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town of batavia

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


New Listing Alert: 7995 Lehigh Road, Town of Batavia! This is our editor's pick for a great opportunity for someone looking to capitalize on a great private location, nice space, attached garage and great views!

For the right person, this home would require a little work and cleaning up, fresh paint and flooring, and you have a really great home! Built in 1988, this home has three bedrooms and two full baths, a large living room, a great small heated sunroom addition, that really brings some extra light and dimension to the property!

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!

This is definitely the one, if you're willing to put in a little elbow work, you'll reap the rewards with an inexpensive, but comfy home. Call Lynn Bezon today, 585-344-HOME (4663) or click here for more information.

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

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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.

June 25, 2020 - 6:52pm

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. directors today voted to grant three easements to the Town of Batavia to support the municipality’s $3 million road project stretching from Lewiston Road (Route 63) to Oak Street (Route 98).

“They are small pieces of the property -- three parcels the Town needs to do the work,” WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said following the board’s conference call meeting. “This will result in major improvements (along the road).”

The Town is in the process of acquiring easements from three Park Road properties -- Batavia Downs Gaming, Alex’s Place and Benderson Development, owner of the former Kmart – as part of the design phase, said Tom Lichtenthal, the Town’s highway superintendent and assistant engineer.

Lichtenthal said the New York State-funded project has been in the works for 12 years.

“It looks like we finally received the money and it looks like we are going to be able to move forward with the project,” he said.

Lichtenthal said the rehabilitation will include new pavement, curbs and curbing from Lewiston Road to Richmond Avenue with sidewalks on both sides of Park Road.

From Richmond Avenue to Route 98, pavement will be overlaid and sidewalks installed on one side of the road, he said. The sidewalks will be placed on the same side as the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department office until the road bends, and then on the other side from the hotels that stretch to Route 98.

He also said that new water lines will be put in and street lights will be installed on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

The Town of Town of Batavia is handling the engineering aspects of the project.

Lichtenthal said construction bids will go out this winter, with work scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021.

In other news from the WROTB meeting:

-- Directors reported that the Belmont Stakes generated $345,000 in wagers at OTB branches last Saturday and the total handle for the day was $700,000.

Although both figures represent decreases of more than $210,000 from last year, the handle was deemed as significant in light of the economic situation.

-- Live racing will return to Batavia Downs on July 25 but with only 43 dates instead of the 65 previously announced. Wojtaszek said the plan calls for racing on Tuesdays and Saturdays through mid-December.

-- Batavia Bets, the corporation’s secure online horse wagering platform, took in $863,000 in April and more than $1.1 million in May, Comptroller Jacquelyne Leach reported.

June 17, 2020 - 1:18pm

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 June 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

June 16, 2020

May 26, 2020 - 2:21pm

Press release:

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today (May 26) announced more than 300 communities across the state have earned the Clean Energy Community designation, completing more than 1,700 total high-impact clean energy actions.

In Genesee County, which is part of the Finger Lakes Region, only the Town of Batavia and the Village of Bergen earned the designation.

The designation recognizes community leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs, and driving clean energy, all of which are advancing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal – the nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda putting New York on the path to a carbon-free power grid by 2040 and a carbon-neutral economy.

“Under his unwavering leadership, Governor Cuomo is empowering more local communities to join in the State’s efforts to reduce statewide emissions and combat climate change through programs like this," said Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA.

"Congratulations to all the Clean Energy Communities across New York for taking on a leadership role with these significant actions to reduce their energy use and costs while helping to support New York’s nation-leading clean energy goals.”

Announced by Governor Cuomo in August 2016, the $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative, administered by the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), supports local governments across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable development projects in their communities.

Overall, more than 1,700 high-impact clean energy actions were completed by communities representing more than 91 percent of the state’s population in 61 counties and all 10 Economic Development Council regions.

Some of the largest communities across New York State have been designated Clean Energy Communities, including the City of New York, Erie County and City of Rochester. View a map showing Clean Energy Communities, actions completed, and communities engaged in the Clean Energy Communities Initiative.

More than 570 communities are participating in the Clean Energy Communities initiative and have completed at least one high-impact action.

Finger Lakes Region (which includes Genesee County)

  • Designated Clean Energy Communities: 33 -- In Genesee County there are two -- Town of Batavia and Village of Bergen
  • Participating Communities: 75
  • Clean Energy Actions Completed: 208

"New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program (CSC) works in partnership with NYSERDA’s CEC program to help local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to our changing climate," said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos.

"At a time when the federal government is rolling back critical environmental programs and protections, we congratulate NYSERDA on reaching this milestone and working with communities to combat climate change.

"In New York State, 45 percent of the population lives in a registered CSC and 21 percent of residents are now living in certified CSCs. Including New York City’s program, more than 60 percent of the state’s residents live in communities taking action to help protect the environment for future generations.”

Under the Clean Energy Communities program, cities, counties, towns and villages that completed at least four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions are designated as Clean Energy Communities and were eligible to apply for funding of up to $250,000 to finance additional clean energy projects.

Areas with fewer than 40,000 residents were eligible to apply for up to $100,000 in funding.

Grants, which have historically been provided through the Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, are fully exhausted at this time.NYSERDA expects to release a new update to the Clean Energy Communities Program in the coming months to provide communities new opportunities for grants and recognition while driving the next level of impact.

Key highlights of clean energy actions communities completed across the state include:

  • 100 cities, towns and villages across New York have converted approximately 290,000 streetlights to light-emitting diode (LED);
  • More than 630 electric vehicles deployed as part of clean municipal fleets;
  • Nearly 1,000 electric vehicle charging ports installed;
  • 930 code officers and other municipal officials completed energy code enforcement training;
  • 342 communities adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit.

Please visit NYSERDA’s website for the list of 10 High Impact Actions local governments can take to earn a Clean Energy Community designation.

DEC's Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program was launched on Earth Day in 2009, and is an interagency initiative that helps local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

It is jointly sponsored by the following seven New York State agencies: Department of Environmental Conservation; NYSERDA; Department of Public Service; Department of State; Department of Transportation; Department of Health, and the New York Power Authority.

The program offers grants, rebates for electric vehicles, and free technical assistance to interested communities.

Local governments across New York State have mobilized in response to the current public health crisis to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect their residents.

NYSERDA remains open for business to support communities and local businesses in assessing and benefitting from clean energy actions and combatting the effects of climate change when they are able to do so.

Clean Energy Community coordinators are available at no charge to help communities develop and prioritize clean energy goals; access easy-to-use resources, such as guidance documents and case studies; and take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities. Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator here for assistance in completing the actions.

For more information on Clean Energy Communities, please visit NYSERDA’s website.

New York State's Green New Deal
Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, putting the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy and establishing a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state.

It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop nearly 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind by 2024, and 1,700 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012.

The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates the Green New Deal's nation-leading clean energy targets: nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030, while calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy.

The CLCPA also directs New York State agencies and authorities to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 and aim to invest 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.

May 17, 2020 - 6:56pm

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 May 17, 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

May 17, 2020

May 15, 2020 - 11:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in town of batavia, news.

Press release:

Town of Batavia Hall, Court and Highway Facility will remain closed to the public.

  • Dog license renewals and water/wastewater payments may be made online, by mail or by use of the Town Hall drop box.

  • Building Permit applications, assessment documents or other department document communication may be emailed, mailed or by use of the Town Hall drop box.

Town Clerk's Office drive-thru window service will be open for essential transactions from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Town Park is open with the exception of the playground equipment, tennis courts, pavilions, and restrooms.

​The Town of Batavia Board meetings will continue to be held via video / teleconferencing.

Town of Batavia website is here.

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

ASSESSMENT

BUILDING/ZONING

COURT

ENGINEERING

HIGHWAY

SUPERVISOR

TOWN CLERK

WATER/WASTEWATER

May 7, 2020 - 5:36pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, covid-19.

While Batavia Town Board members are thankful that municipal operations during the COVID-19 pandemic have continued with minimal disruption, they’re also hopeful that a plan to reopen the Town Hall on West Main Street Road comes to fruition in the days ahead.

The board, along with Town Engineer Steve Mountain, gathered via videoconference on Wednesday afternoon to tackle the issues surrounding how to move from “brick and mortar thinking” to a next generation virtual Town Hall or operations center, including the future of the space used for Town Court proceedings.

With construction design for a new Town Hall postponed indefinitely, Supervisor Greg Post posed the question, “How do we move forward from what has been a traditional (form of operating) to something closer to what we’re really doing now?”

Post mentioned the dire forecast contained in the latest coronavirus impact report from the New York State Association of Counties – possible losses of up to $9 million in both sales tax and state aid to Genesee County – as a reason for the Town to take steps to reduce overhead and to make sure that the pipeline for sustainable economic development does not become clogged.

Currently, the engineering, building and inspection departments have been able to maintain a high level of activity, he said, working remotely, using the telephone and utilizing the Town Hall only when necessary.

“They have said they can follow a schedule that will work for them that won’t require any additional footprint in the building,” Post said.

Other Town employees, however, most notably the clerk’s staff, regularly work at the Town Hall, which also serves the public in various capacities.

Council Member Chad Zambito suggested reconfiguring work spaces or cubicles for employees to use, potentially on a staggered system depending upon the day of the week.

Town Clerk Teressa Morasco said that could work “depending on how many are in here, but there needs to be more privacy if we get back to more people in the office.”

Council Member Patti Michalak wondered if the courtroom could be used for employee work space, prompting Post to mention the uncertainty surrounding the court system’s future.

“As it stands now, (the court) is inadequate and, obviously needs a several million-dollar makeover,” he said, adding that he doesn’t know if there will be one court or four regional courts in Genesee County.

Mountain recommended that each department head submit a restarting plan for the board to review, outlining ways to work remotely and specific needs related to using the Town Hall.

“It’s a reimagining of a new type of Town Hall,” he said, downplaying thoughts of expanding the building, which would have to be “much larger if we want to operate as we have in the past.”

Morasco said relief from social distancing mandates would determine when residents would be able to use the drive-thru window, while Council Member Sharon White noted that although the safety procedures have been working, “I would hate to see it continue forever as I miss the interaction with everybody.”

Post said he isn’t convinced that the virus won’t return, but he was able to find a silver lining as it relates to the construction of a new Town Hall.

“If this happens, and it is likely it will happen again, I guess the positive side is that it came before we spent $6 million on a facility and couldn’t use it.”

April 30, 2020 - 9:35am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Freed Maxick, three+one, covid-19.

The Town of Batavia has the financial strength and stability to weather the inevitable loss of income brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the certified public accountant assigned to review the municipality’s books.

Reporting during a Town Board work session on Wednesday, Laura L. Landers, MPA, CPA, director of government services practice for Freed Maxick, said that the Town has “adequate assets … to absorb” a blow to its balance sheet.

“Management believes that tax revenues will be lower in 2020 than anticipated in the adopted 2020 budget,” she said, “but they’ve also assessed the financial condition and the potential impact on revenues, and it has been determined that the town has adequate assets of fund balances to absorb this potential decrease in revenues.”

The work session was conducted via the Zoom videoconferencing service.

Landers said that the Town, at the close of 2019, had unrestricted net funds of $9.8 million and a general fund balance of $6.6 million, with $5.4 million of that in the unassigned category.

Favorable percentages realized

“That unassigned equates to about 138 percent of expenditures versus the prior year when it was 140 percent, and total fund balance of a little over $6.6 million is 171 percent of expenditures versus 164 percent in the prior year,” she said.

She also noted that the Town has set aside a bit more than $1 million to balance the 2020 budget, a prudent move in light of the prospect that sales tax revenues will decrease.

“Unlike years past, I don’t see (sales tax increasing) in 2020. And even in 2019, where the general fund ended up with an excess of revenues over expenditures of about $983,000, I don’t see that’s going to happen (in 2020),” she said. “There may be some surplus; we’re going to have to wait and see where sales tax comes in.”

Landers also predicted that New York State would withhold most or all of the Video Lottery Terminal funds generated by Batavia Downs Gaming. In 2019, the Town received $160,000 from the VLTs.

Other pertinent financial figures:

-- On the revenue side, sales tax came in about $492,000 over budget in 2019, an increase of about $140,000 from 2018.

-- The Town received about $302,000 from state sources -- Revenue sharing, $29,000; VLT, $160,000; CHIPS (highway improvement grant), $58,000; and records management grant, $55,000 for records management grant.

-- General fund reserves are $130,000, with $56,000 for park improvement and $73,000 for economic development.

-- General fund revenues were $4.8 million and expenditures were $2.9 million, prior to the transfer of $942,000 to the highway/townwide fund.

-- The highway/townwide fund had a surplus of $129,000 in 2019 compared to $335,000 in 2018, and the highway/townwide capital reserve fund balance was close to $760,000.

Landers said that both the water and sewer funds ended 2019 with more revenues than expenditures, with water at $725,000 and sewer at $386,000. The unreserved fund balance for the water fund was at $1.7 million and for the sewer fund was at $2.1 million.

Tapping into fund balances is possible

“Overall, the Town as it stands at 12/31/19 has good fund balances and has built up its fund balances, but I see that – depending upon economic recovery – some of those fund balances are going to be utilized in 2020 because of the decrease that I see in state funding … and sales tax,” Landers said, adding that the financial statement referenced the impact of the coronavirus.

She said a single audit was conducted since the Town spent more than $750,000 (actually $1 million) in federal funds for highway planning and construction.

“The result of that audit we did not note any significant or material weaknesses in the internal control over financial reporting or compliance, or on compliance related to the federal programs that were tested,” she said.

On a separate management report, Landers said she found “one minor control deficiency” connected to utilities reporting, but no significant deficiencies or material weaknesses related to the operation of the Town or as a result of any audit procedures that were conducted.

First quarter investment review

Town Supervisor Gregory Post followed Landers’ presentation by reviewing the Town’s 2020 first quarter investment report prepared by the three+one investment consulting firm of Pittsford.

Per the report, the Town had an average of $9.8 million invested into certificates of deposits, ending the period at $10.8 million. This is up from the last period average invested of $9.1 million.

In the past 12 months, the Town has earned $176,625 in interest, with $29,674 being earned in the first three months of 2020. A key factor in the amount of interest earned is the Town’s policy of locking in CD rates for various periods of time, the report indicated.

The Town received five-star ratings from three+one in terms of percent of funds invested, liquidity proficiency and effective interest rates earned.

It fell just short of five stars in cash flow optimization, with a recommendation to use more electronic payments, and in investment policy, with a recommendation to update the list of allowable investments, including using pooled investment services.

'Well-positioned’ going forward

Post said he is encouraged by the Town’s financial standing.

“You can see that we’ve grown our cash position substantially in the last couple of quarters, and are well-positioned to meet the pandemic crisis financial concerns,” he said.

“That return on investment, coupled with not spending money appropriated for the design and construction management of the Town Hall expansion, should keep us in pretty good fiscal shape throughout this year and well into next year – even with as much as a 35 percent loss in sales tax revenue and no anticipated increase in property taxes.”

Post also addressed the “repopulating” of Town Hall, saying that the plan is “to bring back one or two staff members at a time as needed to get everybody in the building and inspection departments in as they need to be.”

He said health department officials have indicated they will be monitoring businesses and agencies in two-week intervals to watch for any medical problems that might arise.

April 17, 2020 - 4:48pm

Public Notice

State of Emergency Declaration

A State of Emergency is hereby declared in the Town of Batavia, effective at 6 p.m. today, April 17, 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 pandemic.

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 Chief Executive of Town of Batavia, County of Genesee, State of New York, I, Gregory H. Post, exercise 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

Supervisor

Town of Batavia

March 23, 2020 - 4:10pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Town of Darien, Town of Oakfield.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post is urging everyone to abide by “social distancing” mandates as he takes the necessary steps to continue providing services to residents while protecting the health of town employees.

“In order for us to get through this (COVID-19 pandemic), we continue to insist that people separate and practice social distancing,” Post said today while drafting a policy that, he says, “will maintain the status quo for the duration” of this situation.

(See press release below.)

Post said that Town offices will be closed to the public and that town employees will work from home to the extent that is practical. He said that Town Clerk Teressa Morasco will be available by telephone or email.

“Essentially, our town is well prepared for this event as we have had remote work stations and flex time for several years,” Post said. “It is not a leap to have staff work from home.”

He said he has reduced “in-house” staff to a minimum – no more than four employees in the building at any one time – and those on duty at Town Hall will work apart from each other as mandated by federal and state officials.

Post also said that the Town Court is closed with justices “on standby in the event of a significant case.” He also noted that engineering, highway and water/sewer employees are on duty and traveling in separate vehicles.

“We can take a sense of comfort in knowing that our day-to-day operations continue without any reduction, except for face-to-face meetings,” Post said, noting that internet and telephone options are being offered.

Darien Town Supervisor Steve Ferry Jr. said essential services such as picking up of debris and tree cutting by the highway department continue and that the Town Board is in the process of setting up governmental meetings on the internet.

“We don’t want the public to be shut out,” he said.

Ferry said he likely was speaking for all other Genesee County towns and villages when he said his primary concern was supporting the businesses in Darien while also making sure to protect the public’s health.

“Our biggest struggle is hoping that our town’s businesses will come out of this and continue to operate,” he said. “Plus, we hope that someone is keeping an eye on the welfare and unemployment situations.”

He said he believes that the decisions coming out of Albany, namely Gov. Cuomo’s daily briefings, are good ones and that most people are adhering to the mandates.

While all towns and villages have adopted the social distancing norms and have suspended face-to-face interactions, the Town of Oakfield also has enlisted a group of volunteers who will pick up and deliver food and household items to elderly and disabled town and village residents.

Volunteers are instructed to deliver the goods to the door and collect payment with minimal contact.

Those wishing to utilize this service are asked to call the Oakfield Town office at 948-5835, ext. 101, and leave a message if no one answers. A volunteer will return the call.

Town and village residents are urged to go to their municipality's website for updated information.

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