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town of batavia

October 21, 2021 - 9:23am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act, town of batavia.

oip.jpgThe Batavia Town Board on Wednesday night voted to schedule a public hearing on a resolution that would enable the municipality to opt out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites through New York’s Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act.

“I don’t think there’s enough information from the State of New York to enter into something that we could never get out of,” Town Supervisor Gregory Post said following the monthly board meeting at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road. “The bottom line is that we can always opt in to it when we have more details and it is something that we can administer.”

Post said he was concerned that “a decision made by five people (the Batavia Town Board) probably isn’t a clear and transparent representation of the whole community.”

If a local law to opt out is passed following the public hearing set for 7:10 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Town Hall, it could lead to a permissive referendum organized by residents who disagree with its decision.

“People opposing that law could get together and find their way to the ballot and ask the community whether they want this or not,” Post said. “In my opinion, this is too early in the game … and jump into this thing not know what the down-the-road consequences and financial implications are.”

The supervisor did acknowledge that eventually opting in to the new law could be “lucrative” to the town, which would receive 3 percent of the sales tax collected on cannabis transactions. The state would get 9 percent and Genesee County 1 percent.

“The county, which will be burdened with 100 percent of the cost of mitigating through mental health services, probation and any of the issues that come up from sales to minors – all of the cost and expense to the community through the health department, ultimately will receive only 25 percent of that (4 percent to municipalities),” he explained.

Post also brought up the fact that marijuana continues to be against the law at the federal level, and that regular testing of commercial truck drivers, who have to be free of substance use, will continue.

“The federal oversight and management of some of our largest employers, such as Graham, O-At-Ka Milk, HP Hood, those that are making food and are considered strategic investments have to be compliant,” he said. “It’s assumed that you’re OK to consume these (marijuana) commodities if they’re legalized in the town, and then go to work and find out you can’t work because you failed a drug test.

“We’re seeing as many as 50 percent of the drivers failing the drug tests because their assumption is if it’s legal, then I don’t have a problem. But yet, it is a problem.”

Signed into law by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 31, the MRTA paves the way to an estimated $1 billion industry with expected annual revenue of $350 million and the creation of between 30,000 and 60,000 jobs.

The legislation permits adult use of cannabis for those 21 years of age and up – people who may possess, display, purchase, obtain or transport up to 3 ounces of flower or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis.

It also expands New York’s existing medical marijuana program and immediately allows eligible users to smoke cannabis in public wherever tobacco is allowed.

Consumption is not allowed in schools, federal lands, workplaces or in vehicles as the federal government still has jurisdiction in those places.

The two types of retail sites are retail dispensaries, which could be storefronts to buy products for home consumption and adult use consumption sites, and lounge-like locations for purchase and use on-site.

Municipalities have until Dec. 31 to opt out of any dispensary or on-site consumption site within their jurisdiction.

Previously: County manager sounds off against sales tax diversion, misguided cannabis excise tax distribution

Comments
September 23, 2021 - 2:17pm

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. and the Town of Batavia have come to an agreement concerning enhanced aesthetics and maintenance on and around Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel on Park Road.

WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek and Town Supervisor Gregory Post both reported that a productive discussion took place Wednesday as both entities prepare for the start of the Park Road Improvement Project later this fall.

Reconstruction of the street -- from Lewiston Road to Oak Street – is a $4.3 million project, with the bulk of the cost covered by federal and state aid.

Negotiations have been taking place in recent weeks over contracts covering WROTB’s financial contribution for requesting additional trees and lighting and details of the town’s cost for having Batavia Downs’ employees to maintain trees, street lights and sidewalks and for snowplowing once the project is complete.

“We met with the town yesterday and we’re good to go,” Wojtaszek said. “We just had to work out some details of the agreement.”

Post concurred, stating that an attorney review of the language in the agreement has been completed.

“It really wasn’t about the money, it was more about getting the proper wording,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Batavia Downs.”

Last week, the Batavia Town Board tabled a resolution that set WROTB’s payment for aesthetics at $486,870, with Post indicating that they were close to finalizing the contract. He and Wojtaszek today said that they have agreed on that figure.

In other developments from today’s WROTB directors’ meeting:

  • The board received an update on the armed robbery that took place on Aug. 28 at the Wehrle Drive OTB parlor. According to Amherst Police, a male suspect entered the building, fired a gun shot and fled on foot with an unknown amount of cash. WROTB employees installed a full security door afterwards.
  • Batavia Downs’ revenue in August resulted in a distribution of $73,637 to the corporation’s municipalities.

E-Z bet handle this year, through August, is up $2.3 million compared to 2020 and up $765,000 compared to 2019.

Batavia Bets’ handle in August was $1.8 million, down $337,000 compared to August 2020, and was $966,000 through Sept. 19, down $376,000 compared to September 2020. For the year, handle is $13 million, an increase of almost $1.6 million from 2020.

  • The board approved contracts with two Batavia-based companies: a one-year agreement with Applied Business Systems in the amount of $82,434 for marketing mailers and a pact through the end of the year for $22,500 with Extreme Streetwear for Buffalo Mafia apparel to be sold at Batavia Downs Gaming’s Lucky Treasures store.
Comments
September 17, 2021 - 12:05pm

sutton_1.jpg“Why can’t the Town of Batavia go to 8.25 percent sales tax and use the .25 percent to prevent citizens in the Town of Batavia and companies (from) absorbing this cost for everybody from outside communities that come here to do their shopping?”

With that question toward the end of Wednesday night’s Batavia Town Board meeting, Lewiston Road resident Bill Sutton triggered a 15-minute discussion with Town Supervisor Gregory Post about sales and property taxes, and New York’s tax cap.

Sutton, (photo at right), a truck driver for Kistner Concrete, said he noticed that the meeting agenda included a resolution calling for an override of the New York State tax cap – the limit on the amount of real property taxes that may be levied by the town as it prepares its 2022 budget.

He said he was concerned that property taxes will increase and thought that bumping up the sales tax from 8 to 8.25 percent could be a way to prevent that from happening.

Pointing out that Erie County’s sales tax is at 8.75 percent, Sutton said he wondered if the extra ¼ percent in sales tax could be put in the town’s budget “so that citizens in the town don’t have to pay higher property tax.”

“Why can’t we benefit from that? Why can’t the Town of Batavia implement a little more sales tax to compensate for this, instead of property owners and businesses picking up the slack?” he asked.

TWO SALES TAX JURISDICTIONS

In his response, Town Supervisor Gregory Post said he appreciated Sutton’s questions and went on to explain that towns or villages do not have the authority to impose sales tax.

“There are two entities that are eligible to collect sales tax. One is Genesee County and one is the City of Batavia,” Post responded. “Traditionally, over the last 20 or 30 years, there has been a collaboration between those two entities to allow the county to collect all of the sales tax and then distribute 50 percent of those revenues collected or some portion of that 50 percent to the communities on an ad valorem basis.

“Which means that communities will get a percentage of the sales taxes collected by Genesee County – whether it’s 8 percent or 8 ¼ or 8 ½ or 8 ¾. Those are distributed based on the communities’ assessed valuation – taxable assessed valuation.”

Post mentioned the agreement between Genesee County and the City of Batavia that provides the city with a minimum of 14 percent share of all the sales tax revenue generated in the county. That agreement also benefits the county’s towns and villages which, by virtue of a revision last month, will share $10 million in sales tax revenue annually for the next 38 years.

Per that agreement, the Town of Batavia’s assessed value qualifies it for about 16 percent of that amount – the actual figure is $1,687,937 – and that is substantially more than the other municipalities. The Town of Darien, site of Six Flags Darien Lake, is next at $970,992, followed by the Town of Le Roy at $822,260.

The supervisor explained that the town is supported by sales taxes “and the sales tax revenues have traditionally been twice what the property tax collection levy was.”

“So, for every dollar collected in property taxes, we have been benefited by a dollar and a half to two dollars in sales tax revenues already,” he said. “And that sales tax is paid by (in part) by citizens not living in the Town of Batavia …”

'LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD'

Sutton said that satisfied that part of his question, but added that he is “looking down the road (because) here we are today – we have a shortfall.”

He continued on his point that many people from outside the town come to the town to shop, and that the town should benefit more from having to deal with extra traffic and for having many “employment opportunities.”

“There has to be something we can do as a town to increase sales tax,” he said. “There has to be something that we can go forward doing this to make it even more beneficial to live in the town – to bring a business in from outside.”

Post replied by asking him to consider, “How much benefit does Genesee County get by having a lower sales tax rate to attract shoppers from counties that have a higher sales tax rate?”

“We have spent a lot of time looking at the consequence; right now, we’re an attractive site for equipment sales, heavy equipment. We just had a groundbreaking this week (LandPro),” Post offered.

“I’m looking at the larger scale sales of automobiles and heavy equipment, and if you’re selling a million dollar bulldozer and you’re selling it because your sales tax are 8 percent instead of 8 ¾ percent, and they’re buying it and taking delivery here, we’re getting the benefit of some of those revenues that we wouldn’t get if our sales tax rate was the same as it was in another county.”

Sutton said if Genesee County went to 8.25 percent it still would be lower than Erie County (but more than Monroe County, which also is at 8 percent).

Post offered to continue the debate with Sutton, inviting him to attend a weekly (Wednesday at 5 p.m.) board workshop.

“I am happy to hear your perspective and your comments … and I’m happy to see the participation,” the supervisor said.

Sutton acknowledged that he doesn’t have access to all the dollar amounts, but pressed on with his view that the Town of Batavia has a quality of living that other communities don’t have, especially an abundance of shopping locations.

“Why can’t be benefit from this so that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will also have that benefit going forward?” he asked. “We will prevent the shortfall by adding the .25 percent sales tax across the board to make it fair for not only the residences and the businesses – for everybody – to keep the property tax down that will draw business in from the outside and everybody will contribute.”

'NO OBLIGATION TO SHARE'

Post then brought up the fact that Genesee County has “absolutely no obligation to share one dime of sales tax revenue with any community.”

“They are entitled to keep 100 percent of it and it is only through the strict negotiations over the last 20 years by this board and our predecessors to come to some rational agreement where the county gets what they need to sustain their operation and not defer maintenance, and the communities in the county are benefited by the apportionment of sales taxes that they are,” he explained.

He then said he believes that Genesee County probably distributes more in sales tax to its towns and villages than another other county in New York State.

“There might be one or two other counties that do a better job with sales tax distribution than Genesee County, but locally they take 10 million dollars in revenue they collect in sales tax and they give it back to the towns to subsidize town and village operations to maintain a lower (property) tax rate.”

Post then went back to the resolution to override the state property tax cap, calling it “a statement that our community has been strategic and has been looking down the road five, 10 and 15 years financially, and retained by these resolutions annually the ability to manage our assets and modify our cash flow to meet the needs of our community so that we’re not bound and restricted by New York State and prevented from maintaining infrastructure that is key to being an attractive community to developers both international site selectors and local developers.”

The board set a public hearing on the tax cap override for 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Batavia Town Hall, 3833 West Main St. Rd.

Post thanked Sutton for sharing his thoughts, adding that he is “part of this community and your job as a citizen is to participate.”

Following the meeting, Post said that although it is early in the 2022 budget process, he does not expect the town’s property tax rate to increase.

The 2021 tax rate was set at $2.85 per thousand of assessed value, meaning that a home assessed at $100,000, for example, would pay $285 in town taxes for the year. The town also imposes a fire district tax, which was $2.34 per thousand this year.

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
September 13, 2021 - 2:49pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, LandPro, town of batavia, GCEDC.

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The decision to invest approximately $10 million to build a 50,000-square foot headquarters at the intersection of West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the Town of Batavia not only serves to showcase the growth of John Deere-authorized dealer LandPro Equipment but also will provide numerous career opportunities for students in the Genesee Region.

That message was communicated clearly today as representatives of LandPro, which has 20 locations in Western and Central New York, Northwest and Central Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, gathered with local government and economic development officials, for an on-location groundbreaking ceremony.

“It really will end up being our home location, our central store for LandPro equipment,” said Tracy Buck, company president and chief operating officer. “We’ll have a lot of our leadership team that will work out of here, besides the day-to-day operations that happen at all of our locations.”

Buck said that construction could get started as early as next week and that he expects it to be completed by November 2022. LandPro has hired Thompson Builds of Churchville as the general contractor.

Noting that LandPro will merge its Oakfield and Alexander facilities into the one on West Saile Drive, Buck said the company’s recent expansion enables it to construct what will become LandPro’s central training center, and base of its Precision Farming Division as well as John Deere agriculture, commercial, compact construction and turf equipment sales, parts, retail and service capabilities.

“Now with LandPro the size that we are, we have the resources,” he said. “The time is the time to do this.”

Steve Hyde, president/CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, which has approved tax abatements for LandPro, called the investment “meaningful in our community (as) the types of services you guys are going to offer is really going to create great jobs for our kids.”

“We thank you guys for investing in our Glow with Your Hands initiative and the workforce stuff that we have tried to spear, to really kind of put kids in the heart of opportunities like exactly what you’re creating; creating investments for our kids,” Hyde said. “That’s what drives me and my team … it’s about good opportunities for our kids.”

Buck responded by stating Hyde’s sentiment works both ways.

“We’re in Batavia for a reason and Genesee County for a reason. It’s a very business-friendly community that we really appreciate,” he said. “We have nothing without our employees and, as you all know, there’s a big need for qualified employees.

“We have some great opportunities, high-paying jobs available, advancement opportunities. Any help that we can get going forward to attract people to this industry, we’re all in and partners with you.”

Elba Central School Superintendent Gretchen Rosales welcomed LandPro to the area, mentioning that she is “looking forward to the opportunities that you can provide, not only for our students to enhance their learning opportunities but also for the community as a whole.”

And Assemblyman Steven Hawley emphasized agriculture’s role in Genesee County’s economy as he thanked LandPro for its commitment to the area.

“New York is not known as a business-friendly state,” Hawley said. “I bring folks up from New York City, other assembly people, to see who we are and how we live and what the economy is all about. And agriculture is number one so, on behalf of the State of New York and Senator (Edward) Rath, I want to tell you how much this means to all of us.”

Buck said LandPro’s has 500 employees, with about 60 to 65 of them slated to work full time out of the Town of Batavia location.

“We’ll also have a training center here so we will be able to bring in … 50 people, roughly, training at any one time at this location,” he said.

The company’s product line includes Stihl hand-held products, John Deere turf line equipment, and four-wheel drive tractors, combined and choppers.

“We represent pretty much everything that John Deere sells today other than the heavy construction equipment … We have to have a very diversified group of salesmen, parts and service people to take care of all of this equipment,” Buck added.

Hyde said that LandPro’s project continues an effort that began around 2005.

“We started 16 years ago, really working on this ag, business, transportation, logistics, distribution, warehousing, heavy equipment kind of cluster right here at this intersection, right here with the Town of Batavia and the county,” Hyde said, noting that Congressman Tom Reynolds was the one “giving us a check to pay for this road and the infrastructure to go in.”

He said that ignited the growth and development that can be seen in the GCEDC’s corporate parks and on Saile Drive, north of the Thruway bridge.

“Right now, we’re almost at 400,000 square feet of new build in that 16 years, with over 400 people working here. And you guys continue that sign of excellence, and we want to thank you very much for your continued investment in Genesee County and in the Town of Batavia,” he said.

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Photo at top: Assemblyman Steven Hawley makes a his point as he speaks with LandPro Equipment personnel following today's groundbreaking ceremony. Photo at bottom: Taking part in the LandPro groundbreaking ceremony today are, from left, Paul Williams, operations manager/North; Steve Hyde, GCEDC; Patti Michalak, Town of Batavia council member; Legislator Gordon Dibble; Gregory Post, Town of Batavia supervisor; Tom Sutter, vice president/sales; Ryan Payment, vice president; Tracy Buck, president/CEO; Tim Black, vice president/aftermarket; Assemblyman Steven Hawley, and Gretchen Rosales, Elba Central School District superintendent. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: LandPro's new facility in Town of Batavia will be company's 'main hub for technology'

Comments
September 4, 2021 - 11:18am

Longtime Batavia area residents surely remember George’s Dairy, the welcoming store run by the farm family on the west side of Route 98, just past the Thruway bridge heading north out of the city.

The dairy, known for its delicious chocolate milk and specialty fruit drinks, was a destination back in the 1960s and ‘70s – a lone business surrounded by acres and acres of farmland.

Fifty years later, streets called Federal Drive, Commerce Drive and Call Parkway – filled with hotels and commercial/industrial enterprises in developments known as “corporate parks” – greet motorists traveling over that same Thruway bridge toward Saile Drive, which also has become a hot spot for new business ventures.

“What we have seen and continue to see in that part of the town is the result of the efforts of several true visionaries, people such as the Call family, George Forsyth, Torchy Babcock and Carl Scott – visionaries who paved the way at great sacrifice to their political land personal careers,” Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post said.

Post credited governmental officials for “getting everyone into the room” – farmers, businessmen, politicians, engineers, architects, real estate brokers and industrial development agency staff – to install the infrastructure necessary to make that area a viable alternative for entrepreneurs.

“Infrastructure is the key,” said Post, a forward-thinking administrator in his own right. “Getting public water and sewer, and don't discount the fact that sales tax in Genesee County is (or was) less than in Monroe and Erie.” (Post was referring to sales tax rates at early stages of development).

‘GATEWAY’ TO ECONOMIC GROWTH

This has enabled the Genesee County Economic Development Center to establish the Gateway I Corporate Park (Federal and Commerce Drive) and Gateway II Corporate Park (Call Parkway) off of Route 98, and to help facilitate the buildup of West and East Saile Drive, which is anchored by the Milton CAT (Caterpillar heavy equipment) facility.

Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and chief executive officer, said he realized when he started at the agency in 2002 that there would be a demand for commercial bases between Western New York’s two large cities.

“From my first days at the GCEDC, we knew that there was demand for more capacity for these industries and for larger consolidated operations centers serving Buffalo and Rochester that could support enhanced jobs and investment,” Hyde said. “There were already signs that the market was responding at Gateway I Corporate Park. We had to be ready for more.”

Hyde said that after two decades of working with municipal partners and landowners on projects, “that demand has turned into successful results.”

“Both of Genesee County's business parks are fully activated. The businesses and careers that started this momentum have thrived, and more construction is on the way,” he said.

“And it’s incredible to see our heartland industries like the ag and construction equipment and logistics and transportation growing hand-in-hand with our shovel-ready sites north of the Thruway, and all along Saile Drive.”

A FLURRY OF DEVELOPMENT

Close to two dozen businesses are located at the two corporate parks and along Saile Drive.

Gateway I, which broke ground about 20 years ago, is sold out.

Businesses there include Farm Credit East (pictured below), (formerly) Aluydne (pictured below), Fairfield Hotel, Mondelez, Traco Manufacturing, Mega Properties (Koolatron, Exide Technologies, Auto Plus Auto Parts), Jasper Engines & Transmissions, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn and Fairbridge Inn. The 147,000-square foot Aluyde building is currently listed by Pyramid Brokerage.

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Gateway II (Call Parkway) features Ashley Furniture, Mega Properties and Gateway GS LLC, the latter being a five-building project of Gallina Development Corp. of Rochester (pictured below). The Mercy Flight EMS Genesee base just off Route 98 is adjacent to the park.

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Moving to Saile Drive, you’ll find Alta Equipment Company/Vantage Equipment (pictured below), SCP Distributors, Monroe Tractor, Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, Milton CAT (pictured below) and L&M Specialty Fabrication, which is close to Bank Street Road (pictured below).

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LandPro Equipment, Valiant Real Estate USA (New York Bus Sales) reportedly will be building on Saile Drive, while Rochester Regional Health is preparing to construct a four-story office building on Route 98, across from Federal Drive and near Call Parkway.

“What we’re seeing now is that the whole area is erupting with activity,” said Chris Suozzi, GCEDC’s vice president of business and workforce development. “The Gallina project is indicative of what is happening.”

GALLINA’S BIG PROJECT IS UNDERWAY

Suozzi said Gallina’s plan is to erect five 27,000-square foot buildings. One is complete and the second one is under construction.

“Everything has grown organically as our industrial parks were kind of the anchor tenants, if you will, in the beginning,” he said. “Organically, because of it being zoned Industrial out there, we’re seeing this tremendous impact over a course of time.”

GCEDC Marketing Director Jim Krencik mentioned the need for modern, office warehousing, calling it “flex space.”

“That’s what Gallina is doing,” he said. “They have 20 acres in total, and will sell four acres every time they complete one of the buildings. Then they will take ownership of the buildings from the GCEDC, which owns the property."

Krencik said Gallina’s investment is around $2 million for each building.

“When you look out across the country, including the Buffalo and Rochester markets, there isn’t a large amount of really good, modern usable facilities,” he added.

Suozzi said the reason for that is that the “industrial vacancy rate is really low.”

“A lot of the existing inventory of buildings – you get your commercial and industrial real estate folks .... there’s not inventory available. The market is demanding that you have flex space or spec space so that the capacity is there when somebody really wants a product,” he offered.

He said the first Gallina building was built on speculation, recognizing that it would fill over time.

“The first (Gallina) building went up without a tenant,” he said. “Now, they’ve subdivided into thirds and there are three tenants in there.”

Buildings two through five are being constructed with tenants already lined up, he advised.

PRIVATE OWNERS MAKING DEALS

Tony Mancuso, longtime real estate broker for Mancuso Commercial Realty, said he has represented numerous landowners at Gateway I, Gateway II and Saile Drive as well as selling the parcel where the Federal Detention Facility is located and most of the parcels on Veterans Memorial Drive to the southwest.

“There’s not a lot of land left in those areas, actually,” he said, although he did say he is representing owners of about 10 vacant acres on Saile Drive.

Mancuso said developers will be looking to areas beyond the corporate parks, likely on land further west of Route 98.

Krencik said Saile Drive has intensified over the past decade, becoming a huge corridor for logistics as well as heavy equipment manufacturing, servicing and production that feeds into agriculture and transportation.

“We have our own park, but you really see the spillover and multiplier effect happening all the way down that street from Route 98 to Bank Street Road,” he said. “We’re taking about projects that have invested over $50 million in facilities they built or are planning to build on 500,000 square feet between those two areas and creating several hundred jobs.”

REAL ESTATE BROKER ‘NOT SURPRISED’

He called Saile Drive “almost a secret industrial park” with companies serving the need for big equipment, such as Milton CAT – “like-minded businesses all having the same vision and locating within a short distance of each other.”

Suozzi said GCEDC was the catalyst of this activity, but now “you’re seeing other people that own land along Saile Drive, that once the infrastructure was put in … you’re seeing local commercial/industrial realtors like Tony Mancuso, Rick Mancuso and Russ Romano who are selling property for individual owners along Saile Drive.”

Rick Mancuso, managing partner of Mancuso Real Estate, said he has represented property owners on Saile Drive, closing on several sales, including L&M Specialty Fabrication.

A business owner for many years, he said he could see this influx of development coming.

“I think that area is just beginning to take off right now. The close proximity of the (Genesee County) Airport and the Thruway make that property a real viable area for development,” he said.

“When land became scarce, the farmland started being sold and bought up at rates that even surprised the real estate brokers. It doesn’t surprise me, though, especially with our location between Buffalo and Rochester.”

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
August 19, 2021 - 10:19am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, Park Road Reconstruction Project.

Catco Construction of Alden is the apparent low bidder to be the general contractor for the $4.3 million Park Road Reconstruction Project.

Town of Batavia Engineer Steve Mountain reported a “favorable” bidding process, in which 11 applications were submitted to take the lead role in an extensive rehabilitation of the road from Lewiston Road (Route 63) to Oak Street (Route 98).

“We will be looking to finalize the awarding of the contract over the next month,” Mountain said, adding that construction could start this fall depending upon the availability of materials. “We’ll be doing the utility work first and then the road work.”

The project consists of the following:

  • Installation of new pavement, curbs and curbing from Lewiston Road to Richmond Avenue with sidewalks on both sides of Park Road;
  • Overlaying of pavement and installation of sidewalks on one side of the road from Richmond Avenue to Route 98;
  • Installation of new water lines and street lights on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

Funding from New York State will cover most of the cost, except for the $900,000 it will take to replace the water main. The Batavia Town Board recently passed a resolution calling for the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $975,190, offset by any federal, state, county and/or local funds received.

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. has agreed to pay up to $395,000 for additional property enhancements near Batavia Downs Gaming.

On another front, Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post said highway crews are about 10 construction days away from completing culvert pipe on South Main Street Road at the intersection of Wortendyke Road – a project that has closed South Main Street Road to motorists for several weeks.

“We should be on scheduled to open it to traffic prior to the school bus season,” Post said.

Also, the Batavia Town Board on Wednesday night approved a resolution to contract with the Clark Patterson Lee engineering firm to prepare a report and provide other information for the Pratt Road Sewer Study. The $24,000 cost of the study is being paid for by an Engineering Planning Grant.

Comments
July 16, 2021 - 12:07pm

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Photo: Genesee County and Town of Batavia crews are working to replace culverts along South Main Street Road and Wortendyke Road – a project that is expected to take about six weeks.

During that time, the South Main Street Road will be closed to motorists heading west about three-quarters of a mile from the Wortendyke Road intersection and at the intersection for those traveling on Wortendyke Road.

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
July 16, 2021 - 11:33am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Borrego Solar Systems, town of batavia, screening.

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Town of Batavia zoning officials are putting Borrego Solar System LLC on notice to replace the dead trees and come up with an approved planting/seeding plan in the wake of insufficient screening around solar farms on West Main Street Road and Batavia-Elba Townline Road.

Daniel Lang, building inspector and zoning officer, today said his department is conducting walk-throughs at a pair of side-by-side solar arrays at 3104 and 3232 W. Main Street Road and another at 5230 Batavia-Elba Townline Road.

“We’ve got a lot of trees at those sites that are browned out and dead that the developer (Borrego Solar) needs to replace prior to issuing any certificate of compliance,” Lang said.

“Plus, they still have to get all of their planting and seeding plans approved by (Genesee County) Soil & Water (Conservation District). We need to make sure the seeding mixture will take and grow underneath all of the panels.”

The solar panels are on the property of Fred Bowman and Mary Anne Forgie (West Main Street Road) and Daniel Underhill (Batavia-Elba Townline Road).

Lang said he has talked to developers of all solar farms in the town about the need to have proper screening.

“We’re going to keep moving forward with this,” he added.

Photo: View of solar panels on West Main Street Road (Route 5), west of the Wortendyke Road intersection. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
July 8, 2021 - 12:57pm

South Main Street Road near the Wortendyke Road intersection in the Town of Batavia will be closed beginning Monday, July 12th for a culvert replacement project.

The project will take approximately eight weeks to complete, and that portion of the road will not be passable to traffic or emergency vehicles during that time. 

The public will be notified again once the road is reopened. 

 

Laura A. Wadhams, P.E.

Assistant County Engineer

Comments
June 16, 2021 - 8:54pm

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Update June 17, 10 a.m., press release from Batavia Development Corp.:

The Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) will begin the process of seeking a new director of economic development.

Andrew Maguire, the current BDC director of economic development, has accepted a position with the Town of Batavia, his last day with the BDC will be June 30th.

"On behalf of the board of directors of the Batavia Development Corporation, we wish Andrew the very best in his new endeavor,” said BDC President Lori Aratari.

In the upcoming weeks the official employment posting and brochure will be listed on the BDC and City of Batavia’s websites -- www.bataviadevelopmentcorp.org and www.batavianewyork.com.

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

Update June 16, 9:10 p.m. with comments from Maguire:

"I'm excited for the new opportunity as I see a great future for the Town of Batavia, as well as the city, and believe that the duties of this job are right in my skill set," Maguire said. "When I saw that it was advertised on the town's website, I felt that with my experience, I was a great fit and that it would be a positive career move. The town definitely has a ton of potential."

Maguire said he was grateful for the chance to serve the city with the Batavia Development Corp.

"I'm still a city resident and want the best for both the city and the town," he said.

When asked about the Ellicott Station project, that has yet to see activity on the former Soccio & Della Penna site, Maguire said it is "still poised to close with the Homes & Community Renewal agency by June 30 and that demolition and site cleanup will be starting soon."

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

Andrew Maguire is leaving the city -- sort of -- and heading for the town.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post tonight announced the appointment of Maguire to the position of operations manager with the Town of Batavia, following an affirmative vote by the Town Board at its monthly meeting.

Maguire (pictured above) has served as director of economic development for the Batavia Development Corp. since November 2019.

Post said he will begin his full-time duties with the town in July on a date to be determined.

Predicting that he will be “an asset to the region,” Post said the town is fortunate to have Maguire on board, especially considering his experience as the clerk-treasurer for the Village of Oakfield for more than five years, where he oversaw billing software integration, administration and budgeting of water and wastewater.

“In Oakfield, Andrew ran the water and sewer operations there,” Post said. “He’s familiar with our software, he’s familiar with our metering system and our power connectivity. He was instrumental in getting the Village of Oakfield parallel pathed with the town as they were expanding and upgrading their system.”

Maguire’s primary responsibilities will focus on management of water and wastewater billing, meter reading and budgeting, but he also will assist with capital project planning and management, procurement of goods and services and administrative support of other town functions.

“Plus, he gained much experience in financing and grants during his time with the BDC,” Post said. “He’s very well rounded and he seems like a very smart guy … and I was very pleased to accept his application this evening.”

The position is a “new title for a similar position that a couple of other people have filled in the past,” Post said. Maguire’s starting salary is $74,880, which represents about a $15,000 raise from his BDC salary.

Post said the town has been funding Maguire’s duties by using existing staff and indicated the job will not affect the town tax rate or water and sewer rates. He said it will be funded primarily from the water and sewer accounts.

“We have seen what Andrew has been able to deliver and his thorough knowledge of the Sensus Flexnet system, water meters, and billing software the town has deployed. His knowledge of governmental finances, capital project management, grant administration, community planning, and communication skills will be an asset to the Town’s growth and prosperity,” Post added. “All of these skills are critical to delivering results and helping our community grow and prosper.”

Maguire holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from St. John Fisher College with a concentration in Finance. He is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Genesee.

As a lifelong resident of Batavia, he has served as a volunteer on numerous boards, committees, charitable and civic organizations. He and his wife, Jamie, have a newborn child, Greta.

Post said it is imperative to have an experienced professional running the water and wastewater operation, which continues to increase.

“We’re looking at the administration of over 3,000 water/sewer customers that we’re now serving in nine communities that we contract with, and probably soon to be 12,” Post said. “It’s a large undertaking and we need the staff for the future if we’re to be sustainable. We’ve got good growth and a lot of irons in the fire, and I am thinking that he will be an asset to the region, not just the town.”

Maguire could not be reached for comment tonight.

File photo taken by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
June 9, 2021 - 2:19pm

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donahue_road.jpg

A proposal by a Lovers Lane Road couple to construct a multiunit senior housing complex off Route 33 (Pearl Street Road) about 1.2 miles west of the City of Batavia limits is back in the news again – four and a half years after it was introduced to the Batavia Town Planning Board.

David and Katie Ficarella, owners of 120-plus acres in the vicinity of their home, said they have the financing in place to build the $17 million, 80-unit Hickory Ridge Estates.

“It’s been a long time coming,” David Ficarella said. “We have some good people on our team and I think it’s going to go very well.”

Ficarella’s team includes Lazarus Industries of Buffalo, the general contractor, and Schenne & Associates of East Aurora, the engineering firm.

The development will feature 40 duplex houses, each of about 1,500 square feet – including a one-car garage – with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and high-end fixtures and appliances. The site also will include a pond and various trees.

“We want to keep as much of the natural landscape as possible,” they said.

The units will be rented at a market rate to be determined.

The complex, open to residents age 55 and older, will sit on about 21 acres on the north side of Route 33, across from Donahue Road, and stretching west along the state highway.

In November 2016, David Ficarella approached town planners with the idea – at that time a 110-unit senior residential site to be developed in conjunction with Calamar Enterprises of Wheatfield. That plan fell through, however, and he is back with something he believes is solid and, once again, is anticipating the town’s support.

“We’re hoping to meet with the town very soon,” he said, noting that he will have to run the proposal by Genesee County and town planners. “We have talked about adding some roads and possibly having an extension of the Ellicott Trail run through the property. We definitely are looking for the town’s feedback.”

Batavia Town Engineer Steve Mountain said that Ficarella needs to provide more information prior to submitting an application. From there, his proposal would be considered by the planning boards.

“It would have to go through a State Environmental Quality Review and likely would need awarding of a special use permit or planned unit development,” Mountain said. “Since it is in an agricultural-residential district, it would be allowed with a special use permit.”

Ficarella said he is working with Lazarus Industries on a construction schedule, and would like to have the first building up by August to serve as a model home.

“I have heard from at least 10 people about renting there,” he said. “The goal is to have them rented before we put the buildings up.”

The rising cost of construction materials has forced him to change his strategy as far as what goes into the frame of the homes.

“We would have started earlier but there’s been a 300-percent increase in construction materials. We had to regroup and go to cold-formed steel, which wasn’t a bad thing. We redesigned the prints and it’s coming together,” he said.

So, instead of 2-by-4 lumber in the walls, contractors will be installing cold-formed steel.

“They make the steel right there in Buffalo. Even the rafters, trusses and all that will be steel. Other than that, it’s the same house,” David Ficarella said.

This would be the first phase of a three-phase plan, he said. The other two phases are putting a second (similar but smaller) development on 30 acres to the north of Hickory Ridge Estates and then developing another 30 acres for single-family homes onto the new Donahue Road to an extension off Edgewood Drive.

Edgewood Drive is part of the McWethy development between Route 33 and South Main Street Road. Currently, it dead-ends at the west end.

Asked if he thought that would create a traffic issue on Edgewood, he said that wouldn’t be the case.

“There just aren’t enough people in there (his senior complex),” he said. “It would be beneficial to Edgewood and residents of other streets in that development who could exit onto Route 33 to go to Corfu or Buffalo. And it would create another entrance for emergency vehicles into the development.”

He also said he has an option to purchase more land toward South Main Street and would like to see a road connecting with South Main Street.

The Ficarellas have contacted the Genesee County Economic Development Center to inquire about tax abatements. They said the project will create two full-time and three part-time positions and 200 temporary construction jobs, and would place no additional tax burden on the two school districts involved (Pembroke and City of Batavia).

As far as the Ellicott Trail is concerned, Genesee County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said an extension would be feasible, following the National Grid right-of-way that starts near Angelica Textile Services on Apollo Drive in the city and would follow along the north side of Hickory Ridge Estates.

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Top photo: Overhead view of the location of the proposed Hickory Ridge Estates (the area in brown above the words Pearl Street Road). Bottom photo: Cleared parcel that sits behind trees on the north side of Pearl Street Road, across from Donahue Road. 

Comments
May 13, 2021 - 11:49am

The managers of Genesee County’s three largest municipalities are exploring the best ways to spend a windfall of federal dollars via the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package or American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 11. It is intended to help the United States recover from the adverse economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession.

While the exact amounts to be allocated to towns and villages have yet to be determined, it has been reported that Genesee County will receive slightly more than $11 million, the City of Batavia will receive between $1.57 and $2.5 million, and the Town of Batavia will receive about $750,000.

Formal guidance on how the money may be used was released earlier this week in the form of a 151-page document.

According to published reports, half of the money is available now and the other half will come 12 months from now. Among the qualifying uses are public health, assistance to businesses and families, replenishment of public sector revenue and enhanced compensation for essential employees.

Funds also can be utilized for water and sewer system infrastructure and increasing access to broadband internet – items that local governmental leaders seem to be focusing upon.

GENESEE COUNTY

“We will be having a discussion with the legislature later on this month at a meeting to give some rough suggestions,” Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said. “I haven’t come up with dollar amounts for each bucket but I already have been looking at areas to put this money towards – water infrastructure, broadband infrastructure, jail infrastructure and some possible economic development initiatives as well.”

Landers called it a “one-time allocation of revenues,” emphasizing that the money can’t be used to reduce property taxes.

He said the county needs to upgrade the infrastructure in both the Phase 2 and Phase 3 Water Project, and is looking at ways to assist towns with a countywide broadband solution.

“We still have a lot of pockets within our county that don’t have access to high speed internet,” he said. “Possibly, we can utilize some of this money to help fill those gaps.”

CITY OF BATAVIA

In Batavia, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said she will be presenting a plan to City Council to allocate the CARES funds to specific projects that could include water, sewer, downtown parking rehabilitation and equipment purchases.

She, too, said these are one-time revenues and, as such, will be recommending “that they should be used for one-time purchases, not continuing operations.”

Tabelski noted that the city just ended its 2020-21 fiscal year (on March 31) and is starting an audit next week.

“So, unlike the county and town, with fiscal years that run from January through December, we need to finish the audit to evaluate the 2020-21 fiscal year final revenue,” she said.

TOWN OF BATAVIA

At the Town of Batavia, Supervisor Gregory Post said the money will offset lost revenue, enabling the town board "to allocate the balance to specific needs, which we are identifying right now to see what qualifies.”

Post indicated that expanding broadband and high-speed internet is at the top of the list.

He also said the money can help the town recover from the lack of upgrades to its comprehensive, solar, land use and agricultural protection plans.

“Furthermore, we would like to develop the scale and scope of how we can maintain all of the services to the community through a virtual town hall, and not having to expend any tax dollars in brick and mortar facilities that are not able to be used in the event of another pandemic or other similar circumstance,” he offered.

Post acknowledged the recent increase in property assessments, pledging to find ways “to best serve the community and keep taxes flat or attenuate any of the expenses incurred during COVID.”

On a national level, it has been reported that some states with Republican governors or legislative majorities have filed lawsuits in an effort to strike down the provision that the funds can’t be used for tax relief – on grounds that the stipulation violates the rights of individual states.

Comments
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
Comments
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.

Comments
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.

Comments
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.

Comments
March 25, 2021 - 12:05pm

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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.

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Comments
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

Comments
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.

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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.

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