn, help fund the cost of increased wastewater collection and treatment capacity.

In other action, the board voted to contract with Wendel Consulting Services LLC for a total of $9,500 for Geographical Information System (GIS) programming, maintenance, consulting and training for one year, and voted in favor of the installation of a 96-watt LED street light at the corner of Barrett Drive and Route 5 (the location of the new East Pembroke Fire Hall) at an annual cost of $153.33.

December 29, 2017 - 11:52am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, genesee county.

Stating that “we’re not willing to sign it in its present form,” Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post said this morning that the Batavia Town Board did not take any action in connection with an amended and restated water agreement with Genesee County.

The board met on Thursday afternoon but decided not to sign off on the document, a 40-year agreement for water supply between the county and the town.

Post would not say what aspects of the agreement were deemed unacceptable.

“It is a complex issue; a work in progress,” he said.

County Manager Jay Gsell also would not elaborate, saying only that county legislators will discuss the situation next week and “continue our conversation with the Town of Batavia.”

As reported Wednesday on The Batavian, amendments to the water agreement focus on making sure municipalities are aware there is no unlimited supply of water and giving the county the flexibility it needs to increase the surcharge that municipalities pay as the demand for water increases.

Per County Attorney Kevin Earl, the restated agreement includes a provision that the county has to give 120 days prior notice to towns and villages of a price increase and, as part of the master plan, explain why an increase is warranted.

Phone calls to Earl and Batavia Town Attorney Andrew Meier were not returned as of the posting of this story.

December 27, 2017 - 12:51pm

Lawyers for Genesee County and the Town of Batavia are in the final stages of drafting an amended and restated water agreement – a document that, if completed in time, will be considered by the Town Board at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

According to Genesee County Attorney Kevin Earl, the amended agreement that will govern the Town’s water usage will focus on making sure the municipality (and all towns and villages in the county, for that matter) understand that the county is unable to supply an unlimited amount of water and that the county has the flexibility to increase the surcharge that municipalities pay.

“The county needs the flexibility to increase the surcharge (currently at 60 cents per thousand gallons of water) and ensure that everybody pays the same price,” Earl said. “The restated agreement will have a provision that the county has to give 120 days prior notice to the towns and villages of a price increase and, as part of the master plan, explain why an increase is necessary.”

Earl is working with Batavia Town Attorney Andrew Meier on finalizing the agreement.

County Manager Jay Gsell said that the next phase in the distribution of water calls for an increase of about 2.5 million gallons per day on top of the 8.1 million gallon currently supplied to county users as a result of agreements with the Monroe County Water Authority, Erie County Water Authority and the City’s water treatment facility.

“We’re estimating a surcharge increase of 60 to 80 cents per thousand,” Gsell said, “which is to be used for water system improvements only and to pay off the debt service of $20 million from 1999-2000.”

Gsell noted that future phases over the next five to 10 years are expected to increase the supply to 15 million to 20 million gallons per day.

Should municipalities approve the amended and restated agreements over the next several weeks, the earliest date of any surcharge increase would be June 2018, Earl said, due to the 120-day notice provision.

Earl said the many industrial development projects in the county will drive up the demand for water in the future, and that the county is planning to spend the money required to meet the demand.

Those projects/sites include the STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park) site in the Town of Alabama, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Buffalo East Tech Park, and increased need in areas such as Bethany, Alabama, Darien and Town of Batavia, as well as the possible replacement (to increase the capacity) of the City water plant.

October 13, 2017 - 3:00pm

So adorable -- Spacious Cape Cod in the Town of Batavia on a sleepy dead end street. Three bedroom, one and a half bath, with first floor master bedroom and bath. Large living room with efficient wood burning insert in beautiful natural stone fireplace and custom mantle. Gleaming hardwood floors. Country kitchen, dining room overlooks private back yard with mature trees.

Built in fire-pit- detached 2-1/2 car garage. Beautiful three season enclosed porch, first-floor laundry. Recent remodel with new siding, windows and metal roof in last 2 years, new bathroom and cozy upstairs bedrooms -- large walk-in closet. Nothing left to do in and in remarkable condition. Truly a must see! Public water and sewer-workshop in semi-finished basement is everyone's dream.

Call Nancy Crocker today, 585-314-7982 or click here to view the full listing.

October 4, 2017 - 10:45pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia.

The Batavia Town Board has unveiled its tentative budget for 2018, a $5.02 million spending plan that, for the second straight year, calls for $1 million to be generated through property taxes.

The tax rate, however, may go down slightly, said Supervisor Gregory Post, during a special board meeting on Wednesday afternoon at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

“By keeping the tax rate the same (it was $2.64 per thousand of assessed valuation in 2017), we figure we will generate a $7,000 increase over the $1 million (in tax revenue) we had last year,” Post said.

In turn, that $7,000 could be used to reduce the tax rate by another two cents, dropping it to $2.62 – which equates to a yearly tax bill of $235.80 on a house assessed at $90,000.

The budget also calls for using nearly $470,000 from the Town’s unexpended fund balance.

Post said the board will have a much better idea of the Town’s financial outlook for the fiscal year 2018 (January through December) in a couple weeks as it receives updated information about sales tax and other revenue streams.

“We just heard last week that Genesee County and the City of Batavia extended for one year its sales tax agreement (which determines how much money is distributed to the county’s municipalities), and that the county again has been authorized to collect an additional 1 percent, so we have proposed the same amount of sales tax for 2018 that we budgeted for last year,” he said.

Post said he is hoping for increases in water and sewer revenues as a result of HP Hood taking over the former Muller Quaker plant on East Main Street Road, adding that nothing is certain, however, as “water rates are volatile.”

The supervisor said sales tax for the first two quarters was close to what was estimated. In all, the budget lists sales tax revenue of $1.85 million.

While uncertainty remains in some areas, Post said the board is taking steps to turning the employee health insurance benefits line item into a “fixed” cost.

 “We’re capping health insurance at 95 percent (of the premium for single, two-person and family plans),” Post said. “Any future premium increases will be the responsibility of the employee.”

Still, the Town’s 30 employees eligible for health insurance benefits will receive up to $16,910 to cover their plan, and will be able to purchase a plan “that suits their needs,” Post said.

In contracting with Tompkins Insurance Agencies, the Town is offering the following:

-- Single plan: $6,080;
-- Two-person plan, $11,400;
-- Family plan, $16,910.

Employees have that much to spend on their health insurance plans, but also have the option of taking a buyout – valued at 60 percent of their plan allowance – as long as they can prove they have obtained health insurance through another source (spouse, significant other, etc.).

“If five people opt to take ‘in lieu of’ we could save around $40,000,” Post said. “The budgeted amount could go down … or worse case, we’re not spending any more on health insurance and we haven’t reduced the benefit to the staff.”

Actually, the benefit is being enhanced as the “buyout” is increasing from a long-standing $2,700 stipend to the 60 percent of the plan allowance.

As was the case last year, the board is proposing 3 percent raises across the board, but that, too, is tentative “because raises will be given or not given on a person-by-person basis,” Post said.

Post said the board is proposing to contract with outside engineers as consultants rather than hiring another Town engineer.

Board members commented that they would like to increase the salary of its Town justices, who have put in additional hours covering when other municipalities’ judges were unavailable.

The summary of the budget is as follows:

General Fund
Appropriations -- $3.89 million; Estimated revenue -- $2.42 million; Unexpended fund balance -- $469,000; Amount to be raised by tax -- $1 million.
Highway Fund
Appropriations -- $1.12 million; Estimated revenue -- $1.12 million.

Including the Town’s special sewer, water and Batavia fire districts, the total budget is $9 million --$6 million in revenue, $606,000 in unexpended fund balance and $2.33 million to be raised by tax.

The board will continue to work on the budget throughout the month in anticipation of a public hearing in November.

August 2, 2017 - 6:30pm

So adorable -- Spacious Cape Cod in the Town of Batavia on a sleepy dead-end street. Three bedrooms, one and a half baths, with first floor master bedroom and bath. Large living room with efficient wood-burning insert in beautiful natural stone fireplace and custom mantle. Gleaming hardwood floors. Country kitchen, dining room overlooks private back yard with mature trees. Built in fire pit -- detached 2-1/2 car garage. Beautiful three season enclosed porch, first floor laundry. Recent remodel with new siding, windows and metal roof in last two years, new bathroom and cozy upstairs bedrooms -- large walk-in closet.

Nothing left to do but move in and it's in remarkable condition.Truly a must see! Public water and sewer-workshop in semi-finished basement is everyone's dream. Call Nancy Crocker today or click here for more information on this listing.

July 15, 2017 - 3:00pm

So adorable-spacious Cape Cod in town of Batavia. Three bedroom, one and a half bath, first floor master bedroom and bath, large living room with fireplace, country kitchen, dining room overlooks private back yard-detached 2 car garage. Beautiful three season room-patio. New siding, windows and roof in last 2 years, new bathroom, built in fire-pit, spacious throughout. Remarkable condition-first floor laundry. Truly a must see! Public water and sewer. Workshop in basement is everyone's dream! Call Nancy Crocker today to see this one-of-a-kind listing, or click here for more information.

July 12, 2017 - 4:15pm

Location location location!! What a great house in a super location! This 2600 square foot home will not disappoint with all that it has to offer! Inside or outside everyone can have a place to hang out and enjoy. This home features beautiful sunken living room with cathedral ceiling and accented with brick walled fireplace and wet bar! There is so much living space you must see to appreciate-large bedrooms, great living/dining combo area, den/office, basement rec area with utility room and awesome three season room with indoor grilling area which leads to beautiful backyard with a couple of decks to enjoy the scenery! Many updates which include newer roof 07, 200 amp electrical and brand new central air unit in 2016! Public water and did we mention the great location? Come see!! Call Lynn Bezon at Reliant Real Estate today or click here to view this listing. Be on the lookout for our TWO OPEN HOUSES this Saturday!

June 12, 2017 - 6:30pm

Sweet hillside ranch in an awesome country location. All the benefits of country living with some great bonuses-location, public water, City school system if needed, and proximity to shopping and all major routes for commuting!

This four-bedroom, two full bath home has all been updated and you can easily move your things in and get on with living! Home features large room sizes plenty of closet/storage space hardwood floors throughout and awesome finished walk-out basement with full bath for tons of extra living space! Newer roof, new propane furnace, already installed radon mitigation system for nothing else to worry about!

The outside features awesome large forever deck, a large private yard with amazing views and great little pond! This is a keeper, easy to check out at your convenience! Call Lynn Bezon today or click here to view the full listing.

March 28, 2017 - 2:56pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia.

The Batavia Town Board has called a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 29) to vote on a resolution to schedule a public hearing on the final draft of the municipality's Comprehensive Plan update.

If approved, as expected, the resolution sets the public hearing for 7 p.m. at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road. The board's monthly meeting also is scheduled for that date.

Updating the Comprehensive Plan is a major priority for the Town, which last revised the document about seven years ago. The plan governs decisions on zoning, capital improvements and budgeting, addressing key issues such as land use, natural resources, agriculture and farmland, parks and recreation, housing, economic development, transportation and government services.

Town Supervisor Gregory Post previously stated that the plan update puts the Town in prime position for growth.

The Town has held several public information sessions to explain changes to the Comprehensive Plan as well as details about the Smart Genesee/Green Genesee initiative -- a grant-funded scientific approach that connects the natural environment and business growth.

February 17, 2017 - 3:36pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Trail, town of batavia, Batavia City Council.







The Ellicott Trail Project has its logo, and it’s the work of an accomplished graphic artist from Le Roy who is no stranger to entering (and winning) competitions that are open to the public.

“I’m really excited about the fact that people will be able to see something that I created,” said Jayme Privitera, a professional graphic designer for the past decade.

Privitera’s captured First Place in the competition that was set up by the Ellicott Trail Project steering committee to find a logo that best represents the proposed 4.6-mile bicycle/pedestrian path that will run from Seven Springs Road to Pearl Street Road (Route 33).

She won $100 for her logo, which will be used in many ways, such as on all-weather exterior signs, way-finding maps, stainless steel sidewalk emblems and, eventually, banners, stickers and fliers.

Richard Gross, of Wyoming, took Second Place, winning $75, while Kristen Stephany, of Warsaw, placed third, good for $25.

Members of the steering committee, led by Tom Lichtenthal, who also is serving as project manager for the Town of Batavia, made their selections on Thursday afternoon.

Lichtenthal said that 26 finalists out of the 176 submissions were considered at yesterday’s meeting. Entries came in from students and adults – from the age of 10 to 58 – from 15 communities in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Erie, Wyoming, Niagara and Allegany counties.

Privitera said her goal was to keep the logo simple (per contest rules) and “easily recognizable, emphasizing that it was for a trail – something that keeps going.”

Two years ago, she won a statewide contest conducted by Since 2011, she has provided graphic design for Lake Country PennySaver in Albion.

The logo will be officially unveiled at the Batavia City Council meeting on Feb. 27, Lichtenthal said.

Gross, a former ironworker and fabricator, said he does 3D modeling in his home “for fun.” He said he focused on the location of the trail and keeping the logo uncluttered.

Stephany is an adult student in her last semester at Genesee Community College where she is majoring in Graphic Arts. She said her goal was to use text that rendered “a bit of elegance and class” to the logo.

In December, Lichtenthal reported that the $1.7-million joint venture between the city and town was on schedule for completion by Thanksgiving.

The Town of Batavia is acting as lead agency for the project, which is being funded for the most part – 80 percent -- by a New York State Department of Transportation grant. The Town of Batavia and City of Batavia are contributing 10 percent each.

A Municipal Facility Grant of $250,000 will pay for a new bridge on Walnut Street, Lichtenthal said, while a portion of funds from a Genesee County Parks Department capital project will pay for a boardwalk at DeWitt Recreation Area.

February 16, 2017 - 11:31am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, NYSERDA.

The Batavia Town Board took another step in the municipality’s drive to attain Clean Energy Communities status Wednesday night by approving two resolutions -- one to convert the town’s street lights to energy-saving LED lights and the other to apply for a Unified Solar Permit grant through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The board voted to utilize National Grid’s LED outdoor street lighting conversion program that enables communities to switch from high-pressure sodium to LED lighting. LED conversion is one of 10 “high-impact actions” listed on NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities checklist.

Town Engineer Steve Mountain said that the town will be converting 75 street lights via the National Grid plan at a minimal cost -- about a $9 increase per month in the town's electric bill over a 10-year period.

"There is an incentive from NYSERDA built into the program," Mountain said, "which translates to energy savings over time."

Mountain said that the National Grid program is much cheaper than contracting with a private enterprise, which could cost as much as $50,000. He said he expects the LED conversion to be completed by this summer.

The LED conversion is the last of four actions performed by the town as a requirement to apply for one of 14 Clean Energy Communities grants in the Genesee/Finger Lakes Region. NYSERDA is offering four $100,000 grants and 10 $50,000 grants to municipalities of up to 39,999 people.

Previously, the town implemented three other “high-impact actions” – Benchmarking, Unified Solar Permit and Energy Code Enforcement Training, Mountain said. 

The second resolution passed last night paves the way for the town to receive a $2,500 grant from NYSERDA as an incentive for adopting the NYS Unified Solar Permit. The Unified Solar Permit is a mechanism to help communities reduce costs and delays relating to solar installations.

In other action, the board:

-- Approved a resolution to operate and maintain the Edgerton Road Water District in the Town of Elba, which services two residences, at the current rate of $5.10 per 1,000 gallons of water for a regular customer and $3.73 per 1,000 gallons of water for an agricultural customer.

The privately funded water district that was added on to a previous water district in Elba consists of about 4,500 linear feet of 6-inch diameter water main and all related hydrants and other accessories.

-- Passed a resolution to appropriate $2,695 in 2017 to support the Genesee County Senior Center recreation program.

-- Voted to buy a new Toshiba printer for the Town Hall at a cost of $8,330, along with annual maintenance agreements at a cost of $1,458 plus overages. The building’s current copier will be transferred to the highway facility.

-- Announced that there will be a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, to address questions about the Alexander Road/Pearl Street Road sewer extension.

January 18, 2017 - 9:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Southwest Water District.

It has been years in the making but the push to provide public water for about 40 families living in the southwest area of the Town of Batavia is about to become a reality.

On Wednesday night, the Town Board unanimously voted in favor of a final order establishing the Batavia Southwest Water District for residents of Brown, Halstead, Wilkinson, Lear, Upton and Rose roads, and Windflower Drive.

According to Supervisor Gregory Post, recent approval from the state Comptroller’s Office sets the stage for design, construction and inspection to begin – and possibly finish – in 2017.

“We’ve been working at this for eight years,” Post said. “Actually, we found petitions (from residents) dating back to the late 1970s, but they weren’t officially filed.”

Last spring (after accepting petitions from the residents involved), the board held a public hearing on the project, which calls for the installation of 20,400 linear feet of 12- and eight-inch water main as well as all related right-of-way costs, site work and other ancillary work.

The $1.2 million project would be financed through a grant/loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency in the amount of $500,000 and the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $710,000, offset by any state and federal funds or grants received.

The annual cost to the typical property for public water – based on the debt service and consumption – was previously set at $1,091, but could vary slightly depending upon the final, actual cost of the project.

On another front, Post said he was pleased to learn that an out-of-town developer wishes to construct two 8,000- to 10,000-square-foot buildings just east of Home Depot on Veterans Memorial Drive and place up to six retail and restaurant ventures there.

On Tuesday night, Ray Trotta, program/design manager/COO of The HollandTrotta Project of Rochester, told Batavia Town planners that site work would begin in about three months with construction to start shortly afterward.

The plan is to put three businesses in each of the two structures. Currently, the land is owned by Home Depot but the firm reportedly is willing to sell it for development purposes.

In other action, the board:

-- Accepted a $250,000 grant from the State and Municipal Facility Program (SAM) to offset expenses related to the planning and development of the Ellicott Trail Project, a 4.6-mile, east-west pedestrian and bicycle path known as the Ellicott Trail that will traverse through roads, parks, wetlands and abandoned railway beds in the Town and City of Batavia.

-- Authorized the purchase of two new 2017 Ford F150 4x4 extended cab pickup trucks from Van Bortel Ford at a price of $26,915.70 each for the Building Department and the sale of a 2014 Ford 150 pickup truck and a 2014 Jeep Cherokee at auction.

-- Authorized the purchase of a 2017 Ford F250 4x4 extended cab pickup truck from Van Bortel Ford at a price of $29,390.88 for the Highway Department, and the sale of a 2105 Ford F250 pickup truck at auction.

-- Agreed to utilize a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority standardized permit for solar installation to qualify for a $2,500 grant and for designation as a Clean Energy Community. The new Unified Solar Permit will be an attachment to the town’s building permit for projects involving the installation of solar energy systems.

December 21, 2016 - 9:49pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, comprehensive plan.

A Town of Batavia property owner told the municipality's Town Board on Wednesday night that he thinks the current version of its Comprehensive Plan Update contains rules and regulations that would prevent future development of his land.

"The plan is very restrictive," said Bruce Newton, owner of property next to the Tonawanda Creek near the Willow Bend Inn on West Main Street Road. "My dream (of expansion) is somewhat ... it has squelched my dream, and I feel that the value of the land will go down as well."

Speaking at a public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan Update, Newton said that the first draft of the plan makes it "virtually impossible" for him to build a house or do anything on the land that is zoned for commercial use.

"The regulations that are in place are on the depth of federal and state levels, restricting expansion opportunities," he said. "If I have to refer to your map, there is not a lot of wiggle room."

The Comprehensive Plan governs decisions on zoning, capital improvements and budgeting, addressing key issues such as land use, natural resources, agriculture and farmland, parks and recreation, housing, economic development, transportation and government services. It last was updated about seven years ago.

Newton asked if the town is expecting massive expansion in the area, to which Supervisor Gregory Post replied that they have seen a 100-percent increase in building permits over the past decade, and that projections call for "2,000 to 30,000 jobs over the next 10 years."

"A guide (to development and its impact on the environment) is needed," Post said. "I don't know if the Comprehensive Plan will prevent anybody (from building), but it gives the town the opportunity to help you through the process, and get a feel of what you can invest in."

Newton mentioned that his land is zoned for commercial use now, adding that "it would be quite a 180 to go from zoned commercial to a green area for parks and recreation."

Barbara Johnston of LaBella Associates Inc., a Rochester engineering, planning and consulting firm that has been assisting the town in this project, said the town is proposing an "overlay district" -- which does not affect the zoning but does add to the regulations.

It is not a deal-breaker for potential development, she said, unless the land is part of a wetland or in a flood zone where the Department of Environmental Conservation or Federal Emergency Management Agency would get involved.

"The DEC is your biggest worry," she said.

Newton asked if those updating the plan were basing their ideas off another plan in New York State or if they were "flying by the seat of their pants?"

Sheila Hess of CC Environment & Planning, of East Bethany, who also is assisting the town, said it is a science-based plan taking many elements found in an Ulster County pilot program and the Green Infrastructure Network, with a goal of marrying the town's natural resources with development to "sustain the overall quality of the town."

Johnston added that the Town of Batavia plan is "less strict than many models we have looked at, and is locally developed, which is better than one-size-fits-all."

Newton's father, George, suggested that the town should consider the Tonawanda Creek as an asset worth developing around.

"It should be greater than it is today," he said. "People who live around the river (creek) are not contaminating it. It's what's being pumped into it."

Earlier, Paul Kulczyk, a West Main Street Road resident for the past 25 years, said he wondered how areas of potential development near areas of natural resources as depicted on a Green Action Plan map "could sustain themselves wiithin such close proximity of each other."

Both Johnston and Hess acknowledged that these future residential areas would be subject to "special review" by the Town Board and Town Planning Board before any final determination could be made.

At the end of the 45-minute session, Post said the Town Board will review all comments and come up with a revised draft -- which likely will add the fiscal impact of development -- to present at another public meeting. He said he hopes to complete the process by early spring.

In other developments, the Town Board:

-- Approved shared services agreements with the towns of Pavilion and Alexander for code enforcement next year at a cost of $15,000 and $10,500, respectively, to those municipalities, and a similar agreement with the Town of Stafford for financial clerk services in 2017 that stipulates payment of $16,000 from the Town of Stafford.

-- Learned that Batavia Town Fire Chief Paul Barrett will be stepping down at the end of the year, and will be replaced by Deputy Chief Daniel Coffey, who is a sergeant on the City of Batavia police force. Barrett said he will continue on the department's board of directors.

In a related move, the board OK'd a contract with the Town of Batavia Fire Department for 2017 that calls for the town to pay $916,858 in 2017 for fire protection services within the established district.

-- Appointed Andrew Meier as town attorney for 2017 at the rate of $195 per hour and Theron Howard as town prosecutor for 2017 at an all-inclusive salary of $675 per week. Meier and Howard will be replacing Kevin Earl, who has accepted the position of Genesee County attorney.

December 7, 2016 - 10:33pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, comprehensive plan.


Updating the Town of Batavia’s Comprehensive Plan that will guide its decisions on zoning, capital improvements and budgeting has turned into a balancing act – a lengthy process that pits the desire to promote commercial development against the need to protect its valuable natural resources.

That was the viewpoint of Town Engineer Steven Mountain as he spoke to about 25 people who attended a public informational meeting on Wednesday night at Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

Mountain, responding to an impassioned plea by town resident Mary Martha Webster to keep the “rural” feel of the community, said town officials – in conjunction with independent environmental planners – are “trying to take a harder look at that (preserving natural resources and the land).”

“The development pressure is there; we’re trying to balance it,” Mountain said. “This is really the first time we’ve taken that approach.”

Webster apparently took exception to a segment of the presentation by Barbara Johnston of LaBella Associates Inc., a Rochester engineering, planning and consulting firm, who has been assisting the Town in its Comprehensive Plan update and with the Green Genesee/Smart Genesee initiative – the latter a grant-funded scientific approach that connects the natural environment and business growth.

“All I have heard is development, development. I moved to a rural area. This is not what I want, this is what you want, Greg,” Webster said, directing her comments to Town Supervisor Gregory Post. “You’re making the Town of Batavia into the City of Batavia.”

Following Mountain’s response, Johnston added that the team charged with updating the Comprehensive Plan is “trying to build it with a natural resource base and agricultural base.”

Daniel Lang, the Town’s code enforcement officer, said the goal is not to expand the amount of land available for commercial development but to “place stricter guidelines for developers (by) looking at consequences to natural resources.”

“We will be setting more limitations … criteria (that developers would have to follow) that would be sent to the planning board for complete review,” he added. “It will add an extra step of protection for the environment … and will keep it rural.”

Mountain agreed, stating that the Town “wants to be on the forefront, (able) to dictate to developers that if you want to come here, you will build to these standards.”

Johnston, in her PowerPoint presentation, explained that the Comprehensive Plan -- a blueprint for zoning and code design for the next 15 years or more -- addresses key issues such as land use, natural resources, agriculture and farmland, parks and recreation, housing and residential neighborhoods, business and economic development, transportation and energy, and government services and budgeting.

The Comprehensive Plan team, which also includes Sheila Hess of CC Environment & Planning, of East Bethany, and Matt Ingalls of Ingalls Planning & Design, of Fairport, has reviewed existing studies in these areas, and has set the following goal: Balancing natural, agricultural and rural landscapes with residential, commercial, industrial and institutional development.

“The keystone of the entire plan in general is the land use map (which defines the different zones and shows areas that are best suited for development),” Johnston said.

She noted that their research has led to a projection that the Town has another 1.5 million square feet of land that lends itself well to future development (currently 2.7 million square feet has been developed in that manner). She also said their model calls for an additional 500 or so housing units.

The Comprehensive Plan committee also is analyzing the Town’s budget, Johnston said, to gauge the plan’s financial impact. She showed a slide that revealed that 62 percent of the Town’s revenue is derived from taxes paid by homeowners.

Post said he expects that number to decrease in a couple years when some of the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOTS) granted to large commercial ventures start to come off the books, and those businesses begin to pay more in taxes.

All involved stated that Wednesday’s meeting is a step in the process, which could go on for another few months.

A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at Town Hall. Depending upon the feedback, changes could be made, pushing the plan’s adoption to the spring.

“This is not the first or the last of these meetings and this is not a slam dunk,” Post said. “But if you don’t have a plan, change occurs anyway. It’s our kids and our grandkids that we’re looking out for.”

Photo -- Barbara Johnston, left, and Daniel Lang address some of Mary Martha Webster's concerns following Wednesday night's Comprehensive Plan Update presentation at Batavia Town Hall. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

December 6, 2016 - 10:25pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Trail, city of batavia, town of batavia.




A 4.6-mile, east-west pedestrian and bicycle path known as the Ellicott Trail is at the halfway point to completion, according to the coordinator of the $1.7-million venture that will traverse through roads, parks, wetlands and abandoned railway beds in the Town and City of Batavia.

Speaking at a public information meeting on Tuesday night at the City Centre Council Chambers, Thomas Lichtenthal Jr., Town of Batavia highway superintendent and assistant engineer, said the project is on schedule.

“We hope to be on the path (pun intended) by late summer or early fall of next year,” Lichtenthal (in photo at top) said to about two dozen people in attendance. “And we’d like to see it finished before Christmas, hopefully by Thanksgiving.”

Lichtenthal’s presentation took the audience from one end of the trail to the other, pointing out specific tasks that need to be done at various points. The trail’s eastern entrance will be on Seven Springs Road, near the new Oakwood Hills subdivision, and its western entrance will be on Pearl Street Road, in the vicinity of River Street.

In between, it will pass over a refurbished existing bridge over the CSX railway off of East Main Street Road, wind its way through DeWitt Park off Cedar Street (where a “boardwalk” will move bikers and walkers over wetlands there), move on to Lions Park and Elmwood Cemetery, travel down Ellicott Street Road, behind the proposed Ellicott Station development, across a new trail bridge on Walnut Street over the Tonawanda Creek, and past Williams Park to Pearl Street Road.

But before all that can happen, construction crews have much dirt to move and concrete to pour as plans include the construction of a 10-foot wide stone dust trail on the off-road sections and a 10-foot wide sidewalk on the road sections.

Furthermore, right-of-way agreements (easements) with owners of about 16 private properties that are affected by the trail need to be signed, Lichtenthal noted.

“We are talking to property owners, and letting them know what needs to be done,” he said. “All right-of-way owners (and several of them were at the meeting) are on board with the project at this point.”

The Town of Batavia is acting as lead agency for the project, which is being funded for the most part – 80 percent -- by a New York State Department of Transportation grant. The Town of Batavia and City of Batavia are contributing 10 percent each.

A Municipal Facility Grant of $250,000 acquired through the efforts of Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer will pay for the new bridge on Walnut Street, Lichtenthal said, while a portion of funds from a Genesee County Parks Department capital project will pay for the boardwalk at DeWitt Park.

Lichtenthal said the trail will be populated by sidewalk way-finding signs and bicycle route signs, and will be open only during daylight hours – dawn to dusk.

He said providing clear directions and making sure those who use the trail are safe are priorities. He and Matthew Worth, director of public works for the City of Batavia, are working together on the signage details.

“With the on-road segments, the big thing with that is going to be way-finding – to let the people know that if you’re on the trail, you’re on the trail, and to be able to follow that trail all the way through the city so that you don’t get lost as you’re making your way from one end to the other,” he said.

City Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian said she was in favor of the project but was concerned about the safety of pedestrians and bikers, especially those who may be in need of help.

Lichtenthal and Worth responded by stating that fire, medical and police vehicles will be able to drive on the trail – except over the Walnut Street bridge – and that city police will employ their bicycle patrols during the spring and summer months. Otherwise, no motor vehicles will be allowed on the trail.

An Edward Street resident said parking and traffic in his neighborhood when Batavia Youth Football League games are being played at Lions Park would make it tough on those using the trail. Worth said city and football officials are talking about relocating the games to a “more suitable” location.

The trail’s main purpose, in Lichtenthal’s view, is to provide an alternative mode of transportation for those wanting to go shopping or enjoy time at city parks.

“Or you can use this as a physical exercise trail … you’ve got 4.6 miles,” he said. “If you go from one end to the other, you’ve got nine miles available for walking and physical fitness.”

He said the primary challenges deal with the off-road sections.

“They’re old, abandoned railroads that haven’t been maintained (and) there’s a lot of tree growth, culverts; there’s all kinds of stuff on those off-road sections that we need to improve those to make this … an off-road experience that’s pleasurable,” he noted.

For Jacob Bodway, a city resident affiliated with the WNY Mountain Biking Association, the Ellicott Trail project is a key tool in attracting Millennials to Batavia.

“If you want to draw young professionals to a community, this is a way to do it,” he said, adding that future plans to extend the trail to Le Roy and also further west will result in people from outside the area coming to use it.

With two of eight milestones on the project timetable in the books (stakeholder meeting and public meeting), the next steps are the submission of the trail’s reevaluation statement by Dec. 9 and advanced detail plans by Jan. 6. Final plans are scheduled to be submitted by February and right-of-way acquisitions completed by March. Bidding on construction is set to take place in April, with work starting in June.

December 2, 2016 - 10:33am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, comprehensive plan.

A public informational meeting on the Town of Batavia’s updated Comprehensive Plan is scheduled for 7 p.m. next Wednesday (Dec. 7) at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

Residents, business owners and landowners are invited to attend the two-hour session, which will focus on the Town’s vision of a “regional, rural and resilient” community.

The Comprehensive Plan is a document meant to guide Town decisions over the next 15 to 20 years relating to land use and zoning, natural resource conservation, business and economic development, transportation and other infrastructure, agriculture and farmland, and community services.

The Comprehensive Plan will update the Town’s current plan, which was adopted in 2009. It incorporates key findings and recommendations from several plans and studies that have been completed over the past several years.

These include plans for agriculture and farmland, transportation, recreation and economic development. The Comprehensive Plan will also help to implement the goals and policies of Green Genesee/ Smart Genesee, which identified key natural assets and presents strategies to leverage these resources for conservation, recreation, economic development and quality of life.

In addition to maps, statistics and analysis of existing conditions and trends, the Plan includes a Land Use Plan that shows appropriate locations for agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial, conservation, recreation and mixed-use development, and projected build-out over the next 15 years.

The Plan sets goals and recommends actions that the Town can take to:

-- encourage a balance of development types and mixed uses in appropriate areas;
-- conserve natural resources and limit flood damage;
-- retain high-quality farmland and support the agricultural economy;
-- enhance recreational opportunities for residents;
-- continue to grow the tax base with commercial and industrial development, while supporting existing businesses;
-- enhance residential quality of life and accommodate a mix of housing types to meet the needs of people who work in and near the Town, as well as seniors and families;
-- improve transportation connections and extend transportation facilities to meet community needs;
-- manage development and Town expenditures in a fiscally responsible manner.

Those interested can “drop in” any time to learn about the Plan and ask questions of Town representatives and consultants. The formal presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m.

November 16, 2016 - 9:13pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia.

With hours upon hours of meetings as well as comments from the public behind them, Batavia Town Board members on Wednesday night formally adopted the municipality's 2017 budget -- an $8.5 million spending plan that moves the tax rate from $1.42 to $2.64 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

And moments after the unanimous vote, Supervisor Gregory Post thanked Deputy Supervisor Dan Underhill, Councilwomen Sharon White and Patti Michalak and Councilman Chad Zambito for their efforts, advised them to take a Thanksgiving holiday break and reminded them that work on the 2018 budget will begin when they report back the following week.

"Discussions on the 2018 budget will start right away," Post said.

For 2017, town residents will be contributing $1 milliion in taxes -- up from the $500,000 that was levied in 2016. The board authorized spending $475,000 out of the town's reserves to balance the budget, which includes the financial needs for the fire, sewer and water districts.

The board also passed the proposed water rates -- $5.10 per 1,000 gallons as the base rate and $3.73 per 1,000 gallons as the agricultural rate -- and set the rates for both sewer districts in the town at $6.13 per 1,000 gallons. The new rates represent increases of about 3 percent (water) and 10 percent (sewer) from last year.

As far as fire protection is concerned, the board scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. on Dec. 21 at the Town Hall in connection with the town's contract with the Town of Batavia Fire Department. The 2017 contract calls for the town to pay the fire company $916,858 -- an increase in actual dollars from 2016 but at the same tax rate of $2.34 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Post said both the board, in conjunction with Town of Batavia and East Pembroke Fire department personnel, spent the past 18 months working to come up with a tax rate that "would sustain the community's fire protection services as far into the future as we can forecast."

He noted that any excess tax revenue will go directly to dedicated fire reserve accounts to cover the increasing costs of facilities and equipment.

"Our volunteer fire departments give extraordinary value," Post said. "Compare their budget to the budget of the city (of Batavia) fire department, and they are providing the same service at a third of the cost."

In other action, the board:

-- Approved a $63,597 contract with New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal to provide the town with insurance coverage (including cyber coverage) from November 2016 through November of 2017, and a $1,111 contract with Franz-Manno Service Corp. for excess employer's liability insurance.

-- Set a public hearing for 7:05 p.m. on Dec. 21 for input on the town's updated Comprehensive Master Plan, which is available for viewing at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road or on the town's website -- A CMP meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the Town Hall.

-- Received a report from Dan Lang, codes official, indicating that the new East Pembroke fire station is in the early stages of construction, and that the new Chamber of Commerce building on Park Road is nearing completion.

November 16, 2016 - 12:01pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Calamar, senior housing.


UPDATE -- 11/16/16 - 2:15 P.M.

The Batavian received a return phone call from Jocelyn Bos, Calamar's senior housing development director, and she stated that the project is at the "very conceptual level, with no landowner contracts or business details in place."

She did mention that Town of Batavia officials had asked her company to consider another senior apartment complex due to the "incredible need" for that type of housing, and commended David Ficarella for putting together a "substantial plan."


The Town of Batavia Planning Board on Tuesday night threw its support behind the idea of a proposed three-story, 110-unit senior apartment complex off Route 33 near Donahue Road, west of the city.

“I definitely like the concept and would be willing to write a letter to the Town of Batavia (board) recommending our approval,” said Kathleen Jasinski, planning board chair, after learning of the plan from David Ficarella, a Lovers Lane Road resident, who said he is working with Calamar Enterprises of Wheatfield on the development.

Ficarella, at the meeting with his wife, Katie, said it will take about $11 million to create the 55-and-over senior community of apartments that would rent at market rate -- $800 to $1,100 per month, with all major appliances and utilities included.

His summary outline to the board states that up to four full-time and two part-time positions will be created, and that about 200 construction jobs will be created to build the facility.

More importantly, he said, his proposed tax structure would generate $1.3 million in county and school tax revenue over the first 10 years, and would provide a sewer system that the town could tap into in the future.

“As it stands now, it’s a piece of land that brings in a couple thousand dollars in taxes, and it would stay that way for the next 30 years if nobody does anything about it,” he said. “The way we have it set up is that this facility will generate long-term tax base without adding demands for services on the school district.”

Ficarella said he is hoping that the Town of Batavia approves a sliding scale, percentage-based tax structure that starts with a low assessment ($250,000) for the first five years and increases to full valuation (estimated at $9 million) by year 10.

The project would not include tax abatements from the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

 “We’ve already been turned down in our request for incentives (from the GCEDC),” he said.

Ficarella owns about 140 acres in the area along Route 33 and would relinquish 10 to 15 acres for the project.

He said he prefers to partner with Calamar based on the company’s “excellent reputation in senior housing” and also is working with East Coast Commercial for financing.

Calamar previously wanted to build a senior citizens housing complex on West Main Street Road, but its request for tax incentives was turned down by the GCEDC Board of Directors. The Niagara County firm then filed a lawsuit against the GCEDC, which it lost. As a result, that project was scrapped.

Phone calls to Jocelyn Bos, senior housing development director for Calamar, were not returned this morning.

This latest proposal also includes the future extensions of Donahue Road north across Route 33 and of Edgewood Drive, which is sandwiched between Route 33 (Pearl Street Road) and the Fairway/Valle/Woodland residential area developed by Gary McWethy, Ficarella said.

“We’re looking to put in some more (single family) building lots, since Gary is out of lots on Edgewood,” Ficarella said. “With the STAMP project coming in (notably the 1366 Technologies solar wafer plant), there will be a lot of people looking for places to live.”

Ficarella said that McWethy has been working toward extending Edgewood Drive onto Pearl Street but has been delayed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which has concerns over wetlands located at the west end of the road.

At the end of his presentation, town planners voted unanimously to accept the conceptual proposal and authorized Jasinski to draft a letter of recommendation to the Town Board.

Photo -- David Ficarella of Lovers Lane Road in the Town of Batavia displays his preliminary sketch of the area of a proposed senior housing apartment complex -- along with single-family building lots -- along Route 33 (Pearl Street Road), west of the city. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

November 10, 2016 - 8:31am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia.

The Town of Batavia's level of staffing -- primarily in its engineering department -- and substantial tax increase came under fire Wednesday night, but Supervisor Gregory Post and the four council members stood up to the questions by communicating a strategy that focuses on providing the services necessary to ensure long-term sustainability and growth.

Eight people attended last night's public hearings on the town's sewer and water rates, and preliminary budget, the latter an $8.5 million spending plan (including fire, sewer and water districts) that calls for a tax levy of $1 million for 2017.

The proposed tax rate of $2.64 per thousand of assessed property value is an 86-percent increase over last year's tax rate of $1.42 per thousand -- with last year bringing the first town property tax in 35 years.

Water and sewer rates also are expected to increase in 2017, by about 3 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

The session began with town residents Joseph Jaszko and Mitchell Strong seeking answers regarding the town's engineering department.

"How many engineers do we have, and why are we paying them a quarter of a million dollars, plus vehicles, plus their insurance?" Jaszko said, noting that he is on a fixed income. "We never had all these people in the Town of Batavia before. Where do you think this money is coming from?"

Strong, who owns Strong Forge & Fabrication in the City of Batavia, followed up with the question "Why does the town need all these engineers and the city doesn't?" Both men inquired about the number of town employees overall.

Post, as he as stated previously at meetings leading up to the public hearings, said his many years of experience in local government has brought him to a point where having qualified, full-time professional engineers on staff is more beneficial to the town than contracting engineering firms on an as-needed basis.

"These P.E.'s are the biggest problem solvers and components necessary for us to carry out our strategic plan -- to build a model to sustain our community," said Post, adding that two full-time engineers and two full-time engineering technicians are among the 23 people employed full time by the town.

"I feel I did the best that I could do having witnessed 30 years of the town not having a full-time engineer," he continued. "Since our inception of this plan, we have attracted some pretty extraordinary development and leveraged money from numerous grants and loans, which have increased the town's assessed valuation by 40 percent."

The supervisor added that shared services agreements with other Genesee County towns -- in the areas of code enforcement, inspection, licensing and engineering services, for example -- result in money coming back to the Town of Batavia.

"A portion of some of these positions are paid by other communities," he said.

The 2017 budget is about $400,000 greater than last year's, and the 2017 tax levy of $1 million is a half-million dollars more than last year's. The new budget shows a $475,000 contribution from the town's unexpended fund balance.

Post said that leaves about $1.3 million left in the fund balance account.

"All costs to operate this community have doubled in the past 10 years, and they will continue to increase," he said. "It wouldn't be prudent to not have an unexpended fund balance at a $1.2 million baseline."

Strong said when he found out that the tax rate was going to jump from $1.42 to $2.64, "some bells started going off."

"That's why I'm here tonight," he said. "I'm not questioning how you run your business, but 87 percent (actually 86) in one year ... that's crazy."

Post countered by saying the tax rate should have been $2.84 per $1,000 last year, but the board opted for less.

He did say that the $2.64 proposed for 2017 "carries us through the year 2020."

"Our engineers and financial consultants are projecting true costs, looking at the levy versus reserves, and (have determined) that we could keep it at that rate," Post said. "We're anticipating a substantial increase in revenues and would be able to maintain the unexpended fund balance at $1.2 million."

At the close of the session, which lasted about 90 minutes, Strong said he had a clearer understanding of the process, but encouraged the town to shave expenses.

"They have to look at cost reduction," he said. "My customers are constantly after us to cut costs."

Meetings are Open to the Public

Post said he welcomed the public input at the meeting, and advised all town residents that the Town Board meets every Wednesday around 5 p.m. for work sessions at Town Hall on West Main Street Road, and that board meetings are on the third Wednesday of the month, starting at 7 p.m. All meetings are open to the public. More information can be obtained by contacting the town clerk at 343-1729.


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