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December 13, 2012 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee ARC.

Genesee ARC, which has provided trash service to the City of Batavia for nearly 30 years, is facing the possible loss of the contract with a city decision to put the trash collection contract out to bid.

Though Genesee ARC is welcome to be among the bidders, as many as three private firms are expect to place bids.

"I think it comes down to the efficiency and effectiveness of the service being provided to the residents," Molino said on WBTA's Main and Center program this morning. "Our approach moving forward with refuse collection -- and it has been -- is how do we continue to divert refuse tonnage from the refuse stream to the recycling stream, and ultimately lowering costs to the residents."

Genesee ARC employs 30 people, including 20 with developmental disabilities, for trash hauling and recycling pick up. The agency is paid $810,000 a year for the service.

The last contract was signed five years ago.

“This is a competitive bid, no different than any other bid for any other service,” Molino said. “If you can provide that service and you can support it and provide the services we’re requesting, then they can continue to provide it.”

Molino also told WBTA he has received virtually no complaints about the service provided by the ARC.

Donna Saskowski, executive director of the ARC, says the trash contract with the city is vital to the agency.

“Mostly because it goes to our mission of employing people with developmental disabilities here locally in our community and it would mean that 20 individuals with developmental disabilities would be unemployed, as well as the staff – all residents of Genesee County – who would become unemployed," Saskowski said.

Molino expects as many as three private companies will submit bids for the trash contract. Saskowski said the ARC is weighing its options.

Saskowski said that even if ARC no longer provides recycling pick up in the city, ARC will certainly try to keep operating its recycling center on West Main Street Road, Town of Batavia.

"Without the city contract it (recycling) would certainly be a diminishment," Saskowski said. "We are dedicated to recycling and we would certainly look for other opportunities."

December 13, 2012 - 11:12am
posted by Timothy Walton in batavia, business, Ken Mistler, Next Level Fitness, City Slickers.

'Tis the time of giving and Ken Mistler and his wife Andrea are in the spirit. The Mistlers' recently won $200 for winning the downtown window display contest. The display, located inside the former Carr's building was sponsored by both Next Level Fitness and City Slickers Bar & Grill.

"I want to thank the downtown (improvement) district and all the judges for choosing our window." Ken Mistler said. "We know there are families out there having a hard time and we want to be able to give back to them and give them a little something extra this holiday season."

If you know someone that is deserving please e-mail [email protected] with the name of the person and a brief description of why you think they are deserving. Also be sure to include your contact info as well as their's. You can't nominate yourself.

All nominations must be submitted by Dec. 20th. Winnings will be donated in the form of a Save-A-Lot gift card.

"I'm going to review the nominations  and will decide on the most deserving family or families." Mistler said. "I may give one gift card for the full amount or I may give a few."

December 11, 2012 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, weather.

We need snow. Ask any snomobiler. Without snow, there is a lot less winter fun.

But there's also an economic impact. There's a whole industry of bars, restaurants, repair shops, fireplace retailers and other businesses that depend on cold weather and snow.

The forecast for this winter is: We just don't know.

"There's an equal chance for above or below normal for both temperature and precipitation," said Jim Mitchell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

If the start of winter had seen the formation of an El Nino or a La Nina, then forecasters could make a longer range prediction on what kind of winter we might expect. Without either of those weather phenomena, the outlook is neutral.

The longest range prediction, Mitchell said is that outside of today, we'll see warmer and drier conditions for about a week and then some colder temperatures and some precipitation up to about 18 days out.

There is a chance, Mitchell said, of a white Christmas.

Kevin Fisher, president of Genesee Sno Packers, is keeping an eye on the weather.

Last year's dry winter resulted in fewer people -- about half of normal -- registering their snowmobiles.

Most of the state fee for registrations -- $35 of it -- went to local snowmobile clubs to help maintain the state's 10,000-mile trail system.

Without that money, many clubs may be hurting, Fisher said.

"In your household, a business, in any organization, getting half of your funding cut is pretty hard to swallow," Fisher said.

If that happens again this year, the impact could be devastating.

"My biggest fear is that snowmobile clubs, not necessarily right here in Genesee County, but statewide, are going to have difficulty staying afloat," Fisher said. "The trail system as we know it will start to come apart."

Right now, registrations statewide are down 17,000 from this time a year ago.

Fisher suggested that people at least join their local clubs, pay their local dues, that will at least help finance some trail grooming.

Guy Clark, owner of Cedar Street Sales and Rentals, said he always has a plan A, B, or C for his seasonable business.

In a normal winter, Clark said Cedar Street might sell 100 to 150 snowblowers and service twice that many.

That didn't happen last winter, but the winter was so mild, his service department kept busy getting lawn mowers ready for spring, and the early spring helped with other sales.

It actually would have been a worse winter if there had only been about a foot of snow and then the ground just stayed frozen for a month or two, Clark said.

When it's cold, said Rita Towner, co-owner of WNY Fireplace Outlet, and home heating oil bills are going through the roof, people start looking at less expensive alternatives for heat, such as wood or pellets.

"We're creatures of habit," Towner said. "When it's cold, we want to be warmer, but we don't want to pay extra money."

But while sales have been slow for wood and pellet systems, Towner said, it's been a weird winter so far. A lot of people are coming in looking for gas inserts, and those sales are balancing the books.

"There are a lot of people who are getting away from wood and looking for something more efficient," Towner said.

As for a longer term outlook -- the kind possibly related to climate change -- Mitchell said he isn't looking at the weather patterns that way. Everything balances out, he said, and while WNY had an unseasonably mild winter in 2012, Alaska had colder temperatures and more snow than average, as did much of northern Europe.

A lot depends, he said, on the jet stream. If it pushes cold Canadian air into the Northeast, we're more likely to get winter storms. When the jet stream stays to the north, we get warmer weather, but somebody else is colder.

For snowmobilers now is not the time to worry about a lack of snow, Fisher said. It's what comes later this month and January that matters.

"We could have a great winter yet and technically the trails don’t open until Dec. 19, so as present of a snowmobile club, I’m glad it’s not snowing right now," Fisher said. "I would like to see cold and get the ground frozen, but as far as snow, no, because there’s still hunters out there. It’s their time. It’s their season. If there’s snow people are tempted to go out and ride."

Riding now, he said, causes problems with property owners who donate land to trails -- and they are often are also hunters -- so Fisher is glad people are off the trails.

The weather and the economy definitely have a ripple effect, Clark said.

First, many of his customers do landscaping during the summer and spring, and if they're not plowing driveways in the winter, they're not making the money that will help pay for a new lawn mower in the spring.

Second, Clark noted, there are a lot of businesses, such as bars and restaurants and gas stations, that depend on snowmobilers to provide them with winter cash flow.

"Those business owners are the customers of everybody else," Clark said. "If they're not doing well, they're not going to spend."

December 11, 2012 - 12:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

Five years of planning, public meetings, studies, environmental reviews and dozens of written reports came down to one vote Monday night in the Town of Alabama, and by unanimous decision, the town's planning board said yes to a proposed industrial technology park.

The 5-0 vote to change the zoning for 1,340 acres within the town's borders clears the way for the Genesee County Economic Development Center to aggressively market the technology zone and begin the process making STAMP the kind of "shovel ready" property that GCEDC officials say is necessary to attract big business.

Before the vote, Mark Masse, VP operations for GCEDC, said it had been hard work to get the development to the point of the pivotal vote, "but now we leave it in your hands."

"The town has been involved from the beginning in hiring consultants and getting a lot of work done looking at the project," Masse said. "We're excited to be at his point."

For the board, the decision came down to three key points: infrastructure for public water, support from the majority of town residents, and jobs.

Trustee Janet Sage noted the expense the towns of Bethany and Batavia are facing to bring public water to their residents, but under the agreement with GCEDC, the infrastructure for water will be created for 70 percent of the town residents at a reduced cost to ratepayers.

The total capital cost of the water project is $5.2 million.

An estimated $1.9 million in grants will reduce the cost of bringing public water to Alabama rate payers from $882 annually to $512 per year.

"We will be saving residents a lot of money over the long run," Sage said. "It would be a long time if ever before Alabama gets water if this doesn't pass."

Sage also noted that in a survey of residents, among those who responded, nearly 70 percent said they supported STAMP.

It was that support for the project that board members should note, said Alabama resident Sam Ferris.

"You should put your personal issues aside and vote the way the town wants," Ferris said. "We voted into into office to vote for our rights.  If you can’t put your own personal thoughts aside, you should reconsider running when it's your turn to run again."

Other speakers echoed Ferris call for a vote in line with the majority support for STAMP, and Donald Sage spoke about how important the jobs are to the future of Alabama.

"I've lived here all my life and I've never been able to make a living here," Sage said. "I worked construction in Rochester to make a living for my family."

GCEDC estimates that at full build-out -- which may take as long as 25 years -- that STAMP could employ 9,300 people.

Sage went on to talk about the importance of family staying together and said he probably won't be around by the time the real benefits STAMP kick in, but his grandchildren will benefit.

"You should not have to worry about going to Dallas, Texas, or Raleigh, North Carolina, to get to spend time with your family," Sage said.

There were no speakers at Monday's meeting who opposed STAMP.

When Supervisor Dan Mangino announced the resolution passed 5-0, most of the 20 residents in attendance applauded.

In related action, the board set a public hearing for Jan. 14 to consider a 12-month moratorium on all commercial construction in the town that is outside of the STAMP district.

The moratorium would give the town time to developed new zoning laws in anticipation of STAMP-related growth, preventing unwanted commercial construction and destruction of farmland.

December 7, 2012 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Committee has announced the 2012 Annual Award Dinner will be held on Saturday, April 13 at the Clarion Hotel, Park Road, Batavia. This is the county’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for their achievements in business, community service and volunteerism.    

The chamber has streamlined its nomination forms to make submissions less cumbersome and time consuming. Please note that a brief write-up will qualify your nominee for consideration. Nominations are now being accepted for Business of the Year, Entrepreneurial Business of the Year, Agricultural Business of the Year, Innovative Enterprise of the Year, Special Service Recognition, and Geneseeans of the Year. Business nominees must be a chamber member (If unsure of your nominee's status, call the chamber to verify). 

Nomination forms are available at the chamber of commerce office, 210 E. Main St., Batavia, and can also be down loaded from the chamber Web site at www.geneseeny.com

Nominations MUST BE RECEIVED BY JAN. 11 to be considered.

If you would like more information, feel free to call Kelly J. Bermingham, director of Membership & Special Events at the chamber office, 343-7440, ext. 26.

December 7, 2012 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, pembroke, bergen.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board has approved the following projects:

KNW Manufacturing, 35 Spring St., Bergen. The company is moving its mold injection business from Ogden to a 2,012-square-foot building in Bergen. The building is already under a PILOT tax abatement issued in 2007. GCEDC is re-assigning the PILOT to KNW Manufacturing. The PILOT will expire in 2018 as scheduled. No other tax abatements are offered for this project. The move will create 10 new jobs in Genesee County.

Yancey's Fancy, $150,000 from revolving loan fund. Project is an interim plant expansion and equipment upgrades to support ongoing business and growth during a period that Yancey's Fancy is awaiting sewer construction in Pembroke. A larger project is expected to begin construction in early 2013 and be completed within the following 12 months. There are no tax abatements with the interim project.

Callahan Motion Control, $100,000 from revolving loan fund. CMC is buying the assets of Callahan Weber Hydraulics, an existing sales and service center in Darien. A local bank is financing the majority of the project through a coordinated program with Empire State Development. The program will save the company from 2 to 3 percent in interest over the next four years. GCEDC is providing a gap loan from its revolving loan fund to help finance the $434,000 project. CMC will also receive a mortgage tax exemption of $5,425. The company provides sales, service and repair of hydraulic components and systems for use in industry, agriculture, construction, gas drilling, lumber and mining industries.

December 7, 2012 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Press release:

Local entrepreneur Tim Walton, has decided to pull the plug on bringing a teen nightclub to Batavia after many hurdles and a bigger opportunity.

Walton had plans to turn the former Powerhouse Gym into a 7,500-square-foot venue that would cater toward the under-21 crowd, bringing them dances, parties and other events to keep them out of trouble.

The process had been delayed several times by the city due to codes that had to be met.

"We installed a sprinkler system, then needed another entrance, so we made that, then needed this and that, and things just kept adding up," Walton said.

Despite the setbacks, Walton said that the main reason for pulling the plug was due to bigger opportunities that were presented to him.

Walton recently took over as marketing and events director at LUX Nightclub in Buffalo.

"I got an offer that I couldn't turn down," Walton said. "It's the largest nightclub in the area so it's a great opportunity to do what I love to do."

The building at 624 E. Main St, which Walton had leased for a little over a year, has been put back up for lease by building owner Ken Mistler and Walton still has hopes to see something similar in there.

"It's a great wide-open structure that would be a great business opportunity for the right person, and I'd even be willing to help promote it if something were to come about in there," Walton said. 

Although the club is no longer in the works, Walton still hasn't given up on bringing quality entertainment to the area.

"It's something that people enjoy and it's something I have the experience to bring to the city," he said.

Currently, he has scheduled for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson to make an appearance at City Slickers. The appearance will be headlined by Johnson's cousin, national recording artist YB the Rockstar (Ya Boy) and Batavia native DJ Macy Paradise. The event is set for Dec. 21. That event is sponsored by IR Systems DirecTV and The Batavian.

December 6, 2012 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity, business, High Voltage Tattoo.

There was a long line of people waiting for tattoos this morning at 10 when High Voltage Tattoo and Piercing opened its doors for its second annual fundraising event.

The event continues on Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with patrons being able to choose from a set of predetermined designs for $30 per tattoo and piercings for $20 (includes jewelry).

All proceeds benefit Don Carroll's Toys for Kids and Golisano Children's Hospital.

High voltage is located at 110 W. Main St., Batavia.

Above, Kenny McCarthy inks John Veitch with a four-leaf clover.

December 5, 2012 - 9:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Gamezilla.

There's a new game shop in town and if the owner -- Bruce Reynolds, of Elba -- looks familiar it's because he's been in the retail entertainment business in Batavia before.

Reynolds is the former owner of CD Splash, which he closed five years ago when he had an opportunity to open a game shop in Warsaw.

"That business is doing really well and I always wanted to get back here," Reynolds said.

Gamezilla is located at 214 E. Main St. and the large space will give Reynolds plenty of room to stock up on video games, movies, music and other retail items as well as have space for a game room, sodas and candy.

Reynolds said he wants to create an atmosphere where gamers feel comfortable just hanging out, and regular tournaments are part of the plan.

"Competitive gamers always like to show off how good they are," Reynolds said.

Most avid gamers are 13 to 19 years old, but there are plenty of gamers in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and Reynolds said his inventory will carry the kind of variety all ages like to play.

He's still stocking up the store, but he said the inventory at Gamezilla is always evolving.

"We're always buying. We're always selling. We're always trading," Reynolds said. "You never come in and see the same thing every time."

The store will be open six days a week for 10 hours and on Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m.

The extra hours and the store's central location, Reynolds said, will be a competitive advantage, and he said Gamezilla offers the highest trade-in value for games.

"We offer friendly, honest service and we treat people nice," he said.

December 5, 2012 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, development, Tim Horton's.

A Tim Horton's is only the first phase of planned development for a parcel of property wedged in between Lewiston Road, Main Street and Colonial Boulevard, the developer revealed Tuesday night at a Town of Batavia Planning Board meeting.

Besides the coffee shop, Benderson Development Co. plans to erect a retail building and a drive-thru ATM location.

No tenants have been found for those uses, yet, said Matthew J. Oates (photo), the company's chief engineer, but the company didn't want to surprise planners later, after Horton's is approved -- assuming it is -- with an expanded development.

Kathy Jasinski, board chairwoman, said the town only found out about the planned additional uses on Monday.

Benderson has recently completed a traffic study covering the anticipated impact of both Tim Horton's and the proposed retail location and those results were turned over Monday to the town and the DOT for analysis.

Town Engineer Steve Mountain said that traffic study will be given to the town's traffic consultant for review.

Traffic was one of the chief concerns raised by town residents, primarily those on Colonial Boulevard, who attended Tuesday's public hearing on the Tim Horton's plan.

Lewiston and Main is already a congested intersection and traffic patterns down Main Street can make it difficult, Colonial Boulevard residents said, to get on and off their street.

What that traffic impact will be and how any problems might be mitigated remains an open question until both the town's consultant and the DOT complete an analysis of the traffic study.

The board made no decision about the planned development, but did begin the process of declaring itself the lead agency for environmental review purposes.

Residents also expressed concern about light and noise coming from the 24-hour operation.

Amy DiSalvo said her house is right next to the proposed Tim Horton's location and she's concerned about parking lot light spilling over onto her property as well as headlights shining on her house.

Oates said the position of the building will act as a buffer for headlights and noise for Colonial Boulevard residents, and Bob Bender, real estate project planner for Tim Horton's, said the project will use "dark sky lights," which will have zero spill over onto adjacent property.

December 4, 2012 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, business, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Each year, the members of the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association look to recognize a member of the racing community who has selflessly given of their time and effort for the betterment of the sport and its horses.

This year, the organization will honor a man who has been doing it for more than three decades. Peter Kanter, D.V.M., Ph.D., has been practicing equine medicine in Western New York since 1973, after graduating from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. While servicing the needs of horsemen in the morning, he has also been the paddock vet at both Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway each night since 1979.

But this is only part of the story. Besides caring for his four legged patients, Dr. Kanter was also working to defeat a human disease that has touched everyone’s life at some point. From 1973 until 2008, Dr. Kanter served as a director in the Division of Drug and Treatment Development as well as being in charge of the Department of Comparative Surgery at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Among his many accomplishments there, he was responsible for bringing a plethora of treatment drugs to market and also helped develop the techniques of what is now commonly known as minimally invasive surgery.

At the track, his commitment to the sport and its participants has been unparalleled and his many clients are a testament to that. He has made an uncountable number of horses better through his work and he continues to be there to address their needs before or after the races. While at Roswell Park, his work was responsible for helping to ease the pain and suffering of thousands of people while aiding the fight to a cure.

It is for his life’s work to improve the lives of both man and beast that Dr. Peter Kanter was chosen the 2012 UNY USHWA Unsung Hero. Dr. Kanter will receive his award trackside at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 8) during the fifth annual “Night of Distinction” awards presentation, where all the best equine and human performances of the current Batavia meet, as well as the best in Western New York for the entire year, will be feted.

December 4, 2012 - 12:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

Press release:

The Town of Alabama today released results of a survey presented to residents of the town to gauge their support for the proposed Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP). It is a 1,200-acre site in the Town of Alabama which is currently under development by the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

The survey found that more than two out of every three residents in the Town of Alabama who responded to the survey are in favor of the STAMP project (68 percent), while 62 percent of residents feel that the proposed $10.2 million Incentive Zoning Agreement between the town and the GCEDC is “sufficient” for the STAMP project to continue.

The town negotiated for additional amenities including expanding the new water district to include more households. With this change, 433 households will now receive water through the project. The town also negotiated additional revenue to be used for capital projects in future years.

“Given the size and scope of the STAMP project, feedback from the residents in the Town of Alabama is critically important as the board approaches a decision,” said Alabama Town Supervisor Daniel Mangino.

Both the Genesee County and Town of Alabama planning boards have recommended the rezoning of the site. Final approval of the rezoning rests with the Town of Alabama.

Conducted by Goldhaber Research Associates, LLC (GRA) on behalf of the Town of Alabama, the survey was mailed to 1,500 Town of Alabama residents from Oct. 12-14. A one-page flier with information about STAMP as well as a copy of the Incentive Zoning Agreement were included in the mailing. The survey generated 707 total respondents, including 53 that arrived after the Nov. 2 deadline.

To maintain confidentiality, names of the respondents were not associated with the responses in the data files, and the information about who completed the survey or who responded in a particular way to the survey was not shared.

November 30, 2012 - 6:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Shop Local.

There are numerous locally owned shops in Genesee County that are ready to lift your spirits this holiday season, including our locally owned liquor stores.

Our locally owned businesses give to the community all year long. During the holiday season is a time to give back by keeping your hard-earned dollars in our local community and shopping locally as much as possible for your gift and entertaining needs.

Above, Christine Crocker, owner of YNGodess.

Chris Blossom, West Main Wine and Spirits

Priya Rathod, Mr. Wine and Liquor

November 29, 2012 - 4:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Shop Local.

Of course you can find great gifts in locally owned stores, and at prices you can afford.

Above, Rich Mortellaro and Doug Barnard of R&D Outlet Center.

Guy Clark, Cedar Street Sales and Rentals.

Barbara Rumsey and Jeanne Walton, the Artisan Shop @ The YWCA (Barbara is one of the local artisans whose work is available for purchase at the store).

 

November 29, 2012 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

GCEDC released this notice today:

For several months it has been widely reported that a mushroom growing farm, involving a $20 million investment and up 100 new jobs to the region, is being planned in the Batavia Agri-Business Park. As this initial first phase of this project continues to move forward, we are now actively pursuing Phase 2, which seeks to purchase a minimum of 5 acres to 10 acres of vacant land for the development of a composting facility.

Besides the 5-10 acre size, other features that we are seeking are as follows:

  • Zoned for Agriculture -- it may be possible that commercial or industrial zoned land can work as well;
  • Water and electric service to the site;
  • Topography: flat and cleared is ideal but anything reasonably close will be considered;
  • Topsoil -- active farm land with topsoil is "not" required, therefore, if you can use or derive additional value by using/selling this topsoil then please do;
  • Preferred location is on the west side of Batavia in zip codes 14020 / 14036 /14013 / 14005 but areas anywhere within a 5-mile radius around the Agri-Business Park will be considered;
  • Landowners be assured that the buyer is a well-qualified cash purchaser.

Should this opportunity be of interest to you please contact Steve Blake at (716) 362-8707 or e-mail at : [email protected]

November 28, 2012 - 6:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Shop Local.

Here's your challenge for your next holiday shopping excursion: Stop into at least three locally owned businesses and see what they have to offer.

Local business owners are your family members, friends, neighbors and biggest boosters of our community. When you support them, you're really supporting yourself.

You can also find great gifts, affordable prices and get great service to boot.

Above, Sherry Valvo of Floral Fantasies. Below, Greg Gluck of Alberty's and Kurt Fisher of Fisher Sports.

BTW: I had an interesting conversation with Fisher last night. He pretty much exploded the myth that chains are less expensive than locally owned stores. He said his prices are consistently lower than chain sporting goods stores in the area, especially for coaches looking to outfit teams, but even on licensed products such as Bills and Sabres jerseys.

November 28, 2012 - 4:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

The Genesee County Legislature meets at 7 tonight and will vote on whether to approve the 2013 budget, which includes funding for GCEDC. Local businessman Vito Gautieri submitted this opinion piece on the matter:

I have seen a lot of comments on the $213,000 given to the GCEDC; some for, some against. The legislators voted, so I guess we have to take that as the pulse of the county? Then why did the 78.55% of taxpayers say no to funding and only 21.45% say yes (Batavian poll of November 21, 2012)?

I will not get into my accusation of the CEO of the GCEDC/GCLDC for his delay in awarding the contract on the Med-Tech project across from the GCC campus. My belief is that at least $50,000 to possibly $500,000 of taxpayers’ money was misspent. I am working on getting the state Attorney General or Comptroller office to look into my allegations. I welcome anyone who will help.

Two of our largest county not-for-profits, Genesee Community College and United Memorial Medical Center, are paying $15 a square foot for space at the Med-Tech Center, and the offices of the GCEDC/GCLDC are only paying about 1/3 of that ($5 +/-) for their space. The agency will not give me a pro-forma on the Med-Tech Center.  They say that is private information and FOIL tells me they should release the info. You know I do not mind paying $0.25 a page as required by FOIL law, but deep down I wish the agency would be more transparent to taxpayers. We can do a lot to make this agency more transparent.

Anyone interested in helping, please e-mail me at [email protected]. We will meet to discuss all this further.

Thank you,
Vito J. Gautieri
Taxpayer

November 28, 2012 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Sponsored Post, advertisement, Southside Deli.

In recognition of Power Ball reaching a $500 million prize pool, the New York State Lottery has provided Southside Deli with two tickets to this Sunday's Buffalo Bill's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium as a prize for a raffle drawing.

To enter the raffle, you most drop off a losing scratcher at the deli. Write your name and phone number on the back of the ticket. The winner will be selected Friday night in a drawing from all of those losing tickets. (If you don't have a losing ticket, go to Southside, buy some scratchers and leave a loser behind with your name and number on it for the drawing.)

Southside Deli is located at the corner of Ellicott and Liberty streets, Batavia.

The winner of the drawing gets both tickets. There is only one prize.

November 27, 2012 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Shop Local.

'Tis the season to support your local business owners ...

Today we feature Cory Richenberg, Hardcor Audio, Mike Barrett, Barrett's Batavia Marine, and Phil Pies, Max Pies Furniture.

November 26, 2012 - 9:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

A proposal by the city clerk to raise the solicitor and vendor license fee from $25 to $200 failed to fly with city council members Monday night.

While some increase is appropriate, council members said, and other fee hikes met no opposition, the solicitor increase might discourage some street sellers.

"My first reaction was a very strong concern that local vendors are part of our community and probably something like this could present difficulties to some of those vendors," Councilman John Canale said.

Councilman Brooks Hawley called the increase excessive. He said he could support an increase to $100.

So did Councilman Pierluigi Cipollone.

"It's a huge jump," Cipollone said. "Driving in here tonight I was thinking about the hot dog vendor who was here this summer. He makes maybe 10 percent or 20 percent on a sale, so he would have to sell 250 hot dogs and a Coke to recoup (the fee)."

A fee half of that proposed might be more manageable for such a vendor, Cipollone said.

Under city ordinances, any solicitor or vendor who wants to hawk wares or food on the sidewalk or go door-to-door must apply and pay for a license.

Batavia has the lowest fee of any small city in Western New York, said City Clerk Heidi Parker (inset photo), at least among the dozen or so she surveyed. Typically, the fee is at least $300 and one municipality charges $500 while another charges $25 per day.

Raising the rate would help address some problems with door-to-door solicitors, Parker said.

"We're hoping that by increasing the fee, vendors will take their actions more seriously," Parker said. "At $25, if you lose your license it's not a big deal, but at $200, we hope vendors will be more respectful of the people they're visiting."

Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian said she is very concerned about the conduct of some solicitors, but is also concerned about the people who seem to go door-to-door posing as solicitors but might have more nefarious activities in mind.

She recalled calling the police on one suspicious character in her neighborhood over the summer, but when police arrived within minutes of her call, he couldn't be found.

Her request: That solicitors be required to wear and display a conspicuous ID badge.

"I want it pinned right on them," Christian said.

In the past year, Parker said, 27 vendors and solicitors paid for licenses and total revenue was $675. At $200, she said, only four would need to pay for a license for the city to maintain close to the same level of revenue on the licenses.

No decision was made at Monday's conference meeting. Parker will bring back a revised proposal at a future meeting.

The council expressed no opposition to raising the tax search fee -- for real estate transactions to find delinquent taxes and utility bills -- from $5 to $10, or the bounce check fee from $15 to $20.

On the tax search fee, Parker said, "It's not a charge to taxpayers. It's a fee for service."

The tax search fee hasn't been raised in 15 years and Batavia has, and will still have, the lowest rate among the municipalities Parker surveyed. Total revenue will rise about $1,500.

On bounced checks, the raise in revenue will be minimal since the city receives very few overdraft notices each year.

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