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Photos: Corfu's National Night Out and Farmers Market

By Howard B. Owens

The Village of Corfu hosted its National Night Out -- an event held in communities throughout the U.S. to bring together public safety officers and communities -- along with its weekly Farmers Market. The market is open each Monday evening, as it was yesterday.

Photos by Howard Owens.


Corfu farmers market joins National Night Out on August 7

By Press Release

Press Release:

Neighborhoods throughout your city are invited to join over 38 million neighbors across 17 thousand communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and military bases worldwide.

National Night Out is nationally sponsored by NATW, ADT, Starbucks, Associa, L.E.A.D. and co-sponsored locally by the Corfu Farmers Market.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes strong police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live and work. Together, we are making that happen.

From time to time, neighbors throughout your city and across the nation are asked to lock their doors, turn on their front porch lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and law enforcement.

Along with the traditional outside lights and front porch vigils, most communities celebrate National Night Out by hosting block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and other various community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits, and more.

National Project Coordinator, Matt Peskin said, “This is a night for our nation to stand together and promote awareness, safety, and neighborhood unity. National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement. When law enforcement and the community work closely together, some amazing things can happen.”

Join the Corfu Farmer Markets, Monday, August 7 from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. for our Community Night Out. For more information please contact Market Manager, Katy Hobbs at or visit for more information. For more information, please visit

GC farmers market distributing checks to veterans on June 13 and July 11

By Press Release

Press Release:

On Tuesday, June 13, and Tuesday, July 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guy Sceusa from the NYS Department of Veterans Services will be at the Genesee Country Farmer's Market. Veterans will fill out a self-attestation verifying he or she is a veteran. Guy will be issuing checks to the Veterans. The market will be open that day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at Bank Street and Alva Place. 

Drug take back event scheduled for June 16 at Farmers Market

By Press Release

Press Release:

The HEALing Genesee Work Group, in collaboration with the City of Batavia Police Department, will be hosting a Drug Take Back Day next week at the Genesee Country Farmers Market.

The event is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. June 16 at the market, which is located in the parking lot next to the former JC Penney building at Bank Street and Alva Place.

“Typically, local law enforcement conducts take-back days in April and October, but we felt it important enough to provide an additional opportunity for the community to safely dispose of any unused or expired medications,” said Christen Foley, project director. “This is just another initiative of HEALing Genesee to help make our community a safer and healthier place.”

The HEALing Genesee Work Group is a component of the GOW (Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming) Task Force.

Foley said a table will be set up at the market to collect prescription medications. As required by New York State, law enforcement personnel will be on-site to assist in the collection process.

“We wish to thank our local police department for their partnership in this effort,” Foley added.

Workgroup representatives also will be on hand to provide Naloxone training and share other resources with residents.

Photos: Opening of Downtown Farmers Market for 2023

By Howard B. Owens
opening downtown batavia farmers market
Four-year-old Levi Maerten enjoys an apple at Friday's opening of the Genesee Country Farmers Market in Batavia.  The Famers Market is located next to the former J.C. Penney building on Alva Place.  The market runs each week on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Photos by Howard Owens.
opening downtown batavia farmers market
opening downtown batavia farmers market
opening downtown batavia farmers market
opening downtown batavia farmers market
opening downtown batavia farmers market

Farmers Market opens Downtown for the season on Friday

By Press Release
apples public market

Press Release:

The Genesee Country Farmers Market will be open for the season Friday. 

Located at the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place. The market runs each week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Currently, 25 vendors are participating, including food trucks. Each day varies with vendors. We encourage you to check the Genesee Country Farmers Market Facebook page each day to see an updated list of vendors for that day. 

Each week there will be a variety of guest vendors as well that will be posted on FB. We encourage you to check for weekly updates. If you are interested in a vendor spot, you can email us at or stop by the Market shed during operating hours for an application.

Office for the Aging has more Farmers Market coupons available

By Press Release

Press release:

It’s Not Too Late! Genesee County Office for the Aging ordered more Farmers Market Coupons. They are available at: 2 Bank St., Batavia, NY 14020, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm

Anyone 60 or older in your household can have a coupon booklet. You must still be income eligible.

For any questions, please call (585) 343-1611

** 2022 Income Guidelines **
Household of 1 = $ 2096/mo.
Household of 2 = $ 2823/mo.
Household of 3 = $ 3551/mo.

Office for the Aging announces Farmers Market Coupons distribution schedule

By Press Release

Press release:

Office for the Aging has received the rest of the Farmers Market Coupons. 

The delay was caused by something beyond our control, and we thank everyone for being patient and understanding.

Starting today, Tuesday, the booklets will be available at our location, 2 Bank Street, Batavia from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Our staff will also be at The Goose in Oakfield, Wednesday, July 27 from 9 to 10 a.m., 400 Towers, Thursday, July 28 from 9 to 11 a.m., Washington Towers, Thursday, July 28 from 2 to 4 p.m., the Genesee Country Farmers Market on Friday, July 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the Le Roy Farmers Market on Saturday, July 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 pm.   

As a reminder, income-eligible seniors are allowed only one booklet per season.  The 2022 Income Guidelines:  Household of 1 -- $2,096/month, Household of 2 -- $2,823/month, Household of 3 -- $3,551/month.

OFA Farmers Market Coupons delayed

By Press Release

Press release:

Genesee County Office for the Aging does not yet have the Farmers Market Coupons, due to a delay with the shipment.

At this time we will not be able to distribute coupons until after July 5.  We will post updates as we get them.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Office for the Aging to hand out Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons

By Press Release

Press release:

Genesee County Office for the Aging will be handing out Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons throughout the county, beginning July 1, 2022. 

The first location will be the Genesee Country Farmers Market, Alva Place, Batavia, every Friday in July from 10 a.m. to noon.

Next at the LeRoy Farmers Market, Trigon Park, LeRoy, Saturday, July 2, 23, and 30 during market hours.

We will also be handing them out at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, 2 Bank St., Batavia, every Tuesday in July from 10 a.m. to noon at our outside patio and in our Community Room if it is raining.

If you live in senior housing, a flyer will be posted in your building announcing when our staff will be there with coupons.

Genesee Country Farmers Market gets words of support

By Mike Pettinella

Just in case the Batavia City Council was having second thoughts about supporting the Genesee Country Farmers Market, the president of the organization and one of the downtown market’s best customers touted its benefits at tonight’s Business Meeting.

Jan Goodenbury of Oakfield, in her second term as the GCFM president, encouraged council members to “support the market and make a timely decision to approve our application” at the board’s next meeting on March 28.

A former Batavian, Goodenbury emphasized the market’s value to the community, with locally-grown produce fresher than what is available in supermarkets and by keeping money in the GLOW region, which helps the local economy.

A flower, vegetable and chicken farmer, herself, she said the current location at the former JC Penney parking lot is ideal for customers, many who have to walk or ride their bicycle.

“With the Healthy Living (campus coming), it ties all in,” she said.

Goodenbury said the sooner the application to operate is approved, the better, because “vendor applications need to go out and go before the GCFM board for review.”

Pending City Council backing, the market will run three days a week for the seventh consecutive year on city-owned property in downtown Batavia. In 2021, it was open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from June 4 through Oct. 29.

City resident Christine Zinni followed Goodenbury to the podium, stating that the market is important “because I've been the recipient of some of the wonderful food that is offered at this market, and I teach food and culture classes at the State University of New York at Brockport.”

“So, I talk to a lot of young people about what that means and about healthful produce – to be out in the open air and be able to connect with others on a face-to-face basis,” she said. “And it’s helped me to have that resource so close; to be able to walk or bike and get the healthy benefits of fresh food.”

Drawing a chuckle, she said, “What I usually say to my students, well look what’s happened (to me) -- I’m 110 years old.”

Zinni proposed that the Batavia market take a page from what is happening at similar venues in Clarence, Le Roy and Rochester by adding music, for example.

“I don’t know what’s currently on the table – (but) more of an investment in the farmer’s market. It would definitely help the image – Batavia’s image; the kind of image that I think would be beneficial to the city,” she said.

Her suggestions prompted Council member John Canale to urge GCFM officials to partner with the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council to line up artists in various genres.

“Artists, music artists, fine artists – incorporate some of that (into the market), Canale said, noting that GO Art! is right across the street (at the corner of Bank and Main).

Canale also put in a plug for his favorite pastry.

“If you offer donuts from Sweet Ally’s donut shop in Oakfield, which are phenomenal, I will be there every week,” he said. “This is coming from a guy who knows donuts.”

Council member Patti Pacino assured Goodenbury and Zinni that the market is “well appreciated.” Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. agreed.

“We understand. It brings a lot of people downtown,” he said. “But we have an aging (police) building that we have to replace (a reference to the new station that will be going up on the GCFM’s former location on the other side of Alva Place). I don’t see any problem. We usually welcome the application.”

Photo: Christine Zinni speaks to City Council about the benefits of the Genesee Country Farmers Market. Jan Goodenbury is in the background. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Photos: Corfu Farmer's Market

By Howard B. Owens


The Corfu Farmer's Market is every Monday in the village from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

There will be no market on Labor Day but otherwise, farmers and vendors will gather each week until Oct. 4.

Dadio's offers free music (no cover charge) on its back patio at 6 p.m.




Corfu Farmer's Market

By Lisa Ace

Join us every Monday from 4pm-7pm at the Corfu Farmer's Market! Located in the Corfu Presbyterian Church parking lot at 63 Alleghany Road (Rt. 77) in Corfu, the Market features fresh produce, packaged food, crafts, food trucks and live music! Check us out at

Event Date and Time

How about the Angotti Beverage parking lot as permanent home for Genesee Country Farmers' Market?

By Mike Pettinella

A favorite in the quest for a permanent site for the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market has emerged, according to the treasurer of Downtown Batavia’s three-days-a-week venture.

Sharon Brent on Sunday said that market officials have been working with City Manager Rachael Tabelski to find a fixed location after having to move to the other side Alva Place to the former JC Penney parking lot this year.

“It looks as though the Angotti Beverage parking lot (south of School Street) is a possibility,” Brent said. “We’ve discussed other sites but for one reason or another, they’re not big enough or just won’t work.”

Brent said Austin Park also was considered but the parking lot isn’t suitable.

The market opened for the season last Friday and will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through Oct. 29.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The market offers fresh produce, baked goods, flowers and crafts, as well as beer and wine tastings, and food vending trucks.

Brent said 30 vendors are participating on Friday and that she is no longer taking applications for that day.

“We’re sold out on Friday,” she said. “Space is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Currently, three vendors are signed up for Tuesday, eight from 9-4 p.m. on Thursday, and 11 from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, she said.

Food trucks will be on site from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. on all three days, and picnic tables are available.


“Eat fresh, buy local.”

That’s the mantra of Kathryn Cringoli, (photo at right), a resident of Batavia for the past 18 months, who was hired last month as the market’s new manager.

The Hilton native said she is eager to promote and expand the market to attract as many vendors and customers as possible, noting her passion for all things agriculture and fresh, locally grown products.

Cringoli has extensive education and experience in agriculture as she has a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Sociology from San Diego State University and has worked as a caterer, bed & breakfast operator and at a hydroponic greenhouse in Hilton.

She also worked many years for the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field, and currently works part time at Tops Friendly Market in Batavia.

Cringoli said she moved to Batavia because her boyfriend is a student at the University of Buffalo Law School.

She said that 2020 was a very tough year for everyone, especially for farmers.

“A lot of them couldn’t unload their produce to the wholesalers or to the restaurants … so a lot of produce went to waste,” she said.

Cringoli said she hopes to get 4-H members and culinary students at Genesee Valley BOCES to participate at the market this summer, and emphasized that people getting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits are eligible to buy fruits and vegetables there.

“I'm delighted for this new opportunity,” she said. “Eat fresh, buy local is what I am striving to instill into this community.”

City posts job descriptions for assistant manager, Department of Public Works director

By Mike Pettinella

Batavia City Manager Rachael Tabelski hasn’t found time to completely move into her new office, but she has wasted little time acting to fill two key administrative positions.

Tabelski, following tonight’s City Council Conference Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, said job descriptions for an assistant city manager and director of the Department of Public Works are up on the city’s website and other social media sites and have been sent to municipal and trade associations.

When asked how her first two weeks as the permanent city manager have gone, Tabelski said it has been business as usual except for the task of transferring her workload and possessions to the city manager’s office.

“Well, it doesn’t really feel different. I started moving my office today – I finally got a break .. and this morning I took about 20 minutes to start moving things,” she said. “But I think that the most exciting thing that we have is that we just announced the posting for the assistant city manager job and the director of DPW.”

The city has been without an assistant city manager since June of last year when Tabelski moved up from that role to replace Martin Moore. Just recently, she appointed Ray Tourt to replace Matt Worth (who retired) as DPW director but Tourt has decided to return to his former position of superintendent of the Bureau of Maintenance.

“So, that certainly is progress in terms the first two weeks as the official manager,” Tabelski said. “And that will certainly help with the workload that the managers’ currently have (by) filling those positions and getting projects moving.

“We just released a job description and advertisement on Friday afternoon and started posting on social media. We will be advertising with our local partners as well as with associations across the state to find the qualified candidate that wants to come in and do a lot of project work, actually.”

Tabelski said the assistant manager position is going to be “very project based.”

“This person should have a degree in Business or a business-related field or Public Administration, and with years’ experience and be very comfortable in a top executive role with our city,” she said.

The actual job description indicates the assistant will execute projects “in a timely and professional manner with a focus on financial tracking and compliance … (and) provide … accurate and timely information to support decision-making and policy direction …”

Some of the many “typical work activities” listed include assisting with collective bargaining, operating and capital budgets, and evaluation of the city’s fiscal position in relation to the budget. The assistant manager also will oversee the creation of an administrative services budget to include the clerk/treasurer, youth, information technology, assessor and human resources.

The salary range for the assistant city manager is $82,946 to $100,604, and the selected individual will have to move into the city within six months of the appointment.

No salary range is listed for the DPW director, who is responsible for the management of the Bureau of Engineering and Inspection, Bureau of Water and Wastewater, and the Bureau of Maintenance.

In other developments:

  • As first reported on The Batavian, the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market is looking to move across Alva Place into the former JC Penney parking lot this summer (actually beginning on June 4).

Council members seemed to be pleased with the move, especially after Tabelski said that there would be plenty of parking available even if another store moved into the empty building.

Council Member Rose Mary Christian noted that alcohol will be served and questioned whether farmers’ market officials had the appropriate permits or licenses. During a brief back and forth, she asked several times for City Attorney George Van Nest to check into it.

The application submitted by Sharon Brant, farmers’ market treasurer, indicates that the organization has a special permit through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the NYS Liquor Authority for tasting only, and that vendors can sell alcoholic beverages in approved sealed containers.

The market is scheduled to run on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 29.

Tabelski mentioned that she has been meeting with farmers' market officials on a regular basis and is planning a downtown "walk-through" to look at potential permanent sites for the operation.

  • Council moved two resolutions to its Business Meeting on April 12.

One was to create a temporary position of superintendent of water and wastewater as a result of current Superintendent Bill Davis’ intention to retire within the next eight to 12 months.

Tabelski encouraged Council to “fill the position in advance to avoid a large knowledge gap,” adding that similar action was taken in the case of police officer retirements.

She said she expects to advertise for the Civil Service position soon, with an eye on filling it by the end of May.

Council Member John Canale asked if the city’s hiring freeze pertaining to this position.

Tabelski said the freeze was for jobs in the general fund, while this is being paid for by the water and wastewater funds.

The other resolution was to authorize the Community Garden board to apply for an AARP Community Challenge Grant of up to $10,000 to improve the garden on MacArthur Drive.

Tourt said proposed enhancements would be for materials to construct a hardscaped patio with a pergola (outdoor garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars) and to add more planting beds.

Deadline to submit the grant is April 14.

Genesee Country Farmers' Market seeks move to former JC Penney parking lot; opening day is June 4

By Mike Pettinella

The Genesee Country Farmers’ Market, pending approval from the Batavia City Council, is moving across Alva Place this year.

The event summary for this Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting includes an application submitted by Sharon Brant, farmer’s market treasurer, to conduct business beginning June 4 and running through Oct. 29.

The proposed location is in the former JC Penney parking lot across the street, just south of where the market has operated for the past five years.

Brant said tents and tables will be set up “more towards the corner that goes up to the Bank of America drive-through from what I understand from the pictures (renderings).”

She said this year’s hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The market offers fresh produce, baked goods, flowers and crafts, as well as beer and wine tastings, and a food vending truck.

Brant said she is working with potential vendors and plans to issue a press release once all of those applications have been received and approved.

Asked about a location beyond this year -- due to the city looking to build a new police station at the previous Alva/Bank site, Brant said she been communicating with City Manager Rachael Tabelski on a monthly basis.

“There’s nothing definite yet, but we are talking,” she said.

In other developments:

  • The Batavia Concert Band has applied to the city for permission to offer seven performances at Centennial Park.

The first one is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 19. The others will take place at 7 p.m. on consecutive Wednesdays, starting June 30.

  • Tabelski will be asking Council to create a temporary position of superintendent of water & wastewater in light of current Superintendent Bill Davis’ wish to retire within the next eight to 12 months.

“The goal in creating the temporary position is to ensure that the knowledge, skills and abilities of the current superintendent … are transferred to a successor,” Tabelski wrote in a memo dated March 16.

She also indicated the job is a Civil Service competitive position, and requires someone with specialized training and experience in water plant operations, wastewater and water treatment distribution systems.

Per the memo, the temporary job’s $76,000 non-union salary to be split equally between the water and wastewater funds. When Davis does retire, the temporary appointment would move into the permanent position.


Monday’s meeting in the Council Board Room on the second floor of the Batavia City Centre is scheduled for 7 p.m. It is open to the public with appropriate facemasks, social distancing and temperature screening upon arrival.

It will be streamed live on Facebook at and also can be viewed on Spectrum Channel 1301 at 9 a.m. March 24 and 8 p.m. March 26.

Do you enjoy the Le Roy Farmers' Market? It needs help to keep going

By Virginia Kropf

LE ROY – The Le Roy Farmers’ Market has been special to Scott and Mary Margaret Ripley for more than a decade.

But now, due to circumstances beyond their control, the market may be shut down, unless others step up to help the Ripleys run it.

The Le Roy Market was started 15 years ago by a handful of friends who belonged to a book club. After reading a book titled "Vegetable, Animal, Miracle" by Sandy Kingsolver, the friends Sandy Brady, Pat Fussell, Lynn Soloman, Linda Ruck and Donna Call decided to start a farmers’ market.

The market had a board of directors and was subsequently run by a second and third generation of individuals, until the third generation couldn’t do it anymore and was forced to give it up. 

Then the board was disbanded and all the members left, Mary Margaret said. 

“There was just me and Scott left,” she said. “We took over for the vendors and we’ve run it for five seasons. We knew they needed it and the community wanted it.”

The Ripleys had attended the market for eight years as a vendor with goods from their bakery.

Heart Attack Changes Everything

Then, a week ago, Scott had a serious heart attack. Fortunately, he is recovering and was released from the hospital on Friday, but Mary Margaret fears running the market will now be too much stress for both of them, and she is seeking help.

In addition to running the market, Scott is announcer for Le Roy Little League and is involved as a board member for the Le Roy Historical Society. Mary Margaret said it was undoubtedly stress, which caused his heart attack, and he has to slow down.

The Ripleys would like to re-establish a board in an effort to assure the market keeps going.

“We are asking people to volunteer to become members of the market’s new board,” Mary Margaret said. 

They feel one person is needed to handle each of these different tasks:

  • Posting / updating social media;
  • Serving as liaison to the village and work with vendor development;
  • Booking weekly entertainment;
  • Booking the community booth weekly;
  • Handling New York State Nutrition requirements;
  • Organizing weekly volunteers.

Market -- 'One of the Most Successful in the Area'

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the market had weekly entertainment. Mary Margaret said the Le Roy Market is one of the most successful in the area.

“People come from all over to our market,” she said. “Last year we had people from the cities who came here because our market was smaller and they were looking for a smaller crowd during the pandemic. Vendors also tell us they do better at our market than in others in the county.”

Mary Margaret said in addition to being of value to the vendors, the Le Roy Farmer’s Market attracts up to 400 people weekly. 

“It’s wonderful to see the community members come out,” Mary Margaret said. “These vendors are our friends and we want to see them be successful. We love the market, we love the vendors and we love our community.

"But we cannot continue to give up 15 weeks of our lives each summer without help. As we have experienced this week, life is very precious.”

The Le Roy Farmers' Market meets at Trigon Park from June 17 to Oct. 2 and is open from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Saturday. 

Anyone who would like to volunteer to help with the market can email the Ripleys at:, or text or call Mary Margaret at (585) 297-2441.

Photo from the Le Roy Farmers' Market Facebook page.

City Council topics include police group future, staffing levels, manager search, ice rink repairs

By Mike Pettinella

Between the interim city manager’s report and public comments, the Batavia City Council tonight heard about and touched upon several topics beyond the nuts and bolts of scheduling public hearings for the 2021-22 budget, water rates and amendments to the Downtown Business Improvement District Plan.

The Business Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room, which lasted only 25 minutes by the way, included:

  • Discussion of the City of Batavia Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group, which is wrapping up its tasks as required by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 on community policing reform;
  • Staffing of the Department of Public Works, and the police and fire departments in light of the city’s fiscal constraints;
  • Budgeted funds for improvements at Falleti Ice Arena, which are sorely needed, according to a longtime “hockey mom”;
  • And, barely, an update on the search for a permanent city manager, a process that was prompted by the departure of Martin Moore almost eight months ago.

Furthermore, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski’s report provided some insight on the police station feasibility study (and its effect on the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market), Community Garden on MacArthur Drive, Jackson Square improvement project, and the City Centre feasibility study.

City resident John Roach, a frequent contributor to Council meetings, posed questions regarding the future of the police stakeholder group, city manager search and essential services’ staffing.

Police Advisory Stakeholders Group

On the police advisory group, Roach applauded the city’s intention to continue meeting after the final report is submitted to New York State by April 1, but wanted assurances that any committees would include only city residents.

“I don’t want anyone else outside the city telling us how to run our local police department,” he said.

Tabelski’s response indicated that a “subcommittee” or “focus group” has planned to meet on its own with Chief Shawn Heubusch and the Batavia City School District as needed, so she didn’t think the recommendation would be “to keep that as a standing committee on behalf of the city.”

She and Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. agreed that a concerted effort would be made to make sure city residents only would participate on any ongoing “community engagement committee.”

Professional Search for a Manager

Roach then asked about the status of the manager search, noting the amount of time that has elapsed.

His specific questions: “Have we got any updates on the search headhunter group? Did they find any candidates yet? And while the search is supposed to be free, there are always costs. Have we incurred any costs yet related to the search for the city manager?”

Council Member John Canale, part of the search/screening committee, offered very little in return, continuing an exercise that has been kept away from the public eye. Previously, The Batavian reached out to Canale for a few more details about the search but he did not respond to a telephone call or email.

“In regards to the manager’s search, I will not comment on specifics, but just to let you know that we are engaged with the recruitment company (The Novak Consulting Group of Cincinnati, Ohio) and we’re moving forward with our national search and we’re in that process right now,” Canale said in response to Roach. “There will be more to come.”

The search/screening committee advertised in national publications prior to a Dec. 30 deadline – about six weeks ago -- for candidates to submit their resumes.

Moore and the city mutually agreed to part ways on June 20. At that point, Tabelski, who was the assistant city manager, moved into the top spot until a permanent manager was found. She has since revealed that she has applied for the job.

Moore’s leaving prior to serving two full years also triggered a provision in its contract with Novak to obtain a “free search” for his replacement. Nonetheless, the city is anticipating some expense, including the cost of placing job vacancy notices.

Public Works, Police, Fire Staffing

On DPW, police and fire staffing, Roach said he wanted to know the number of employees and vacancies in each department, and asked, “If there are future vacancies, do you intend to fill them or just keep letting the numbers drop because of the budget?”

Tabelski replied that there are four vacancies in the fire department, with one to be filled and three to remain vacant “to achieve our budget number.”

She said the police department is down two employees.

“Contractually one of the vacancies will stay frozen for three years through a retirement incentive and the other, if and when there is funding to fill that, we’ll look forward to doing so,” she said.

DPW Superintendent Ray Tourt said there are 16 employees in his department – down one position (which is frozen this year) at the Bureau of Maintenance. He added that DPW has 14 primary pieces of equipment with one in the process of being repaired.

“One is kind of part-time,” he said. “That’s the old girl that broke down this weekend, but we’re putting her back together for the next one.”

Funding Improvements at the Ice Rink

Council heard from two city residents who wrote letters of support in favor of implementing budgeted capital improvement funds for upgrades at the Falleti Ice Arena on Evans Street.

One was from Mary Ellen Reardon, a “hockey mom” who noted that she has seen no improvements in many years and called the facility “the most poorly maintained rink in the Western New York region.”

She wrote that she has worked at the rink, her husband played in the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association as a youth and then in the Batavia Men’s Hockey League, and their three sons currently play hockey at various levels.

Other topics covered during Monday night's meeting:

  • Police station feasibility study -- Tabelski said Heubusch has provided much information and is prepared to work on preliminary items that “may require us to be on that site (Alva Place parking lot) over the summertime, leading into the meetings that I’ve had with the Public (Farmers’) Market Treasurer Sharon Brant.”

The Farmers’ Market has operated at the Alva Place parking lot for the past five years.

Tabelski said she hopes the market will be able to find a site downtown this summer and a long-term location downtown as well, but they need to identify the appropriate place.

“At the end of the day, it is their choice where they operate,” she said. “If there are only one or two city locations and they are not – they don’t see those as valuable – they may not be in the downtown, but I hope that we can find a way to make it work.”

  • Community garden on MacArthur Drive -- She said the project is going forward this year, adding that Tourt and the DPW are coordinating communications with the garden board.
  • Jackson Square DRI project -- Tabelski said a public engagement meeting for the $750,000 Downtown Revitalization Initiative project at Jackson Square, located between Jackson and Center streets, is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 18 via Zoom videoconferencing.

“It’s an opportunity for citizens to hear about the project and help shape what that project would look like. It’s probably one of the best community spaces we have and we want to use it more often with more events,” she said.

In December, Council voted in favor of a $114,720 contract with Architectural Resources of Buffalo for engineering services to renovate and enhance the Jackson Square entertainment venue.

  • City Centre feasibility study -- “The City Centre feasibility study is being finalized and will be posted on the city website very soon, and we will be submitting for reimbursement for that grant,” Tabelski advised. “That will help inform us on how to move forward with the City Centre DRI $1 million project.”


As expected, Council scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 22 on the budget, a $16.79 million general fund budget spending plan that currently calls for a 1.38-percent increase in the property tax rate. The annual property tax increase on a home assessed at $100,000 will be about $13.

Public hearings to establish new water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees, and to amend the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District Plan also were scheduled for Feb. 22 at the same time.

A public hearing about the Community Development Block Grant, a program of the New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal, took place tonight, but no one from the public or Council commented. The city seeks to obtain a CDBG grant to fund infrastructure projects.

'I take offense to that.' City Council members reject charges that they don't listen to residents

By Mike Pettinella

Batavia City Council members vigorously defended themselves Monday night after a city resident called them out for not communicating effectively with their constituents.

Sammy DiSalvo, speaking during the public comments portion of the Business Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, said he was there to “talk about a larger issue that seems to be facing Council and city government as a whole – the lack of communication from city officials and from Council.”

“Elected officials are meant to represent and listen to citizens, not to ignore what citizens say," DiSalvo said. "Elected officials are meant to represent and listen to citizens, not to pursue personal interests. Elected officials are meant to represent and listen to citizens. This lack of communication from our City government is not acceptable.”

DiSalvo ran against incumbent Council Member Jeremy Karas last week for the unexpired term for Councilman-at-Large, but is trailing by 636 votes pending the counting of absentee ballots.

He gave examples of what he called Council’s “persistent refusal to listen to and communicate with residents” and said it was a “disgrace” that no Council member responded to a woman’s concerns when she spoke a couple weeks ago.

DiSalvo mentioned the problems with the deer committee over the summer and with the City Youth Board.

“These are two committees that Council has put together – both committees that Council decided not to inform of things happening until after decisions were made,” he said. “What’s the point of having a committee if you’re going to make decisions without them?”

He also criticized city leaders for their role in turning the farmers’ market situation “into a media and Facebook fight.”

“There’s also a lack of listening to the community over the construction of where the (new) police station should be and there is a lack of listening to the community over what to do with the mall when the entire community says, ‘Get that thing out of the city’s hands and stop investing money in it,’ and you all want to double-down on it,” he said. “People did not want that mall when it replaced beautiful Main Street back in the late '60s  and early '70s and they don’t want it in 2020.”

DiSalvo said residents have complained to him that no Council members have social media to share their real-time thoughts on Batavia.

“To which I have no response, other than it is much easier to be a mouse and hide than it is to speak out and risk being burned,” he said, before crediting the city for increasing its frequency of posts on its social media site.

Council members, in their responses, rejected DiSalvo’s scathing assessment.

-- John Canale: “I take offense to that Mr. DiSalvo. I listen to my city residents. I listen to the ones who contact me. I don’t go by what I’m reading on social media because I don’t believe most of what I read on social media. My constituents call me, as I am sure they do my colleagues, when they have concerns – or they send me an email or they show up at my front door, my front steps, and believe me that has happened quite often. So, the people that call me, I respond to. If I get an email, I immediately forward it to her to look into it for me and as soon as she gets an answer, she responds back to me and I forward that to my constituent.”

On the police station issue, Canale said Council took the task force’s recommendations and tried to purchase its first choice, but when that fell through, went with another one of its suggested sites (Alva Place parking lot). As far as responding to public speakers, he said he will respond if he has an adequate answer and, if not, will look into the matter further.

-- Paul Viele: “I have to agree with John, With the farmers’ market, we own the property. Why would we buy another piece of land and put the police station on there? That’s common sense. I coach hockey and I coach baseball, I’m all for the youth. When John said we’re not going to cut the youth (programs), we would never do that. And I also take offense to being called a mouse because I’m not on social media. Mr. DiSalvo, you have not a clue of what we do in here. What you do and what you see, when you sit back there, so I take offense to that.”

-- Kathleen Briggs: “I really take offense that I don’t listen to my constituents. I have a lot of problems in my (Fifth) Ward, and I’m telling you that my constituents, they know. They call me Monday through Sunday, anytime, I’ve gotten calls at 8 in the morning, and if I’m not home, I have a machine and they leave a message on my machine and I get back to them immediately and I listen to their concerns, I go to the proper department and I get back to them as soon as I can. I really take offense to the fact that we have someone saying that I don’t listen to my constituents. That’s appalling to me.”

-- Robert Bialkowski: “As far as not responding, I spent three hours on the phone yesterday discussing issues with various people … and today I spent two hours on the phone. Topics of conversation were about the youth bureau. The way it works, citizens are on top of the pyramid. Period. End of story. The individual citizens here, they call the shots. … We’re policy makers. We don’t run the city day-to-day. When it comes to the youth bureau, that’s policy … that’s up to us. And if we make the wrong decisions, then I guess some of us won’t be here in the future.”

He did acknowledge DiSalvo’s concerns about the deer committee, saying it “turned out to be a nightmare for everybody involved, and I apologize for that. It shouldn’t have happened.”

“My bigger concern is that when we use committees and we use boards, let’s treat them fairly and include them into the decision-making process. I don’t like making a decision and then telling the board about it after the fact. My concern is why would anybody even want to serve on boards?”

-- Al McGinnis: “I spent two hours over tea at my house with (Genesee Country Farmers’ Market Manager) Betty Carr talking about the farmers’ market, and Alva Place and the police (station). What a lot of people don’t realize or refuse to realize is that every single member of this Council spends an inordinate amount of time with their constituents in private – either a personal visit or a phone call. We don’t have to speak up in public; a lot of people would like to talk to you privately … which we do on our own time as part of the job.”

-- Patti Pacino: “Here’s what you need to know – I’m not offended in the least. You have the right to say what you have to say, so there you are. I learned from a great person, Mary Pat Hancock, who taught me to let it roll off your back, live with it, not everybody is going to agree. I want everybody to know that I also listen to everybody on Jackson Square, youth bureau, farmers’ market and all that, she said, adding that she is against the city youth programs being run by the YMCA.”

Another public speaker, city resident John Roach, sided with Council members in that they do listen.

“We just had an election and had two different points of view and the other point of view won (Jeremy Karas) by 600-something votes pending the recount of the absentee ballots,” Roach said.

Then he proceeded to give his thoughts on the farmers’ market and the location of a new headquarters for the Batavia Police Department.

“They’re over there at Alva Place by the good graces of City Council. You allow them to be there. They don’t pay user fees, they don’t pay property taxes or anything else,” he said. “And we’re going to put a police station somewhere and I know that wasn’t the first choice, it wasn’t the second choice, but it is the current choice. We already own the property. Environmental issues are going to be a lot less. There are already utilities there. Let the farmers’ market move.”

Roach said it would be unwise for the police department to move into the former JCPenney store.

“Well, that would mean taking property off the tax rolls and they also pay mall maintenance fees. Let the farmers’ market contact the owners of the Penney’s building. Let them pay rent. Let them move into Penney’s. It’s a huge place. Great place for a farmers’ market,” he said. “Why should the city have to foot the bill to relocate the police station somewhere else and maybe pay another $500,000 to buy another piece of property? It just doesn’t make any sense.”

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