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March 22, 2022 - 10:51am

huntington_and_lathan_1.jpgThe Town of Stafford Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday night tabled an application for a variance to the municipality’s solar ordinance from BW Solar on behalf of a Batavia Stafford Townline Road couple seeking to put a pair of 5-megawatt systems on their property.

Following a public hearing that turned into a “Q & A” with BW Solar Project Developer Dan Huntington, the ZBA voted unanimously to put the action on hold for 30 days. It made its decision at the request of Chair Michael Lathan, who said he had several questions for the town attorney.

Lathan said he expects the board to make a determination at its next meeting on April 18.

About 30 residents attended the hour and 45 minute session that became necessary since BW Solar’s site plan included setbacks (distances from residential and/or nonresidential property lines) that were less than stipulated in Stafford’s solar law.

The Woods own and operate a large farm (and also lease and farm adjoining land) and desire to use about 60 acres for the two side-by-side ground-mounted solar systems. One will cover 31.08 acres and the other will utilize 28.32 acres in a district near College Road zoned as Industrial Park, which the town has deemed appropriate for solar.

While the setbacks were the primary focus, town residents fired off queries on related subjects – most notably the Stafford solar ordinance, itself, as well as impacts to real property value, health, the environment and the rural nature of the town.

RESIDENT CITES SOLAR LAW

Diane Hawn, a Stafford resident for 24 years, read three times from the town’s ordinance on Solar Energy Facilities, asking if BW Solar has followed the letter of the law by establishing a $150,000 escrow account and maintaining umbrella insurance coverage of $10 million during the application process.

“If these haven’t been established, with that huge thing in 2018 (the drafting of the solar ordinance), how can this even be happening right now?” she asked.

Hawn went back and forth with Lathan and Huntington on whether these fees needed to be paid upfront, with the application fee, or if that was part of the next step in the process – after BW Solar was granted the variances it sought to proceed with the project.

Huntington, responding to a question about the escrow account, said he hasn’t encountered that in his other solar projects.

“A $150,000 escrow account controlled by the town, even in a decommissioning sense, has never been established where the town controls the escrow account,” he said. “I can’t say across New York State that’s not true, but in all of the projects that I’ve done … I’ve never seen something of that nature.”

Town Board member Ron Panek advised that the escrow account for solar mirrors the one set up for a Planned Unit Development (such as a senior housing complex or trailer park).

“Is it unusual?” he said. “No, it’s right in our other laws.”

IN DEFENSE OF SOLAR LAW

Panek said much effort and time (nearly two years) were put into the wording of the solar law, and, since then, the Town of Le Roy has used parts of the law and the Town of Alexander’s law “is word for word, identical (to Stafford’s).”

Hawn also quoted another section of the law where it states that Stafford’s Comprehensive Plan “desires to maintain the pastoral, rural nature of this region. An industrial solar energy facility is in conflict with the culture and character of the community.”

ZBA alternate member Tim Thomas noted that the Wood property is in an industrial zoned area.

“Somebody could come in and build a manufacturing facility,” he said. “There’s probably a variety of industrial-type complexes that could go there. So, I would just ask to keep that in mind as you’re looking at this. Solar complexes – solar farms – really don’t demand a lot of services in the town.”

Huntington has maintained all along – in dealings with the Genesee County Planning Board and Town of Stafford officials and attorney – that BW Solar has crafted a solar site plan that minimizes the negative effect on the couple of neighbors by moving it away from the road and placing the two systems next to each other to enable the Woods to farm more of their land.

“The Town Board can’t reasonably do all the work they have to do, if we can’t even decide where the footprint of this thing is going to lie,” he said.

“So, that’s why we’re at the variance part first – to determine you can build there, you can’t build there. Once we know that, then we can say, we’ll outline the footprint, if we have to alter these designs and resubmit them to the Town Board, and now we have a clear, defined footprint that we can review everything, without changes from there.”

CONCERN OVER REAL PROPERTY CLAUSE

The ZBA’s inability to grant a variance to the town’s solar ordinance real property value protection clause, as indicated by the town attorney, is cause for concern, Huntington acknowledged. The law states that the solar operator shall assure there will be no loss in property value for any property within 2,500 feet of the solar farm – a significant distance.

“To create some type of an agreement with every single one of those homeowners is something that I’ve never heard of in any project that I’ve been involved in in New York State,” he said. “On this specific project, there is actually only one homeowner that’s adjoining the property.”

He said having to enter into contracts with up to 100 property owners in that 2,500-foot radius “could quadruple the cost of the project,” adding that if it came down to that, BW Solar would be forced to “defend in court.”

Huntington said he “can sympathize” with the one resident next to the proposed solar farm (who was in attendance last night).

“He has a beautiful home across the street that does overlook a beautiful farm field – I can’t argue that fact,” he said. “I can sympathize with his concerns …

“The variances we are asking for to pull it away from the road on which he lives on – specifically the 200 feet down to zero and the eastern side, 200 feet to 100 feet, would actually bring the solar array away from the road in such a manner that would actually allow his view, at least 50 percent of it, to stay farm fields. If those variances aren’t granted, the only place we can bring the remainder of those panels, to follow the law, is up into that bend, which would eat up his entire view.”

He said he would work with the resident to ensure the screening was adequate, not only at the beginning of the project but down the road.

OTHER DISCUSSION TOPICS

Other points brought up during the meeting:

  • On health hazards: Huntington said “studies have shown there are no health hazards associated with it when a solar farm is functioning properly, and maintained properly … and part of our duty is to make sure that a facility is operating at a high efficiency.” He added that a State Environmental Quality Review is required and BW Solar plans to notify agencies such as the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Transportation, Army Corps of Engineers and local governmental officials at the proper time.
  • On employees needed to build and maintain the system: Huntington said it is likely that union electricians would be hired due to the high voltage and that he hoped that local residents would be hired for seasonal maintenance.
  • On seeking tax abatements: Huntington said the company would seek a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “It’s a pretty standard process for it, and it’s $6,000 per megawatt, which is split between the town, school district and county.”

INACCURACIES POINTED OUT

Lathan, at the outset, pointed out some inaccuracies in a notice placed in a local Pennysaver over the weekend – also calling out the person (or persons) responsible for the ad for not putting a name on it..

“We do not make amendments and we do not make laws,” he said. “We try to grant relief to residents on the law, that’s all we’re here to do.”

He also read where it said the request would be in “direct contradiction” to the Stafford zoning law.

“Almost every decision that that board makes is a contradiction to the zoning law," he said. "That’s why we try to grant relief.”

The ZBA chair also took exception to the notice’s charged that any change would show a “direct bias in favor of the company and a select few to benefit from this project.”

“I've had the privilege to be on this board for 14 years. We have never made a decision that was biased one way or the other. And I take offense to that, whoever put this in.”

stafford_zba_crowd_1.jpg

Photo at top: Michael Lathan, left, ZBA chair, and Dan Huntington of BW Solar, talk following Monday night's public hearing. Photo at bottom: The session drew about 30 Stafford residents to the Town Hall. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Planning board falls back on its purpose in decision to 'disapprove' Stafford solar project variance requests

March 11, 2022 - 11:12am

wood_map_1.jpg

While acknowledging that the solar project proposed by BW Solar on behalf of a Batavia Stafford Townline Road couple was well-thought-out, the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night voted to recommend disapproval due to concerns over setback variance requests.

The board’s action, taken during its monthly meeting via Zoom videoconferencing, sends the referral back to the Stafford Town Board for final determination.

Robert and Michelle Wood of 8244 Batavia Stafford Townline Rd. are hoping to place two 5-megawatt, ground-mounted solar systems on their farmland. One will cover 31.08 acres and the other will cover 28.32 acres.

The couple, along with Dan Huntington, project developer for BW Solar, were on the Zoom call last night.

They came into the meeting knowing that the Genesee County Planning Department staff had issued a recommendation of disapproval due to the setback variances being requested “grossly exceed the requirements of the Town of Stafford’s Zoning Law.”

Stafford’s solar zoning regulations are much more restrictive in terms of the distance from neighboring properties than most others in the county, said Planning Director Felipe Oltramari, adding that a request for a variance from the Real Property Value Protection clause of the law may not be permissible.

A SOLID CASE FOR APPROVAL

Still, Huntington presented a solid case for approval of the site plan, special use permit and area variances for the project – earning praise on the layout from planners and convincing one member, John Deleo, to make a motion for approval (which died from a lack of a second).

BW Solar’s proposal calls for setbacks of 75 feet from residential property lines, where a minimum required per the Stafford law is 1,000 feet, and it also asks for reduction of setbacks along nonresidential property lines from 200 feet to 100 feet, 50 feet and zero feet depending upon the location on the map.

The area is zoned as an Industrial Park (IP) District, which is appropriate for such a project.

Huntington emphasized that the Town of Stafford has some “unique solar laws in place that far exceed what you’re typically seeing throughout the county.”

He said he has been involved in previous projects in the county – one in Elba and one in Pavilion – that were approved by county planners.

“And the two projects we have here are two separate 5-megawatt projects because that's what NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) guidelines require us to do for community distributed generation projects,” he said. “We do kind of talk about them as one project, but they are two separate LLCs and two separate projects. They are co-located on two parcels of land that Bob and Michelle Wood own.”

SETBACK DISTANCES QUESTIONED

Stating that he understood the challenges posed by the Stafford solar ordinance and the Real Property Value Protection clause, Huntington pointed out that the 1,000-foot setback “is a stipulation that is not required for any other portion of industry throughout Stafford solar zoning laws and the 2,500-foot setback is also very unique to solar specific and would actually stretch over the highway into a large portion of Batavia as well.”

“So, those are two larger elements that we are looking at for a variance. We applied for those variances based on the guidance of our attorneys at Harris Beach, and also with communication with the town attorney. That was direction that he gave us as to first steps -- to apply for a variance for those two pieces.”

Huntington went on to say that he believed Stafford officials didn’t want solar farms encroaching upon neighboring homes, but that the Woods’ proposal is different in that it is shielded by farmland on one side and railroad tracks on another.

Sharing a visual of the layout as he spoke, Huntington said he, working with engineers at LaBella Associates, strived to make efficient use of the space – in one instance asking for a property setback to be at zero to utilize space for a shared fence for the two solar systems.

“If we were to follow the solar law and have a 200-foot setback on either side of this property line, it would create a 400-foot dead zone that not only we couldn't use, but it would be extremely inefficient for Bob and Michelle to continue their farming operation,” he said.

Huntington said the preference is to share a road entrance “so we're not building additional roads to each 5-megawatt array because they are legally required to be individually fenced.”

“By reducing the setback, we could put the gravel road right down the middle, share a fence and again reduce the amount of impact we have to the farmable land.”

SEEKING TO HONOR INTENT OF LAW

In summary, he said that while the variance difference “may be a little bit higher than what the board is comfortable with in the past, we are just trying to find a way to accommodate this project and still honor the intent of the law when it comes to some of the setbacks.”

“So, my request of the board would be to look at the project as a whole within the county and potentially vote to support the project and allow the zoning board and the town board to make the decision as to whether or not these variances are acceptable to them in their town,” he said. “Because a negative vote could potentially cause additional stresses for them in terms of whether or not they're going to approve or deny something.”

The Woods noted that the solar farms will sit back in their field – protected by a lot of trees.

“You won’t be able to really see it from (Route) 33,” Michelle said. “It’s set way up back. If we can get those variances in place, then we can continue to farm all around the front of it, which would be protected by corn because we grow a lot of corn.”

Planner Tom Schubmehl advised everyone that the planning board’s role “is to gauge intercommunity impacts and to make sure that towns are following their law.”

“That's our role -- not to decide what the towns want or should have or whether it's applicable to the rest of the county,” he said. “Our job is to make sure they're following their law, and that there's no intercommunity impacts. So, from that perspective … it's a nicely designed solar project compared to some of the other ones we have seen. But that's not our role to decided what Stafford wants.”

Planning Board Chair Laraine Caton said she agreed.

“Right. And ultimately, they have the final say, anyway,” she said.

A vote was taken on both projects separately. The outcome was 5-1 each time for disapproval with Deleo -- who thought the 2,500-foot setback was “a little extreme" -- in opposition of that action.

Drawing of BW Solar proposal showing College Road (notch in green section at left) coming into Batavia Stafford Townline Road. Solar panels are in gray; setbacks are in green. Courtesy of Genesee County Planning Department.

Previously: Genesee County Planning Department finds fault with Stafford solar project proposal

June 19, 2021 - 12:37pm

Incumbent Julie Scheuerlein is pointing to her 19 years of service in the Town of Stafford as she seeks to fend off a challenge from Barbara Radley, who has been endorsed by all four town councilmen and the Stafford Republican Committee, in Tuesday’s primary election for town clerk.

Apparently, the battle lines have been drawn as the councilmen are calling for a change due to job performance issues. They believe that Radley, currently a deputy clerk for the Town of Byron and a former Stafford deputy clerk in Scheuerlein’s office, is the best choice.

Scheuerlein, however, disputes the board members’ and Republican committee’s position, stating that in her four years on the job – following 15 years as the municipality’s court clerk – she has served the town well despite the board’s failure to provide her with adequate training and support.

Major points of contention, per the town board, are that the Town of Stafford has not collected its own taxes over the past two years -- relinquishing that task to Genesee County after errors in the tax roll were discovered in 2019 -- and that Scheuerlein has not provided accurate and timely meeting minutes.

Early voting by registered Stafford Republicans for their next town clerk continues from noon to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at the ARC Community Center, 38 Woodrow Road, Batavia, and concludes on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Stafford Town Hall.

At stake is an opportunity to represent the party in the November election. The position, which requires a commitment of 30 to 35 hours, lists a salary of around $33,000.

TOWN BOARD ISSUES A STATEMENT

Town board members issued a statement, that has made its way onto Facebook, endorsing Radley:

“It is rare for town board members to make an endorsement of a candidate. It is even rarer for all four board members to endorse the same candidate. Bob Pacer, Ron Panek, Don Mullen and Jim Duyssen have all endorsed Barb Radley.

“The Town Board needs a clerk that has a plan for a defect-free submission so that they can confidently bring back the taxes from the county. Stafford is the only town in Genesee County that has had to outsource their tax collection.

“The Town Board needs a clerk that can provide timely and accurate recording of the proceedings and propositions of each meeting. These records need to be made available to the public within two weeks of the meeting.

“The Town Board needs a clerk that provides error free services to minimize customer complaints.

“The Town Board is confident that Barb Radley can turn around the clerk’s office on these three issues.”

PANEK POINTS TO ‘ERRORS’

Contacted by The Batavian, Panek said errors in the minutes are the “biggest issue,” adding that they are finding 10 to 12 major corrections a month.

“There would be missing motions, and sometimes the motions would be listed as just the opposite of what we’d voted on,” he said. “And sometimes carrying over, using the old minutes as a carryover format, and who was actually at the meeting would be mixed up.”

Panek said that he spent time researching the New York State law, and found that “the town clerk should attend all board meetings and should record the proceedings and the propositions that are presented at the meeting.”

“Some wives’ tale that people believe is that you can only put down the motions and that’s adequate. Well, that’s not true because the law says you’re supposed to do the proceedings,” he said.

He said the town’s previous clerk, Walt Kershenski (who served from 2004-18) set the standard, “perfectly striking a balance between enough information and not enough information.”

“Now, the problem is that if they record the meeting, we get the minutes so late – sometimes two days before the next meeting. I think what is done is that they are left until the last minute and they try to use the recording to piece it together and they can’t remember exactly what took place,” he said.

STAFFORD CONTRACTS WITH COUNTY

On the tax collection issue, he said the Genesee County Treasurer’s Office found “all kinds of errors” in the 2019 roll, and had to “invest a ton of time – I know over 100 hours – into fixing the tax roll.”

After that, Genesee County took over the duties, charging the town $2,500 in 2020, and $5,000 for the just-completed 2021 collection.

Panek said the town board withheld a raise for Scheuerlein because of that – and actually cut her pay for the original $2,500.

“I had told her when she was complaining about not getting a raise that we need a plan on how you’re going to bring it back. Who are you going to get to train you? Who are you going to get – an experienced clerk – to help you through it? We got nothing,” he said.

“It’s already cost us $7,500 and now we’re hoping that the voters of Stafford will give us somebody who can do taxes.”

REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE STATEMENT

The Stafford Republican Committee, which is chaired by Panek’s wife, Mary Alice, also endorsed Radley after interviewing candidates (Scheuerlein, Radley and an undisclosed third person) in January.

Its statement is as follows:

“Barb Radley provided a presentation which gave the committee confidence they were providing the best candidate:

“1 – The county took over the tax processing due to the submission failing the audit of the tax roll. Barb’s presentation gave the committee confidence that the town board could bring the tax processing back under her direction.

“2 – Her presentation demonstrated her experience in providing a defect-free process in an environment where information must be right the first time.

“3 – Finally, the committee was confident that Barb would provide a friendly, customer-oriented environment.

“Based on this presentation, the decision was made on a single ballot with a unanimous (11-0) vote. The choice was clear.”

CHAIR: A UNANIMOUS DECISION

Mary Alice Panek said committee members voted 11-0 to endorse Radley. She said it was a combination of Radley’s experience and “some of the issues with the present day town clerk” that gave Radley the nod.

She, too, mentioned board minutes’ inaccuracies, the fact that the minutes are not posted to the town’s website in a timely fashion and “multiple errors in licensing.”

“This was from members of the committee who had encountered mistakes and had to go back to the town hall several times for marriage licensing, hunting licenses, dog licenses,” she said. “There was an issue with the handicapped parking sticker that had the wrong dates put on it and an issue where one of the funeral directors came in for a death certificate because he had to bury the person and she (Scheuerlein) told him that she was busy and he’d have to wait a couple days.”

Mary Alice Panek also said the committee talked about the tax returns, citing multiple errors and having to pay the county for the service.

The committee chair applauded Radley’s varied work history, as an employee of the Le Roy Central School District, U.S. Postal Service in Stafford and other area locations and, currently, as the deputy clerk for the Town of Byron.

“Byron submits its taxes on time and there haven’t been any issues. She certainly has a valid and successful experience as a deputy town clerk,” she said.

SCHEUERLEIN: ‘INTEGRITY ATTACKED’

scheuerlien_2.jpgScheuerlein, part of a family of 11 who grew up in Le Roy before moving to Stafford, said that things are being blown out of proportion and faults the town board for not providing her with the tools she needed to excel after transitioning from the court system to the clerk’s office.

“When I started this job, I was never trained at all,” she said. “You would think the board would come in and ask, ‘What do you need?’ No, no, no. And then I heard from somebody at the Stafford Trading Post telling me what they were going to do with me concerning the tax issue. How do you muddy somebody’s name like that?”

She said it has come to a point where her opponents are attacking her integrity.

“At this point, it has turned into a defamation of character. How do you become a court clerk and then a town clerk, and now all of a sudden, you can’t handle a job? That’s what they’re doing,” she said. “What they’re doing doesn’t negate that I know how to do my job.

“That indicates that I started this job and didn’t know it. There are two variables here. I had a support system in the court, which is totally different than the board. Not one of those board members … come down to the office all month long; the only person who is there every day is (Supervisor) Robert Clement."

Calls yesterday to Clement for comment have not been returned.

A ‘TAXING’ SITUATION

When asked about the tax collection situation, Scheuerlein said it was a board decision to contract with Genesee County.

“There was one bounced check that caused the problem. Barb (Radley, her deputy clerk at the time) had assured me that she had secured the funds for that check,” she said. “But we didn’t have that money. It was like $1,700, off the top of my head.”

Scheuerlein said that she eventually recovered the funds after threatening to take the matter to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

She said her mistake was that one check, “plus I counted on the person working for me.”

“That was my mistake, and what it tells me is that I shouldn’t have depended upon her.”

She said Radley abruptly quit the job in September 2019 after a year’s service.

As far as having a plan to regain tax collection responsibilities, Scheuerlein said the board has not asked for one.

“You show me where they’ve asked for that. That has never been said. What has been said is that has been taken away, and the supervisor said that he has two people right now that will handle the taxes – and one of them is extremely efficient and the other one will be just fine,” she offered.

County Treasurer Scott German said that an accounting firm recommended finding an alternative to having the town do the tax collection after the problems in 2019, but also indicated that no money was missing and there was no official audit.

A CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

Scheuerlein contends that the disclosure of information pertaining to her job by Ron and Mary Alice Panek, in the roles as town councilman and Stafford Republican Committee chair, is out of line. She also sees a conflict of interest, something that Mary Alice Panek disputes.

“As far as talking to one board member, Ron Panek, he is married to Mary Alice and there is a conflict of interest,” Scheuerlein said. “How can you, with your husband being on the town board, say the things about town business that you’re saying in public?”

When asked if her role on the Republican committee could be perceived as a conflict of interest, Mary Alice Panek replied, “Not at all. I’m not an elected official. I’m not elected by any general election. I’m just elected by the Republican committee.”

Scheuerlein also said there have been instances of board members inappropriately talking about town business in public, and took exception to having her salary reduced because the town had to pay the county for the tax services.

“This is part of what I feel is discrimination that is going on,” she said. “How can you take salary from me to pay for the tax bill? The first year that I went in, they told me to prove yourself. I said OK. The second year, they put me at one price and then they didn’t raise me the third year. And the fourth year, they took away what they paid in taxes (collection).”

She also said councilmen are “nitpicking” over the minutes -- “I know what I am writing down,” she said – and has been mostly on her own for the past year and a half. Currently, she has a part-time deputy clerk, working about four hours a week.

CLERK WANTS TO ‘BE AVAILABLE’

Beyond the social media back-and-forth, Scheuerlein said she has served the Town of Stafford proudly (she also assisted courts in Darien, Bergen and Byron) and “wants to be continue to be available in the office for the town residents.”

“We’re looking at the home stretch. Nobody can take my 19 years away from me. I never thought small town politics would go this way,” she said.

“I love my town. I’ve met a lot of nice people – going door to door and hearing what they feel. The pandemic wasn’t conducive for that. Now that we’re out of it, I’m very grateful that we can move forward with things.”

She said she is well known in the community and is confident in her abilities.

“As far as the town people, I have a lot of residents that have been supportive of me from the beginning,” she said.

RADLEY TOUTS EXPERIENCE

barb_radley_1.jpgRadley, one of a family of eight, also grew up in Le Roy and his lived in Stafford for more than 40 years. She emphasizes her track record of successful employment in various venues, starting with food service work at Le Roy Central School for 18 years.

She said she supervised nine employees at the school, where she also served on the Character Education Committee.

From there, she worked at the Stafford Post Office for 12 years, through 2016, with the first 10 years as postmaster relief. She also spent two and a half years as the officer in charge at the Mumford post office, streamlining the operation, and also worked at the York and Warsaw post offices.

A former executive director of Stafford recreation and town hall building committee member, Radley said she worked for Scheuerlein for a year. After she left, she quickly was hired as Town of Byron deputy clerk and continues to work in that capacity.

Addressing circumstances surrounding the tax collection issue, she said, “I did as I was told.”

“As deputy, I accepted many checks that came in. And it’s up to the clerk to check and make sure that everything is in line,” she said. “As deputy clerk, I assisted her with the tax collection and would add up the daily receipts and she took it from there. It is the clerk’s responsibility to take care of taxes from there and it is the clerk’s responsibility to sign for them and make up the final tax roll. The deputies just assist.”

When asked if she left on good terms, she replied, “I felt that I wanted to leave and wanted to learn a different perspective.”

As for the election, Radley said she has “the experience, am known in the community and am knowledgeable, and I will save the town money by taking back the tax collection (should the town board vote that way).”

January 6, 2021 - 4:19pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, County Legislature, town of batavia, town of stafford.

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.
May 21, 2020 - 3:05pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, County Legislature, COVID-19, town of stafford.

An incident several weeks ago involving two non-compliant persons infected by the coronavirus has resulted in the Genesee County attorney seeking a budget transfer of $2,838 to pay the fees charged by another lawyer called into the case.

County Attorney Kevin Earl on Wednesday presented a resolution to the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee to cover, per the decree, the “unexpected legal expenses due to violations of Health Department quarantine orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The resolution goes on to state that available funds from the county attorney’s personal services line would be moved to the COVID-19 expense line, with the full amount expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Earl said that the money is there due to the county’s furlough of his secretary.

In recounting the circumstances leading up to his request, Earl said two individuals broke their quarantine, which prompted the enlistment of County Judge Charles Zambito to get emergency orders that permitted police to arrest them and take them into custody.

“We arranged that we would take them to a facility that Monroe County had established if we had to do this,” he said. “We did get the orders, and the judge, basically, ordered (attorney) Fred Rarick to represent both of these individuals so that there would be no claims that we were taking them into custody or violating their rights without representation.”

Earl said he “clearly believes” that expenses will be reimbursable “because there was no other reason for this other than the COVID response.”

Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg asked if the two individuals would be taken to a hotel in Monroe County per a previous agreement between the Genesee & Orleans and Monroe county health departments to provide temporary living quarters for those who had no other housing.

Earl said that this was a different situation, one where a violation of the law came into play.

“We didn’t want to take them to our jail if they had been exposed or tested positive, so the Monroe County sheriff had opened up a facility -- he retrofitted an old jail,” he said. “Obviously, once we have them in custody, we have to take care of them. So, they had a facility where they could provide medical treatment if necessary.”

Clattenburg said that the two people “were going out into the community at the height of the community spread” and that county sheriff’s deputies and city police had to be called in.

“I just want people to realize that we did take the situation very seriously, and those people were a danger to others in the community and were being monitored for quarantine,” she said. “When we found not to be complying, we did take some action here and this is the result of the expense that we had.”

Legislator Gary Maha asked if the duo was taken into custody and transported to Monroe County.

“As we had hoped, the actual having of the order, personally serving upon them, and knowing that if we saw them one foot off the property, they would be immediately taken into custody was enough,” Earl responded. “So, fortunately we didn’t have to go to that step … and I think there’s also a deterrent effect … We did not have to have them arrested but we were ready if we did (with a warrant).”

The committee then approved the resolution, which will move to the full legislature for voting.

In another development, the committee supported a request by County Treasurer Scott German to help the Town of Stafford with its 2021 town/county tax collection.

German said Stafford Town Supervisor asked him if the county would once again collect taxes for the town this year, and German said yes, but the fee would be doubled to $5,000.

“He (Clement) and the (Stafford Town) board were fine with that,” German said.

The treasurer said the reasoning behind the fee increase is that the process took more time than expected and that it lines up with the price charged by Wyoming County for the same service.

“Wyoming County charges about $3.50 per parcel and that is what this will essentially do,” he said, noting that Stafford has about 1,400 taxable parcels. “This will put us on the same playing field as Wyoming County.”

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein asked if there was a measurement that would justify the new fee.

German said that if another town was to ask the county for tax collection help, he would use the $3.50 per taxable parcel rate going forward.

Legislator Andrew Young, who called for the increase, said, “It’s really not something we want to get in the business of doing; it’s just a matter that one of our partners needs some assistance and we’re going to assist them.”

German agreed and said he will forward a contact signed by both entities to the legislature for consideration in the form of a resolution.

March 18, 2020 - 4:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in COVID-19, town of stafford, news.

From Town of Stafford Supervisor Robert S. Clement:

Town of Stafford issues policies due to COVID-19​

Essential employees will be in their office to assist with any town matter. Staff here at the Town regularly checks emails and phone messages.

Town of Stafford's Office will be closed to the public or open by appointment only.

If needed to drop off payments, there is a secure drop box located in the front of the Stafford Town Hall, 8903 Route 237; receipts will be mailed back to you.

Check our website here.

Please contact these offices with any question, or if an appointment is needed:

Stafford Town Supervisor

Stafford Town Clerk

Stafford Highway Superintendent

  • (d) (585) 343-2907
  • (e) (585) 343-6780

Stafford Town Assessor

Stafford Code Enforcement

Stafford Town Court

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