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July 18, 2019 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Hall, batavia, news, downtown.

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The City of Batavia has completely renovated the landscaping in front of City Hall.

A supervisor yesterday explained that the old landscaping was more than 15 years old and had become difficult to maintain and control weeds.

The topsoil was replaced (see bottom photo) and new shrubs and flowers were planted today.

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March 15, 2018 - 7:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, weather, City Hall.

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As I walked out of Batavia City Hall tonight, the snow had just started falling.

The forecast is for periods of snow tonight and tomorrow. The total accumulation tonight is expected to be less than an inch.

July 11, 2015 - 10:02am
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, City Hall, centennial committee.

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The big flashy bow is sure to catch the eyes of anyone who drives past City Hall.

To spruce up City Hall and evoke some community spirit for the celebration of the city's 100th anniversary, the Centennial Committee decorated the sign with a banner and bow this week.

The committee originally planned on buying a bow to complement the 100-years banner but the cost was more than $200. Lisa Casey, secretary at City Hall, came up with the idea to make the bow by hand and did it for a fraction of the cost.

At first, Casey didn't know how to make a bow large enough so she asked design experts at Michael's Arts and Crafts Store for some advice. They helped her come up with a solution to make several bows and attach them to a hula hoop. From there, Casey put her creative skills to work and finished the project in a half hour.

The ribbon for the bow is made out of poly-deco mesh. The color gold was chosen to match the color scheme on the other banners hanging throughout the city. The banner on the sign was purchased from John's Studio.

The committee hopes to keep the banner and bow up for as long as possible.

August 18, 2008 - 8:52am
posted by Philip Anselmo in City Hall, finance.

An independent audit of the city's finances declares Batavia in "improving financial stability." For only the second time in the past five years, the city recorded a surplus in its general fund. Thanks to an excess of revenue over spending of $1,652,361, the city logged $617,218 in surplus and chipped away at the "undesignated" deficit, which shrank from $1,860,906 to $365,895.

Auditors Freed, Maxick and Battaglia chalk up the successful year to "cautious revenue and expenditure budgeting," the increase of more than $800,000 in property tax revenue owing to a higher tax rate, state aid for struggling cities and the elimination of seven full-time and 12 part-time employees. The last saved the city approximately $460,000 in personnel expenses.

And the future, too, looks bright:

These efforts along with continual expense monitoring and revenue improvements will assist in regaining long term fiscal solvency, while building a healthy fund balance and investing in capital equipment, City facilities and infrastructure.

The three part audit runs well over 100 pages and paints a much more nuanced portrait of the city's financial state, and addresses such topics as the imminent consolidation of city police and county sheriff dispatch crews, future savings from fixing leaks in the city's water lines and the ongoing arbitration with the police union.

We'll inspect the document more closely over the next week, but in the meantime, let's just let the graphics speak for themselves.

August 15, 2008 - 8:35am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, City Hall, finance.

Lisa Neary from Attica will assume the position of deputy director of finance for the city of Batavia, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. Neary fills a vacancy left by the unexplained departure of Shelly D'Alba earlier this summer. She will earn about $52,000 per year and starts September 5. Neary holds a degree in accounting from the Rochester Institute of Technology and had previously worked as the finance director for Wymong County Community Action.

Summer in the City kicks off tonight in Batavia. Check back in with us later today for a full list of events.

May 23, 2008 - 5:24pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in city council, City Hall, finance, IRS.

The departure Wednesday of the city's finance director was announced jointly with the news that the IRS had placed a lien on a city bank account owing to a "reporting error" in payroll that would have been handled by the finance office. Within hours of both announcements — following a closed-door meeting that morning — City Manager Jason Molino said that any penalties owed from the lien were revoked because the error had already been rectified.

Lickety split, Batavia was in... and out of a mess.

Yet, articles in the Daily News yesterday and today raise a few questions about the issue that still haven't been answered by the city. Molino refused to specify the error. He also said that connecting the departure of former Deputy Finance Director Shelly D'Alba with the IRS lien would be a mistake.

For sure, we must keep in mind the delicate nature of a "personnel matter" and not go smearing a city employee — with or without all the facts. There's never any excuse for slander. But that doesn't mean we don't deserve to get at the truth of the thing, find out what's going on without naming names and pointing fingers.

In an article in the Daily News today, City Council President Charlie Mallow said that "the city received several notices, sent to the person handling that" (the payroll error discovered by the IRS). And, more straightforward, reporter Joanne Beck writes: "D'Alba would have been the person to handle the filing."

In an earlier article, Molino said that his office had only recently found out about the error discovered by the IRS. That begs the question: If the city manager only found out about the problem once the IRS placed the lien on the account, what happened with the "several notices" that were sent to the city, some dating back to last spring?

Mallow said he could not speak on behalf of the city manager. An e-mail and a telephone call to Molino made earlier today have not yet been returned. Mallow did caution, however, against "connecting the dots" and relating matters that may not be directly linked.

In the same article, Mallow spoke optimistically of the current state of the city. Residents should not be worried by the recent departures. The city is in transition. Not everyone will stick around through such drastic changes, he said. Besides, the position of public works director has already been incorporated into the workload of the assistant city manager. An interim police chief should be appointed within a couple weeks. And an interim fire chief should soon follow. As for the new vacancy of deputy finance director, the city will have to wait and see, he said. For now, the responsibilities of that position will fall to the city manager and assistant city manager.

Mallow told the Daily News: "It's good to shake the apple cart about. There's no cause for concern at all. Strategic changes are planned."

There was no mention in the article of what "strategic changes" have been planned to deal with the glut of empty positions. So we asked Mallow if he could explain the connection. His response: consolidation.

"Our workforce is getting older in the city," he said. "In the next five years, we'll have 30 people who can retire. So we're at a very good point to consider consolidating."

Grants have come through to study the possibility of consolidating, merging positions, sharing responsibilities with the county and the city. Mallow feels strongly about the issue, and seems to see it as the city's way out of a future financial crisis.

"In the next five years, we'll have 30 people who can retire," he said. "So we're at a very good point to consider consolidating."

That could mean big changes for the city. Mallow:

"There might be an elimination of city borders, but that requires the town to buy in and that our finances are in order. We're pulling out of our financial problems. But a big glut of money will be needed for retirements, and insurance for our employees is something that needs to be taken care of."

In the meantime, it seems the city staff simply needs to get settled, the real responsibilities of each employee pretty clearly defined, and the public notified of just who does what down at City Hall.

Previous related posts:

 

May 23, 2008 - 1:53pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, City Hall, permits.

From the Daily News (Friday):

• Reporter Joanne Beck wrote an article about the several vacancies in City Hall — police and fire chiefs, public works director, finance director — with commentary from City Council President Charlie Mallow, who says that there is "no cause for concern." The Batavian is following up on a few questions raised by the article and will publish a post about the issue later this afternoon.

• Building permits are going up in the town. They are (in brief):

  • For a home between 1,201 and 2,000 square feet: Up from $250 to $350, beginning June 2.
  • For home additions, such as a garage, up to 325 square feet: Up from $50 to $100.
  • For commercial structures up to 1,000 square feet: Up from $250 to $300.
  • Swimming pools: Up from $25 to $40 (above-ground) and $50 (in-ground).

Daily News intern Kristen Kotz wrote a fine profile of a priest, a native of Bolivia, who has been assisting and preaching to migrant workers around Batavia for 23 years. He is the Rev. Ivan Trujillo. It's a nice article. Check it out.

• The 35th annual Batavia Pageant of Bands kicks off this afternoon. The article says the first competition — in jazz — starts at 2:00pm "in the auditorium," though there is no mention of which auditorium. There is a chicken barbecue later this afternoon in the High School Cafeteria, so I assume the competitions are at the High School. See the article for a complete listing of shows.

• Batavia Boys Soccer Boosters are hosting a fundraiser to benefit the high school team and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at Applebee's, 8322 Lewiston Rd., Sunday from 8:00 to 10:00am. Proceeds from the breakfast will be split 50-50 between the two groups.

• Chamber of Commerce officials expect an increase in tourism in Genesee County this summer season. Kelly Rapone is the tourism and marketing director for the Chamber. She spoke at the county's Ways and Means Committee Wednesday, saying that high gas prices and a weak economy will not hurt tourism to the area.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

May 21, 2008 - 3:24pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in City Hall, finance.

City Manager Jason Molino told us a bit more about the announcement made by the city earlier today that the Internal Revenue Service had placed a lien on a City Hall bank account. Molino said the lien was the result of a "reporting error," and that the city's cash flow and debt were not affected.

"Payroll taxes are filed every three months," he added. "When you file a report with the IRS, the payroll needs to be equal to what was reported."

In the case of the payroll reported for the second quarter last year, the report was in error: that is, the numbers didn't match. Molino said that it was a one-time mistake.

"We've done the paperwork to correct the error," he said. That means that any financial penalties that may have been levied by the IRS would be revoked.

Molino said he could not comment further on the departure of Deputy Director of Finance Shelly D'Alba — also announced today following an executive session of the City Council this morning — including whether D'Alba was fired by the city or resigned.

The amount of the lien was not readily available, said Molino, though it should be provided to The Batavian soon.

Related posts:

 

May 21, 2008 - 1:23pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, City Hall, finance.

From WBTA earlier this afternoon (following reports that the City Council "hastily" met in an executive session this morning to deal with a "personnel issue"):

The Internal Revenue Service placed a lien on a Batavia City Hall bank account due to an error in a payroll tax report. The error, which occurred in the second quarter of last year, was recently discovered by city hall management and has now been corrected.

City Manager Jason Molino told WBTA that Deputy Director of Finance Shelly D'Alba "is no longer emplyed by the city," though there was no indication of whether D'Alba was fired or resigned his position. Also, though D'Alba was in charge of filing the payroll tax reports, Molino cautioned that "it would be wrong to link D'Alba's departure from City Hall to the payroll tax reporting error," writes Dan Fischer. The result of the lien was "human error," according to Molino, indicating that there were no criminal acts.

Get the full story at WBTA, plus an audio file of City Manager Jason Molino explaining the situation.

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