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January 5, 2023 - 11:11am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, city of batavia, new police station, downtown.

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City officials are getting off to a good start in the new year with news of receiving $2.5 million to go toward a new police station for downtown Batavia.

The much debated station — whether to renovate the current site at Brisbane Mansion on Main Street or build anew — was finalized with a City Council vote in 2021, and designs have been in progress ever since.

Toward the end of 2022, City Manager Rachael Tabelski had spoken with high hopes of receiving funding as part of a federal omnibus legislation, which came through and was announced Thursday.

“We are grateful for the support from Senator Chuck Schumer and former Congressman Christopher Jacobs for advocating on behalf of our efforts to secure this critically important funding for a new police headquarters,” Tabelski said in a press release issued Thursday. “They both understood how important this funding was to our efforts to build a modern and welcoming facility that will be an integral part of community.”

The money will go toward the estimated cost of up to $15 million for new police headquarters and community complex to be constructed on Bank Street and Alva Place.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. was also thankful for the financial assistance and local support.

“As a retired Batavia Police Lieutenant I’m keenly aware of the importance of replacing the outdated 1850’s era police building with a modern purpose built police facility,” Jankowsk said. “The new building will be a huge asset to our police force and help them to better serve the members of our community.  Thank you to Senator Chuck Schumer and former Congressman Chris Jacobs for supporting the City of Batavia and our Police Department.”

The City estimates that the cost to build a new police department will be approximately $13 to $15 million. The 19,000 square-foot facility will be constructed on city owned property on and would provide connectivity and enhance the area between City Centre and the emerging Medical Campus.

Once completed, there would be 115 public parking spots available in nearby lots, in addition to free public parking on surrounding streets to serve the needs of existing businesses on Washington, Alva and State Streets.

“The current police headquarters was constructed in 1855 as a private residence and is out of date and inefficiently suited for a modern-day police department to properly serve the community,” Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said. “We want a new facility that people from the community feel welcomed, and provide space for more engagement with the residents we serve.”

As for the current city police station, Batavia Development Corporation Director Tammy Hathaway will be working with architectural firm In.Site: Architecture of Perry to conduct a feasibility study "to determine a best use for the building," she said.

A $20,000 grant will go toward the cost of the study, Hathaway said, and Rick Hauser of In.Site will be able to merge information from prior studies for this project. A former police station task force had authorized building studies for renovating the current site compared to building a new facility elsewhere.

For most recent coverage of the station's progress, go HERE.

Rendering of the new police station at Bank Street and Alva Place in downtown Batavia provided by City of Batavia.

December 29, 2022 - 8:30am
posted by Press Release in news, health department, city of batavia, town of batavia.

Press Release:

The Genesee County Health Department received $477,000 in funding from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to implement the Healthy Neighborhoods Program (HNP) for the years 2022 to 2027.

Residents in the Town and City of Batavia are eligible to participate in the program and the goal is to visit 1,000 households over five years. The program offers home evaluations for asthma triggers, indoor air quality, lead-based paint hazards, fire risks, and other health hazards. At the evaluations, residents are
educated on asthma management, childhood lead poisoning prevention, carbon monoxide poisoning, radon gas, fire safety and prevention, and other home safety issues.

Free safety and cleaning supplies are also available to eligible participants. There are four main goals of Healthy Neighborhoods Program:
1) Reduce hospital visits due to asthma: According to the NYSDOH Asthma Dashboard from 2017 to 2019, residents of the zip code 14020 (which includes the City and Town of Batavia) visited an emergency department for an asthma attack at a 28% higher rate than the average for Genesee County. The Healthy
Neighborhoods Program aims to provide participants with tools to better manage their asthma and avoid emergency room visits by evaluating their symptoms, triggers, and medication usage. Participants are encouraged to ask their primary care doctor to create a written plan to follow during an asthma attack.

2) Prevent childhood lead poisoning: The majority of housing in Batavia was built before 1978, which is when the federal government banned consumer use of lead-based paint. In partnership with the Genesee County Health Department’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, homes will be assessed for lead-based paint hazards and lead poisoning prevention education will be provided.

3) Improve indoor air quality: According to the NYSDOH, about 1,800 people in New York visit an emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Carbon monoxide poisoning is more common during the winter months due to use of heating sources. The Healthy Neighborhoods Program provides education on carbon monoxide poisoning, radon gas, smoking cessation, and pest management. In addition, eligible participants may receive carbon monoxide detectors, radon test kits, and cleaning supplies.

4) Reduce household injuries from fires and accidents: Residential fires are more common in the winter months, according to research by the National Fire Protection Association. A small fire can become a major fire in less than a minute, so working smoke detectors are crucial to alert residents so they can escape in time. The Healthy Neighborhoods Program encourages participants to practice fire escape routes. Participants may even receive free smoke detectors and small fire extinguishers.

For more information or to make a referral to the program, call Genesee County HNP staff at 585-344-2580 ext. 5519 or visit www.GOHealthNY.org.

December 27, 2022 - 7:05am

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The Buffalo Bills made it back safe and sound after the team's victorious trip to defeat the Chicago Bears 35 to 13 Saturday. However, with Thruway closures, the team apparently took a slight detour down Route 5 in the city, Manager Rachael Tabelski said.

As a result, some local fans decided to celebrate the win as a bus parade drove past City Hall on Sunday. Fire engines blared horns at the passing entourage traveling west from Rochester.

The City of Batavia Fire Department came out on a subzero Christmas morning to make sure the Buffalo Bills felt the love from Batavia!" Tabelski said. "We believe they had to travel through Batavia because the 90 was still closed." 

Firefighters were also busy helping out at the city fire station. The state's Department of Homeland Security had delivered 14 pallets of supplies that were awaiting distribution to 11 warming shelters throughout Genesee County. The shelters were opened after Winter Storm Elliott crashed into the western county area and swamped motorists and rescue vehicles with blinding snow and wind.

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Top Photo: City of Batavia firefighters park an engine next to City Hall Sunday to greet the Buffalo Bills as they pass through downtown en route to Buffalo; 14 pallets of supplies rest at the city fire station before getting distributed to area warming shelters after a hard hit by Winter Storm Elliott this weekend. Photos submitted by the City of Batavia.

December 24, 2022 - 10:17pm

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There have been so many donated items of homemade and restaurant foods, grocery store staples, blankets, cots and beverages, that the list is exceeding more than two dozen.

While some people, in particular, may have been mentioned in news articles, the city and county plan to issue a public thank-you to all of the generous donors when Storm Elliott has finally made his exit from Genesee County, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said Saturday. 

People from all corners of the county have come forth with needed supplies to feed the estimated 550 people at warming shelters and to provide them with blankets, a place to rest and, most importantly, safety from single-digit temperatures and blizzard conditions. 

Rescues by countywide personnel have been constant since Friday morning into the night. That includes a Batavia City Police MRAP vehicle that dared the elements to rescue 30 stranded motorists in the Oakfield-Alabama area, Tabelski said. 

Both city and county leaders and staff have been on duty to assist with any and all needs, and to get supplies out to the shelters.

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Photos of a Batavia City Police rescue Friday night in the Oakfield-Alabama area. Submitted photos by City of Batavia.

November 18, 2022 - 11:17pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, city of batavia, Batavia Muckdogs, GLOW YMCA.

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GLOW YMCA’s annual meeting had a few surprises this year, as the nonprofit’s leaders, including CEO Rob Walker, presented Community Partner awards to two Batavia entities that have been key players in the community.

Awards went each to Batavia Muckdogs and the City of Batavia for their contributions to YMCA’s mission and vision.

In turn, City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said just how much YMCA’s presence here has impacted him.

“The YMCA as been a positive influence in our community for as long as I can remember.  As a young child growing up in Batavia, the YMCA health and wellness programs were a big part of my life,” Jankowski said. “Their mission continues today in partnership with the city to manage Batavia’s after school and parks programs. I’m looking forward to the next chapter as they complete the new Healthy Living campus in our downtown.”

City Manager Rachael J. Tabelski and Jankowski were proud to receive the recognition, they said. YMCA has been “all in” to assist the city in ways that advance the mission of health and wellness, Tabelski said.

“And we share a very strong mutually beneficial partnership.  The YMCA worked with the former Youth Bureau Director, Jocelyn Sikorski, (currently director of Cornell Cooperative Extension) as a founding member of Teen City, an afterschool program for middle and high school aged children,” Tabelski said. “The YMCA stepped up when the city needed to find a private sector partner to run the afterschool program and the summer recreation program, which are both still offered free of charge to families in Batavia. The YMCA has also been a leader in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) partnering with (Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial Medical Center) to build a new $30 million Healthy Living Campus in the heart of downtown Batavia.

“The City is proud to be partners with Rob Walker, the YMCA, and their amazing staff, and we appreciate the honor of this award," she said. 

A request for comment from Batavia Muckdogs owner Robbie Nichols was not returned by the time this article was published.

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Top Photo: Steven Krna, Muckdogs General Manager Marc Witt, Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., and GLOW YMCA CEO Rob Walker; and above, Steven Krna, City Manager Rachael Tabelski, Eugene Jankowski Jr., and Rob Walker. Photos submitted.

October 24, 2022 - 3:41pm
posted by Press Release in news, city of batavia, leaf collection.

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Press Release

City-wide leaf collection will begin Oct. 31, and will continue until Nov. 30.

Residents are asked to rake leaves into piles and leave them in the parkway (un-bagged). Please, place close to curb line/edge of roadway without placing in the street. Do not pile around fire hydrants, trees, utility poles or signposts. Leaf piles should only contain leaves and no branches, grass clippings or other materials.

Leaf operations typically have one crew on the Northside working from Grandview Terrace moving West, North of Main Street, and a second crew on the Southside beginning on River Street moving East in areas South of Main Street. A third crew will work using a vacuum along main roads and numbered routes. It takes about 2 weeks to go through the entire city.

Any resident with leaves can also bring them to the Yard Waste Station until it closes for the season on Dec. 10. The Yard Waste hours are 12 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday through Oct. 29, and then 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Oct. 31 through Dec. 10 due to the hours of daylight. The Yard Waste Station will be closed Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving) and will officially close for the season after Dec. 10, 2022.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT LEAF COLLECTION:

· Leaf piles must be clear of sticks and other debris.

· Leaf piles must be clear of all animal waste – if animal waste is found in the piles, they will not be picked up

· Grass clippings, Flower potting’s, Branches, Pumpkins cannot be picked up and residents may bring those items to the Yard Waste Station on Law Street (which will be open through December 10th, 2022)

· Leaves should not block traffic.

· Leaves should not be piled near intersection corners. This causes sight issues for motorists/bicyclists/pedestrians.

· Keep leaf piles clear of drainage ways and catch basins. Blocked drainage leads to localized flooding.

· Leaves should not be piled around mailboxes, power poles, fences, fire hydrants or other obstacles.

· Do not park on leaf piles. The heat from a vehicle exhaust system could start a fire.

· Do not wait to get your leaves out. We will normally collect leaves twice within the month of leaf collection.

· If it is snowing, we plow first. If it continues to snow, then leaf operations will be suspended.

There is no leaf pickup in the spring.

Contact the Bureau of Maintenance at 585-345-6400 option 1 if you have any questions.

June 30, 2022 - 3:02pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, city of batavia, LED, notify, National Grid.

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Batavia wants to buy back some lights from National Grid.

No small order, the purchase totals more than $226,000. The move will allow city public works crews to perform their own, more immediate, maintenance and repair of all lights throughout the city, City Manager Rachael Tabelski says.

“We do have a great working relationship (with National Grid). I think their ability to service the lights as quickly as they go out, sometimes it's difficult. They do their best to keep the lights up to date and to replace them, but there's definitely advantages to moving to the LED lights; we will have less outages,” Tabelski said during an interview with The Batavian. “And when we do have an outage, we'll be able to take care of them in house right in the city.”

Phase I to replace all regular lights with LEDs has begun, with a goal to have all LED lights in the city within the next six months, she said. This plan is to save on energy consumption, maintenance and expense while improving the overall quality of light that’s emitted.

According to the city’s presentation materials, LED (light-emitting diode) type lights are directional, which reduces light “trespass” onto adjacent properties and dark spots between street lights. They are also said to have a “higher color rendering index,” which allows the human eye to detect colors better, improving drivers’ ability to see pedestrians or other potential hazards.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski liked the idea when presented earlier this week at a council meeting.

“So they’ll be brighter, less costly, and we’ll have more control over them,” he said.

Council is expected to vote on the purchase of 948 lights for $226,038 at its July 11 meeting. A letter will also be sent to National Grid requesting the buyback, followed by a purchase and sales agreement to be approved by the Public Service Commission, Tabelski said.

Once the PSC approves, National Grid and the city of Batavia will close on the streetlight sale. At that point, the city will own and maintain its own lights, and will continue to pay National Grid for electric and delivery, but not for operations and maintenance costs.

The entire LED conversion program is to cost an estimated $1.7 million, to be paid for through long-term financing and the yearly cost savings of more energy efficient LEDs, Tabelski said.

Photo: Traditional streetlights, on the left, cast an orange glow, versus the whiter LED lights on the right. Photo part of the City of Batavia LED Street Light Conversion program.

April 11, 2022 - 11:13pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, city council, assessments.

saulsbury.jpgCity Assessor Rhonda Saulsbury says she feels the pain of the many City of Batavia property owners who have been hit with higher assessments for several years in a row.

However, she’s not in a position to change what is happening due to New York State’s requirement that assessments are reviewed on a yearly basis and her office’s goal of achieving a 100 percent sale price-to-assessment ratio.

Saulsbury (photo at right) was at City Council’s Business Meeting tonight seeking to explain the inner workings of the assessment process in light of the numerous complaints she – and Council members – have received from city residents about the preliminary assessment notices that were mailed out last week.

Following up a comment by Council member Paul Viele, who called the state’s real property tax law “a disgrace,” Saulsbury acknowledged that the timing for yet another increase is not good.

“People are suffering; people are struggling with the pandemic, their finances, maybe their job, their children being home for so long – there’s so many things feeding into it, and I'm the one person that they can get a hold of and talk to,” she said.

“I do my best to explain it. We have New York State real property tax law for a reason. And unfortunately, New York State, as everybody in this room knows, is a heavy homeowner tax burden state. So, we have to follow those guidelines … It's kind of a vicious cycle for sure.”

In her 12th year as the city assessor, Saulsbury (who also handles the same duties for the Town of Batavia) said assessments change for only two reasons – equalization, meaning sale price-to-assessment ratios are growing apart, and for physical reasons, meaning something’s changed with the property, taken away or added.

“The culmination of a yearlong project is, of course, an assessment update,” she said. “And this year, we're in the thankless position to be in our fourth year in a row with really high increases across the board throughout the county, including the city.”

Saulsbury said the city started out at plus 4 – “meaning that our ratios were off 4 percent and above, four years ago,” she said – and it increased to plus 6 and eventually to plus 11.

“Just to kind of put that in perspective, in years’ past, the city was either zero or plus one,” she said. “The city's growth has grown exponentially over the last four years, which in itself is a good thing, but in my position, not a good thing.”

She said if property owners whose assessments have gone up decide to seek an informal review or appear at Grievance Day (May 26), she will explain, with current data, how she came to the assessment figure.

“For anyone who got an assessment increase, we can show you the five sales that we actually use for your home or your business,” she said. “It's not throwing darts at a dartboard as some people may think. It's actually quite a science and it's all based on our assessment-to-sale price ratio throughout the year.

“So, when you have 300 or 400 residential sales, in particular, and the sale price is 40, 50, 60, 80,000 dollars above the assessment, we then have to do an assessment project.”

Council member Robert Bialkowski asked that if sale prices dropped by 8 percent, for example, would that trigger another reassessment.

“It’s the same state guideline; we have to hit the same thing,” Saulsbury replied. “We have to maintain assessments at market value. We're at 100 percent market value, so if the sales actually were to dip – and most people don’t believe me – we would have to adjust to those, also. In our case, it has been up and we want it to be up or to be flat. I've never experienced anything where we had to reduce.”

Saulsbury said the state rewards the city periodically for achieving assessments based on 100 percent of market value, and expects to receive around $18,000 this year to help offset costs of conducting assessment projects.

Council member John Canale, who says he follows the real estate market on a daily basis, remarked that he’s not convinced that homes went up so much in value in one year.

“… people are calling me this year and saying, ‘I thought last year, you were up to 100 percent market value. I’m an intelligent man, you can't tell me that the housing market is going up that much more since 2021.’”

Still, he said he knows that Saulsbury isn’t the one to blame.

“You’re walking around with a target on your back right now. And I wouldn't want to be you. Unfortunately, a lot of people think you're the one that's making these decisions,” he said. “It’s very important that the public realize that no, you're basically the messenger. You’re hired to do a job and you're conducting the way you do your job by state requirements.”

Bialkowski said it comes down to “people don't trust the government anymore.”

“I have a friend, and on Saturday I met with him and he spent about 10 minutes just screaming at me,” he said. “He said, I’ll bet you $100 right now that you people don't reduce your budget enough that my taxes stay the same.’ And I said, ‘Well, there's three entities in here (Genesee County and the Batavia City School District being the others), you know, and I said we set our budget -- we're very conservative in the city and all that.’

“But I suppose there's other entities I'm not going to speak for, but they just lost trust in their government. And they've seen it and heard it before, and yet their individual tax bills keep increasing.

“And their homes. They need to do more work on them. And they need furnaces and new windows and all that. And they're starting to say, the guy the other day, it's starting to look really good (about leaving the state). He's going to move down south. He’s just fed up with the whole state and I can’t blame him.”

Previously: With property values rising, City prepares for annual assessments.

(This article provides information on how residents can challenge their assessments).

April 11, 2022 - 8:46pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, Brisbane Mansion, City Hall.

barnes_larry_1.jpgUpdated: April 12, 10 a.m., with names of previous historians:

City of Batavia Historian Larry Barnes is going beyond the written word to illustrate the significance of the Brisbane family and the mansion at 10 West Main St. that has served as the community’s City Hall and, currently, as its police station.

Speaking at tonight’s City Council Business Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, Barnes (photo at right) said he realizes that Council members will want to hear from residents about the future of the Brisbane Mansion, which was completed in April 1855 at a cost of $25,000 (equivalent to $750,000 in purchasing power today).

“I know you will want them to be fully informed as you seek their input in the decision-making process,” Barnes said. “To help inform the public, I am working with the Landmark Society to present a play on the Brisbanes and their mansion. This play will be presented on three occasions in June and I encourage everyone to go see it.”

He said the Derek Maxfield, as associate professor of History at Genesee Community College and noted playwright, wrote the script. The cost of production is being underwritten by a grant through the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

Dates, times and locations of the play will be announced, he said.

Barnes said the Brisbane Mansion is a building that deserves preservation.

“The mansion … was erected as the home of George and Sarah Brisbane. This structure is historically signficant both in terms of the building, itself, and in terms of the Brisbanes who occupied it,” he said. “When the police department moves to its new facilities (on the Alva Place parking lot), you will be responsible for deciding the future of the mansion. Will it be saved and, if so, what function will it serve?”

Last year, Barnes updated his brief history of the building – a six-page document that provides details of the mansion as published in The Daily News in 1917-18, its use as City Hall and of the key members of the Brisbane family.

Following Barnes’ five-minute address, Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. reiterated the board’s support of “repurposing” the building due to its historical value.

Barnes said he “totally agrees” with that stance, but reminded Council that “we’ve lost some pretty incredible buildings” over the years.

In a related development, Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to compensate Barnes with a $5,000 annual stipend.

Over the past 13 years, he has done the job on a volunteer basis, just as the previous historians for the city have done since 1919. The one exception occurred in 1962 when the city historian received a $100 stipend, payable in two equal, semiannual installments.

A list of previous City of Batavia historians, as provided by Barnes:

-- William C. Coon, 1919-1953;
-- Georgia Northrup Foote, 1954-1967;
-- Mary McCulley (later Mary McCulley Henry), 1969-1970;
-- Ruth M. McEvoy, 1971-1985;
-- Mary McCulley Henry, 1986-1995;
-- Corinne Johnson Iwanicki, 1995-2007.

Ellen C. Ruffino served as an assistant historian from 1966-1968.

Other resolutions passed tonight:

  • Extending a contract for a School Resource Officer with the Batavia City School District for two more years, through June 30, 2024. Officer Miah Stevens currently has that position, which is paid for by the school district.
  • Creating a temporary full-time detective position in anticipation of the retirement of a detective this summer. The temporary post carries an increase in pay of $15,000 to cover the promotion.
  • Extending a contract with Client First Technology Consulting for six months at a cost not to exceed $44,600 for continued assistance with the city’s Enterprise Resource Planning system. The ERP integrates functions to ensure best practices, automated workflow and project management efficiency.

Photo of Larry Barnes by Mike Pettinella.

March 31, 2022 - 11:11am

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Angela “Angie” Dickson remembers vividly what went through her mind as the plane carrying her and family members from their native Republic of Ghana approached New York City in 1999.

“I thought, this is the American Dream. That’s what we all wanted; to be able to go to school and for all the opportunities that are here,” said Dickson, recalling that September flight when she, then 16 years old, began a new life for herself.

Today, Dickson (photo above) is the confidential secretary to City Manager Rachael Tabelski, serving in that capacity since December when she was hired to replace Lisa Casey, who became the clerk of the Genesee County Legislature.

While her early days in the Big Apple were filled with wonder and awe – “It was much more established than Ghana (a West African country), which had so little,” she said – Dickson was able to carve out her place as an excellent student – graduating eighth out of 263 students at a high school in the Bronx.

Then, it was on to Buffalo State College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Health, Education and Wellness Promotion in 2007. Eight years later, she had obtained her master’s degree in Health and Wellness with a concentration in Human Resources.

“I was determined to make a better life for myself and my child,” Dickson said during a Wednesday afternoon interview with The Batavian at her office at City Hall. “My oldest daughter, Annabelle, was born in 2003 and she and I came to Buffalo.”

Dickson, who speaks several languages, including Spanish, French and multiple Ghanaian dialects, was recognized at Buffalo State for her advocacy for single mothers seeking an education. She was the recipient of a humanitarian award and also was included in an edition of the Who’s Who in College publication.

“I have dedicated my life to mothers looking to better themselves,” she said, “as I had to do it on my own.”

In 2008, Dickson entered the workforce, taking a case manager position with Schiller Park Community Services on the East Side of Buffalo, and in 2013, she was hired as a provider relations specialist with Fidelis Care at the insurance company’s regional office in Getzville.

During her tenure with Fidelis Care, she said she worked with hospitals and doctors on insurance coverage, often traveling to Akron and Batavia, which were part of her territory.

She also met the man she will be marrying on June 22, contractor Ed Griffin of Akron, and the couple and family moved to Corfu. (Incidentally, Angie and Ed were winners of GO Art!'s recent Wedding Giveaway contest, which features the ceremony at Seymour Place plus catering and numerous gifts from local businesses).

“When COVID hit, I was working from home, which was nice, but afterwards, we transitioned back to the office,” she said. “And I didn’t really want to make that drive to Getzville every day.”

Dickson also said the Akron, Pembroke and Batavia area appealed to her, with its rural setting and friendly people.

“With Batavia being one of my groups (at Fidelis), I came to love it,” she said. “I got to know people in the community and I just fell in love with it.”

She found out about the job opening with the City of Batavia, applied and was hired.

When asked how things are going so far, Dickson acknowledged that the work is “totally different from what I’ve done most of my adult life … working for a government, but I was looking for something that would be challenging and yet meaningful.”

Each day on the full-time job brings something new, she said, whether it be working on the budget books, coordinating meeting schedules, steering correspondence and residents’ inquiries to the right departments, assisting with City Council agendas and documents, or setting up meeting rooms “to make sure everything is in order.”

“I’m learning so much and, again, the community is just amazing. I hadn’t met people like this. Just to say ‘Hi’ to someone and they say ‘Hi’ back. It’s not like that in the city,” she said. “I had to get used to the fact that it was OK for people to say hello to me.”

Dickson said she appreciates that Tabelski affords her the leeway to work on a project without micromanaging it.

“Rachael trusts me and believes in me,” she said. “She gives me a responsibility and lets me do it.”

Tabelski said she is pleased with Dickson’s performance and cheerful outlook.

“Angie is a great addition to the city staff. She has an amazing positive attitude and approaches her job with a team-oriented spirit,” she said.

Outside of the office, Dickson enjoys gardening – something she picked up since moving to Corfu -- and traveling.  The couple has five children -- Corey, Maya, Annabelle, Alexander and Angelina.

Dickson said she is assisting with the city’s presentation at the Genesee County Home Show, which is scheduled for April 8-10 at the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena on Evans St. She said she will be there at different times and is looking forward to interacting with the public.

She said her feelings of gratitude run deep.

“I’d really like to say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart to each and every person who has made me feel welcome,” she said. “It’s overwhelming, the amount of support that I have received.”

Photo of Angela Dickson by Mike Pettinella.

March 29, 2022 - 11:45am

liberty_center_logo.pngWith the Genesee Area Family YMCA now in charge of the City of Batavia youth program, City Council member Al McGinnis believes it is time to consider the future of the City Youth Board, a citizen-led group that traditionally has played a strong role in how the community’s young people are served.

“As the functionality of the organization changes, we have to change with it,” said McGinnis, Council’s liaison to the Youth Board, at Monday night’s Conference Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room.

McGinnis took a few minutes to ask Council and city management to consider the changes that have taken place since the city entered into an agreement with the YMCA to run the program – both at the Liberty Center for Youth on Liberty Street (the St. Anthony’s campus of City Church) and summer recreation.

“With the advent of the Y taking over and the Liberty Center, they pretty much have done a splendid job and a far better job than we as the city can do,” McGinnis said. “As the Y becomes more predominant and Liberty Center, the strength of the Youth Board – membership has dwindled. Right now, besides myself, there are only two active members and we have no students in it.”

Since the city is no longer a provider of youth services – and the YMCA is, McGinnis thinks the Youth Board should not have to meet every month (per its bylaws) and should become “advisory” in nature and meet maybe three or four times per year.

He also suggested that those who have served on the Youth Board could maybe fill slots on other citizen boards that support the city.

“We don’t dictate policy to the Y, we don’t dictate policy to the Liberty Center, and we could serve the public better by having the people on those boards take slots in other city government positions (advisory boards) that we have,” he said. “We always need volunteers.”

McGinnis acknowledged the work of those who have participated on the Youth Board and asked Council to send them letters of appreciation.

At that point, City Manager Rachael Tabelski brought up “a great opportunity for the board to work on projects,” specifically the inclusive playground at Austin Park that was approved by Council last November, with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act revenue.

“I hope Council would allow us to invite the Youth Board members to be part of that steering committee for the process moving forward for the inclusive playground at Austin Park,” she said.

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said he didn’t not want to disband the Youth Board, suggesting that it could advise the YMCA and recommend other programming as need.

“… something they could input into that so that we as a member can direct the Y to change some things as to how they serve us as the customer,” he said, agreeing with Tabelski that the Austin Park project is a good fit.

Council member Robert Bialkowski said the Youth Board should remain, with members deciding to meet as necessary.

McGinnis said the Youth Board bylaws call for monthly meetings and also include term limits.

“People on the board have worked well past their tenure because we haven’t found anyone to replace them,” he said.

As far as the number of required meetings, City Attorney George Van Nest said if the Youth Board wants to change the bylaws, it just needs to make its intentions known to Council.

Council member Kathleen Briggs asked McGinnis if YMCA officials requested a change in the Youth Board’s function. He said that was not the case.

“The Y has been very good to work with as has the Liberty Center,” McGinnis said. “Everything they’ve done, let’s face it, they’re in the business of children, we aren’t. We’re in the business of government. We do government very well. We don’t do children very well. That’s not our job; that’s the Ys job.

It was decided that McGinnis would talk to the other Youth Board members – President David Twichell and Vice President Paula Fischer -- at their next meeting and report back to Council.

The Batavian reached out by email to Twichell and Fischer for comment this morning.

March 15, 2022 - 10:44am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, city council, City Fire.

engine_12_b.jpg

It seems as though fire truck No. 12 is the “little engine that can’t” – for very much longer.

City of Batavia Manager Rachael Tabelski reported at Monday night’s City Council Business Meeting that the city fire department’s Engine 12 (photo above) is 20 years old and is just about ready to be retired from service.

“We have in our capital plan a fire truck replacement for Engine 12 and we are looking at getting grant funding from CDBG (Community Development Block Grant),” Tabelski said. “And before we submit a full application, they ask that municipalities go through a pre-application process.

“It’s a 2002 (model) that we will be replacing and the estimated cost is 700,000 dollars.”

From there, she turned it over to Interim Fire Chief Dan Herberger, who provided more details about Engine 12, including its shortcomings in the area of technology.

“We’re looking at replacing it with something very similar to our frontline engine, which is Engine 11,” he said. “It’s a rescue, fire engine-type style; basically, think of it as a fire engine with rescue capabilities.”

Herberger explained that the department operates with two main pieces of apparatus – one for the on-duty staff, “so we basically have to take everything with us, all the time.”

He said Engine 12 doesn’t have the safety features that come with today’s fire trucks, such as lighting and the ability to hook generators to the trucks. He also said the current vehicle has signs of rust.

“Right now, we’re in the design phase – looking at various vehicles from around the region to see what best fits our needs,” he said.

Tabelski, answering a question from City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., said she is hoping to receive $200,000 from the grant. Coupled with $400,000 that is in reserves, the city would be close to covering the full cost of the new truck – likely in 2023-24.

Herberger said there would be little trade-in value for Engine 12, noting that it would be 22 years old by the time a new truck was delivered to the city.

He said he remembers the sale of an old ladder truck to a tree trimming company in North Carolina but the monetary return “really didn’t offset anything too much.”

When asked if the cost of the new truck was a bottom line price, Herberger said the department may have to purchase “a few miscellaneous pieces of equipment for it.”

“In the past years, we’ve really tried to standardize all of our vehicles, so hose complement, rescue tools and hand tools, they’re pretty much the same throughout everything, so that bottom line price would be with equipment,” he said.

March 14, 2022 - 9:37pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, city council, Batavia PD.

The Batavia City Council tonight unanimously passed the 2022-23 budget, ending a five-month process that resulted in the funding of a $17.78 million general budget with a slight decrease in the property tax rate.

“It was a long process that starts in November when departments submit their budget. And we sit and we meet, and we hash out priorities in each department’s budget, especially when we're looking at general fund police and fire and DPW snow removal,” said City Manager Rachael Tabelski said following the Business Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room.

Tabelski said she was “excited” by achieving a balanced budget “where the revenues conservatively are estimated to come in and match the expenses we have going out to, again, run the operations that people come to count on -- police, fire and roads.”

Council’s passage of the budget – the All-Funds budget totals $29.7 million – means that city property owners will pay a tax rate of $8.94 per $1,000 of assessed value – down by 78 cents from the 2021-22 figure.

That doesn’t mean that everyone’s tax bill will decrease since most homeowners’ assessments went up – a fact not lost on Tabelski.

“The tax rate will go down It will depend on -- your payment -- … if your assessment went up,” she said. “I know many, many residents -- almost 4,200 -- assessments went up because of market conditions during COVID and the hot housing market. My hope is that that has cooled slightly, and we're not going to see large sweeping increases in assessments moving forward because it is difficult.”

Tabelski said that people react differently when assessments are raised.

“Some people like the assessment to go up because it increases the equity and value in their home, and others understand that it can mean at times a tax increase as well,” she said. “So, I'm very sympathetic to kind of understanding where residents of the city are and trying to keep our budget as efficient as possible.”

When asked if she could identify one highlight of the budget, she came up with the fact that more money was put into the police department’s Emergency Response Team.

“They are called a countywide response team, but it's run by City of Batavia Police and they're called on the scenes where they might need something like hostage negotiation or barricaded individuals,” she said. “And I was happy that we're able to bring more funding to that program this year.”

Council also approved a 1.5 percent increase in water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

February 26, 2022 - 10:59am

The City of Batavia apparently has concluded its “hunt” for the right engineering firm to handle the City Centre/Mall rehabilitation project.

According to a memo to City Council dated Feb. 16, City Manager Rachael Tabelski is recommending that the city contracts with HUNT E/A/S of Rochester for architectural and engineering services for the design of the project’s improvements. The total cost of the contract is $99,317.

Tabelski wrote that three companies responded to the city’s Request for Proposals in connection with the $1 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative and that two were selected as finalists. From there, Tabelski met with a panel of city staff and Batavia Development Corp. members to make the final selection.

Per the memo, HUNT’s work includes the Commissary at Sibley Square, Wegmans Food Markets re-use project and the Regal Cinema Complex repurposing project.

“They bring together a team of professionals dedicated to drive the public rebirth of the Batavia City Center Mall and reestablishing Main Street as a destination,” Tabelski wrote. “The HUNT team in conjunction with Vargas Associates has a long-established reputation for the creation of adaptive reuse projects and involves customized unique approach.”

The topic is part of the agenda of Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting, scheduled for 7 o’clock at the City Hall Council Board Room.

Other agenda items of note include:

  • Public hearings to adopt the 2022-23 city budget and to amend a local law to set new water rates, meter fees and a capital improvement fee. The $29,700,792 All-Funds budget ($17,853,892 general fund) calls for a tax levy of $5,986,000.  The property tax rate is $8.94 per $1,000 of assessed value – a 78-cent decrease from the 2021-22 rate. Water rates and meter fees will go up by 1.5 percent.
  • Four measures dealing with work at the Water Treatment Plant and Waste Water Treatment Plant:

(1) Issuing a bid package for a licensed construction firm to replace six filters at the Water Treatment Plant to improve efficiency and capacity of the plant’s water output;

(2) Following a bid process, award contracts to six companies to supply the various chemicals used at the facilities – quicklime, ferric sulfate, fluosilicic acid, carbon dioxide, liquid alum and liquid phosphate;

(3) Contracting with Ron Hutcheson, lowest bidder, for the harvesting of fat head minnows at the WWTP. Hutcheson has agreed to pay the city $27,000 in 2022, $28,000 in 2023 and $29,000 in 2024.

(4) Using $60,000 from the city’s sewer fund sludge reserve to conduct Maximum Allowable Headworks Loadings evaluation as part of the headworks, capacity analysis and financial planning study at the WWTP. The plan is to sample different pollutants at multiple points in the system, including the influent, effluent and lift stations, Tabelski said.

  • Acceptance of a $1 million Community Development Block Grant for the installation of 2,250 linear feet of 8-inch water main along Jackson Street and to commit $414,017 from the city’s water fund reserves to pay for the remaining cost of the project.
  • Acceptance of a $5,000 grant from the GO Art! Statewide Community Regrant Program to fund “Community Garden in Bloom,” the creation of a seasonal mural of multiple painted panels at the Community Garden on MacArthur Drive. The project is set to run from June through October.
January 11, 2022 - 8:20am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, city council.

Barring any changes made during the budget workshop process, the City of Batavia’s property tax rate for the 2022-23 fiscal year will be $8.94 per $1,000 of assessed value – a decrease of 78 cents from last year’s rate.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski shared details of the municipality’s $17.7 million budget at Monday night’s City Council Business Meeting at City Hall Council Board Room.

Putting the tax rate into perspective, Tabelski said that 5,700 properties in the city support the city’s General Fund operating budget.

"The property taxes they pay make up 34 percent of our total budget revenue," she said. "And the typical tax bill for a resident that owns a house assessed at $100,000 will be $894 under this proposed manager’s budget. The county tax for that same home is $916 and the school tax (is) $2,057."

The proposed General Fund lists a tax levy increase of $121,403, Tabelski said, noting that plans call for reinstatement of service, personnel and equipment purchase. Additionally, the water and sewer funds are stable, and improvements in infrastructure are on the table.

Tabelski highlighted the amount invested into the city in recent years, stating that $132 million in public and private investments are changing the landscape of Batavia.

“Batavia is going to continue to fly back from its rust belt city status, embrace its vibrant roots, double down on the investment and continue to focus on economic growth and neighborhood revitalization,” she said, referring to the impact of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award the city received and other large-scale corporate projects.

Her presentation indicated that $96 million already has been invested, $36 million more is in the works and another $42 million is planned.

Last year presented a “dismal revenue picture,” Tabelski said, but things “look much better” for 2022-23.

She said that 41 percent of the budget revenue is from sales tax (budgeting for $6.8 million in sales tax), while property taxes will bring in around $6 million. State aid is pegged at $1.75 million.

“Real property tax is the most stable revenue supporting the General Fund budget,” she noted.

The city manager also mentioned increases in assessed value, stating that the city’s assessed value of property has grown by about 26 percent over the past eight years compared to a 49 percent increase in assessed value in the Town of Batavia.

“A major way of creating additional revenue is to improve the overall value of our commercial and residential properties,” she said. “That’s through investment and new builds, and for continuing the strategy with the Brownfield Opportunity Area and the DRI.”

Tabelski said that about a quarter of the city’s property is not taxable – and that amounts to around $220 million.

The General Fund budget also will be supported by $275,000 in appropriated fund balance, $275,000 in water fund transfer and $130,000 in (one-time) retirement reserves, she said.

“(The year) 2021 has been another unprecedented year,” she said. “However, the city saw revenues rebound with full payments on state aid that helped us avoid layoffs and unfreeze positions throughout the year.

“The difficulty we still face is prices of commodities, hiring and retaining great workers, as this continues to be difficult,” she said. “Overall, the budget you have before you provides more resources to the departments, adds in services that were previously cut or underfunded and strives to meet the needs of the residents of the city of Batavia.”

December 15, 2021 - 4:04pm

The City of Batavia has been awarded $1 million for a Jackson Street water line replacement project through Round XI of New York State Regional Economic Development Council’s Community Development Block Grant program, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski confirmed that the city’s application for the grant, which was submitted in June, has been approved.

The project is one of 488 initiatives throughout the state to share in an additional $196 million in funding.

The work consists of replacing the 4- and 6-inch lines on Jackson Street with 8-inch water main at an estimated cost of $1,351,908, with $351,908 committed from local funds. According to the REDC, the improvements will benefit 213 persons of which 144 or 68 percent are low-and-moderate-income persons.

“It’s the residential portion of Jackson Street, not the commercial side,” Tabelski said.

Currently, the stretch of roadway from Ellicott Street to South Jackson Street on the western side of Jackson contains 4-inch line; a 6-inch line is under the sidewalk between Watson and South Jackson on the eastern side of the road from Central Avenue to Ellicott Street.

The commercial portion of Jackson Street – north of Ellicott Street – will be a separate project, she said.

All of these lines will be eliminated and service will transfer to an 8-inch water main. The project will cover around 2,250 linear feet of water line replacement and also will address elimination of lead water services if encountered.

Other Genesee County projects to receive funding are as follows:

  • Batavia Development Corporation -- Brisbane Mansion Technical Assistance Project: The BDC will complete building reuse analyses for the historic Brisbane Mansion (currently housing the Batavia Police Department) in downtown Batavia; $20,000.
  • Town of Batavia -- King's Plaza Sewer Pump Station: The total estimated project is $1,485,000 with $ 184,000 from Water Infrastructure Improvement Act & $553,500 from local sources. The improvements will benefit 623 persons of which 517 or 83 percent of whom are low-and moderate-income persons; $747,500.
  • Town of Batavia -- Replacement of Existing Water Meters: The town will use Green Innovation Grant Program funds to replace existing water meters with Advanced Metering Infrastructure technology. These replacements will reduce water consumption in the Town; $730,000.
  • Town of Byron -- Engineering Planning Grant Study: The EPG program will fund the development of an engineering report to assess the existing condition of the Byron Mobile Home Community wastewater collection system, evaluate alternatives, and recommend improvements to the Town of Byron; $30,000.
  • Genesee County -- Expansion of Incubator Models: High Tech Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology's Venture Creations Incubator have partnered to lead the Finger Lakes Innovation Hotspot. Through the Hotspot initiative, they seek to expand their successful incubator models to serve more entrepreneurs, including those in historically underserved counties and locations; $1,250,000 (Also includes Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates).

 

December 14, 2021 - 10:31am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Pok-A-Dot, city of batavia, city council.

img_6906dot.jpg

City Manager Rachael Tabelski solicited some laughter during Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting while proposing to end a $40 per month, 56-year-old right-of-way lease with owners of the Pok-A-Dot Restaurant at 229 Ellicott St.

Tabelski said she believed it’s time for the city to terminate the lease (and City Attorney George Van Nest agreed) that was created after it was found that part of the building was on the city’s right-of-way.

At that time – the year was 1965 – it was agreed that Pok-A-Dot owners Philip Pastore Jr. and Joseph Marone would pay the city $40 per month.

“We’ve never changed the terms and conditions of the lease – and they’ve always paid,” Tabelski said, “and they’ve always provided great beef on Weck and French fries.”

In 2020, the restaurant’s current owners, Pastore’s wife, Leona, and daughter, Phyllis Pastore-Beers, expanded the business to accommodate COVID-19 distancing protocol and food pick-up options. In the process, they obtained a New York State Department of Transportation permit to complete the work because it is located in a U.S. right-of-way for missile transport.

Interestingly enough, the DOT permit carries a fee of $460 per year – slightly less than the fee of the Pok-A-Dot’s lease with the city. As a result, Pok-A-Dot owners are requesting an end to the city lease, Tabelski said.

City Council members agreed to move the proposal to its Jan. 10 Business Meeting for discussion and a possible vote.

Three other Conference Meeting resolutions were forwarded to last night’s Business Meeting and all were approved:

  • A 15-month contract, effective immediately, with AMREX of Binghamton to supply the Water Treatment Plant with sodium hypochlorite at an inflation-induced cost of $1.45 per gallon.

Calling it a “weird and wild ride procuring resources,” Tabelski said that was the lowest of seven bids received for the chemical, which is used for disinfection of the public water supply. She added that other municipalities are having similar supply issues.

Previously, the city paid 86 cents a gallon for the chemical, she said.

  • An emergency purchase of 400 pounds of refrigerant for a compressor at the Batavia Ice Arena on Evans Street at a cost of $19,800. The funds will be taken from the facility’s reserves, dropping the available amount to $371,000.

Tabelski said she approved the purchase after Carrier personnel replaced the compressor and discovered and repaired a couple leaks in the refrigerant system. Consequently, the system is low on R-22 refrigerant and could be in danger of malfunctioning.

  • The reappointment of realtor Bernadette Penfield to the Board of Assessment Review through Sept. 30, 2026.

Council also forwarded a resolution to the Jan. 10 Business Meeting to accept a $28,681 grant from Genesee County STOP-DWI to provide specialized patrols targeting drug and alcohol impaired driving, and the purchase of RADAR units, training of a Drug Recognition Expert and associated expenses.

File photo of the Pok-A-Dot by Howard Owens.

December 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

weed.jpgIt looks as though, by default, the City of Batavia is welcoming the opportunity to host retail dispensaries and on-site consumption places as permitted by the New York Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., speaking at tonight’s Conference Meeting at City Hall Council Board Room, said that since the municipality “has no control over it,” then it would be prudent to opt in and “get the money (that cannabis sales would produce).”

The topic was brought up by city resident John Roach, who correctly noted that if a community doesn’t do anything (as far as a formal resolution), “you’re automatically in.”

State officials are requiring municipalities to state their intentions by Dec. 31. Towns, cities and villages that opt out are able to opt in at a later date, but those that opt in, can never opt out.

Jankowski and Council member Robert Bialkowski both said they have received “positive comments” about opting in. The former said that “people are advising me to get the tax money” and the latter stated that some people -- including adults -- enjoy using marijuana.

Questioned further following the meeting, Jankowski said his understanding was that there were two choices: “Do nothing and automatically opt in after December 31st or do the resolution and opt out, and then I think there was recourse for the public to opt back in …”

The MRTA does stipulate that if a community opts out, residents could call for a public referendum to reverse that decision.

While many legislative bodies in cities, towns and villages across the state have discussed the matter in an open forum and drafted resolutions – or are in the process of doing so, City Council wasn’t one of them. Jankowski said none of his colleagues indicated a desire to bring the subject to a vote.

“Any council member could have easily brought it up and put it on the agenda but it just never came to the front because of a complaint by a citizen that adamant about wanting Council to do something about it,” he said. “The bottom line is I usually put my personal opinion to the side and I listen to the people I represent. And nobody from the city contacted me and was really passionate about it or concerned about opting out.”

Jankowski said he talked to many people over the past several months "and they basically told me they weren’t really happy about the way the state did it, but they understand the wisdom of getting any money from taxes."

"But we’re not even sure if anybody’s going to even open a business in the city," he added.

What's Up with the WWTP?

Roach also asked about the status of the City Waste Water Treatment Plant and the dispute with O-At-Ka Milk Products over the milk processing plant’s discharge into the ponds that exceeded legal limits.

City Attorney George Van Nest, offering no specifics, said engineers working with the city and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials are monitoring the recovery of the ponds with the goal of obtaining maximum efficiency.

In other developments, City Manager Rachael Tabelski reported:

  • The city will recognize Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mask mandate “instead of checking vaccination status at the door.” The mandate runs through Jan. 15, 2022. “We’re awaiting the executive order to make it official,” she said.
  • That 90 percent of the city’s National Grid customers now have power following Saturday’s major wind storm. She said that residents may place downed tree limbs next to the curb for pickup by Department of Public Works crews this week.
  • The possibility of planting trees to replace those that have come down due to storms and other reasons. Jankowski noted that the city hasn’t planted trees in a long time and suggested planting some each year over a five-year period. Tabelski said that wouldn’t be possible with money from the general fund without raising property taxes. She did say that donations from businesses or residents are welcome.
  • Two bids from contractors seeking to handle the Jackson Square renovation – one of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects – came in “double the price that was anticipated.” Tabelski said she was hoping for a cost of around $650,000, but the submitted bids were for more than $1 million. She said the project will be re-bid and, as a result, the start of construction will be pushed back until August 2022.
  • The city has hired Angie Dickson, a Corfu resident, as confidential secretary. The position had been vacant for several weeks after Lisa Casey left to become clerk of the Genesee County Legislature. Two DPW jobs are open – heavy equipment operator and laborer.
December 10, 2021 - 4:38pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, city council, city charter.

Updated, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. with comments from Schmidt:

The City of Batavia has drafted a resolution appointing Tammy Schmidt as city council’s new Sixth Ward representative, replacing Rose Mary Christian, who resigned on Nov. 15.

The matter is the only item on the agenda of a Special Business Meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, prior to the governing body’s Conference Meeting and Regular Business Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room.

According to the resolution, Section 3.3 of the City Charter provides that when a position of Council Member becomes vacant, pending the election and qualification of a Council Member to fill the vacancy, the council shall fill the vacancy temporarily by appointment of a qualified person, who shall be the same political affiliation as the Council Member whose place has become vacant.

Schmidt is a Republican, as is Christian, who switched from the Democratic Party sometime after she was elected to her eighth -- and final -- term.

When Christian announced her retirement, it triggered a back-and-forth among the City Republican and Democrat committees as well as current City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Batavia resident John Roach, who was part of the City Charter Commission.

Republicans contend that the Charter wording clearly indicates that a Republican should fill the seat, while Democrats were looking for a legal ruling in light of Christian changing affiliations. That, apparently, did not happen.

RICHMOND: CHARTER IS VERY CLEAR

City Republican Chair Rich Richmond today said the “Charter is very clear – the appointment will be made by the Republican Party; a Republican will take that position.”

Richmond said he is going with what the Charter actually states “and not on what if, or how come or whatever?”

He added that Democrats have made this a political issue.

“There is nothing political about it. When they did the Charter, it was a bipartisan commission, including Republicans, Democrats and Conservatives. Nobody had a problem with it until it has come up now,” he offered.

Schmidt, a lifelong Batavian who grew up as Tammy Trigilio, has been employed for the past seven years as the financial management assistant for Genesee Justice and the Child Advocacy Center.

Prior to that, she worked for Genesee County Mental Health and Genesee County Workforce Investment. She and her husband, Mark, live on Osterhout Avenue. They have a daughter and son-in-law, Kristina and Tony Ferrando, and two grandchildren.

Richmond said he is impressed with Schmidt's credentials.

"Tammy has an excellent resume and is very intelligent and well-informed," he said. "I'm sure she will do a great job."

SCHMIDT: IT'S IMPORTANT TO GET INVOLVED

Contacted Saturday morning, Schmidt said that she has been part of the political workings in the city for quite some time and is looking forward to applying her experience -- and her love for her hometown -- "to help make it grow and prosper and be a great place for our kids and grandkids to want to stick around."

She currently is the Republican Committee Sixth Ward chair and previously served in that capacity for the Fifth Ward. Both her and her husband have been on the committee for several years and she said she is committed to learning more about city government.

"We're invested in this community," she said, adding that they own three rental properties in the Sixth Ward. "I don't want to use the tagline that Batavia Downs (Gaming) uses when they say, Dine, Stay and Play, but we live, work and play in Batavia."

When asked about replacing Christian, who served for 29-plus years, Schmidt said she has "big shoes to fill."

"Actually, I have had several conversations with Rose Mary, and she was very generous in giving me her endorsement," she said."And I still told her I plan to pick her brain. You can't beat that type of experience.

"Rose Mary was very vocal and she advocated for people to speak their minds. To me, if you want to incoporate any change, you need to be active and involved. You can't just sit home. Things aren't going to happen that way."

Previously: Will it be a Republican or a Democrat stepping in to replace Christian as Sixth Ward representative?

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