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city of batavia youth bureau

December 16, 2020 - 3:16pm

A citizen advisory committee supports fast-tracking a request for proposal to outsource youth services for the City of Batavia, but hopes the city would consider managing its afterschool and summer recreation programs if none of the applications received are accepted.

During a Zoom videoconferencing meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski and County/City Youth Bureau Executive Director Jocelyn Sikorski reviewed a six-page RFP with the City Youth Board.

The document, drafted by Sikorski, is earmarked to be sent out on Dec. 21 to local organizations interested in providing youth services to the city for the 2021-22 fiscal year that begins on April 1.

David Twichell, president; Paula Fischer, Kristen Gloskowski, and City Council liaison Al McGinnis represented the City Youth Board at the meeting.

“So, I guess that we're doing this as a cost-saving measure,” Fischer said, framing the city’s decision to move from an in-house operation to contracting with an outside agency. “Obviously, if things come in and aren’t a cost savings, we as a board would like to see what we could do within a budgeted amount … taking the 20-percent cut or whatever … to replace a youth coordinator, director … and hiring back part-time staff at the Liberty Center and running the program in the summer like we have in the past.”

The Liberty Center for Youth on the St. Anthony’s campus of City Church on Liberty Street serves as the city’s afterschool location.

“That is still on the table I would imagine,” she said. “I guess my question is that we’re putting out the RFP, but there still is that alternative that we don’t accept any of them and go back to running it in-house like we have for years.”

Tabelski countered by saying that it would be best to make that determination after receiving RFPs, adding, “I would hope that we find a suitable proposal.”

Sikorski concurred, stating that the city has the right to refuse any proposal, “but I think that we have community-based organizations that are capable of providing this service in Genesee County, who can make it work fiscally, not only to maintain the level that we’ve had, but also to save the city money, honestly.”

Twichell: Keep an In-House Plan on the Table

At this point, Twichell summarized the youth board’s position that it would like the city to keep its options open.

“We understand that the RFP is a good attempt to save the city money but we just want to have that left on the table that if push comes to shove, and the RFPs don’t pan out, then we might be able to set up, like we used to have it (although) we might have to reduce services at certain parks or whatever,” he said.

As far as filling vacant youth positions in the city, McGinnis said in a difficult budget year, Council wouldn’t be able to guarantee that this year.

Twichell responded, “We would like to make it aware that youth services, now, is the only department in the city without any staff.”

Tabelski explained that youth services are not classified as a city department, but are under the umbrella of administration, supervised by the assistant city manager (which is vacant at this time).

That prompted Fischer to ask if some of the administrative staff could be reassigned to the Liberty Center “like we did with (former employee) Lydia (Schauf) when we reassigned her to the YMCA during the pandemic when the youth center was closed.”

Tabelski said that Civil Service job descriptions prevented that from happening, but Fischer maintained that youth services, with a budget of around $234,000 (out of a $24 million city budget) shouldn’t “bear the brunt of your budget woes.”

“I don’t think that hiring one youth coordinator is going to break the bank or the budget,” she said. “And we’re talking about five or six part-time people … there’s a lot of different things that we could look at.”

Participation Fees: To Pay or Not to Pay

All agreed that the objective is to continue existing youth programs for Batavia and Genesee County, and the RFP incorporates that by listing eight key components: creative arts; library, media and technology; activities that include science, math and technology; homework help/tutoring; recreation and sports; science and nature; indoor and outdoor activities, and snacks/meals.

“There also is an assessment process to determine that the agency is meeting program goals and objectives, and continuing to participate with the county youth bureau,” Sikorski said. “We do several things collaboratively between the city and the county, and that relationship should continue.”

She mentioned events such as youth recognition awards, youth leaders conference, annual youth conference, and National Night Out. An outside agency running the program would have to comply with performance measures.

Cost to participants also came up, with Fischer pointing out a section on page 3 of the RFP that indicated “no, or very low cost to the City of Batavia families” for summer recreation.

“I am pretty sure the direction of City Council was that there would be no cost to families,” said Fischer, who, in recent weeks, has spoken out against what she perceives as the city’s rush to bring in another organization, such as the Genesee Area YMCA, to run the youth program.

Tabelski said she was not opposed to eliminating “very low cost” and leaving it as “no cost” for the summer rec program.

Fischer said she didn’t think it would be fair to have a city taxpayer have to pay an additional fee for their child or children to participate in city youth functions.

“I don’t think a city taxpayer should have to pay for their child to go – if you’re paying your city taxes, that should be it,” she said. “So, people paying taxes could be taxed again to send their kid to a parks program where someone else is getting it paid by their town or getting a sliding fee scale.”

Sikorski advised that if they go the route of “no cost,” then it would be free to all participants across the board “because if the town is contributing like they have for decades to that cost, then it’s applicable to everybody.”

“Working with other municipal recreation programs, there was at one point in time where our rules and regulations stated that they could not charge; (that) none of our programs could charge a fee,” Sikorski offered. “That changed in the early 2000s, and luckily a lot of our recreation programs do not charge. Some of them may ask for a donation for field trips or a small fee per week depending upon their child. And I’m talking small, I mean minimal, like $5 per kid.”

Scoring Based Upon Selection Criteria

McGinnis said the RFP needs to go out as soon as possible with the city’s 2021-22 proposed budget due to City Council by mid-January.

“We have a very tough budget this year … and this being a piece of it, we have to know where we stand,” he said.

Fischer, Twichell and Gloskowski said they were satisfied with the RFP and the timeline.

Tabelski noted that the RFP does not include a cost for these services.

“The reason you do an RFP is to find competitive pricing for services, so we don’t dictate a price to the market, we let the market come back to us,” she said.

She said the plan is to form a selection team after the RFP deadline of Jan. 15 -- with the Youth Board as part of that team -- to score the proposals, using a matrix that awards points for each of items in the selection criteria, as follows:

  • The eligible agency’s capacity to effectively, efficiently and immediately provide needed service, program design and developmentally appropriate programs;
  • The eligible agency’s proposal to meet the goals and objectives of the City of Batavia’s Youth Service & Recreation Plan;
  • The price of service;
  • The ease of utilization and accessibility of the Program to parents;
  • The capacities to provide ongoing staff development, staff availability, qualifications, rate of turn over, ability to fill vacancies;
  • The documentation that all applicable health and safety codes and licensure or registration requirements are met;
  • The fiscal solvency of the agency;
  • The capacity and experience in serving children with disabilities;
  • The capacity and experience in serving children and their parents where they are Limited English Proficient.

Tabelski said RFPs are operational and issued by the city manager or Department of Public Works, for example. Approvals are made by City Council once the RFP process is completed.

In this case, the selected agency, as well as those not chosen, are to be notified by Feb. 5.

November 10, 2020 - 12:15pm

Batavia City Councilperson-at-Large Robert Bialkowski and Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski engaged in several minutes of Q & A on Monday night over the particulars of the city’s acceptance of a Batavia Rotary Club/Rotary Foundation grant. It would be used purchase kayaks and related equipment, which then would be “gifted” to Genesee County for use as a youth outdoor recreation activity.

Council, at its Business Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, was preparing to vote on the resolution to receive the $6,000 in what Tabelski termed “a pass-through” transaction since the Rotary Club wished to donate the funds directly to the City Youth Bureau.

When Paul Viele, who was running the meeting in place of City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., asked for discussion, Bialkowski was ready with a series of questions.

Bialkowski said he was concerned by recent discussions with a couple of county legislators who said they knew nothing about owning anything, stating that “they will just store it for us.”

City Council learned about the resolution at its Oct. 26 Conference Meeting.

At that time, Jocelyn Sikorski, City and Genesee County Youth Bureau executive director, advised Council that the city would “gift” all equipment from the grant – kayaks, kayak launch, paddles and vests – to Genesee County, which will maintain and store it at the DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street.

She also said that county workers will build a trailer for hauling the equipment back and forth.

The resolution stipulates that the city would accept the grant from Rotary for the period of Oct. 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021 “to provide assistance to expand outdoor recreation and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education.”

Fast forwarding to last night, following is the back-and-forth between Bialkowski and Tabelski -- with Viele interjecting his thoughts toward the end of the mini-debate:

Q. Who will be purchasing the kayaks?

A. It will be purchased through the city and then it will be gifted to the county, so we have no liability for the kayaks or the docking.

Q. Why are we giving the county money?

A. When Mrs. Sikorski was here at the last meeting, she discussed that because it is the city Rotary, they wanted to do the grant with the city. But after myself and the county manager looked at it, it will be housed in a county park.

Q. Why are we … transferring the actual funds to the county if we’re buying the kayaks?

A. We’re not transferring the funds, we’re transferring the material after purchase – the kayaks and the docking.

Q. Because the resolution implies we are transferring the funds.

A. No, it will be purchased through the city’s procurement policy. The city will gift the equipment from this grant to Genesee County Parks who will assist with the maintenance and the storage of program equipment once purchased, and they will be responsible for the insurance for that as well.

Q. Then who will own the kayaks?

A. Genesee County. We will not own them.

Q. There seems to be some gray areas here. Who will be instructing in the use of the kayaks?

A. I know the YMCA was a partner in it and when we have youth programming, again through whatever means we do, I think it would be incumbent upon that person to have an instructor there when they bring children out there.

Viele jumped in at that point, stating that “we’re going to buy the kayaks and gift them to the county, very simple.”

Bialkowski pressed on, however, saying that “the county doesn’t know anything about us donating kayaks, and they’ll probably be plastic throwaway kayaks … the inexpensive ones, and the longer they’re in the sun, the shorter the shelf life.”

To which Tabelski replied that Paul Osborn, county parks supervisor/forester, was building a shed and a place to store them.

Q. Who will be responsible to replace them?

A. The city would not be responsible moving forward. We’re basically acting as a pass-through … (for the kayaks) to be housed at the county park, along with the docking system that we discussed at the last meeting that has the handicap accessibility.

Bialkowski said he was surprised the county doesn’t know about this, and Tabelski reemphasized that the vote on the table was to accept the grant, purchase the equipment and give it to the county.

Viele said he was sure the county knows about it.

“They have to know about it, if we’re doing this. They have to know about it, if we’re voting on it,” he said. “Maybe the legislator hasn’t read his email to see what is going on.”

Bialkowski said he didn’t think a couple of legislators would do this, but Viele said since the city is not liable, “don’t worry about it.”

After Bialkowski signified his concern about the status of an instructional program for youth, Viele remarked, “It would be a good job for you. You could teach them.”

In the end, Council voted in favor of the resolution, with Bialkowski casting the lone "no" vote.

Legislature Chair Weighs In

The Batavian contacted County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein today about this matter and although she wasn’t aware of the details, she indicated that it was likely to come up at the next Human Services meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 30.

“Basically, this is an opportunity that Rotary wanted to focus onto the city youth recreational program, and it has been working on for well over a year,” she said. “The fact that those kayaks could be donated to the DeWitt park area, it just enhances what we already have going on there and it gives opportunity for the city youth at the same time.”

Stein acknowledged the “fluid situation right now with youth services, (so) we are following our process and our procedure because we certainly want to be a good partner.”

“Everybody has a job to do and we all have steps to take to get to where we need to be,” she said.

When asked about instruction for the youth, she said the county has a kayak program that is run by the Interpretative Center staff.

November 5, 2020 - 3:45pm

Although Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski believes the Genesee Area Family YMCA could play a significant role in the future of youth services in Batavia -- enabling the city to cut ties with Genesee County to fund a youth bureau executive director, an advisory group linked to the city isn’t convinced that is the best way to proceed.

A resolution to terminate the county’s youth bureau operating agreement with the city, a contract that calls for partial payment of the salary of Jocelyn Sikorski, Genesee/Orleans and City Youth Bureau executive director, came before two Genesee County Legislature committees this week.

On Monday, the Human Services Committee approved the measure, sending it to the Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday for a final vote before being forwarded to the full legislature for ratification.

Ways & Means decided to table the resolution, however, minutes after a letter from the City Youth Board opposing the dissolution of the inter-municipal agreement found its way onto The Batavian and, likely, into the hands of Ways & Means Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg.

No one on the committee would comment when asked why the resolution was being tabled, but it is clear that the Youth Board’s opposition as well as the committee’s desire to let the city make the first move are the major reasons.

As a result:

  • The county is stuck in a holding pattern as the city leaders work through their differences. All indications point to a public discussion in some form or another at the City Council Business Meeting at 7 p.m. next Monday.
  • Tabelski is saying that there was no indication of any disagreement from the Youth Board with her proposal for the city to go in a different direction – looking at the YMCA to provide youth services -- and cut the $20,000 annual expense to help fund the executive director’s position.
  • The City Youth Board, in its letter, contends that it was not afforded an opportunity “to discuss alternative options with the Interim City Manager … prior to her decision.”

County Manager Matt Landers said he is dismayed over the situation.

“With any board or organization that dedicates so much time toward improving the community, it is obviously not a good thing to read the dissatisfaction and unhappiness of such a board,” he said. “As far as the county’s perspective, we’re a partner with the city and we certainly want to assist the city in meeting their needs with the youth. But at this point in time, it is important that we let the city decide how they want to move forward and then we can react accordingly.”

Landers said he and the legislature agree that the city should take the lead in this matter.

“We kind of put it in their hands … instead of the county going out in front and dissolving a contract. If it’s something the city really wants to do, then that’s something that they can lead out with first.”

He also said that it could be the right time to assess the agreement and explore other options.

Landers: Time for Reevaluation?

“At the end of the day, the relationship that we had with the city for a youth director was a good idea – and it was something put in place before my time as county manager, but it was a way to share services,” he said. “With any kind of agreement, you evaluate and see if there’s a different way to do it.”

Tabelski said she articulated a “different way” during an Oct. 27 meeting with the Youth Board, whose members are Dave Twichell, president; Paula Fischer, Nick Russo, Kathryn Fitzpatrick and Kristen Gloskowski. Al McGinnis serves as the City Council liaison.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with the Youth Board to talk about the situation the city finds itself in regarding budgeting amid COVID in our current budget year, the programming that we weren’t able to perform over the summer – summer recreation – and the strategic hiring freeze at the city,” Tabelski said. “We talked about what the upcoming budget for the city was shaping up to be, which is early in the budget process.”

Tabelski said she outlined big ticket items for which the city is responsible, such as snowplowing, public works, leaf collection, yard waste services, and police and fire response, and other services such as youth programs, economic development, contracting for the operation of the Falleti Ice Arena and maintaining athletic fields (including Dwyer Stadium) for residents to utilize.

“While Council won’t look at the budget until January, right now department heads are working with vendors on pricing and setting up contracts for services with the goal of providing a budget to City Council that remains within the tax cap,” she advised. “We are fiscally responsible to the citizens of the City of Batavia while still providing services that we know residents demand from the city.”

She said financial constraints and the impact of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 summer recreation program and the ongoing closure of the Liberty Center for Youth afterschool location on Liberty Street.

Unable to Reopen Youth Center Yet

“The ability to reopen the Liberty Center for Youth is still taking time to make sure protocols are in place, barriers put up and bringing back staff. So right now, the YMCA and the city share staffing requirements for the Liberty Center for Youth to open,” she said.

Since the city has not been able to hire part-time employees (due to the hiring freeze), a discussion with the county ensued, leading to a proposal to terminate the joint agreement for youth bureau supervision.

“Knowing what our budget looks like for next year, I said that we were willing to look at that and the goal was to have the program coordinator and the assistant city manager, which is myself, take on any responsibilities needed to get the youth programs up and running, and to continue,” Tabelski said.

Currently, the city is in the midst of a job search for a permanent manager – Tabelski was hired last year as the assistant manager – and also has no youth program coordinator as Lydia Schauf resigned that position to accept another job.

“We were left basically with the commitment from the Y to help reopen the center but with no employees available to staff it,” she said.

Tabelski said she explained this to the Youth Board, emphasizing that it “was time to look at it to understand what the city might be able to do in an effort to save money and deliver the programs at the same level to the residents and potentially use the YMCA as part of the strategy that I am looking into.”

Tabelski Promotes Pact with YMCA

She said she has a high regard for the YMCA, calling it a “professional organization that has an expertise in providing recreational services in our community.”

“In my mind, it makes sense for us to look at this as a broader partnership,” she said, noting that she has kept City Council informed of her activities in relation to youth services. “This could be a huge win for the YMCA and the city.”

Tabelski said she is negotiating with the YMCA to gauge its “capacity and ability” to provide afterschool and summer recreation services for the city’s youth, and added that other communities, including Perry and Geneseo, contract with the YMCA to provide their summer programming.

She said she left the door open for City Youth Board members to contact her, Sikorski or McGinnis but, to her knowledge, that has not been done. She also said that she was not informed that a letter would be released to the media.

“At the meeting, the youth board members indicated they understood the financial hardship that the city was in, they gave examples of their workplaces having to cut and lay off people, and they indicated a willingness to continue to be involved in youth programming and services and make sure those programs continue,” Tabelski said.

The interim city manager is hopeful the city would be able to enhance its youth services by contracting with the YMCA. She also defended her stance.

“I think it is incumbent upon a good manager to look at every piece of the organization and especially when we’re faced with challenges such as COVID and employee shifting,” she said. “I guess it was a perfect storm to examine how we deliver this service and see if there was an agency, such as the YMCA, that would be more capable, have more capacity and more resources to actually deliver the program and possibly enhance that program on behalf of the city.”

Tabelski said the goal is to continue to provide youth services at no or at a minimal charge – especially for summer recreation – and is convinced there are “multiple ways that can be negotiated to do that.”

“Right now, we have a contract with City Church for the St. Anthony’s building for the Liberty Center for Youth that runs another four years,” she said. “I think that as we do some long-term planning, we certainly want to look at the interaction between the current site for afterschool and what potential there might be for the (YMCA) Healthy Living campus (one of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects).”

Youth Board Reacts to 'Done Deal'

Fischer, responding this afternoon to emailed questions after talking with Twichell, said the City Youth Board’s intention was to send the letter with their concerns to City Council, but when The Batavian ran a story from the Human Services Committee meeting, it felt it was necessary to inform the public of what seemed to be a certainty.

“Once the information from the October 27th meeting was digested, it was apparent that the proposed changes to youth services would affect the quality of youth programming,” she said. “Many of the comments made by Rachel Tabelski and Jocelyn Sikorski were concerning. Ms. Tabelski was not aware of the differences between the County Youth Services and the City Youth Services. The City Youth Bureau provides direct youth programming and the County Youth Bureau does not.

“Despite the resignation of the only full-time city youth bureau employee, Ms. Sikorski was still in favor of abandoning the city program with no experienced staff remaining by ending the contract between the City and County with a year remaining. Also, Ms. Tabelski’s comment in the article, 'The city’s goal is to continue its youth programming – Liberty Center for Youth at the City Church St. Anthony’s campus on Liberty Street and the Summer Recreation Program – to the extent we that we can' was also alarming."

Fischer said the youth board did not contact Tabelski or Sikorski before sending the letter since the board is appointed by City Council and that Tabelski and Sikorski are employees and not voting members of the board.

As far as the Oct. 27 meeting is concerned, Fischer’s position is that Tabelski did receive comments from the board “regarding the outsourcing and charging for youth programming.”

“It was apparent that Ms. Sikorski had already went to the legislature and City Council with the proposal and was presented as a done deal,” she said. “When asked who would run the youth programming, the interim city manager shrugged her shoulders and said the assistant city manager, and the board asked who that would be and she said ‘me’. So, it was apparent that this was not well thought out after the resignation of the youth bureau coordinator. This sent up red flags that the youth programming was being phased out.”

The City Youth Board also does not agree with Tabelski’s plan to contract with the YMCA.

“The Board feels this would not be in the best interest of city youth,” Fischer said, adding that youth board members should be brought into the decision-making process.

“We are an advisory board. I would hope City Council would engage the City Youth Board on all matters going forward during these trying times,” she said. “The board would like to see services at the Liberty Center for Youth and the Summer Recreation Program resume once it is safe. These valuable services are less than 1 percent of the city’s budget.”

October 27, 2020 - 10:11am

With a boost from the Batavia Rotary Club and The Rotary Foundation, the City of Batavia Youth Bureau and Genesee County Parks, Recreation & Forestry are working together to provide an increasingly popular water sport for children.

Jocelyn Sikorski, youth bureau executive director, reported to City Council on Monday night that the pond at DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street has been identified as a safe and secure place for a kayak launch, made possible through a $6,000 grant from Rotary.

Sikorski, speaking at council’s Conference Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, said officials looked at a section of the Tonawanda Creek near Kibbe Park, but determined it was “not really a safe place.”

She said the launch to be utilized at DeWitt Recreation Area will be easy and safe for youth to get in and out of the kayaks.

City Council considered a draft resolution to accept the grant from Rotary for the period of Oct. 1 through April 30, 2021 “to provide assistance to expand outdoor recreation and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education.” After hearing details regarding the city-county connection, it forwarded the measure to its Nov. 9th Business Meeting.

The resolution also calls for the city to “gift” all equipment from the grant – kayaks, kayak launch, paddles and vests – to Genesee County, which will maintain and store it.

Sikorski also said county workers are building a trailer for hauling the equipment back and forth.

The youth bureau is planning to teach kayaking as part of its youth center and summer recreation programming, incorporating STEM learning methods into the curriculum, she said.

As far as the Liberty Center for Youth, the youth bureau’s afterschool social and educational location for students ages 9-16, Sikorski said it continues to be closed due to COVID-19 and likely won’t open until next year.

“The City of Batavia Youth Bureau and Genesee County YMCA need to ensure that the Liberty Center participants have a safe and fun experience with us,” she said. “Currently, we are working through reopening plans carefully and monitoring the potential spike in COVID-19 cases due to increased travel through the upcoming holiday seasons.”

Sikorski said as the reopening date nears, the agency will send out information regarding the registration process as well as COVID-19 protocol in accordance with Department of Health and Batavia City School District protocol.

In other developments:

  • No one from the public spoke at a public hearing to amend the Batavia Municipal Code to include public garages (auto repair stations) in I-1 (Industrial) zones with a special use permit.

Prior to opening the public hearing, council members were required to declare the city as the lead agency in the State Environmental Quality Review, which has determined there will be no significant adverse environment impact.

The zoning ordinance change is a result of a request in January by Batavia businessman Eric Biscaro, owner of Classic Home Improvements, to place an auto repair shop on his property on Ellicott Street. It is expected to be approved at the next Business Meeting.

  • City Council approved a Just Kings’ “Trunk or Treat” event for 6 to 8 p.m. this Friday, noting that all application guidelines – including a certificate of liability insurance listing the city as an additional insured – have been met.

“This is a great event for the kids,” said Council Member Rose Mary Christian, advising that city police will be participating. She said that she will be donating candy to Just Kings.

In other action, Council advanced the following resolutions:

  • Entering into an agreement with a consulting, engineering or design firm (or a combination of those types of companies) for engineering services for the $750,000 Downtown Revitalization Project at Jackson Square, a music venue located between Jackson and Center streets.

Public Works Director Matt Worth said a team including Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski, Maintenance Superintendent Ray Tourt, a representative of the Downtown Business Improvement District and himself are in the process of scoring the 11 companies that have applied and would get back to City Council either next month or in December with a contract in hand.

Previously, Worth said that the project calls for upgrades such as decorative pavement, enhanced lighting, relocation of electrical utilities, planters, benches, tables, chairs for seating and a new stage. Funds have been provided through the $10 million DRI award from the state to the City of Batavia.

In response to a question from Council Member John Canale about the upgrade decision-making process, Worth said that all stakeholders, such as nearby businesses, vendors who have used the area, BID officials, city staff and the public, will have the opportunity to provide input.

Worth indicated that the design work is to be performed next spring, with construction next fall after the Jackson Square performance season.

  • Accepting public dedication of Carolwood Drive Extension, also known as Clinton Gardens Subdivision Part 21A, following city approval of Batavia Homes and Development’s completion of the installation of stormwater system, sanitary sewer system, water main, house services and street paving to add five more building lots on the street.

Worth said the developer, which was responsible for all project costs, followed the city’s engineering requirements. This sets the stage for the city to take over maintenance of the street, including plowing and fire and police protection.

“One of the houses is close to completion, and it is my understanding that there is some interest (in the other building lots),” Worth said, adding that the extension eliminates two dead-end streets in that northeast section of the city.

  • Contracting with New Wave Energy Corporation of Buffalo for the purchase of natural gas at a rate of $3.28 per dekatherm, which, according to Worth, is 8 cents less than what the city has paid in the past three years.

New Wave Energy, which also has a contract with Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., submitted the lowest of two bids. The pact is for three years, starting on Jan. 1.

  • Accepting a $5,000 award from Genesee County STOP-DWI for the police department’s to set up high visibility road checks, saturation patrols and DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) call out during impaired driving crackdown periods.
October 24, 2020 - 8:33am

The City of Batavia is moving forward with the design and construction of the $750,000 Downtown Revitalization Project at Jackson Square, the popular music venue tucked in between Jackson and Center streets.

Public Works Director Matt Worth on Friday said his office has received 11 proposals from professional firms seeking to take the lead for the project that calls for the following upgrades: decorative pavement, enhanced lighting, relocation of electrical utilities, planters, benches, tables, chairs for seating and a new stage.

The cost of this work, $750,000, is the full amount of the grant issued as part of the state’s DRI program, and the expense of the design firm will be charged against the DRI grant as a project cost.

A draft resolution to enter into an agreement with an engineering or architectural firm is on Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting agenda. The meeting is scheduled for 7 o’clock at the City Centre Council Board Room.

A letter from Worth dated Sept. 25 went out to consultants, inviting them to “provide a proposal of project understanding and qualifications” for engineering and design services. The letter indicated the city “strongly encourages participation of MWBE (Minority and/or Women-owned Business Enterprise) and SDVOB (Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business) firms.”

The state is stipulating a MWBE participation of 30 percent and an SDVOB goal of 6 percent.

Worth said a team is scoring the proposals and will announce its selection in several weeks.

“Because this project is a little different – not a straightforward, engineering street design (for example), this could end up being a team approach,” he said, advising that the consultant could be an engineering firm, design professional, landscape architectural company, or a combination.

As far as the timetable is concerned, Worth’s letter indicates investigation and design work to be performed next spring and progress through to construction in the fall – after the Jackson Square performance season. It also states that two public information meetings will be scheduled.

On another front, Worth said work on the City Centre Mall roof is complete.

“The warranty is in place, so we’re moving to the next phase,” he said. “The Mall Feasibility Study is wrapping up right now and we’ll be jumping into the DRI project with the mall concourse, which will probably include some additional roofing as well.”

Worth said specific plans for the mall project will be based on the feasibility report recommendations.

Other topics on Monday’s agenda include:

-- A public hearing to amend the Batavia Municipal Code to include public garages (auto repair stations) in I-1 (Industrial) zones with a special use permit. This action stems from a request by Batavia businessman Eric Biscaro, owner of Classic Home Improvements, to place an auto repair shop on his property on Ellicott Street.

-- A resolution accepting public dedication of Carolwood Drive Extension, also known as Clinton Gardens Subdivision Part 21A, as a result of Batavia Homes and Development’s completion (and municipal approvals) of the installation of storm water system, sanitary sewer system, water main, house services and street paving to add five more building lots on the street.

-- A resolution to accept a $6,000 grant from The Batavia Rotary Club and Rotary Foundation to the City of Batavia Youth Bureau to support outdoor recreation through the purchase of kayaks, kayak launch, paddles and vests. The youth bureau has indicated that it will teach kayaking as part of its youth center and summer recreation programming, and also will incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education through this activity.

August 30, 2019 - 4:10pm

Press release:

Liberty Center for Youth, 114 Liberty St., is set to open to all youth ages 9-16 in the City of Batavia at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5th.

The Liberty Center for Youth (former St. Anthony’s school) is a joint agency project between the City of Batavia Youth Bureau, and the GLOW YMCA.

The focus of this project is to broaden the services offered to the youth of Batavia and have it conveniently located in one facility. The property is owned by City Church.

“Locating this facility in heart of the City, to serve our youth, is the right move,” said City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. “I believe that the enrollment for the City of Batavia Youth Bureau programs will continue to grow and this will be 'the place' where kids want to go.

"They will find a positive caring environment here lead by the City Youth Bureau.” 

The United Way of Genesee County has contributed $50,000 to the project and will be providing funding for an additional five years at $10,000 per year.

“The United Way is excited to partner with the City of Batavia and the GLOW YMCA to make this project a reality,” said Tammy Hathaway, regional director of the United Way of Genesee County.

“This project fits within our mission to motivate and organize people...through a unified, community-wide effort to mobilize resources and apply them to best serve the needs of Genesee County.”

The new location will offer a technology center with 10 new computers donated by Marchese Computer Products, 10 brand new tablets, and a smart board with wireless capabilities. The Liberty Center for Youth will provide free tutoring and homework assistance.

The facility will contain a game room with pool, air hockey, ping-pong, and foosball, as well as a four-square court and gaming room with a PS4 and Wii. 

The former cafeteria has undergone a major renovation turning it into a multipurpose room where students are encouraged to socialize, and grab a snack. A free snack will be provided daily to participants. The cafeteria will also be used for special events such as Art, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Music, and other activity nights.

This location also offers a gymnasium to allow for year-round sports activities.

“This has been a dream of ours for a while,” said Lydia Schauf, program coordinator City of Batavia Youth Bureau. “We have wanted to find a central location where we could make the most impact on the Youth of our City, we wanted a place where they could feel comfortable to socialize and be active but most of all to provide a safe environment.”

The City of Batavia Youth Bureau has prided itself in offering free, safe and fun activities to youth and is excited and encouraged by this new endeavor. The staff of the Youth Bureau is capable, trained and ready to see a very successful first year of programming at the new location.

“It has been an amazing journey of learning, problem solving and growing as we have developed this partnership over the last three years," said Jeff Townsend, executive director of GLOW YMCA.

"Working together as a non-profit and government entity has been way less challenging than first thought. I appreciate this opportunity in my career to see a vision come to life. And I’m thankful to have worked alongside Jocelyn Sikorski on this project.” 

The Liberty Center will be open year-round. Hours of operation are as follows 2:30-6 p.m. during school and 1-6 p.m. during school breaks and summer vacation. 

Registration is free and participation forms can be found at 114 Liberty St. or on the City of Batavia website under the Youth Bureau Department.

If there are any questions please call Lydia Schauf of the City Youth Bureau at (585) 815-5308. Transportation will be offered afterschool to the facility but must be arranged through the Batavia Central School District.

February 8, 2019 - 1:56pm

Press release:

The Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Boards continue to seek nominations for their annual Youth Recognition Banquet.

Nominations are due by Friday, Feb. 15th.

There are three awards presented at the Youth Recognition Banquet:

  • Youth Recognition Award — This award recognizes young people who have performed exceptional service to the community and/or have assumed extraordinary roles in their families. Typically, the best candidates for this award are high school students, but we also know there are 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds who exemplify distinctive qualities of service. Several youths will be recognized; however the Youth Boards reserve the right to limit the number of recipients.
  • Adult Volunteer Award — This award recognizes an adult who provides service as a volunteer to youth in Genesee County.
  • Adult Youth Worker Award — This award recognizes a youth service professional whose work surpasses normal expectations.

Recipients will be honored at the Youth Recognition Banquet on Thursday, March 28.

For more information or to receive nomination forms, please call the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 344-3960 or email [email protected]

The forms are also on the Youth Bureau page of the Genesee County website here.

April 12, 2012 - 3:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in Earth Day, city of batavia youth bureau.

In an effort to educate students and the community on recycling, conserving energy, and going “green” in general, the City of Batavia Youth Bureau is sponsoring its annual Earth Day event beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 21 at Austin Park.

Morning refreshments will be provided by Tim Horton's.

This year’s event will feature a short presentation on energy efficiency and how to reduce your "carbon footprint" to kick off the event.

The following agencies will set up booths and interactive displays for the participants to visit:

  • GLOW Solid Waste
  • Finger Lakes Energy Smarts Communities Program
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners Program
  • Youth Bureau, City of Batavia
  • Genesee ARC
  • Pathstone Corporation
  • Smoke Free NOW.

Students will also receive giveaways at some of the booths. After folks have visited all of the booths, school/student groups from John Kennedy, Robert Morris, Batavia Middle schools, Students United for Positive Action as well as others, will be sent out to clean a park or an area in the city.

Volunteers from Kiwanis Club will accompany several of the student groups. We will then meet back at Austin Park and will proceed to Centennial Park for a Tree Planting Ceremony, where the students in attendance will actually plant the tree.  Everyone will then be invited back to Austin Park for a pizza lunch. The event will conclude at approximately 12:30 p.m.

If you would like more information on Earth Day or would like to participate, call the Batavia Youth Bureau at 345-6420.

April 25, 2011 - 2:38pm

From 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, April 30, the City of Batavia will celebrate both Earth Day and Arbor Day. Rain or shine.

The morning will begin at Austin Park on Jefferson Avenue with an Energy Smart Program presentation. There will also be giveaways and several displays including: a seed starting display by the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners; a composting display by GLOW; city recycling Information; a Youth Bureau Craft Booth, National Grid lighting display and handouts, Garbage Art by GoArt!, and a Smoke Free Now Booth by GCASA.

Volunteers will then be assigned a City Park or downtown in the area of Main and Ellicott streets to pick up debris. The volunteers will be asked to regroup at Austin Park at 11:45 a.m. for tree planting ceremonies and a complimentary lunch sponsored by Reality Check.

A challenge has been given to the local fifth-grade classes and the class with the most participants in our Earth Day event will be announced at noon. The winning class will receive a pizza party for their fifth-grade class at their school.

The City of Batavia Youth Bureau has organized this event for the community.

The trees for the planting ceremonies have been donated by Lowes and Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union. ARC is also donating their services and supplies for the event and Tim Horton’s is donating coffee and TimBits for the volunteers.

The city is seeking volunteers to give a few hours of their time to get out and recognize Earth Day & Arbor Day and to help Clean up & Green up Batavia!

If there are any questions, please contact: City of Batavia Youth Bureau, located at One Batavia City Centre. Phone is 345-6420. FAX is 344-0260. E-mail:   [email protected]

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