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town of batavia

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.

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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."

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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.

June 9, 2021 - 2:19pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 13, 2021 - 11:49am

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENESEE COUNTY

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

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

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

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

CITY OF BATAVIA

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

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

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

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

TOWN OF BATAVIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

The public town park is open.

Public meetings:

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

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

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

Assessment:

Building/Zoning:

Court Clerk:

Engineering:

Highway:

Supervisor:

Town Clerk:

Water / Wastewater:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s where the consultant comes in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 25, 2021 - 12:05pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other developments:

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

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

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

  • Directors approved four other spending measures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

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

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

This situation threatens the public safety.

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

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

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

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

March 12, 2021

March 9, 2021 - 8:58am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 19, 2021 - 11:18am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 6, 2021 - 4:19pm

Update: 5:30 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley is his father.

In other action, Ways & Means:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 3, 2020 - 3:00pm


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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.

town_board_meeting_9_30_20_a.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Budget Breakdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resident Said He Was Shocked

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

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

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

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

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

He then thanked Post for his efforts.

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

Many Factors to Consider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calling Out New York State

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 16, 2020 - 2:07pm

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

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

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

This situation threatens the public safety.

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

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

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

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

Sept. 14, 2020

September 16, 2020 - 2:07pm

Public Notice

Town of Batavia State of Emergency Declaration

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

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

This situation threatens the public safety.

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

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

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

Gregory H. Post,

Town of Batavia Supervisor

Sept. 14, 2020

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