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city of batavia

September 18, 2020 - 3:05pm
posted by Press Release in scam, Fraud, crime, news, city of batavia.

From the City of Batavia Police Department:

The City of Batavia has become aware of a scam in which the scammers are using the phone number and name of the City in an attempt to get victims to provide personal banking information. The caller ID comes across as “City of Batavia” with the phone number (585) 343-8182. The scammer is telling victims they have overcharged on a utility bill and want information to reimburse the money.

The City of Batavia will not request personal banking information over the phone. The City only provides refunds or payments to citizens and vendors in the form of a check.

Follows these tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help avoid fraud:

1.    Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government officiala family membera charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.  

2.    Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.

3.    Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.

4.    Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.

September 16, 2020 - 1:36pm

Press release:

The first open house to introduce the City Centre Revitalization Strategy project will be held within the City Centre concourse at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Those in attendance will be provided with information on the project, given an opportunity to meet the project team, and review project related information.

The Revitalization Strategy will focus on strategic improvements that can made to the concourse and entries of the City Centre structure as well as potential development concepts for underutilized areas of the parking lots around City Centre.

Potential improvements to the City Centre concourse would be partially funded with the $1 million award provided by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. Initial concepts for new entryways and upgrades to improve the appearance of the concourse will be available for review at the Open House.

In addition to providing information on potential concourse improvements, the Open House will also provide early conceptual plans for developing underutilized portions of the parking lots along Bank Street. Corresponding concepts for streetscape upgrades for Bank Street will also be available at the meeting.

Protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be implemented for the meeting.

September 11, 2020 - 12:59pm

Upon the approval of City Council, the Batavia Police Department will take on the responsibility of managing the community’s Deer Management Plan.

A memo dated Sept. 8 from Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski to council members indicates that “operationally, the Batavia Police Department will manage the program, accept applications, qualify participants, and schedule hunting times, work with participants and landowners on behalf of the City. A special detail will be set up to appoint an officer to this position and we will incur some overtime costs associated with this plan.”

Tabelski writes that additional deer management options added to the plan could be considered by City Council, upon recommendation by the city manager, if the current plan is not successful in reducing the deer population.

Those options are as follows:

  • Batavia Police Department culling operation;
  • Utilizing a private firm to cull;
  • Utilizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service culling operation.

A resolution to approve the revised archery hunting plan, dated Sept. 14, is on the agenda of Monday night’s Business Meeting at City Centre Council Chambers. A Special Conference Meeting will open proceedings at 7 p.m.

Contacted today, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch did not offer any specifics, noting that the plan still has to be endorsed by City Council.

“We’re happy to help out in any way that we can and do our best to move things forward, but everything’s very preliminary right now. With everything else that is on the table, the Police Advisory Stakeholder Group, potential construction of a police facility – there’s just a lot going on.”

This updated plan differs from the one dated Aug. 3, which came out of eight months of meetings of the City’s Deer Management Plan Committee, a five-person group enlisted by City Council. The committee worked primarily with former City Manager Martin Moore and Council liaison John Canale with assistance from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials.

The Deer Management Plan Committee abruptly resigned, however, on Aug. 13, citing a breakdown in communication with city leaders and disagreement with modifications to the plan.

The current version of the plan replaces “City Clerk” with “Batavia Police Department” in the Participant Application and Selection Process section as follows: City of Batavia Deer Management Program Hunter Application -- Submission to Batavia Police Department.

It also removes a section that placed the Genesee County Federation of Sportsmen (consisting of 12 clubs) as the top priority for program participants and replaces that with words indicating that proof of residency within the City of Batavia or Genesee County, and/or membership in a hunting club associated with the Genesee County Federation of Sportsmen, and/or City Employee status are required.

The Sept. 14 draft also indicates that the police department would be responsible for all tasks and documentation necessary to qualify potential hunters, schedule hunting times, and assist participants and owners of property in the three of the five identified hunting zones. The other two zones are city property and would be open for hunting only to city employees.

Moreover, the section titled Program Review and Measures of Program Success has been changed from “The City of Batavia Deer Management Committee will meet as needed during the program to review activities and to gather data as to the program’s success” to the following:

The City of Batavia Police Department, City Manager, and qualified program participants will meet as needed during the program to review activities and to gather data as to the program’s success.

That variation is understandable as the Deer Management Committee is no longer intact.

Tabelski’s memo also addressed the Batavia City School District’s current “hybrid” schedule that has some students in school and others learning remotely (at home). The deer plan calls for hunting only between sunrise and 2 p.m., and only when school is in session.

“Due to the temporary pause on the full reopening of schools, and because the top priority of all culling activities is the safety of the community, I recommend that the Batavia Police Department continue to monitor the school situation as it progresses and make an operational decision, based on the changing dynamics of in-school vs. home learning, to determine if the plan can be executed safely this fall.”

In closing, she wrote that the “final plan provides a streamlined program experience, ensures programmatic compliance, program metric tracking, increased safety and oversite (sic), and in increased focus on communication.”

Batavia’s current proposal is similar to the Town of Irondequoit’s deer program, which is managed by its police department.

In a separate development:

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said a discussion of the vacant city manager position is scheduled for Executive Session following Monday night’s meeting.

Jankowski provided a brief update, mentioning The Novak Consulting Group, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based firm that was used in the search that resulted in the hiring of Moore in 2018.

“At the last meeting, City Council was informed that Novak wouldn’t be able to start the city manager search process until late September,” Jankowski said. “At that time, Council requested additional information from the Human Resources department and that information has been provided.

“Due to the sensitive nature of personnel matters, Council will meet in executive session during the upcoming regular Business meeting to decide a path forward in the hiring process.”

August 18, 2020 - 12:55pm

Just Kings, a newly formed organization dedicated to achieving equality and racial justice in Batavia and Genesee County, today said they plan to submit a letter to Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski to have a representative on the City’s Police Advisory Stakeholder Group.

“We have discussed this at length and have talked to Chief (Shawn) Heubusch about it, and would like to participate,” said Victor Thomas, adding that he has been selected by Just Kings’ 10-member board of directors for consideration by city leaders.

If chosen, the 36-year-old Thomas, a lifelong Batavian, would be one of six citizen members on the committee, which is being formed in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203.

Just Kings was instrumental in conducting a peaceful March for Justice in downtown Batavia on June 7 and held a community Juneteenth celebration at the YWCA on June 20.

They are hosting a drive-through cookout, offering BBQ chicken or pulled pork dinners, this Saturday from noon until sold out at 25 Harvester Ave. The cost is $12.

Thomas said that he is encouraging people of color to submit a letter of interest to fill other slots on the advisory group.

One person of color already appointed to the group is Batavia City School District Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr.

"Well, I think I do add some diversity to the group. I'm a Latino, bilingual ... I'm not what the perception would be, another Caucasian male," Soler said. "So I think I will bring some of that diversity, to the credit of the police chief to make sure that I'm on this group -- representing the school district and our kids of color."

Soler said that growing up as a Latino male in the City of Rochester, he carries "some experiences with law enforcement that I've had that hopefully can help the group do its work better."

He shared that people of color -- biracial, Asian, African-American and Latino -- comprise about 25 percent of the student population in the Batavia City School District.

The executive order, “New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative,” stipulates that police departments must adopt a plan by April 1 to be eligible for future state funding.

It includes wording that stakeholders should include “but not (be) limited to membership and leadership of the local police force, members of the community with emphasis in areas with high numbers of police and community interactions, interested non-profit and faith-based community groups, local office of the district attorney, local public defender and local elected officials.”

Toward that end, Tabelski issued a press release about an hour ago declaring that the City of Batavia will add four additional community members, increasing the number of residents from two that were on the original list of stakeholders to six.

Tabelski said the city will strive to ensure proper representation for all.

Per the press release, “The advisory group will open dialogue and add value to the relationships between City government employees, the police department and community residents,” Tabelski said. “As we move forward, the stakeholder meetings will be open for the public to attend, while adhering to COVID-19 protocols.”

Heubusch, in the release, said he is looking forward to starting the process and engaging with citizens in the community.

“The City Police Department is comprised of men and women who take the job of protecting and serving our community very seriously,” he said. “We all look forward to working with the stakeholder group to improve our already robust service and training.

“All individuals should be held to the same standard. No one is above the law; whether civilian, law enforcement or government official and those that break the law should be held accountable.”

With this expansion, the Police Advisory Stakeholder Group will now consist of 19 members, including:

  • City Manager;
  • Police Chief;
  • Assistant Police Chief;
  • City Attorney;
  • One City Council member;
  • Six citizen representatives;
  • Batavia Housing Authority Director;
  • Director of a not-for-profit that serves human interests (e.g. YWCA);
  • District Attorney representative;
  • Public Defender representative;
  • Batavia Police Benevolent Association representative;
  • Batavia City School District Superintendent;
  • Community religious leader;
  • Business leader representative.

Furthermore, Tabelski said the stakeholder group will help identify recommendations for more effective strategies, policies, and procedures to better serve all residents within the City of Batavia. This plan will be developed over the fall and winter, and must be adopted by the City of Batavia by April 1 per Executive Order No. 203.

Citizens interested in being a member of the Police Advisory Stakeholder Group should send their name, phone number, address and email address to the office of the Interim City Manager, Rachael Tabelski. Address: City of Batavia, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020 or via email:  [email protected].

August 8, 2020 - 10:22am

In compliance with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order on policing reform, the City of Batavia has set the wheels in motion to form a 15-member Batavia Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group that will assist in drafting a plan based on community input by April 1, 2021.

The executive order, “New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative,” stipulates that police departments must adopt a plan by the April date to be eligible for future state funding.

The topic is on both the Conference and Business agendas of Monday night’s City Council meeting at City Hall Council Chambers. The Conference meeting will begin at 7 o’clock.

Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski, in a July 30 memo to City Council, wrote that the governor’s mandate is in “direct response to incidents involving law enforcement officials whereby actions of particular officer(s) resulted in the death of unarmed citizens.”

“The City of Batavia stands in deep sadness and grief over the actions of a few officers who have contributed to a culture of mistrust and divisiveness,” she wrote. “No one deserves to be abused, or treated unfairly, by members of their community and especially not by law enforcement officials.”

In boldface type: “All individuals should be held to the same standard, with no one above the law – whether civilian, law enforcement or government official and those that break the law should be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

Tabelski continued, praising the Batavia police force as “a world-class police department comprised of men and women who take the job of protecting and serving our community very seriously. The Batavia Police Department has and will continue to uphold a high standard of professionalism in themselves and those that serve with.”

According to the resolution to be considered by Council, the advisory group will consist of the following:

  • City manager;
  • Police chief;
  • Assistant police chief;
  • City attorney;
  • One City Council member;
  • Two citizen representatives;
  • Batavia Housing Authority director;
  • Director of a not-for-profit that serves human interests (i.e. YWCA);
  • District attorney representative;
  • Public defender representative;
  • Batavia Police Benevolent Association representative;
  • Batavia City School District superintendent;
  • Community religious leader;
  • Business leader representative.

The role of the advisory group, per the memo, is to review current police department policies, procedures and training initiatives, and to recommend improvements in areas such as community policing, response, crime prevention through environmental design and training enhancements.

“The goal of the Group will be to build upon the current policies adopted by the Department, that meet or exceed industry standards and best practices, and to build further relationships within the community,” Tabelski wrote.

According to supporting documentation for Monday’s meeting, the Batavia Police Department has already met or exceeded about a dozen standards or initiatives spelled out in Cuomo’s executive order.

Those include updates of use of force policy, standards of conduct/community relations/biased based policing and training, law enforcement diversion programs, restorative justice practices, community outreach, hot-spot policing, focused deterrence (specialized patrols) and violence prevention, and the department is in the process of being accepted into the NYS Accreditation Program.

The timetable for advisory group activities lists Sept. 1st as the deadline for the committee’s formation (applications will be accepted at the city manager’s office), schedule regular meetings beginning in September, draft presentation of the plan to Council in January, public comments in February and final version of the plan in March.

In other developments, Tabelski:

-- Will share details of a July 29 memo to Council that projects a $1.18 million loss to the City of Batavia due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown in the state. That number is significantly less than the April projection of a $2.5 million loss in sales tax and other revenue sources.

“(After the first quarter) sales tax and property tax losses were not as severe as originally forecasted,” she reported.

The memo indicates that the city has the potential to save $641,388 as a result of a spending freeze, layoffs and hiring freezes that began in April and the potential to gain $185,524 in revenue when considering Video Lottery Terminal funds ($352,631) and other sources ($79,000) which “will assist in offsetting the anticipated reduction in AIM (Aid and Incentives to Municipalities) aid in the amount of $246,107.”

Subtracting the potential receipts from the $1.18 million in projected revenue loss, the current shortfall comes to $357,585.

-- Will recommend paying $750 per month stipends, effective July 1, to Dawn Fairbanks, human resource specialist; Lisa Neary, director of finance, and Lisa Casey, confidential secretary to the city manager, for additional duties they have taken on since the departure of former City Manager Martin Moore.

Tabelski moved from Assistant City Manager into the Acting City Manager role on June 22.

As a result, she wrote in a memo dated July 30, Fairbanks, Neary and Casey assumed some of the duties assigned to the assistant manager, including implementation and management of projects pertaining to software applications, information technology, fiber network connections, flood zone communications, risk management and Bond Anticipation Notes for future capital projects.

July 23, 2020 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in city of batavia, infrastructure, news, water main repair.

The City of Batavia Water Department worked to repair a large water main break today on the National Grid right-of-way, south of the Industrial Park.

The work is completed.

While no customers should be without water, some area homes and businesses may experience lower pressure or discolored water.

At noon, they were about to turn the water back on and said it would take a while to fill and for pressure be back to normal.

July 14, 2020 - 10:07am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, batavia police department.

streeter_honored_1.jpg

streeter_and_gang_1.jpg

The City of Batavia honored Police Officer Darryle Streeter on Monday night upon his retirement (which took effect on April 30) after nearly 30 years of service.

His proclamation stated that he received several commendations for excellence in DWI enforcement, response to critical incidents and for bravery and selflessness.

In top photo, from left, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, Assistant Chief Chris Camp, Streeter, wife, Maria, son, Benjamin, and daughter, Julia. In bottom photo, Streeter is joined by his colleagues for a group picture.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

July 10, 2020 - 1:47pm

The City of Batavia has received a “B” grade for its handling of meeting documents and accessibility during the month of June from the New York Coalition for Open Government following the nonprofit organization’s review of the websites of 20 municipalities across the state.

According to the report that took a look at local governments with populations between 10,000 and 32,000, the minutes of Batavia City Council meetings have not been posted on its website since April 27 although three meetings took place in June – a Business Meeting on June 8 and a Conference Meeting and Special Business Meeting on June 22.

The coalition report, titled “Local Governments Struggle with Timely Posting of Meeting Minutes,” did acknowledge that the City’s meeting videos are posted on Facebook and/or YouTube, but recommended that “it would be helpful if the City website directed people to where videos can be seen or provided a link to the Facebook/YouTube page.”

Criteria used to grade the towns and villages:

-- Are all meeting documents posted online prior to the meeting?
-- Are meetings being livestreamed on the local government’s website?
-- Are meeting videos/audio posted on the website after the meeting?
-- While not required by the Open Meetings Law, are local governments posting meeting minutes online in a timely fashion?

Batavia (population: 14,400) earned the “B” grade by performing three of the four actions (all except the fourth one listed above). 

Contacted today, Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski explained that the meeting minutes are posted to the website following review and approval by City Council.

“The minutes from the June meetings will be posted after July 13 (the next Council meeting) so that Council members have the ability to approve them,” she said, adding that the City is committed to being “transparent and open.”

The City’s policy concerning the posting of the minutes doesn’t rise to the level of the New York Coalition for Open Government’s recommendation, however.

The coalition’s opinion is that “meeting minutes are timely if the minutes of the last meeting are posted before the next meeting is held. This can be done, by posting draft minutes or at the very least including the minutes from the prior meeting in the next meeting agenda packet.”

Tabelski concurred with the report that all meeting documents can be found on the website prior to the meeting. She also advised that the meetings are broadcast on Spectrum’s government access channel and on Video News Services’ YouTube page.

“There is no law requiring livestream (but) during COVID we tried livestream as it was specific to guidance during COVID because we restricted access to the meetings to the public, per Executive Order 202.1 and 202.48,” she said.

Ten other municipalities also received “B” grades while three – Geneva, Plattsburgh and Rotterdam – got an “A.” On the low end of the scale, Olean received a “D” for performing one of four standards and the Town of Lockport got an “F” (zero of four).

The study revealed that 80 percent of the municipalities surveyed, including Batavia, posted their meeting documents online before the scheduled meeting date, but Batavia was one of 12 to be more than two weeks behind in posting meeting minutes.

In conclusion, the coalition called for the New York State Open Meetings Law to be amended to require that meeting minutes be posted online within two weeks of a meeting occurring. Currently, the law in New York is that meeting minutes must be made available if requested within two weeks of a meeting.

Per its website, the New York Coalition For Open Government is a nonpartisan charitable organization comprised of journalists, activists, attorneys, educators, news media organizations, and other concerned citizens who value open government and freedom of information.

Through education and civic engagement, the coalition advocates for open, transparent government and defends citizens’ right to access information from public institutions at the city, county and state levels.

July 5, 2020 - 12:19pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in city of batavia, Acting City Manager, news, Rachael Tabelski, notify.

tabelski_photo.jpg

On June 22, Bergen native Rachael Tabelski assumed the role of Batavia’s Acting City Manager, replacing Martin Moore, who departed after about 20 months on the job.

The Batavian sat down with Tabelski at her office at City Hall earlier this week to learn more about her life experiences and her thoughts on being thrust into the municipality’s leadership position.

Today’s first part of a two-part feature focuses on her upbringing, education and influences.

Monday's second part provides insight into her tenure with the Genesee County Economic Development Center and Batavia Development Corporation, and an update on City management projects and priorities.

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“I believe that every position that I have taken in the community – starting with working with Assemblyman Steve Hawley and then moving to the (Genesee County) Economic Development Center to the Batavia Development Corporation to Assistant City Manager and now Acting City Manager – has been, for me personally, a step to better serve the residents of the City of Batavia.”

Buoyed by the preceding statement, Rachael Tabelski says she is ready, willing and able to manage the City of Batavia staff and work in tandem with City Council to make the community and Genesee County “better than we were yesterday.”

Time will tell whether the lifelong Genesee County resident becomes Batavia’s next permanent city manager but, at this juncture, Tabelski said she is more concerned with applying what she has learned to help move the City forward.

Tabelski’s journey to her current station began as an inquisitive daughter of Joan Fodge, who is one of 11 children of a family that put down its roots in the eastern part of Genesee County just as the U.S. Civil War was drawing to a close.

“My grandfather, Adrian Fodge, was an engineer working for GRS (General Railway Signal) in Rochester, which is now Alstom (Signaling), where my mother works,” said Tabelski, a 2000 graduate of Byron-Bergen Central School. “He also had a hobby farm in the Town of Bergen.”

She said that her great-great-grandfather came over from Ireland in 1865.

“The same time Lincoln’s body was traveling the country on the railway, I’m imagining this gentleman coming over through New York City and into the Stafford-Le Roy-Bergen area,” she offered.

ALWAYS OPEN TO LEARNING

Tabelski said her family’s varied interests and careers made for enlightening discussions at family reunions.

“We have scientists and engineers in our very big family, which I’m very proud of, and they were always interested in learning more, so I guess that’s where I get it from,” she said. “I never assume I know everything about anything. I really walk into every situation wanting to learn more -- to understand it -- and I think that’s what makes me a good fit for the City of Batavia in terms of my attitude.”

After graduating from high school, Tabelski enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., a move precipitated by her interest in books by acclaimed murder mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell.

“It was because I read books authored by Patricia Cornwell, based off the medical examiner in Richmond, Virginia,” she said. “I researched it and found out that this college has a Forensic Science program. But I wasn’t great at science, and I learned that when I went there and spent a few semesters there.”

Tabelski then discovered the Public Safety/Crime Scene Investigation technical degree program at the State University of New York at Canton.

"That was big then. The show ("CSI") had just come out. It was great,” she recalled.

She said students would take cars, make skid marks and measure them, and also would dress up in suits on certain days to investigate mock crime scenes on the campus.

“I never thought I would understand science until I applied that. We did fingerprinting and got tested on it,” she said. “It really was fun."

EXPLORING POLICE WORK

After earning her bachelor’s degree in 2005, Tabelski did a six-month internship with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office under the guidance of Ron Harling.

“He was a great mentor and I encountered a wide range of experiences,” she said.

One of those was accompanying a police officer while on patrol.

“The first question they asked was do you know how to use this – a shotgun? Do you have my back?” she said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know how to use a shotgun. Do I have your back? I’m the intern.'"

She said she took a couple of civil service tests in Monroe County that didn’t pan out, and decided that becoming a police officer wasn’t in the cards.

“Harling had mentioned a program called Public Administration at SUNY Brockport, so I enrolled in that,” she said. “And it was an amazing program with amazing professors who taught a really different way to think about government.”

She went on to explain the thought process.

“Most people think about government as a need to keep their job. So, it’s difficult – with little or big problems – to solve them because if you solve the problem, what happens to your job? We were taught to think differently. Your job is to solve problems and if it means that works you out of a job, so be it. You’ll find something greater, something bigger.”

HIGH PRAISE FOR HAWLEY, HYDE

Tabelski earned a master’s degree in Public Administration in 2008, while also entering the political arena as a legislative aide to Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and as a council member on the Bergen Town Board.

She left those posts in September 2010 when she was hired by the Genesee County Economic Development Center as the director of marketing and communications. She credited Hawley and GCEDC President Steve Hyde for expanding her knowledge of finances.

“I feel that I am strong in the financial field because of my work at the economic development center -- everything I did in terms of data and analysis and financial analysis, I certainly can attribute to the work there,” she said. “Steve Hyde was a great mentor and Steve Hawley was as well as far as understanding the legislative process in Albany.”

She said that working for Hyde and the GCEDC was like embarking upon more post-graduate studies.

“I got an MPA from Brockport and from Steve Hyde I got an MBA. I went to the Steve Hyde school of business,” she said. “He’s the most creative financial mind I’ve ever met, and he helped me understand how to be creative with finances in a positive way, not in a sneaky way. He showed me how to look at things differently and how to be very creative with finances.”

She said Hawley instilled in her the value of listening to others en route to finding solutions.

“I think Steve Hawley taught me that working with persons of any affiliation toward a common goal is the most important thing you can do,” she said. “Working with all sides of the aisle to achieve a common goal is more important than any type of affiliation. That’s the biggest lesson I learned from him.”

Tabelski said the community is fortunate to have the support of Hawley and agencies such as the GCEDC along with the “talented people” who are working for the City of Batavia.

BELIEF IN THE CITY OF BATAVIA

“We have an amazing, competent staff that works very, very hard,” she said. “When you have staff in the City that believes in the City, that changes everything. And the same goes when your residents believe in their City.”

She said traces her “belief” in the City to several years ago when she was working for the GCEDC. She and her husband, Adam, and their young children moved to Batavia from Medina, where Adam was village mayor.

“We moved here because we loved the direction in which the City was heading. We saw what the previous manager (Jason Molino) was doing and the previous Council had done, and believed that Batavia was on the upswing,” she said, adding that her husband completed his duty as mayor and deployment with the National Guard.

Tabelski said she was impressed with the manner in which Molino promoted Batavia.

“I have a very high regard for his financial acumen and his ability to drive excitement,” she said. “I don’t know what he was like as a manager internally, but externally he drove excitement. When you met him, you felt like you wanted to be in Batavia. You heard about all the good things going on – the rehabbing of downtown and the Brownfield projects.”

TRAIN RIDE TO MATRIMONY

It was during her employment with Hawley’s organization that Tabelski met her future husband.

“There was a local government conference where they had a train to Albany with government officials from Genesee and Orleans counties,” she said. “Adam was a trustee at the time, so I called, said ‘I need you to sign up; we need five more people to make this trip happen.’ ”

She said that Adam, who was then working for Sen. George Maziarz, replied, “If I become mayor, I will sign up. I said, sure you will become mayor.”

He did become the mayor of Medina – at the same time that she was serving on the Bergen Town Board.

“We had a lot of things in common,” she said, “and we got married in 2011.”

The couple has a son, Adrian, 8, and a daughter, Anna, 5. Both attend St. Joseph Regional School in Batavia.

Adam served on the Batavia City Council for more than three years but had to step down when his wife accepted the assistant city manager job in August.

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Watch for part two on Monday.

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

July 1, 2020 - 1:12pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, genesee county, town of batavia, covid-19.

City of Batavia, Genesee County and Town of Batavia leaders reported that they have received four-fifths of the video lottery terminal funds owed to their municipalities by New York State.

“Our VLT money came in today (Tuesday) – 80 percent of the $440,000,” said Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski.

The City’s actual number was $440,789, so that means that $352,631 is being added to its coffers at this time.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski said that although the money doesn’t change the recently passed 2020-21 budget that calls for a 7.48 percent property tax increase, it certainly will help ease the pain.

“That’s really good news, actually,” Jankowski said. “The budget is fixed – we’re set with that – but the additional money will help to offset some of the damage done by the COVID-19 situation.  It offsets some of the loss of sales tax revenue and other income because of the virus.”

Jankowski said City officials are expecting a 30 percent loss of income due to the pandemic, but he’s hoping it’s not quite that bad.

“I’m looking forward to see the June numbers to see if we’re continuing in a positive direction,” he noted.

Tabelski said the VLT funds generated at Batavia Downs Gaming aren’t enough to alter the City’s ultra-conservative approach as it deals with COVID-19.

“It still doesn’t change our austerity budget planning,” she said. “We can’t open up the flood gates in spending.”

Tabelski said that management created a COVID austerity plan several weeks ago, halting purchases, travel and training and instituting a hiring freeze to decrease expenses. The City did not furlough employees, but did lay off part-time employees, including those who ran the summer youth program.

“A victim of that (hiring freeze) was our summer youth program,” she said. “We have 150 kids throughout the city that come in – and from the town -- to utilize the parks. That was a hard decision, but in light of COVID and not knowing the social distancing, it also made it an easy decision.”

In March, City Council passed its 2020-21 budget with the tax increase based on the assumption that the state would be withholding the VLT money. The board appealed to Albany and solicited the support of Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer.

Reached today by telephone, Hawley said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo released “what he believes he can do to remain solvent (80 percent) … as it is directly tied to the horrific situation that we’re in.”

Still, he says that if the economy recovers or federal stimulus money is forwarded to the state, the other 20 percent of the VLT money should be given to the municipalities.

Hawley said that he hopes newly-elected Congressman Chris Jacobs would fight for federal funds for municipalities. He also blamed Cuomo for the state’s financial dilemma.

“The State of New York hasn’t been managed smoothly in terms of balancing the budget,” he said. “He (Cuomo) entered with $6.2 billion deficit going into his 2020-21 budget and now that COVID is upon us, the (deficit) numbers from the governor doubles and quadruples. Some states have been run in a prudent fashion and others have not – with New York State being one of them.”

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post said that the Town will be getting $128,310 in VLT funds – 80 percent of the full amount of $160,388.

“We are constantly fighting an uphill battle for them (state leaders) to perform the way they expect us to perform,” Post said.

Genesee County Treasurer Scott German said that $160,313 has been received. That also is 80 percent of the county’s full allocation of $200,392.

June 19, 2020 - 4:20pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, city of batavia.

dr._martin_moore_1.jpgEffective Saturday, Martin Moore is out as City of Batavia manager.

The City issued a press release minutes ago, stating as follows:

The City of Batavia and City Manager Martin D. Moore, Ph.D., have mutually agreed that he will be leaving on June 20, 2020, to pursue other opportunities.

The City would like to thank Marty for his service to the community since October 2018 and wish(es) him the very best in future endeavors.

In accordance with the City’s Charter, the Assistant City Manager Rachael Tabelski will assume the role on the departure of the Manager.

Specific reasons for the parting of ways were not immediately disclosed.

A call to Moore's cell phone of record was not answered.

Contacted by telephone, City Council President Eugene Jankowski said that “it’s a personnel matter and therefore I am unable to make a public comment.”

When asked if Council will be discussing the situation publicly during Monday night’s Conference and Special Business meeting, he said, “I don’t believe so.”

Earlier this month, there were indications that Moore’s tenure was about to come to an end.

In a June 9 story on The Batavian, Council Member Robert Bialkowski commented in connection to a 90-minute executive session of City Council following its June 8 meeting.

“As usual, in politics there’s always something going on, but I can’t comment. You’ll know soon enough,” Bialkowski said.

Jankowski, when advised of Bialkowski’s statement at the time, also refused to comment.

Moore reportedly caused the City some embarrassment recently when he made a commitment to racial justice advocates that the City would support a BBQ for Equality on June 7 at Williams Park without going through Council for proper authorization.

The event was cancelled, setting the stage for the March for Justice protest in Downtown Batavia on that day.

City Council hired Moore in August 2018 and he began his duties two months later.

His contract stipulated for a starting salary of $110,000, with increases of $2,000 annually. He also received retirement benefits, paid family medical insurance, three weeks’ vacation, life insurance and a relocation reimbursement up to $10,000.

Moore had been the city manager of Eunice, N.M., for seven years prior to relocating to Batavia.

He replaced former manager Jason Molino, who left in January 2018 to take the Tompkins County administrator position. Public Works Director Matt Worth filled in as the interim city manager during the search for Molino’s successor.

Novak Consulting Group of Ohio, the firm utilized in the search for a new manager, reportedly guaranteed that person would stay on the job for at least two years or else the next search would be at no charge.

While there was no official word, Moore's contract stipulates that he will receive some type of severance pay.

When Moore was hired, Jankowski praised his professional record, which included being voted “City Manager of the Year” in 2015 by the New Mexico Municipal League for his “handling of the city’s finances and progress of the community and how it operates.”

“He is articulate and personable,” Jankowski said, “and all of us have been very impressed by him.”

At the time, Jankowski said Moore’s wife had family in North Tonawanda and that they had been looking to relocate to Western New York.

Moore's previous executive management experience includes a four-year stint as a consultant, census 2010 crew leader and general manager in Timberon, N.M.; county manager for Otero County, N.M.; executive director of Eastern Arizona Counties, and director of development and community services for Apache County, Ariz.

An Eagle Scout, he was a member of several professional associations and president of the Eunice Rotary Club. He and his wife, Joanne, have seven children.

June 19, 2020 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, city of batavia, playgrounds, parks, news.

Press release:

All City of Batavia playground equipment will be open for use Monday, June 22. Please continue to take safety measures and continue to observe all public health guidelines related to COVID-19 to reduce risk of transmission.

At this time, the City of Batavia will continue to evaluate the New York State Department of Health Guidance in an effort to reopen the City’s splash pad and pavilion rentals, but they remain closed this time. 

“The City of Batavia is also encouraging sports organizations, including youth baseball and softball, to submit their event application and insurance paperwork if they would like to utilize City playing fields this summer,” said Rachael Tabelski, assistant city manager.

“Along with the event application sports organizations will need to follow the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and provide the City of Batavia with a copy of their Safety Plan,” Tabelski said.

Event Application (PDF)

NYS DOH Sports & Recreation Guidance (PDF)

NYS Safety Plan Template (PDF)

The City encourages all residents to continue to take safety measures as they use common touch facilities like playground equipment and public bathrooms.

Please continue to observe all public health guidelines related to COVID-19 to reduce risk of transmission.  

The following measures are seen as best practices to keep residents safe when using shared equipment:

  • Spacing: Families and individuals should stay 6 feet apart from each other.
  • Masking: Families and individuals should wear masks, especially in situations when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Hand Hygiene: Children should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after use of equipment.
  • Cleaning: The City will conduct scheduled cleaning of park equipment, but residents are welcomed to wipe down surfaces before and after use.
June 18, 2020 - 2:09pm

macy_paradise_1.jpgReflecting upon his recent less-than-positive interaction with City officials over a BBQ for Equality event that didn’t happen, Batavia native Macy Paradise III asserts that the line of communication between the local government and racial justice advocates is still open.

“Since then, I’ve been learning a ton about City Council and the inner workings of it,” said Paradise (photo at right), who met with City management and law enforcement on June 1 in an attempt to set up the barbecue at Williams Park on June 7. “Local politics have always been of interest to me, and I’ve been an advocate for peace since the Iraq War.”

Paradise, speaking by telephone on Wednesday, said things have been smoothed over now, but he is disappointed that City leaders backed off on assurances that they would support the barbecue, which was to take place in lieu of a proposed March for Justice protest in Downtown Batavia.

As it turned out, the protest did take place on that first Sunday of this month and it proved to be peaceful.

According to Paradise, the BBQ for Equality evolved from the City taking a stance against a march or protest. He said that he and co-organizer, Chelsea Bianchi, of Le Roy, met with City Manager Martin Moore, Assistant Manager Rachael Tabelski, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch and Assistant Chief Chris Camp.

“When we originally sat down, they said that they were completely against any protest whatsoever and asked if we had any other things as alternatives to make it a little more peaceful,” said Paradise, 35, an employee of WNY Developmental Disabilities State Operations and Offices. “We had come up with the idea of doing the barbecue. As soon as it was mentioned, Heubusch started to agree to it, thinking that was probably the best way. He suggested doing it at Williams Park.”

Paradise said that Moore was asked if state regulations concerning COVID-19 would allow for such a gathering, and responded that it was just a suggestion from the governor, not necessarily a regulation, and that “we could get past the COVID aspect.”

“Then we asked them what we would be able to do about the food and electric situation at the park,” Paradise said. “Heubusch and Moore talked about the idea of including City Church and Heubusch pretty much said that he was almost 100-percent sure that City Church would help with the food aspect of it. Moore said that he would be able to turn the electricity on, but would not be able to open the restrooms due to the COVID aspect.”

Tabelski then offered to post promotional material on the City’s website, he said.

“She asked me to make a flier right away, which I did, and I sent that to her,” he noted. “I have email correspondence stating that it’s all a go, and we’re moving forward.”

The next day, a letter from Heubusch directed to City business owners went out, which, to Paradise, “was kind of almost a warning to the Batavia businesses that we were having this event.”

Paradise said plans for the barbecue went south after City Council President Eugene Jankowski apparently had received reports about the meeting.

“Jankowski said something to us after we had started promoting the flier,” Paradise said. “He had mentioned in a comment – at this point, I had no clue who he was – that it needed to be agreed upon by City Council, and that there is no City-sanctioned event.”

Paradise acknowledged that he wasn’t aware of the City’s application process (and wasn’t advised of one).

“If I would have known, I probably would have asked for more assurances on paper. I just assumed that because the City police chief and manager are saying ‘yes’, that it was a definite. Obviously, I was in over my head,” he said.

Paradise said he called Heubusch prior to a scheduled meeting on Wednesday afternoon, and got the news that the City was unable to proceed as planned “due to the issues with City Council and getting the proper permission.”

He also said the police chief urged him to cancel the protest.

“At this time, I was in correspondence with Greg Munroe, Ray Williams and Vic Thomas (members of the March for Justice team that organized the protest),” Paradise said. “They had decided that the barbecue wasn’t really their thing and wanted to move forward with the protest. I told Heubusch that I was going to follow their lead now and I would no longer push the barbecue issue.”

Jankowski, acting as a Batavia resident and not speaking on behalf of the City, issued a public apology on Wednesday:

“I would like to personally apologize to the BBQ for Equality organizers, Macy Paradise and Chelsea Bianchi, for any misunderstanding I may have caused involving the cancellation of their event. I’m confident we can continue to move forward in a positive direction.

Previously, Jankowski said he was sorry on a Facebook post, which read, in part:

“The city manager made all the promises Macy said he did even though he wasn’t authorized to do so. I was given misinformation and I believed it. I apologize and I am working to make it right with Greg (Munroe), Macy and Chelsea.”

Moore, contacted by phone on June 10, said he did not wish to comment about any possible miscommunication.

Paradise said he “appreciates the apology.”

“I am actually friends now with Jankowski on Facebook and we’ve had a couple conversations privately since that time,” he said. “We have handled it exactly how you would expect it to be handled – very maturely. We’re good. I would say that moving forward, we’re definitely able to work together.”

Paradise said that he was confident that the March for Justice protest, which drew several hundred people, would remain peaceful and safe.

“If there wasn’t so much City resistance, I would have moved forward with (promoting the protest),” he said. “I have way too many friends, locally, that are business owners and I wasn’t willing to put anything in danger when it comes to the City, our community.”

He said his "Embrace Racial Equality" group on Facebook has grown to more than 2,000 local members in the two weeks that it has been posted.

“It’s really just a news resource where people can come and asked questions, get educated on the movement, receive some background knowledge, and ask questions of City Council and other officials,” he said.

Paradise also said he hopes to revive discussions to hold a BBQ for Equality.

“The BBQ for Equality is just postponed, really. It’s not necessarily cancelled,” he said. “We’re planning to do that in the fall with live entertainment. Hopefully, we can work with the City to see about getting the application.”

This weekend, the March for Justice group is conducting a June Teenth Freedom Day, a register-to-vote celebration, set for 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 7 p.m. Saturday on the parking lot of the YWCA of Genesee County at 301 North St., Batavia.

The event will feature food, beverages and live entertainment. On Friday, Paradise will provide the music in his role as DJ Macy Paradise and will be accompanied by his girlfriend, Nicole "Nici" Johnson of WBTA Radio.

YWCA Executive Director Millie Tomidy-Pepper said she’s on board with it, but did advise that social distancing guidelines will be enforced and that participants are required to wear masks.

“We wholeheartedly are supportive of the group, its mission and the event,” she said. “As you know, the YWCA stands for peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”

June 17, 2020 - 2:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in city of batavia, road improvements, news.

From the City Bureau of Maintenance:

  • North Spruce Street (East Main Street to East Avenue) -- ROAD CLOSURE
  • North Spruce Street (North Street to Evergreen Drive) -- ROAD CLOSURE
  • Roosevelt Avenue (Pearl Street to South Main Street) -- ROAD CLOSURE

Beginning on Wednesday Thursday, June 24, and running through Friday, July 10, the streets listed above will be closed to all through traffic. The closure is for construction activities associated roadway improvements.

The tentative schedule for work activities is as follows: Cold Milling of existing pavement week of June 24; Repairs and pavement preparation week beginning June 29; Pavement operations (two course) week of July 6.

All motorists who regularly use these streets are asked to seek alternative routes while the closure is in place. Emergency response and residents of these streets will be permitted within the closure for ingress and egress to properties. Caution is advised.

Additionally, we request residents and guest of the properties with the areas listed above to refrain from on street parking during the business day.

Contact the Bureau of Maintenance and ask to speak to the Superintendent or Streets Supervisor at (585) 345-6400, opt. 1. If you have any questions.

Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

June 15, 2020 - 12:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in city of batavia, infrastructure, news, East Avenue.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department is planning on making repairs to a water main on East Avenue on Wednesday, June 17, instead of today (June 15) as previously announced.

Work will begin at 8 a.m.

The water may be turned off on East Avenue between Holmes Avenue and Eugene Street. Homes in the area may find lower pressure, and discolored water. Please do not attempt to do laundry if the water is discolored.

We appreciate your understanding while this repair is being made. City crews will make every attempt to restore water as soon as possible.

The road will not be shut down, but travel lanes will be restricted. Please avoid the area if possible.

June 15, 2020 - 12:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in dot, city of batavia, news, pavement marking.

From the city's Bureau of Maintenance:

Motorists are advised that New York State Department of Transportation will be reapplying centerline and edge striping this week on NY routes 5, 33, 63 and 98 in the City of Batavia. This will be evening work when traffic volumes are reduced.

If you have questions, contact the Bureau of Maintenance at (585) 345-6400, opt. 1.

Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

May 26, 2020 - 1:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in city of batavia, yard waste station, news.

Public Notice

Special Hours Announced for Yard Waste Station Effective Today

Until further notice, the city's yard waste station operating hours are as follows:

  • Mondays – Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 12 to 6 p.m.
  • CLOSED – Sundays and Holidays

City residents may bring yard waste material (grass, leaves and limbs) to the City Yard Waste Station as there is no curbside pick up of these materials.

The following items cannot be accepted at the station:

Tree stumps, building materials, rock, fill (soil and stone) other debris. Yard waste shall be free of trash (paper, plastic, bottles, cans...etc.), as this material cannot be processed.

All containers (totes, boxes, bags...etc.) need to be taken back with the customer.

Use Law Street entrance to enter and exit the City Yard Waste Station only.

May 21, 2020 - 5:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in State of Emergency, city of batavia, covid-19.

City of Batavia State of Emergency Proclamation

A State of Emergency is hereby declared in the City of Batavia, New York for a period of time beginning at 4:30 p.m. on May 20, 2020 and continuing in effect until 4:30 p.m. on June 8, 2020.

This State of Emergency has been declared due to emergency conditions produced by: the continuing Nationally declared state of emergency, the New York State declared state of emergency, the County of Genesee declared state of emergency, and the anticipated arrival of the COVID-19 New Coronavirus in the City of Batavia. Such conditions threaten or imperil the public health or safety of the citizens of this municipality.

As Chief Executive of this municipality, I have exercised the authority given to me under New York State Executive Law, Article 2-B, to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being and health of the citizens of the City.

I hereby direct all City Departments to take those steps necessary to protect life and property, public health and infrastructure and other such emergency assistance as deemed necessary. In addition, I direct the following specific actions.

  1. All City offices are closed to the public, except that the office of inspection and code enforcement will be open to the public beginning May 26, 2020, in accordance with the New York Pause Phase1 Reopening. The City will conduct business with the public remotely through the use of phones, computers, mail, or other means. These offices are otherwise closed to the public, unless a situation requires interaction with a member of the public as determined by the respective City Department on a case by case basis. The drop box for the payment of bills is still available at the front of City Hall.

  2. City Council meetings will be closed to the public until further notice. Provision will be made for the public to observe or listen to City Council meetings.

  3. All other regularly scheduled Board, Committee, Task Force, or other official City of Batavia meetings are closed to the public, and shall be either conducted by electronic means (phone, video conferencing, etc.) or cancelled.

  4. City Parks remain open to public use provided that the State of New York declared restrictions on congregating are followed. However, all rental or reservation uses of city owned facilities are suspended until further notice. This includes parks, sports complexes, buildings, roadways, or public walkways. If any actions outline in this Declaration contradict any order issued by the State of New York then the State order shall control.

Martin D. Moore, Ph.D.,

Manager, City of Batavia

May 19, 2020 - 1:16pm

(Above, City fire headquarters drive-thru route for free mask distribution Thursday.)

Submitted images and press release:

The City of Batavia will distribute free masks to members of the public on from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 21st and again on Saturday, May 23rd.

Thursday's distribution will be at City of Batavia Fire Station located at 18 Evans St.

Saturday's distribution will be at the City of Batavia Police Station located at 10 W. Main St. 

Anyone wishing to receive a mask is asked to follow the drive-thru map instructions for each location and stay inside their vehicles.

Masks were obtained by the Genesee County Emergency Management Office to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

(Below, City police station drive-thru route for free mask distribution Saturday.)

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