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March 17, 2022 - 10:15am

The Batavia Town Board on Wednesday night set a public hearing for 7 p.m. April 20 on Local Law No. 2 of 2022 – a provision entitled, “A Local Law to Amend the Town of Batavia Zoning Ordinance for Solar Energy Systems.”

The public hearing, which will take place at the Town Hall at 3833 West Main St. Rd., comes on the heels of several months of work by a committee charged with revising the ordinance on the installation of solar systems.

CLICK HERE to access a final draft of the updated solar law.

Supervisor Gregory Post thanked Town Council member Chad Zambito, committee chair, for the group’s efforts, with Zambito acknowledging the input of Building Inspector Dan Lang in the process.

In other action, the board passed resolutions to:

  • Adopt Local Law No. 1 of 2022 which changes the zoning in a portion of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park on East Main Street Road from Commercial to Industrial Park. This action means that all of the park is now zoned appropriately as an IP District.
  • Change a work order between Concrete Applied Technologies Corp. to included a $123,576.60 charge for the installation of a new, 12-inch watermain under Lewiston Road (Route 63) in an existing pipe as part of the Park Road Reconstruction Project.

CATCO is the general contract for the project on 1.2 miles of Park Road between Route 63 and Route 98.

Additionally, the board approved a contract for $55,000 for Ravi Engineering and Land Surveying to provide inspection services for the installation of watermain on Park Road, which also is part of the major project.

  • Appoint -- as reported first on The Batavian -- Raymond Tourt as highway superintendent, effective April 4 through the end of the year. His pay for the part-time, salaried position has been set at the pro-rated amount of $15,076.

Tourt, who has announced his retirement at the City of Batavia’s maintenance superintendent, moved into the elected position following the resignation of Thomas Lichtenthal, whose term expires on Dec. 31, 2025.

March 14, 2022 - 1:15pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, Ray Tourt, solar.

The Batavia Town Board is expected to appoint Ray Tourt as the town’s highway superintendent at its monthly meeting on Wednesday night.

A resolution included in the meeting agenda has Tourt, who has announced his retirement as City of Batavia Bureau of Maintenance superintendent, moving into the position, effective April 4.

A city employee since 1999, Tourt’s last day with the city is March 30.

Town Supervisor Gregory Post today said that Tourt will serve out the remainder of this year before being placed on the ballot to run for the part-time, salaried position for three more years. It pays around $20,000.

Tourt would be replacing Tom Lichtenthal, who resigned, but continues to work for the town in an engineering capacity.

Also, on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road, is the setting of a public hearing for 7 p.m. April 20 (at the Town Hall) on “A Local Law to Amend the Town of Batavia Zoning Ordinance for Solar Energy Systems.”

For the past several months, the town’s solar committee worked to revise the law governing solar systems in the municipality and has come up with a final draft for the public’s consideration.

Previously: Town planners: solar law process is on the right track

Previously: Town solar committee asked to 'revisit' setback distances

 

March 2, 2022 - 2:16pm

henry_sewer_line_1.jpg

Directors of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. have approved spending up to $190,212 to install a new sewer pipe extending from the Genesee Park Place apartments to an area in front of the Hotel at Batavia Downs on Park Road.

The board, at its meeting last week, approved a resolution to accept a proposal by Town of Batavia officials to put in the pipe as part of the Park Road Reconstruction Project that is set to get underway this month.

“We believe the sewer pipe project will cost around $260,000 and we’ve made a request to owners of the Park Place apartments to split the cost,” WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said today. “The board agreed to a maximum of $190,000 to take into account any overruns or contingencies, and in case we have to do it on our own.”

Wojtaszek said putting in the sewer line will eliminate the need to use an old pump station just south of Alex’s Place and will result in lower costs to the corporation.

Town Engineer Steve Mountain agreed, adding that it would be more efficient if that work is done as part of the major renovation of the road.

“We posed that to them if they wanted to consider it now rather than later,” Mountain said. “Now's the time -- before the road is built.”

WROTB previously agreed to spend about $450,000 in enhancements to the $4.077 million project -- improvements such as trees, street lights, increasing the size of the sidewalks and replacing the fence along the parking lots.

Mountain said the main water pipe is being delivered today or tomorrow and work will start in a couple weeks. Catco (Concrete Applied Technologies Corp.) Construction of Alden is general contractor for the project, which is expected to take several months, possibly until the end of the year.

“I guess you could say this is the calm before the storm,” Mountain said. “Everything will get started when the weather starts breaking.”

He noted that there will be lane shutdowns during construction but traffic will be maintained.

“There'll be times when it'll be stop and go for sure,” he advised.

The project calls for the 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, and installation of new water lines and street lights on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

Photo: WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek points north on Park Road, where a new sewer line running from Genesee Park Place apartments to Batavia Downs Gaming will be installed as part of the Park Road Reconstruction Project. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

January 20, 2022 - 12:22pm

The president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. this morning said he expects work on the Park Road Reconstruction Project to start in March.

“Everything seems to be in place,” Henry Wojtaszek said following the monthly board of directors meeting. “The preliminary work that the town (of Batavia) had to do up here at the corner of Lewiston and Park was completed, and … we anticipate a March start on the construction and probably go through to the end of summer, sometime in August or September.”

Wojtaszek said WROTB is prepared to pay around $450,000 for additional enhancements along Park Road – such as trees and street lights and increasing the size of the sidewalks – and also is working with town officials on issues related to the sewer system.

“We’re considering sewer enhancements instead of a pump station, which would be very costly to maintain,” he said.

The $4.077 million project consists of a complete renovation of Park Road – new pavement, curbs, sidewalks, water lines and street lights -- between Route 63 (Lewiston Road) and Route 98 (Oak Street).

Town Assistant Engineer Tom Lichtenthal previously reported that completion is set for December of this year.

In other developments from today’s WROTB meeting:

  • While sports betting on cell phones is now legal in New York State, Wojtaszek said he doesn’t expect that service to come to gaming facilities until early next year.

“We will have the ability to have kiosks here on site for sports betting next January and we anticipate taking advantage of that and providing that service for our customers,” he said. “But right now, we’re having our customers come in and they're betting the games on the phone or watching them in our 34 Rush.”

He said New York has already overtaken all other states to become the leading sports betting state in the nation. “And it took all of two weeks,” he said, noting that it became legal on Jan. 8.

  • A June 10 concert by Bruce in the USA, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, will benefit the Ricky Palermo Foundation. A lifelong Genesee County resident, Palermo has been instrumental in raising millions of dollars for spinal injury research.

“One hundred percent of the ticket proceeds will go to Ricky’s foundation,” said Marketing Director Ryan Hasenauer. “Tickets are on sale now.”

For more information, go to www.bataviaconcerts.com.

  • WROTB distributed $65,215 in surcharges to member municipalities in November, Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach reported.

On the branch side, revenue increased by $12 million in 2021 compared to 2020, but was down $1.1 million from 2019. The handle of Batavia Bets, the online platform, went up by $1.2 million in 2021 compared to the previous year.

  • Directors approved a resolution to purchase 840 gaming chairs and stools from Gary Platt Mfg. of Reno, Nev., for $346,000.
January 5, 2022 - 2:57pm

wujcik.jpgIt seems as though the Genesee County Legislature and the Batavia Town Board are on the verge of making changes in their legal representation departments.

Personnel moves -- per resolutions to be considered at meetings tonight and previously passed by the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors -- are as follows:

  • James Wujcik of Le Roy (photo at right) is being appointed as Genesee County attorney through Dec. 31, 2023, replacing Kevin Earl, who has served in that capacity for the past five years;
  • Earl is being hired as counsel to the supervisor for the Town of Batavia on a part-time (20 hours per week) basis;
  • Jennifer Wilkinson of Attica has been appointed as Wyoming County attorney, replacing Wujcik, who has served as counsel to that county’s Board of Supervisors for the past eight years. Both Wilkinson and Wujcik are lawyers with the Attica firm of Dadd, Nelson, Wilkinson & Wujcik.
  • Jerry Ader of Clarence is being reappointed as Genesee County public defender through Dec. 31, 2023.

COUNTY SET TO ‘MOVE FORWARD’

County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein cited Wujcik’s experience as a county attorney as he steps into the role of helping to facilitate key projects facing the municipality in the near future.

“Jim has just finished his term with serving Wyoming County – not as a full-time attorney – and we are looking forward to having him come on board (in a full-time capacity),” she said. “He was interested (in the Genesee County job) and we were interested, and we believe that we're going to continue to work on behalf of the taxpayers here in Genesee County -- in a really smart, effective and efficient way.”

oip.jpgStein said that Earl (photo at left) was “ready to step into his semi-retirement role” and she thanked him for his service.

“This was mutual on both sides,” she said. “He has really performed a great service to the county for the last five years. We have gone through some … amazing things while he sat in that office, and there's the craziness of this pandemic.”

She mentioned the addition of a corporate compliance officer, progress on the new county jail, 40-year sales tax agreement and the water agreement with towns and villages as major accomplishments.

“We just wish him (Earl) all the best as he transitions into this new role,” she said.

Earl, contacted by telephone moments ago, issued the following statement:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my work with the county and all the county employees, and I am grateful for this opportunity with the Town of Batavia on a part-time basis as part of my semi-retirement strategy.”

TOWN CREATES NEW POSITION

The Batavia Town Board is set to create the counsel to the supervisor position tonight and hire Earl, a former attorney for the town and longtime Batavia resident, at a rate of $51.52 per hour, effective January 10.

Town Supervisor Gregory Post said the decision was predicated upon the additional volume of legal work coming into the town coupled with the desire of current Town Attorney Andrew Meier, a Medina resident with a private practice, to decrease his workload.

Post added that a “number of line items in our budget are dedicated to legal and we are in a good position to enter into an agreement with Kevin for his services.”

The position will be evaluated after six months, Post added.

“There are things that have been on the table for six or seven months that haven't been attended to, and we’ve got two new projects that are been grant funded in the last 30 days.” Post said. “We have pretty good vibes that more development is on the way.”

Post noted that Wujcik represents the town on code enforcement and building inspection matters, but expects that he will be giving that up in his new role as Genesee County attorney.

The supervisor had high praise for Earl, who, he said, “did an unbelievable job for us for so many years.”

“I have great respect for Kevin,” Post said. “And when I found that he would be available, he and I had a conversation and I talked it over with my counsel and my staff. And we feel as though we're finding a path of trying to save some money.”

Post said the normal hourly rate for contracting with attorneys is around $200.

“Kevin will be in the office – and will be immediately available to the building department, to code enforcement and inspectors, to the engineering staff, to the town clerk and be able to work with planning and zoning,” he said. “He will help us move through these new public works projects and navigate contracts and insurance service agreements for the next year.”

December 30, 2021 - 12:14pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Solar Energy Local Law, Wendel Companies.

reilly_1.jpg

Members of a committee charged with updating the Town of Batavia’s solar law on Wednesday night acknowledged that a compromise on setback distance requirements may be in order after hearing from two couples seeking to place ground-mounted systems on their property.

Speaking at an informational meeting at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road, Dan Reuter, a Corfu resident, said he has issues over the 200-foot setback criteria listed in the final draft of the town’s Solar Energy Local Law.

Reuter and his wife, Kathy, own 68 acres on Alexander Road (Route 98) in the Town of Batavia.

“The setbacks proposal is extremely constraining,” Reuter said, adding that such a condition would put an end to his plan to place a 1.8-megawatt solar array on 9 acres of his property. “It will make it not viable.”

As currently written, the final draft stipulates that Tier 3 systems shall meet the following requirements:

  • Be setback from any non-participating property line by 200 feet;
  • Be setback from any participating property line by 20 feet;
  • Be setback from any adjoining, participating property existing structure by 30 feet;
  • Be setback from any adjoining, non-participating structure by 500 feet.

Reuter said his property is vacant and, for the most part, unusable, farm land that already is limited in scope due to requirements of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He said that he is looking to put in the solar system to assist in the couple’s retirement.

“We ask that you would revisit that,” he said, noting that 200 feet “would kill us” but that a 50-foot setback would work.

John and Kerry Hylkema said they applied in 2016 for a permit to place solar on their property on Alexander Road.

 “We saw other solar farms go in,” Kerry said. “and we’ve been waiting and waiting.”

Her husband said he also disagreed with the setback requirements, and asked for the committee’s “consideration to work with us.”

Buffalo attorney Charles Malcomb, representing solar developer Renewable Properties on behalf of the Reuters and Hylkemas, referred to a letter that he wrote to the committee highlighting other projects where the setback was less than 200 feet.

“The main issue is the setback from non-participating properties,” he said. “Two hundred feet is a real problem.”

Malcomb pointed to projects in the towns of Alabama and Sardinia where a 50-foot setback was in place.

“We think that’s a sufficient setback,” he said, noting that screening provisions would help to “hide” the panels – one of the goals of the solar law.

At that point, Dan Lang, who also is the town’s building inspector, asked other committee members to weigh in on the 200-foot setback. He then proposed keeping the 200-foot limit on the front and changing it to 50 feet on the side and rear.

“The intent is to get these away from roads and houses,” he said.

Committee member Nancy Brach, a town resident, asked Malcomb to modify his renderings to show various distances, and he agreed that he would fulfill that request.

The committee has been working on a new solar law – one that would mesh with the town’s Comprehensive Plan – for about a year.

Drew Reilly (photo above) of Wendel Companies of Williamsville is the group’s consultant and he spoke at length last night about the progress it has made.

Reilly said that the solar environment is changing rapidly.

“If you have a solar law and it’s more than three years old, it’s probably outdated,” he said. “NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) is even updating its law” (because it doesn’t address everything).

Lang said the committee will take another look at topics brought up last night (others included the percentage of Smart Growth land to be used for solar and the role of planning boards and zoning boards of appeals in the process) and submit the revised law to the Batavia Town Board sometime next month.

Town Supervisor Gregory Post, who was in attendance, said he hopes to have the law passed by April. Before that can happen, the law needs to go through a State Environmental Quality Review, review by the Genesee County Planning Board and Town Planning Board, and a public hearing.

committee_solar_1.jpg

Photo: Town of Batavia solar committee members, from left, Brittany Witkop, Nancy Brach, Dan Lang, Paul McCullough. Reilly is at right. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Town of Batavia committee drafts revised solar energy law, sets informational meeting for Dec. 29

December 20, 2021 - 11:42am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, solar systems, Wendel.

After taking several months to review the Town of Batavia’s regulations governing the installation of solar systems, a seven-member committee working with a Williamsville consulting firm is ready to share its recommendations with the public.

An informational session is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Dec. 29 at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

The final draft of the town’s revised Solar Energy Local Law is available for viewing on the Town of Batavia website.

Town Board member Chad Zambito is the chair of the committee that also includes Town Building Inspector Dan Lang, Town Zoning Board members Steve Tanner, Don Partridge and Paul McCullough, Town Zoning Board of Appeals member Brittany Witkop and town resident Nancy Brach.

Drew Reilly of Wendel Companies served as the group’s consultant.

Zambito said the committee used the New York State Model Solar Energy Law as a basis for the town’s law, with some modifications. He said he hopes to receive feedback from residents at next week’s meeting.

According to the document, the town has the authority to develop a solar code through town law and Section 20 of the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York, which authorize the town “to adopt zoning provisions that advance and protect the health, safety and welfare of the community, and, in accordance with the Town Law of New York State, to make provision for, so far as conditions may permit, the accommodation of solar energy systems and equipment and access to sunlight necessary therefore.”

It advances a five-fold “statement of purpose” – emphasizing the need to capitalize on renewable energy, reducing electricity costs to residential and commercial customers, increasing employment and business development, mitigating solar’s effects on agriculture and the environment and linking to the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

The revised law also lists solar term definitions, time frames, safety guidelines, decommissioning (end of use) procedures, maintenance/fees and enforcement/penalty provisions.

The bulk of the document is devoted to “permitting requirements” for the four levels of solar systems – Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4.

  • Tier 1 systems are defined as roof-mounted solar panels and new building-integrated systems, and are must meet design, glare and height guidelines.
  • Tier 2 systems, such as accessory structures, also have to comply with glare, setback, height, screening, visibility, equipment placement and lot size requirements. Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 systems are permitted in all zoning districts and are not subject to site plan reviews as long as the specific criteria are in order.
  • Tier 3 (larger) systems are permitted through the issuance of a Special Use Permit within the Agricultural Residential zoning district. They are subject to additional requirements, including maximum percentage of land use, written application, public hearing, underground utility lines, vehicular paths, signage, glare, lighting, tree cutting, screening/landscaping, noise, decommissioning and security.
  • Tier 4 systems along the line of those proposed for widespread areas in Byron and Oakfield/Elba, also need a Special Use Permit. These may qualify for a Solar Energy System PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) and will require a Host Community Agreement as determined by the Town Board. Additional restrictions on large-scale Tier 4 systems include submission of an Agricultural Impact Statement, Economic Impact Analysis and Host Community Agreement proposal.
November 5, 2021 - 12:13pm

A public hearing on the Town of Batavia’s 2022 contract with the Town of Batavia Fire Department is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Town Hall, 3833 West Main St. Rd.

The proposed contract, which would take effect on Jan. 1, calls for the town to pay the fire department $1,185,265 for fire protection for all of next year.

Town residents fund the fire department through a separate special district tax, which is expected to remain at $2.34 per thousand of assessed valuation – the same as 2021.

The town board announced the public hearing date at its meeting on Wednesday night.

In other action, the town board:

  • Approved an agreement in which the town will provide code enforcement services to the Town of Alabama, specifically for development at the WNY Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park.

According to the resolution, the Town of Alabama shall pay the Town of Batavia $55.44 per hour during normal business hours Monday through Friday. The charge for field inspections outside of that timeframe will be $83.16 per hour. Mileage incurred by enforcement officers also will be reimbursed.

  • Completed the preliminary 2022 budget process, setting the property tax rate at $2.51 per thousand of assessed valuation. The rate is a 12 percent decrease from 2021, and will generate $1,236,000 in property taxes – the same amount as last year.

The sewer rate remains the same as 2021 -- at $7.09 per 1,000 gallons used -- while the water rate for both residential and agricultural consumers is going up by 2 percent – to $6.32 and $5.12 per 1,000 gallons, respectively.

Salaries for elected officials are as follows:

  • Supervisor Gregory Post, $40,000.
  • Deputy Supervisor Dan Underhill, $18,000.
  • Council members Patti Michalak, Chad Zambito and Sharon White, $12,000.
  • Town Clerk/Tax Collector Teressa Morasco, $74,541.
  • Highway Superintendent Tom Lichtenthal, $20,101.
  • Town Justices Lisa Funke and Andrew Young, $28,840.

No one from the public spoke at public hearings on the budget, sewer and water rates on Wednesday.

November 4, 2021 - 9:20am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, three+one, CashVest.

town_three_plus_one_.jpg

The Town of Batavia’s money management policies are having a significant impact upon its bottom line, so much so that it is being recognized by the Pittsford firm that has helped guide the municipality’s investments in recent years.

At Wednesday night’s Special Town Board meeting at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road, Alex DeRosa, relationship specialist with CashVest by three+one, presented the town with the “90+ CashVest Award” which is given to public entities that received a CashVest score of 90 or higher for four consecutive quarters.

“This score takes into consideration everything from the way the town receives payments, makes payments, what you're doing with your cash while it's at the bank, ensuring you have the appropriate bank account structure and a fair banking relationship,” DeRosa said. “The town has hit this mark above 90, not only just for four quarters, but for actually more than eight quarters consecutively.”

DeRosa said the town has gone “above and beyond the normal line of duty.”

“I don't think there's anything in legislation or law that states a town must do everything they can to maximize the value of cash; it just seems like the right thing to do,” he said. “But over the past 18 months, we've actually seen audits from the New York State Comptroller on some small towns, villages and school districts that really gave those towns a red mark on their audit saying they didn't go out and try to maximize value, they did not talk to multiple things, they did not have cash flow forecasts into the future.

“And that's the type of thing that can make headline news, not only for finance staff, but the whole town board and the town as a whole. This work is appreciated by three+one because of our mission. And it should be appreciated by every taxpayer in the Town of Batavia, that you all are going above and beyond to consistently maximize that value.”

Town Supervisor Gregory Post said he believed the town has earned almost $300,000 in unanticipated interest on investments since contracting with three+one.

“… I don't have the numbers exactly in front of me, but I believe our last quarterly report shows that since our inception of working collaboratively on this account have realized nearly $300,000 in interest above and beyond what was anticipated or budgeted,” Post said. “So, that's real dollars and real cash that have assisted us in our migration through the COVID pandemic as well as into the 2022 fiscal year.”

Photo: Hiedi Librock, secretary to the Town of Batavia supervisor, accepts the 90+ CashVest Award from Alex DeRosa of CashVest by three+one. Photo by Alecia Kaus.

November 1, 2021 - 10:37am

The “new normal” has become a reality for the Park Road Reconstruction Project.

Tom Lichtenthal, assistant engineer for the Town of Batavia, this morning said the start of the $4.077 million renovation of Park Road between Route 63 (Lewiston Road) and Route 98 (Oak Street) has been pushed back until next spring due to supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the result of COVID, just like we’ve seen for the last year and a half to two years in trying to get materials,” Lichtenthal said. “It’s the new normal, if you will, and it was not unexpected.”

During a pre-construction meeting last week with representatives of general contractor Catco (Concrete Applied Technologies Corp.) Construction of Alden, Lichtenthal learned that the pipe for the watermain won’t be delivered for another 12 weeks.

“That pushes the start out to mid-January, which is not a good time for this type of work,” he said. “Installation of the pipe is still the first order of business, but it’s likely delayed until the spring of 2022.”

Lichtenthal said the late start is not expected to extend the timeline for the project’s completion, which has been set for December 2022.

The scope of the work includes 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, and installation of new water lines and street lights on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

Previously: WROTB, Town of Batavia agree on Park Road items

Previously: Town board OKs measures to support Park Road project

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

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.
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.

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.

landpro_shovels_1.jpg

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'

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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alludyne_federal_drive_gateway_1_edit.jpg

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.

gallina_gateway_gs_llc_edit.jpg

gallina_building_gateway_2_edit.jpg

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).

vantage_west_saile_edit.jpg

milton_cat_east_saile_edit.jpg

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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