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town of batavia

May 6, 2021 - 2:29pm
posted by Press Release in town of batavia, news, public availablity.

Press release:

Town of Batavia Clerk's Office drive-up service window will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Town of Batavia Clerk's Office inside the Town Hall will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on WEDNESDAYS ONLY OR  by appointment Monday through Friday.

The Town of Batavia Court facility resumed court proceedings in person today -- May 6. 

The Town of Batavia lobby inside the Town Hall is closed. For in-person service to pay a fine, etc., please call the court at (585) 343-1729, ext. 216.

The Town of Batavia Highway facility will remain closed to the public.

The public town park is open.

Public meetings:

  • The Town of Batavia Board meetings are resuming in person.
  • Planning Board and Zoning Board meetings continue to be held virtually via Zoom video/teleconferencing.

Town of Batavia website:   http://www.townofbatavia.com

Communication with the Town of Batavia department officials will be available by email, phone or by appointment.

Assessment:

Building/Zoning:

Court Clerk:

Engineering:

Highway:

Supervisor:

Town Clerk:

Water / Wastewater:

  • (585) 356-4900
April 28, 2021 - 8:19am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, solar systems.

Small-scale solar projects are on hold in the Town of Batavia until municipal officials, working with a paid consulting firm, can find the right ingredients to ensure a fair and effective solar ordinance.

Town Building Inspector Dan Lang took some time out of his busy day Tuesday to update The Batavian on the status of the new code, which he hopes will be drafted and approved over the next few months. In January, the town placed a moratorium on solar farms without establishing an end date.

“We’re putting out bids for a consultant and want to make sure it is the right fit for the town and matches up with our comprehensive plan,” Lang said. “We want to remain solar-friendly but we also want to make sure that we’re putting them in the right areas.”

As is the case with determining real estate values, the phrase “location, location, location” applies in the solar arena, Lang said.

“We have much to review and to sort out, but I can tell you that we’ve been tossing around the idea of incentive zoning for these systems – a tiered approach where you have your best locations, followed by areas that we would allow but would come with more restrictive setbacks and guidelines,” Lang explained. “Then, finally, a third tier where we really don’t want solar on prime farmland but if you’re going to put it here, this would have to be in a specific spot (and likely costlier for the developer).”

Part of the siting process is to identify areas where the transmission power lines have enough capacity to hook into the grid, Lang said.

Thus far, the Town of Batavia has approved five solar projects, all of them active and sitting on parcels of 20 acres or less and generating 2 to 5 megawatts of electricity. Those five are on Bank Street Road (on land owned by Thomas Lichtenthal), on Lewiston Road (two, Call Farms) and on Pearl Street Road (two, Dan Miller).

Five more are at various stages of construction and/or review and are yet to be activated. Those are on West Main Street Road (two, Fred Bowman), on Batavia-Stafford Townline Road (Daniel Underhill), on Galloway Road (Wayne Dunham) and on Ellicott Street Road (Donald Partridge).

Another five are in limbo, Lang said, due to the moratorium and the effort to adopt a new solar ordinance.

Lang said town officials have learned much through the process of approving the five systems, notably that they weren’t up to speed on the amount of buffer and screening needed to hide them from neighbors, and that they would have been better served by limiting the number of utility poles.

That’s where the consultant comes in.

“From experience, we realize we need to reach out and have a consultant come in and tell us some of the better areas for the solar – more or less, what companies will be looking for as far as transmission lines that have the capacity to move electricity from solar farms,” Lang said.

He admitted that it has been difficult keeping up with an industry that is constantly changing.

“For example, we’re finding that we can get away with more underground lines instead of looking at the ugly utility poles,” he said. “No matter what, it continues to evolve and then there is the matter of battery systems and battery storage to deal with. It’s all moving at a rapid pace.”

Lang said the objective is to respect the landowners’ right to put solar on their property while producing cleaner and greener energy in a location that doesn’t negatively impact the surrounding community.

“We realize – and this is a big thing – that supplemental income for the farmer who wants the solar there is important and we encourage that because that’s the highest and best land use value for them,” he said. “And we’re trying to find areas where it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and not intrusive to the neighboring properties.”

Currently, the town requires a decommissioning bond on every project, Lang said.

“If something does go south with it, the system will be removed. It really is a farmland protection. If it is removed five or 10 years from now, you have soil that has been untouched and ready to go again for farming,” he said,

Lang acknowledges that solar projects draw complaints from those who live next to the proposed site.

“We’ve heard them all – they’re an eyesore, they pollute the land and so on,” he said.

When a consultant is selected and a new ordinance is drafted, the plan will be reviewed by county and town planning boards before going to the Town Board, Lang said. Until then, more meetings of a six-person committee that includes Lang will be scheduled and citizens are invited to send their opinions via email to [email protected].

Other members of the committee are Town Board Member Chad Zambito, Town Planning Board members Paul McCullough and Donald Partridge, citizen representative Nancy Brach and Zoning Board of Appeal Member Brittany Witkop.

April 16, 2021 - 2:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, town of batavia.

Leroy Thornton III, 30, of Ashland Avenue, Niagara Falls, was arrested April 15 on a Genesee County Court Indictment Warrant.

His arrest concluded an investigation into the transportation, sale and possession of "crack" cocaine in and around the Town of Batavia.

Thornton is charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree -- with intent to sell, a Class B felony; and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, also a Class B felony.

He was arraigned in Genesee County Court, then released on his own recognizance.

The arrest was made by the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force with assistance from the Niagara County Probation Department. The Genesee County District Attorney's Office assisted in the investigation.

April 13, 2021 - 9:04am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Ellicott Trail, Batavia City Council, town of batavia.

As the Batavia City Council voted Monday night to consider accepting five easements from the Town of Batavia toward the maintenance of Ellicott Trail, its members encouraged residents to take pride in the 9.7-mile recreational walking and bicycling path by picking up trash along the way.

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said he was on the trail recently and noted that “the part from Jackson to Pearl Street is pretty rough.”

“It’s pretty washed out and there’s debris – there’s surgical masks laying on the side of the road,” he said. “Now, that’s the new thing. (With) COVID, everybody’s throwing their masks away; they’re falling out of their pockets and this waste is laying around on our streets now, and there are some on the trail itself.”

Jankowski said he realizes that it is spring and outside has that “look to it,” but wanted to know the city’s timetable for cleanup and suggested rounding up some volunteers to help out.

City Manager Rachel Tabelski said the process starts with accepting the transfer of the easements at 665 E. Main St., Batavia Gardens, Ellicott Station (two) and Elmwood Cemetery.

The city then would be responsible for maintaining these areas as they are located inside the city limits form Pearl Street Road to Cedar Street, but the county will maintain the DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street.

During planning and construction of the trail, the town acquired various easements for real property in the city but, per a resolution to be formally voted on in two weeks, these parcels will be transferred back to the city.

Tabelski also reported that a volunteer group led by John Roche, owner of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle on Center Street, is willing to help pick up trash along the trail, and that the city will schedule “ongoing maintenance” to coincide with the park schedule this spring and summer.

Officially opened last year, the 10-foot-wide trail consists of crushed stone along 4.9 miles of old railroad beds. When you add in sidewalks, bike lanes and bridges, the entire trail is 9.7 miles, with the eastern entrance on Seven Springs Road and the western entrance on Industrial Boulevard (off Pearl Street).

Council Member Robert Bialkowski said he was looking for the city’s annual cost to maintain the trail.

Tabelski said it would cost about $7,000 in materials every five years and that city Department of Public Works employees would take care of the maintenance.

Interim DPW Director Ray Tourt said “to figure on eight to 10 times per year for additional mowing.”

“As for materials, we’ll have to kind of figure it out – it is new,” he said. “The town’s idea is that we should be able to go five years without putting a new top on it – another layer of stone dust – but there are some washed out areas that they’ve committed to repair this year.”

Bialkowski then asked for an annual labor cost, to which Tourt replied, “About $4,000 annually, and we’re going to have a bump when we do that recap at around five years. And we’ve got about a week’s worth of work there, also.”

Council Member Paul Viele then asked about security on the trail, mentioning that college campuses have put up blue lights for illumination and for emergency situations.

“Do we have anything back there for these young girls walking the trail? There are a lot of idiots out there, you know, that could be hiding in the woods. I’m just concerned with safety – girls jogging, running, walking, whatever …” Viele said.

Jankowski said most people have a cell phone with them, the trail is “pretty open” and that he feels safe walking the trail because he has a view of 100 yards in each direction. He added that developers didn’t include the expense of having emergency lights, but Tabelski said Viele had a “valid point” as she has considered that as well.

Bialkowski then said he wanted to get back to his original point, calculating that the annual cost to the city for materials and labor would be about $5,500. He said that because the city’s DPW crew is already stretched, he urged residents to pick up trash when they see it and “to pitch in.”

Jankowski then brought up that he considered the trail’s crossing point on Cedar Street as dangerous.

“You can’t see that traffic from that location, and I know enough to cross down the road more. But if you follow the trail, it wants you to cross on the downslope, near the overpass where the train tracks are, and your blind spot is that left side,” he said.

He asked Tabelski to look into possibly moving it closer to the entrance of DeWitt Recreation Area. He said it was a “marking issue” and suggested moving it over about 30 feet to make it safer, especially for those riding bikes.

Calling it a “nine mile park,” Jankowski said the trail is very popular. He said he must have seen a couple hundred people along the trail recently.

Council Member John Canale then suggested an “adopt a highway” program where certain community groups commit to maintaining a section on an annual basis.

“We might somewhere down the road, may want to look at offering some various local groups, especially groups of young people, that might want to take on a project like that and say, ‘This is our portion of the trail that we’re going to adopt and every spring we’re going to go and do cleanup,’ ” he said.

March 25, 2021 - 12:05pm

downsparkroadchange.jpg

Directors of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. this morning voted in favor of paying the Town of Batavia up to $395,000 for property enhancements as part of the Park Road Reconstruction Project that is scheduled to commence construction this fall.

Following the approval at the board’s monthly meeting at Batavia Downs Gaming, WROTB President/CEO Henry Wojtaszek said he was impressed with Town officials’ diligence in making the $3 million street reconstruction a reality and is eager to see the finished product.

“This will be a beautiful entry to our facility,” Wojtaszek said. “We’re talking about sidewalks, a promenade, tree-lined area, street and parking lot lighting, landscaping, road work, valet improvements for hotel purposes and some infrastructure work.

“We had a great meeting with them (town officials). They were very well prepared and they had excellent documents.”

Wojtaszek said that “every bit of the project is very well thought out,” noting that work will be done on one side of the street at a time to keep traffic moving – although at a slower pace. “The town is going to improve the speed bumps that we have, and that will help, also.”

Last June, WROTB granted the town three easements – small parcels to help facilitate drainage, utilities and sidewalk installation.

The major rehabilitation of the road will take place from Lewiston Road (Route 63) to Oak Street (Route 98).

Work will include new pavement, curbs and curbing from Lewiston Road to Richmond Avenue with sidewalks on both sides of Park Road, while pavement will be overlaid and sidewalks installed on one side of the road from Richmond Avenue to Route 98. The project also calls for new water lines and street lights on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

Town Engineer Steve Mountain said WROTB’s request for “betterments” is typical of road projects in urban areas.

“If somebody wants additional streetscape and improvements to enhance the functionality of their facility – such as Batavia Downs – than oftentimes betterment improvements are performed,” Mountain said. “Things like additional lighting, surface treatments, walkways, landscaping and trees. They’re kind of above and beyond what we would normally do.”

Mountain said that the state-funded project is in its design phase and that the town is hoping to solicit bids in August.

“We’re waiting on our grant application for the water main,” he said. “Depending upon the results of that, replacement of the water main is out ahead of the road project.”

Last month, the Batavia Town Board approved a resolution to apply for a state Community Development Block Grant for around $900,000 to replace a 5,300-foot stretch of water main on Park Road.

Mountain said the plan is to remove the 50-year-old asbestos water main under the roadway that serves Batavia Downs Gaming and other commercial enterprises. The pipe runs along the length of Park Road from Route 63 to the gas station on Park Road, not far from Route 98.

In other developments:

  • Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach reported that the corporation will distribute $66,500 in surcharge to member municipalities for February, despite an operating loss of about $115,000 for the month.

Branch operations declined by about $73,000 in February. As of March 16, however, revenue was up by more than $900,000 compared to that time in 2020, which happened to be the first week of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Batavia Bets, the corporation’s interactive online platform, had a handle of $1.4 million in February, up $354,000, and through March 21, revenue is up by $383,000. Year to date, Batavia Bets’ proceeds are $4 million, a 50 percent increase.

  • Directors approved four other spending measures:

$400,000 to Bally’s Casino Marketplace for the installation of a video lottery gaming player tracker and update of related hardware and software;

$55,000 to Kim Crawford for consulting services in respect to the resurfacing and maintenance of the harness horse racing track;

$16,500 to the William Ryan Group, Inc., for an application (app) that will alert gaming personnel when a machine or patron needs assistance;

$21,350 to United Tote Company for a horse racing ticket cashing kiosk.

  • Marketing Director Ryan Hasenauer announced that Batavia Downs Gaming is attempting to bring in two more concerts outside of the nine-concert Rockin’ the Downs series. Hasenauer said a first-rate tribute band is likely to perform on May 22, followed by a nationally-known artist sometime in July.

downsparkroadchange2.jpg

March 15, 2021 - 12:51pm
posted by Press Release in town of batavia, State or Emergency, covid-19.

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

A State of Emergency is hereby declared in the TOWN OF BATAVIA, effective at 6 p.m. on March 13, 2021.

This State of Emergency has been declared due to the existing and continuing declared States of Emergency at the Federal, State, County, and City of Batavia, related to the COVID-19 virus.

This situation threatens the public safety.

This State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days or until rescinded by a subsequent order.

As the Chief Executive of TOWN OF BATAVIA, County of Genesee, State of New York, I, Gregory H. Post, exercise the authority given me under Section 24 of the New York State Executive Law, to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being, and health of the citizens of this Municipality.

I hereby direct all departments and agencies of TOWN OF BATAVIA to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure, and provide such emergency assistance deemed necessary.

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

March 12, 2021

March 9, 2021 - 8:58am

As much as $2.5 million could be on its way to the City of Batavia through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that is expected to be approved by the House of Representatives either today or Wednesday before being sent to President Biden for signing into law.

“We’ve had figures ranging between $1.57 million and $2.5 million, so I’ll go with the lowest figure -- 1.5 to come into the City of Batavia, specifically,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said after Monday night’s City Council Business Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room.

The massive COVID-19 relief bill includes another round of $1,400 direct payments to income-eligible citizens as well as money for schools, small businesses, vaccines and expansion of the child tax credit. It has been hailed as a great victory for the Biden Administration, but lawmakers on the Republican side have opposed it, stating that only 9 percent of the funds go directly to coronavirus relief.

Already passed by the Senate, the current plan on the House floor appropriates $23.8 billion for New York State, broken down as follows:

  • $12.569 billion for New York State government;
  • $6.141 billion for New York’s metro cities;
  • $3.907 billion for New York’s counties;
  • $825 million for New York’s small cities, towns and villages;
  • $358 million for New York State broadband investment.

Tabelski termed money earmarked for Batavia as a “windfall.”

“The issue with the revenue is that it is not sustainable … it’s a windfall to the city,” she said. “You have to look at it for one-time type projects, and it can only be spent on certain things, like water, wastewater, infrastructure, broadband infrastructure, things of that nature.”

She said that the funds aren’t “something we can use at this point to stabilize our operations” but can be used to advance projects identified by city leaders.

She said it is unclear exactly how the money can be spent.

“Does it have to be COVID-related or can it be open-ended? So, when those rules and regulations are promulgated, we’ll have a lot better picture of how we’re able to move that forward on behalf of the residents of the city,” she advised.

Looking at Genesee County, its chief administrative officer anticipates the county receiving between $11 million and $12 million once the bill is passed.

“Guidelines are still coming out to help municipalities such as counties and cities better identify how we can allocate those monies in our communities,” County Manager Matt Landers said this morning.

“Basically, the broad strokes, the big picture that has been provided to me so far is that we can spend it on things like economic development projects, and infrastructure needs like broadband and water.”

He also pointed out that the money can be used to replace verifiable lost revenue.

“And we certainly can demonstrate lost revenue in Genesee County from lost sales tax and even lost state aid,” he said. “And also cover current and future COVID costs … and costs related to the pandemic that may qualify, such as the delay of our (proposed new) county jail. We have delayed our jail probably a good year or two, and the prices have gone up since then.”

Landers said he will be on a conference call with New York State Association of Counties officials on Friday to learn more about the parameters of the American Rescue Plan and share ideas with other county administrators.

“To my knowledge, you can access the money for prior lost revenue … things that have happened as a result of the pandemic and then there are specific projects in the community that we can put it towards,” he offered.

“That’s where the economic development and infrastructure projects come in, working with the Chamber of Commerce and GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center) to see of there are some projects that will meet the criteria – when we actually learn what the criteria is.”

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post said he has not received specific details, but indicated any funding for the town would likely be funneled through the county.

“We received absolutely nothing officially, in fact we’re still trying to get FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) reimbursements and work through that process,” said Post, adding that the town board will convene on Wednesday to possibly find out more about the latest relief package.

Post said there’s “a lot to offset” because municipalities did not receive the state aid that was expected.

“Counties are still recovering from that as well as a lot of towns,” he said.

February 19, 2021 - 11:18am

Batavia Town Supervisor Greg Post is looking forward to the day when he doesn’t have issue any more “state of emergency” declarations.

In anticipation of the end to what has become a monthly ritual, Post has set up a committee to work on a plan for Town of Batavia operations after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, Post extended the SOE for the town for another month “because of consistency with state and county and national responses to the pandemic.”

He said town officials will be formulating a new process for the utilization of town facilities, including the town hall, highway garage and parks “to address issues related to COVID but will not keep us in a constant state of emergency as we evolve from this both locally and nationally.”

Town Clerk Teressa Morasco, who is leading the committee, said towns and villages across New York are required to have an emergency pandemic plan in place by April 1 – a document outlining protocols and guidelines and the manner in which the municipality expects to conduct day-to-day business.

Joey Neth of the town’s engineering staff and Town Council members Patti Michalak and Sharon White also are on the committee.

Post advised that the town already has implemented numerous measures, such as working remotely and relying heavily on email and the town hall’s drive-through window.

“We’ve established a ‘virtual’ town hall and have been able to save $1 million without reducing efficiency of services,” Post said. “All of our inspections, accounting, plan reviews, assessments, document signing and bill collecting services have continued without interruption.”

The town had planned a $1 million project to design and expand the town hall, but that has been put on the back burner.

“If and when the state of emergency ends, we’re not going back to the way it was,” he said. “We don’t have the staff to check temperatures and we can’t hire more staff. Our plan going forward is to make the operation center more secure and making sure the business of the town gets done as efficiently as possible.”

In other developments, the town board approved the following at its meeting on Wednesday night:

  • Resolutions supporting the application of a Community Development Block Grant to replace a 5,300-foot stretch (just over a mile) of water main on Park Road, prior to the Park Road Reconstruction Project scheduled for this summer or fall.

Town Engineer Steve Mountain reported that the town will seek funding from the New York State Office of Community Renewal program to take out the 50-year-old asbestos water main under the roadway that serves Batavia Downs Gaming and other commercial enterprises.

Mountain said the pipe runs along the length of Park Road from Route 63 to the gas station on Park Road, not far from Route 98.

Community Development Block Grants come with requirements that the applying municipality must meet, primarily that 51 percent of the project beneficiaries must qualify as low and/or moderate income. Mountain said a 2018 survey indicates that the town is at 52.95 percent LMI.

A public hearing was held on Wednesday and another one will be scheduled when 75 percent of the work is completed, Mountain said.

Post indicated that the town is hoping to receive the full amount of the water main replacement, estimated to be around $900,000. The board also approved a contract for $5,900 with Municipal Solutions Inc. of Canandaigua and Le Roy to prepare the CDBG application, which is due by March 5.

  • A resolution to use a Bond Anticipation Note in an amount not to exceed $460,000 to purchase three high-end maintenance vehicles and apparatus for use by the highway, sewer and water crews.

Post said the BAN will be reviewed – and renewed annually – and he expects the town to realize “substantial saving on the interest rates, which have plummeted, and as a result of our bond ratings that have continue to increase.”

  • Establishing a committee to draft guidelines and recommendations pertaining to solar farms, which have been popping up in the town at an increasingly rapid rate in recent months.

Committee members are Council Member Chad Zambito (chair), Dan Lang, Brittany Witkop, Don Partridge, Nancy Brach and Paul McCullough.

January 6, 2021 - 4:19pm

Update: 5:30 p.m.

The Ways & Means Committee did approve the resolution as indicated below, sending the measure to next Wednesday’s meeting of the full Genesee County Legislature for final approval.

Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg praised Brooks Hawley’s work during his time on City Council.

“I think he has a good grasp of local government and I’m looking forward to working with him, as we all are,” she said.

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said that the leaders of the towns of Batavia and Stafford came together to give their “unanimous support” to Hawley.

--------------

If all goes according to plan at this afternoon’s Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting, Brooks Hawley will be one step closer to returning to a position in local government.

A resolution on the Ways & Means agenda has Hawley filling the vacancy on the legislature that was caused by the recent resignation of Andrew Young, who now is a Batavia Town justice.

Hawley is expected to be appointed to represent the towns of Batavia and Stafford (District 4), effective Jan. 13 -- when he will be sworn in at the full legislature meeting -- and running through 2021.

He will be eligible to run for election in November and, if elected, would serve the final two years of the District 4 term.

“I’m very excited to represent both towns and am looking forward to serving my community,” said Hawley, 44. “Having lived in the Town of Batavia for about four years now, I have joined the Batavia Republican Committee and last year became an alternate member of the Town Planning Board.”

It was in December 2016 when Hawley stepped out of the political arena by resigning his Councilman-at-Large seat on the Batavia City Council due to relocating his family out of the city and into the home of his late grandfather, state Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley, in the Town of Batavia.

At the time, the former City Council president said, “I'm not leaving and going away to never be heard from again” – a statement that is proving to be true.

Hawley is employed as a recreation director at Geneseo State College. He and his wife, Rhiannon, have three children, Ayla, 14; Troy, 11, and Quinn, 8.

State Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley is his father.

In other action, Ways & Means:

  • Approved a memorandum of agreement between the county and Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Genesee County that supports CCE in the amount of $338,548 for 2021 – the same dollar figure provided in years 2017 through 2020.
  • Extended a contract with e3communications of Buffalo through February for public relations and social media services to disseminate information in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. The county will pay the firm up to $8,000 for the two months.
  • Supported the appointments of Christi Waldron and Francis Roswick to the Office for the Aging Advisory Council, and James Sunser and Stefano Napolitano to the STOP-DWI Advisory Board.
November 19, 2020 - 11:05am

young_2.jpgUpdate, 1:30 p.m., with comments from Andrew Young:

"The justice position alllows me to continue to serve in a different capacity. It's something that I've always wanted to do at some point ... but the opportunity arose and it just seemed to make sense now," he said.

"From the legal perspective, I'm going to start an intense training program for the things that I don't know. But I think, more importantly, for this position, it's more about sound judgment and the right attitude than it is legal proceeding knowledge. There is plenty of assistance and support out there, I would guess that every town judge in the state -- 99 percent of them -- is not a lawyer, so they have a good program to train you and help you understand, procedurally, how to do things."

Young said he is looking forward to a new challenge, adding that he is confident that someone will be able to step into the legislative role.

"I'm really proud of the service that I have provided (as a legislator)," he said. "One thing is sure, my heart was in it, and was passionate about my opinions of how things should go."

--------------------

Andrew Young is stepping down from the Genesee County Legislature to accept the Batavia Town justice position.

The Batavia Town Board, at its meeting on Wednesday night via Zoom videoconferencing, passed a resolution appointing Young, 51, to the bench as a result of the resignation of current Town Justice Michael Cleveland, effective Nov. 27.

Young’s term will run through Dec. 31, 2021. The annual salary is $28,000.

The town board also passed a related resolution that adds Young’s name and new title to the document, “Town of Batavia Official Undertaking of Municipal Officers.”

Young has yet to respond to a telephone call and emails from The Batavian, which received the following notice from Assemblyman Steven Hawley last night about the vacancy*:

Individuals interested in possible Republican endorsement to fill upcoming vacancy on Genesee County Legislature, District 4, Towns of Batavia & Stafford should submit letter of interest & resume to: [email protected] & [email protected]. No later than 11/28 @ 5 p.m.

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, contacted by telephone, said she respected Young’s work as the representative of the towns of Batavia and Stafford. Young also is the chair of the Public Service Committee and is the legislative liaison to the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him and to know him,” Stein said. “His viewpoints as he served as a legislator, I truly valued. I am happy to consider him a friend due to serving in local government, and I wish him all the luck.”

Stein, who said that she expects that the legislature will be receiving a resignation letter from Young in the coming days, said that Young “demonstrated a leadership that will be missed.”

Young, owner of Reliant Real Estate in Batavia and a real property owner/manager, has served on the governing body since Jan. 1, 2014. His current term runs through Dec. 31, 2024.

Previously, he was co-owner of Pakhound Parcel Logistics and P.W. Minor Shoe Factory.

*Editor's note: We posted Hawley's solicitation solely for Town of Batavia Justice applicants on Nov. 3:

GOP candidates wanted to serve as Justice of Town of Batavia Court, Cleveland resigns

November 3, 2020 - 3:00pm


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It does have a gas stove for extra supplemental heat sunroom. H2O tank is a year old and furnace is only 2 years old and a newer metal roof!

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September 30, 2020 - 10:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, Batavia Town Board.

town_board_meeting_9_30_20_a.jpg

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post this afternoon left the door open for a downward adjustment of a proposed $2 million tax levy in 2021, a dollar amount that would nearly double the property tax rate charged to homeowners in the municipality.

Speaking at a special meeting at the Town Hall to release the tentative budget, Post summed up an impassioned, 50-minute response to town resident Michael Shultz, who questioned such a large tax increase, by emphasizing that “this is a starting point.”

“In three weeks, it probably will be a different budget as we have more information to get,” Post said, referring primarily to a third quarter revenue distribution from Genesee County and a report on town spending for the same period.

“Whatever we can do, we’d be willing to reduce the tax rate without endangering our ability to respond to the next disaster (the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the New York State economy),” he added.

Councilwoman Patti Michalak quickly finished Post’s statement by saying, “because next year could be worse.”

Town board members – as is the case in municipal governments across the state -- are facing unprecedented tension as they attempt to balance a spending plan of $4,075,787 in the general fund and $1,033,723 in the highway fund.

General Budget Breakdown

Post’s tentative general budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins on Jan. 1, calls for $2 million to be raised by property taxes, while using $135,899 from the town’s unexpended fund balance. Revenue is estimated at $1,939,888.

The general budget is more than $1 million less than the 2020 budget and, not coincidentally, the town is currently experiencing a $1 million shortfall in revenue due to cuts in state aid and in sales tax and other revenue from Genesee County.

In 2020, the town board allocated $992,310 from the unexpended fund balance to balance the budget. Measures put into place to reduce the tentative tax rate for 2021 could include using more than the $135,899 currently being proposed.

Should the tentative financial plan remain as is through the budget process, the property tax rate reportedly would jump from $2.45 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $4.61 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. On a home assessed at $80,000, for example, the tax bill would go from $196 to $368.80.

Shultz, a longtime resident of the Town of Batavia and one of four people in attendance, said when he read about a potential 89-percent increase (actually 88 percent) he was “taken aback.”

“Greg, I read your various news releases this summer and I was fully prepared for some bad news as probably my neighbors were as well,” Shultz said. “And, I expected maybe 25, 30, worst case scenario 35 percent.

Resident Said He Was Shocked

“I was totally taken aback this morning after the disastrous debate last night to read ... and (to) see a probable or potential 89-percent increase was a really shock. I’m quite frankly surprised that more of our neighbors aren’t here.”

After Post replied, “I’m sure they’ll show up eventually,” Shultz continued on, admitting that he had “very limited knowledge of how the municipal budget is established.”

“I worked for 59 years in the private sector (with a background in forest products and gypsum mining and manufacturing),” he said. “Many of those years as a plant manager at a number of facilities across the United States and Canada, and when we got into hard times like this, we got a memo – a very simple one-page memo from the corporate office -- and it said, ‘Here’s your bottom line. You do whatever you gotta do to fill it in.’ ”

Shultz surmised that putting together a budget for a town of the size of Batavia – which continues to expand its wealth through economic development and investment – has “boundaries that are much different than that.”

The resident took the approach that he didn’t understand the process, wanted to learn and “if I can, in some way, participate and help.”

He then thanked Post for his efforts.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of people wanting your job. They’re not going to be running for office, so you can be comfortable with that,” he said.

Many Factors to Consider

Post said he appreciated Shultz’s “perspective,” before embarking on a monologue that touched upon topics such as: how sales tax is distributed to the City of Batavia and towns and villages in Genesee County; how state mandates make things “mindbogglingly difficult” for counties; the town’s history of zero or very low tax rates; lack of revenue from court proceedings due to the COVID-induced shutdown; town employees who are working two or three jobs; and the board’s ability thus far to cut $1.4 million in spending compared to the 2020 budget.

The supervisor said the days of relying on Genesee County’s revenue distribution likely are over.

“We have been so reliant on sales tax revenue for two or three generations .. for as long as I can remember," he said. "The biggest chunk of the Town of Batavia’s revenue has not come from property taxes, it has come from sales taxes."

He said for years he would ask, “What is the future of sales tax distribution?”

“And I never got an answer. So, that was the answer,” he said. “They don’t have a crystal ball either, and the county is in the hardest situation because they cannot bust their tax cap without losing several million dollars – maybe tens of millions of dollars in state aid. They’re no different than a school district.”

The town has received a little more than $1 million in revenue distribution from Genesee County in 2020, much less than the $2.31 million that was anticipated. He doesn’t foresee the number coming anywhere close to what was budgeted.

“Where do I get the other million dollars?” he asked. “I don’t have any other place to get it. There is no money tree in the backyard. I can’t expect the federal government or the state government to come through with anything anytime soon. They’ve had six months and they haven’t budged.”

Post said that the town has been a capable steward of its assets, boasting a five-star rating with 90 percent of its cash invested every day and utilizing friendly refinancing terms to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He also boasted of the town’s practice of sharing services with other towns in several areas, including assessor services, building inspection and secretarial work, and praised a full-time staff of 25 employees for “working two jobs and many of them three jobs.”

Calling Out New York State

Post, who has been in the public sector for the past 14 years, said he believes the state’s financial policies are on the brink of collapse.

“This is not a failure of the county government or mismanaging, not a failure of the town not looking far enough down the road; it’s a consequence of the failed policies of this state in supporting local communities when the s--- hits the fan.”

After Post concluded his talk -- and before taking a couple more questions about payments in lieu of taxes and whether the town receives traffic ticket revenue (the answer is a portion stays with the town) – Shultz said he appreciated his transparency.

“It was thorough and I’m sure my neighbors and I understand a little better. So, thank you for all you do and let’s carry on,” he said.

The town board will continue working on the budget with an eye on adopting a preliminary spending plan by Oct. 21. A public hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 4.

Photo: The Batavia Town Board conducted a special meeting this afternoon to talk about its 2021 tentative budget. Town resident Michael Shultz is seated in foreground. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

September 16, 2020 - 2:07pm

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

A State of Emergency was declared in the TOWN OF BATAVIA, effective at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2020.

This State of Emergency has been declared due to the existing and continuing declared States of Emergency at the Federal, State, County, and City of Batavia, related to the COVID-19 virus.

This situation threatens the public safety.

This State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days or until rescinded by a subsequent order.

As the Chief Executive of TOWN OF BATAVIA, County of Genesee, State of New York, I, Gregory H. Post, exercise the authority given me under Section 24 of the New York State Executive Law, to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being, and health of the citizens of this Municipality.

I hereby direct all departments and agencies of TOWN OF BATAVIA to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure, and provide such emergency assistance deemed necessary.

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

Sept. 14, 2020

September 16, 2020 - 2:07pm

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

A State of Emergency was declared in the TOWN OF BATAVIA, effective at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2020.

This State of Emergency has been declared due to the existing and continuing declared States of Emergency at the Federal, State, County, and City of Batavia, related to the COVID-19 virus.

This situation threatens the public safety.

This State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days or until rescinded by a subsequent order.

As the Chief Executive of TOWN OF BATAVIA, County of Genesee, State of New York, I, Gregory H. Post, exercise the authority given me under Section 24 of the New York State Executive Law, to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being, and health of the citizens of this Municipality.

I hereby direct all departments and agencies of TOWN OF BATAVIA to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure, and provide such emergency assistance deemed necessary.

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

Sept. 14, 2020

September 12, 2020 - 9:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, notify, town of batavia.

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A fully involved structure fire is reported at 8699 Hartshorn Road, Town of Batavia. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding, along with mutual aid from Corfu, Town of Batavia, Alexander and Darien.

An occupant is believed to be trapped inside, according to neighbors. The location is between West Main Street Road and Pearl Street Road.

UPDATE 9:34 p.m.: A second ambulance is requested to the scene.

UPDATE 9:37 p.m.: The trapped resident has been removed and is being evaluated by medics.

UPDATE 9:42 p.m.: Fire knocked down; doing overhaul. Alexander fire can go back in service. Alexander's ambulance is going to evaluate the patient.

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: GC Emergency Management Services asks Byron and Bethany ambulances to stand by in their quarters.

UPDATE 9:58 p.m.: The Alexander ambulance, with a Mercy medic on board, is transporting a patient to UMMC. A Mercy ambulance that just went in service is requested to the scene for firefighter rehab.

UPDATE 11:18 p.m.: Bethany and Byron ambulances can go back in service.

UPDATE 1:15 a.m., Sept. 13: A quick knockdown of a fire that appeared to be on the exterior of the house was the reason volunteer firefighters from East Pembroke and Batavia were able to rescue an elderly woman from her home on Hartshorn Road on Saturday night.

"I just can't be more proud of these guys right now," said Don Newton, chief of East Pembroke. "They got in there and did a great job of knocking it down and between our guys and the Town of Batavia, they just did a hell of a job getting her out of the house."

Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for Genesee County, said the preliminary indication is that the fire started on the outside of the house near an electrical outlet but at this point, no cause of the fire has been determined and nothing has been ruled out.  

"I wouldn't say we're really leaning towards anything," Yaeger said. "We're just going to we have to actually look at every possibility. It's going to be a while for this investigation. Again, it's fairly rare to have a fire in outside on a porch so it's going to take some time to find out what exactly caused the fire."

East Pembroke fire is still on scene at this hour though some mutual aid companies are back in service.

UPDATE 11:40 a.m.: East Pembroke Fire is responding to a rekindle at the residence. Smoke is coming from the roof line.

Photos and interviews by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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August 21, 2020 - 7:02am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, Batavia Town Board.

The financial world in which Town of Batavia leadership has governed in recent years has come to an end, Supervisor Gregory Post said Thursday.

“I have never in my wildest dreams thought I would have to use my ‘apocalypse bankroll’ that we have put together for the town in case of whatever potential disaster might come down the road,” Post said. “You put it there and plan for it – making sure that if the worst possible thing you could imagine happens, you could at least have some time to come up with a solution.”

Post and the Town Board have about five weeks to draft a preliminary budget for the 2021 fiscal year that begins in January, and projections at this point paint a bleak picture.

He said the current financial situation is the worst he’s seen in his 47 years in government, and he places the blame squarely on what he calls the “tax and spend” policies emanating from Albany.

“The people need to hear this. This is not a result of some COVID-19. The COVID-19 didn’t cause this,” Post said. “Nelson Rockefeller (New York governor from 1959-1973) started this and it has been getting progressively worse with each elected governor and Downstate politician for the last 45 years. So, here we are.”

Post said the board is struggling to figure out what the town’s tax increase is going to be for next year.

“We already know what our expenses are going to be – we can’t cut anything. We have been essential and lean as long as we have been. There’s not a lot of service that we can cut,” he said. “We only have three people in the highway department, including a highway superintendent who is making a quarter of what other highway superintendents make. It’s a part-time job for that.”

He said New York State is “probably going to be drastically short of money next year,” estimating a state deficit of $10-14 billion.

“But the thing is when we started out this year, the state was over five billion dollars in the red and the governor has the opportunity to change his reimbursement schedule and the percentages,” he said. “And he’s already reduced it by 20 percent, and I would not be surprised if it goes to more.”

Post said he expects significant reductions in revenue sharing from Genesee County, noting that the county is “going to have to come up with somewhere between $6 and $9 million that they weren’t anticipating having to come up with, and they don’t have any other means to do that (other than cut or end revenue sharing with towns and villages).”

'Well, the State is Broke'

“It’s not a failed policy of the county or the towns or the villages, it’s a failed policy of a progressive state that has been taxing and spending since Rockefeller,” Post said. “The state has never put a limit on the spending, programs and being progressive. If you look at the consequences, and I’m serious when I say this, but every smart owner of a business that I’ve done any work for in the last 30 years says the same thing – this can’t last; the state cannot keep doing what it is doing, or it’s going to go broke. Well, the state is broke.”

The supervisor also said he doesn’t foresee the federal government bailing out the state.

“That means that the state reimbursements to all the Upstate counties are probably not going to be there,” he predicted. “I think you’re going to see whatever they do have funneled to the state education department, because that is sacrosanct, and I think the counties are going to be left to hang in the wind. The counties will have no choice but to pass those reductions in revenue onto the towns and villages. Pretty much the consensus of the supervisors that I talk to is that we’re all looking at a double-digit tax increase.”

Even if a federal stimulus bill is approved with money appropriated to the New York State, it will just be a “Band-Aid” – not a long-term solution, he said.

“What about next year? Without some completely restructured reforms on these mandated expenses that counties have to pay, it’s going to snowball,” he said. “They tell the counties how many probation officers per criminal, how many people you have to have in the Department of Social Services, how many employees to dedicate to this and that. You have to do that or they won’t send you any funding."

Genesee County as 'Lean' as Can Be

Post gave Genesee County officials high marks for keeping things together during an arduous stretch.

“The county is running as lean as a county can run – too lean, in my opinion,” he said. “They haven’t funded their highway operations to the degree that they need to in order to keep up with the maintenance of the highways and the bridges. They haven’t raised the taxes because they can’t bust the (tax) cap. They refinanced everything they can refinance. And they’re managing their cash better than almost any other county in the state.”

He said that while he doesn’t fault the county, “they’re the ones getting blamed by all these local communities.”

“The sales tax money that used to just come (revenue sharing) was like a welfare check, and that’s not going to come next year. It can’t. I don’t think anyway it could come to the same degree that it has in the past,” he said.

Post said the county is unable to raise property taxes without “busting the tax cap and losing all the state reimbursement, so they’ll need the sales tax.”

“The county has been spot-on and has given us every single dime in matching funds that they’ve received on a pro-rated basis,” he said. “They have done a fabulous job, but I cannot count on New York State for next year. I would hate to be (County Manager) Matt Landers and this county legislature right now.”

Town Taxes Likely to Increase

As far as the Town of Batavia is concerned, Post said two-thirds of its total revenue comes from county revenue sharing.

“I’m probably looking at a pretty significant tax increase,” he advised. “We’ll try to not use the unexpended fund balance and we’ve already tried to cut $750,000 in spending out of this year’s budget. I thank God that the town board has worked as hard as they have worked to make sure that we have a cushion going into next year.”

Post said that using $1 million out of the unexpended fund balance to expand the Town Hall is off the table at this point.

“We’re going to try not to use that, but save it and put it towards the consequence of this state’s actions next year,” he said, adding that he plans to keep the Town Hall lobby closed and operate remotely – one of many actions being taken to cut costs.

He said he feels bad for the half-dozen town supervisors that are in their first year.

“I can’t imagine what it must be like for them,” he said. “It has gotten worse and worse every year, and we all shrug our shoulders and work harder to keep it going. But this thing is going to cause a lot of people to rethink wanting to serve in office or be involved in government ever again.”

In a couple developments from the Batavia Town Board meeting on Wednesday:

  • Sandra Baubie, deputy town clerk since 2004, was promoted to the full-time job of water bill collector at a rate of $25.89 per hour, while Sara Sauka moved into the full-time deputy town clerk position at a rate of $21.63 per hour.

Morgan Leaton was hired as a full-time court clerk at a pay rate of $17 per hour.

Post said Baubie’s previous duties had include water/wastewater billing, but with four times the number of accounts to handle, it made sense to create the water bill collector position.

  • The board approved submitting applications for Community Development Block Grants from the state Office of Community Renewal to support two dairy production projects at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and set a public hearing on the matter for Sept. 2.

Post said he wasn’t willing to speculate on the nature of the projects since he has yet to see anything in writing. It was previously reported that HP Hood officials plan to construct an addition to the plant’s refrigeration warehouse unit.

August 19, 2020 - 12:25pm

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

A State of Emergency was declared in the TOWN OF BATAVIA, effective at 6 p.m. on Aug. 15, 2020.

This State of Emergency has been declared due to the existing and continuing declared States of Emergency at the Federal, State, County, and City of Batavia, related to the COVID-19 virus.

This situation threatens the public safety.

This State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days or until rescinded by a subsequent order.

As the Chief Executive of TOWN OF BATAVIA, County of Genesee, State of New York, I, Gregory H. Post, exercise the authority given me under Section 24 of the New York State Executive Law, to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being, and health of the citizens of this Municipality.

I hereby direct all departments and agencies of TOWN OF BATAVIA to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure, and provide such emergency assistance deemed necessary.

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

Aug. 15, 2020

July 17, 2020 - 2:11pm

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

A State of Emergency was declared in the TOWN OF BATAVIA, effective at 6 p.m. on July 16, 2020.

This State of Emergency has been declared due to the existing and continuing declared States of Emergency at the Federal, State, County, and City of Batavia, related to the COVID-19 virus.

This situation threatens the public safety.

This State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days or until rescinded by a subsequent order.

As the Chief Executive of TOWN OF BATAVIA, County of Genesee, State of New York, I, Gregory H. Post, exercise the authority given me under Section 24 of the New York State Executive Law, to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being, and health of the citizens of this Municipality.

I hereby direct all departments and agencies of TOWN OF BATAVIA to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure, and provide such emergency assistance deemed necessary.

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

July 16, 2020

July 7, 2020 - 5:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in water, town of batavia, news.

Public Notice

The Town of Batavia will be experiencing low-water pressures in the western and northwestern area of the Town.

Due to high water demands, the County is obtaining water from ECWA/MCWA Pembroke connection. This connection lowers pressures in the Town of Batavia in those areas.

This will continue until further notice. Customers can call (585) 356-4900 if you have further questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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