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Village of Corfu

March 18, 2022 - 4:23pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Burnin' Barrell BBQ, Village of Corfu.

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Nick Rada serves Tracy Snyder of East Pembroke, one of his first customers, around noon today as the Burnin' Barrell BBQ restaurant opened for business at 10 Main St. in the Village of Corfu. His mom, Claire Shaw, lent a needed helping hand as Rada reported a steady stream of patrons all day. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and on some weekends, depending upon Rada's catering schedule. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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March 16, 2022 - 2:52pm

rada_bbq_2.jpgBorrowing a line from Lebron James, authentic barbecue chef Nick Rada has decided to “take his talents” to his hometown of Corfu, where he is set to open his own Burnin’ Barrel BBQ restaurant at noon Friday.

After spending six months as an employee of Batavia Downs Gaming, running the business of the same name, Rada (photo at left) will be focused – on a full-time basis – on building his dine-in, take-out and catering enterprise out of a cozy location at 10 Main St. in the village.

“The shop will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Friday at the beginning, and some weekends, depending upon my off-site catering schedule,” said Rada, a well-traveled chef who has carved out a niche with his Texas-style beef and Kansas City-style pork barbecue recipes.

A 1999 Pembroke Central School graduate, Rada said he will be “a one-man show” for the most part, with his wife, Fanchonya, and parents helping out during the busy times.

He said the Corfu restaurant has room for 12 people to sit and, once the weather cooperates, outdoor seating will be available.

The menu will change on a daily basis, he advised.

“Our menu for opening weekend is going to be pulled pork, our smoked St. Louis-style ribs, beef brisket and barbecue chicken,” he said, adding that sides will include potato salad, coleslaw, carrot pineapple salad, collard greens, beans and “cowboy caviar.”

Changes in Store at Batavia Downs Gaming

As far as the future of the restaurant off the gaming floor at Batavia Downs, Scott Kiedrowski, vice president of operations, today said management will reopen the space soon – shifting away from barbecue exclusively.

“With Nick looking to concentrate on his own business, we will be remodeling the kitchen and will be providing deli sandwiches, wood-fired pizza and, on occasion, pulled pork and brisket,” he said. “Our customers have been asking for subs and personal pizzas.”

Reaction to New Businesses Across the Street

When asked about Benderson Development Co.’s move to place a couple of restaurants and a coffee shop (speculation is that it is a Starbucks) across Park Road on the former Kmart parking lot, Kiedrowski said he sees it as a “positive” thing for that section of the city and town.

“We knew this was coming and we look at it not as competition but an enhancement,” he said. “The venues will bring more customers this way and hopefully some of them will come here.”

He said Batavia Downs Gaming customers will continue to be able to park at the lot.

Previously: Master chef Nick Rada back home serving authentic barbecue at Batavia Downs and (soon) Village of Corfu

December 21, 2021 - 11:48am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, union hotel, Village of Corfu, Potter Lumber.

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Tom Dix is looking for a little help from his friends as he and his mother carry on their mission of renovating the historic Union Hotel at the corner of Main Street and Maple Avenue in the Village of Corfu.

Dix, who owns Potter Lumber on Maple Avenue with his mom, Mary, is in the midst of the monumental task of bringing the restaurant, bar, eight-lane bowling center and, eventually, the 16-room hotel back to life.

Determined as ever, he said it’s a matter of “when” and not “if” the project is completed.

Purchased by Tom and Mary in September 2018 – they closed on the property on the birthday of Mary’s late husband, Bill – the 25,000-square foot, three-story building has had multiple owners over the years.

It was built in 1828 and served as a stagecoach stop for travelers passing through Western New York in the 19th century. The facility has been closed since around 2013.

Tom Dix said he and his mom couldn’t stand by anymore and watch it deteriorate further.

“We would drive by every day, sometimes twice a day, and saw that it was dying and falling apart,” he said.

So, he decided to invest his time and money (likely $200,000-plus when it’s all said and done) into fixing it – starting with the exterior, which has taken on a new look thanks to local artists/craftspeople Charlie Flagg, Sue Weber and Mark Zimmermann.

Flagg and company are in the process of painting murals of scenes that depict notable moments in the village’s history, while Dix is fortifying the roof, installing vinyl siding and making other repairs to beautify the outside walls.

“Now, we’re just about ready to go to town on the inside,” said Dix, noting that reopening the restaurant and bar are priority No. 1. But to move things along at a quicker pace, he is appealing to community members to roll up their sleeves and help out – and he will pay them for their time on a per diem basis.

“I really don’t have a timetable; it’s just that we have been hindered by a lack of workers,” said Dix, adding that he has handled all of the engineering and design aspects of the project.

He said the electric and heating were upgraded by Shayne Poodry, who owned the building from 2007-2018, but much work needs to be done in the areas of insulation, drywall, doors and windows, the cupola, chimney, lanes and pinsetters (at the former Andrews Lanes).

Mary Dix said she is convinced that Union Hotel means a lot to village residents and the Pembroke area in general.

“It has been here forever,” she said. “The whole community is enthusiastic about what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Flagg, who has been painting for more than 40 years, said Tom Dix contacted him last winter about doing something on the outer walls.

“They called me because they knew of my reputation, I believe, of being a muralist in the area,” Flagg said. “And we got together and I told him, I’d think about it last winter, when I went to Florida. I thought about it down there. And I came up with the idea of bringing the history of Corfu around the outside perimeter of the building.”

Flagg, 78, said there are 10 murals on one side (facing Maple Street) and there will be more on the Route 33 side.

“That’s going to have the new Veterans Cemetery that is on Route 77 and the Fun Country (Six Flags Darien Lake) amusement park and large angel wings where you can stand up and have your picture taken – and you’ll become an angel,” he said.

The back (south side) of the building will feature old signs, such as “Buy a Chevy for $580” and “Sirloin Steak at 18 cents a pound,” Flagg said. “Nothing but signs and bricks on the back.”

He credited Weber and Zimmermann for their contributions.

“Sue is a fantastic painter – that’s why I wanted her to interject her thoughts into the project, and Mark has been a godsend. I wouldn't have got nowhere near as far as I’ve done without him.”

Flagg said that Zimmermann is going to step up to the lead role in the near future.

“I'm getting ready to hang it up because I'm getting pretty old. But he he's got the ability to take over,” he said. “Our plan is to finish it next spring when I return from Florida.”

The Union Hotel venture is just a start, Flagg said.

“If you look across the way you got Burling Drug Store, which is going to have five murals on it. And there are four or five other projects,” he advised.

“This town is going to be a picture town. You’ve got a million people that drive by 77 and 33 every year. We are trying to get them to stop here in Corfu …  to draw people in, to create some interest and, hopefully, when they’re here, they’ll spend a few bucks.”

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Photo at top: Tom and Mary Dix on the front porch of the Union Hotel in Corfu; Photos at bottom: Murals on the outside of the building that illustrate the village's history (the bottom one is of the Dix family). Photos by Howard Owens.

VIdeo about the project from 2019:

Video Sponsor
September 22, 2021 - 6:14pm

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He has worked in kitchens throughout the United States as well as Australia and Indonesia.

He has prepared dishes for four presidents and, for a while, was the personal chef for Michael Jackson.

Now, he is back in Western New York, spreading his culinary joy in the form of authentic Texas-style beef and Kansas City-style pork barbecue to patrons of Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel.

And, if all goes according to plan, his edible creations will be available soon at 10 East Main St. in his hometown of Corfu.

“He” is Nick Rada, a 1999 Pembroke Central School graduate, who has lived out his lifelong dream of preparing delicious meals at a variety of establishments – from prestigious hotel restaurants to neighborhood bistros and taverns.

Currently, Rada (pictured above) is the manager at Burnin’ Barrell BBQ, located at the Homestretch Grill area of Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. He’s been working in that capacity since May.

“One day I made some barbecue for Henry (Wojtaszek, Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. president) and Scott (Kiedrowski, vice president of operations), and they fell in love with it,” Rada said during an interview Tuesday at the Park Road facility. “They mentioned that they wanted to do something new with the Homestretch (Grill) and asked me if I wanted to do barbecue.”

Rada jumped at the chance, coming up with the name, concept and menu that offers numerous choices in the form of sandwiches, snacks, salads, sides, small bites and big bites.

He said he caught the cooking bug as a teenager, growing up as the oldest of eight children.

“Ever since I was 13 or 14 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a chef,” he said. “My great aunt and uncle (the late Leo and Marge Brumsted) were butchers. Everybody in my family were hunters; everybody in my family cooks. My father, Don, cooks, and so does my grandfather, Al Lang.”

There always was plenty of food on the table, he said, adding that he is the oldest of 68 grandkids – and that’s just on the side of his mother, Claire, who is one of nine Lang children.

After graduating from high school -- where he was a lineman on the Dragons’ football squad and competed in the shot put and discus on the track and field team -- the 6-foot-1, 300-pounder went to culinary school in Pittsburgh. Not long after that, he found himself working in Milwaukee, Wis., for a brief time.

“The chef that I worked for in Milwaukee told me that I have to work at two places in my career – Ritz-Carlton and the Bellagio in Las Vegas (to get ahead),” he recalled.

Rada did just that, working for the Ritz-Carlton in Detroit before transferring with the same company when they opened a hotel in Las Vegas in 2000.

“I transferred out there and worked for them as a cook for a few years and then went to the Bellagio Resort & Casino on the strip there. At the age of 24, I became the youngest chef – a sous chef -- at that hotel’s restaurant, Sensi.”

Having established himself as a top chef, Rada stayed there for about five years before traveling across the country to the Carolinas, where he worked as an executive chef for a country club. After that, it was on to jobs in Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Australia and then to Indonesia.

“I learned a lot of different techniques, flavors and styles of cooking by traveling all over,” he said.

When asked if he ever cooked for any celebrities, he quickly rattled off the Obamas, the Clintons, and both Bushes while he was employed as part of a catering company when in Milwaukee and Boston.

“I also was a private chef for a short period time for Michael Jackson at the Ritz-Carlton in Las Vegas in 2001 or 2002,” he said.

Over the past five or six years, Rada was a chef at several restaurants in the Buffalo area. In January of this year, he and his wife, Fanchonya (call her Fan), and 5-year-old son, Ronin, came back to Corfu when Rada began work as a cook at the Downs’ Homestretch Grill.

He said the establishment’s transition to barbecue has been a hit with customers.

With a huge smoker outside, he whips up signature plates, including a new one called Wild Wild Weck (pictured below) – a combination of sliced smoked brisket and shaved beef knuckle, horseradish and Alabama white sauce on a brioche kummelweck roll.

He said the brisket is the most popular of the many choices on the menu – “it gets sold out almost every day,” he noted – with other favorites being the St. Louis-style spare ribs, the Texas-size baked potato that is big enough for three, and fried green beans.

Another coming attraction, Rada said, is the Notorious PIG, which he called “a heart attack in one sandwich.”

It consists of stuffed and smoked pork loin, Italian sausage, bacon and cheese on a brioche bun and topped with pulled pork, more cheese and a bourbon sauce.

Rada’s plan is to continue working full time at Batavia Downs while, with assistance from his dad, leasing space in the Village of Corfu for barbecue catering and (after the first of the year) takeout. The Corfu location also will be called Burnin’ Barrell BBQ.

The business site plan is scheduled for review by the Corfu Village Board next week, followed by a referral to the Genesee County Planning Board.

He said he will offer “more traditional” barbecue in Corfu along with another of his specialties: whole hog roasts.

“I do a ton of whole hog roasts for people. That’s one of my main wheels that people call me up for when I cater,” he said, noting that he gets the pigs from Always Something Farm in Darien. “Anything from the small suckling pigs that are 15 to 20 pounds to the whole hugs that are dressed at 220 to 240 pounds. That’s one of the first things I learned to cook in the smoker.”

Rada said to watch for “Whole Hog Saturdays” in Corfu during the summer months and, possibly on the first three Saturdays of this November, for a three-part whole hog cooking class at Batavia Downs.

Perfecting the smoking of beef and pork took quite a bit of trial and error, Rada said, mentioning that his wife, a native of Dallas, Texas – the home of genuine barbecue -- was a key part of the process.

“Before I got to start serving any of my barbecue, I had to get it approved by her – especially the brisket,” he explained. “I had to make a lot of brisket before I got the blessing to start serving it. She’s my biggest critic and my biggest fan.”

For more about Rada’s barbecue service, send him an email at [email protected].

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Photos by Mike Pettinella.

September 20, 2021 - 12:23pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Village of Corfu, Genesee County Planning Board.

An Akron entrepreneur says he is scrapping his plans to convert an empty building in the Village of Corfu into a bistro restaurant/ice cream shop.

Earlier this month, the Genesee County Planning Board approved, with modifications, Randy Hesior’s site plan to lease space in a vacant building on a 7.2-acre parcel at 47-49 West Main St.

Hesior was looking to put about $15,000 into the facility, and eventually employ eight to 16 people.

Since then, Hesior told The Batavian that the property owner, who lives in Clarence Center, indicated that he was not willing to spend any money to satisfy requirements pertaining to a driveway or to erect a fence shielding the building from neighbors’ homes.

Modifications recommended by the planning board included that the applicant obtain a driveway permit from New York State Department of Transportation for the change of use prior to approval by the Corfu Village Planning Board and to make sure on-site lighting was installed as to not shine directly onto neighboring property or cause a hazard for motorists.

“So, I’m going to have to look for another building someplace else,” he said.

Another dining establishment in the Village of Corfu is moving forward, however, as planners recommended approval, as long as signage complies with zoning regulations, a site plan to operate Home Slice 33 Pizzeria at 12 East Main St.

The first-floor business will offer pizza, wings, subs and fryer foods, with enough space to seat 18 to 20 customers. Takeout and delivery are additional options.

September 8, 2021 - 12:10pm

It looks as though the Village of Corfu will be the home of two more eating places before the end of the year.

The agenda of Thursday night’s Genesee County Planning Board meeting includes site plan reviews for a pizzeria at 12 East Main St. and a restaurant/bistro/ice cream shop at 47-49 West Main St.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 o’clock at County Building 2, 3837 West Main St. Rd.

According to documents submitted to Planning Director Felipe Oltramari:

  • Corfu Mayor Tom Sargent and Darien Town Council Member David Krzemien are teaming up to operate Home Slice 33 Pizzeria in an existing building in the village’s Commercial district.

It will be housed on the first floor, providing enough space for 18 to 20 customers and also will offer takeout and delivery. Menu offerings include pizza, wings, subs and fryer foods.

After about $15,000 in remodeling, the business will employ seven to 10 people.

Planning department recommendation, approval with the modification that any signage complies with the Village's zoning regulations. With this required modification, the proposed restaurant should pose no significant county-wide or inter-community impact.

  • Akron resident Randy Hesior is looking to open Randy Joe’s Bistro by converting an empty building on a 7.2-acre parcel in the Neighborhood Business district into a “warm, welcoming bistro that will serve a variety of foods” – including ice cream.

He, too, after putting in about $15,000 in improvements, will employ eight to 16 people while operating the restaurant, which also will be able to cater small events and host company parties.

Planning department recommendation, approval with the modifications that the applicant obtains a driveway permit from NYS DOT for the change of use prior to approval by the Village Planning Board; installs on-site lighting so as to not shine directly onto neighboring properties or cause a hazard for motorists, and erects signage that complies with the village's zoning regulations.

Darien Mandates SUP for Airbnb Homes

Also, on the agenda are special use permit requests from three existing Airbnb bed and breakfast/tourist residences that have been in operation for quite some time in the Town of Darien.

The homes are Eliza Brooke Farmstead at 2407 Broadway Rd., Happy Harry’s Country Home at 11095 Warner Rd. and Fix Family Country Oasis at 938 Sumner Rd.

Town of Darien Zoning Law requires a special use permit for all short term rentals defined as bed and breakfast/tourist homes (also known as Airbnb or VRBO rentals or listed privately): a one-family dwelling (not necessarily owner-occupied) in which overnight accommodation is provided for not more than eight transient people for profit and may include serving breakfast.

Upon issuance of the SUP, the town’s code enforcement officer will conduct a fire inspection initially and at three year intervals, with an operating permit to be issued upon each fire inspection.

August 9, 2021 - 8:51am

Village of Corfu? In.

Town of Darien? Out.

Town of Pembroke? To be determined.

That’s the status of three municipalities on the western side of Genesee in the county’s quest to achieve updated water supply agreements from all towns and villages leading up to a proposed $10 million annual sales tax distribution plan.

Corfu, Darien and Pembroke had been holding out on signing the amended water agreements since early July when the Genesee County Legislature introduced its potential solution to revenue distribution by linking it to a reworking of current water supply pacts.

On July 28th, Corfu trustees voted to accept the agreement.

Last week, Darien Town council members voted, 5-0, to not accept the county’s offer.

And this coming Thursday (Aug. 12), the Pembroke Town Board is scheduled to vote on the issue.

A $10 MILLION OFFER

As previously reported, the county needs universal buy-in to the updated water agreements to set a plan in motion to distribute $10 million in sales tax revenue to municipalities over the next 38 years.

Without all towns and villages opting in, the county is proposing to distribute $7 million in annual sales tax revenue and another $3 million in other revenue on a periodic basis over the next 38 years. Municipalities not opting in would receive less in revenue distribution than expected to allow for the equalization of water surcharge revenue.

Contacted Sunday, County Manager Matt Landers explained that money would have to be withheld from communities that don’t sign the agreement to ensure that the water fund is made whole.

“In those cases, it will be the entire community paying for it and not just the water users,” he said. “For the Town of Darien, we’ll make sure water consumption is covered at $1.20 (per 1,000 gallons) if it can’t be covered by a surcharge because there’s a valid contract in place only charging them 60 cents. So, we’ll just have to equalize that through lower revenue distribution payments.”

Landers said he respects Darien’s decision, but welcomes further discussion with Darien Supervisor Steve Ferry Jr. and the board.

“We would love to have a $10 million sales tax sharing agreement in place for the next 38 years to provide that guaranteed revenue source to all towns and villages, but Darien is going to do what it feels is best,” he said. “I understand he’s (Ferry) doing what he believes is in the best interests of his constituents, which a town supervisor would do. I happen to disagree.”

DARIEN BOARD NOT CONVINCED

Ferry said his board rejected the county’s idea for several reasons.

“We have a water agreement in place,” he said. “This is the same resolution that they offered in 2018 and the board, then, rejected it. It was a totally different board but the outcome was the same, a vote of five to nothing.”

He said Darien officials are looking for a master plan to see “what was going to happen in the future” and also for movement toward an equitable, unified water rate in the county.

“We felt that our positioning was that if we signed it, they would still ignore us. So, we did not sign it because it is the only bargaining position that we have,” he advised.

Ferry said the county “ditched the sales tax agreement in 2018 with the towns and village in favor of a contract with the City of Batavia, and now they want us to try and fix it.”

“The two (water and sales tax) shouldn’t even be connected,” he said. “Why is it that we’re tying them together now?”

FERRY: ‘GIVE US A BONE’

When it was mentioned that the Town of Darien would receive less in revenue than entitled to based on assessed valuation, Ferry said, “Possibly, but then again, possibly, I call the AG’s (New York State Attorney General) office.”

“I’m saying, ‘Work with us here. Give us a bone.’ And they did nothing. They would not even produce a letter stating that they would try to equalize the rate within X amount of years – because I think they don’t think they can.”

Ferry said the Town of Darien pays $1.12 more per 1,000 gallons of water than other communities.

“If they make the claim that water pays for water, we on the western side of the county have been paying more for our water to get water out here,” he said. “If the east and the central part need water, why not make them pay more?

“We represent our constituents and if we were to sign this contract … in addition to the old one, and they get charged 60 cents more per thousand (gallons) right off the bat, what else do they get out of that contract? We can’t enter into an agreement that is worse than the one we have without something as an offset.”

Landers said by opting in to updated water agreements, municipalities are ensuring that their water users are paying their fair share of the cost for water.

“One way or the other, Darien will still pay the additional costs – it’s a matter if they want to pay through the entire town or through the water users,” he said. “I still hope and there’s still time since I’ll be back in the office tomorrow and will reach out to Steven and see if there’s anything else that I can communicate.”

LANDERS OPEN TO MORE TALK

He said that he and Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein presented the plan at meetings of the Village of Corfu and Town of Pembroke boards, and indicated that Ferry attended the Corfu meeting as well while another Darien council member was at the Pembroke meeting.

Landers also said he would like to address the entire Town of Darien board – something that hasn’t happened yet – as the deadline for towns and villages to make their intentions known is this Friday.

“I’d be more than willing to have further talks with Steve,” he said. “I’m 100 percent available to Steve and the Darien Town Board to talk some more, and until the 13th comes and goes, there is still an opportunity.”

Calling it a “complex issue,” Landers said the original water agreement has limitations to it as it has a fixed 60-cent surcharge (per 1,000 gallons).

“Genesee County is responsible for bringing an adequate supply of water into the county, and we have incurred significant monies beyond Phase 1 into Phase 2, and now going into Phase 3. If we truly want water paying for water, we can’t live by water supply agreements that are fixed at 60 cents for time in eternity,” he said.

“When we raise the surcharge, we have to raise it across the board for all users because it’s our responsibility to bring supply into the entire county. I realize that Darien and Pembroke don’t see the benefit of paying that extra 60 cents because they received their benefit from Phase 1. But with Phase 3, there will be future enhancements that will benefit them.”

Landers said he was not involved in the first round of water supply agreements with municipalities … and looking back, “the 60 cents didn’t work and that is one of the major factors that we’re trying to change with all of these updated water supply agreements; the ability to have water paying for water.”

PEMBROKE: IT’S A MATTER OF TRUST

When asked about the Town of Pembroke, he said he did not want to speculate, stating only that he has had “a good conversation” with the Pembroke Town Board.

Pembroke Supervisor Thomas Schneider Jr. said he believes there is support for the amended agreement, but also noted “some concerns from the past over the way things have been handled, as far as agreements with the county.”

Citing lingering hard feelings, he said the county has “made agreements that they don’t seem to be concerned about breaking.”

“So, now if we sign on to this new one, what’s to say that it can’t be changed five years down the road. I think that’s the biggest concern that most people on our board have.”

Landers said it’s his job to try and build trust in all the towns and villages and hopes that “over time they will believe what we say.”

An email to Corfu Deputy Mayor Michael Doktor and a phone call to Mayor Thomas Sargent seeking comment were not returned. In fact, there has been no reply to requests from The Batavian from either village official throughout this process.

Previously: Ways & Means passes measures rescinding revenue distribution payments, accepting HCA with Plug Power.

Previously: Genesee's west side municipalities considering county legislature's sales tax/revenue distribution proposal.

July 12, 2021 - 11:08am

Governmental leaders in the towns of Darien and Pembroke and Village of Corfu say they will be putting their heads together to determine how to proceed in connection with Genesee County’s new sales tax and revenue distribution proposal.

“We will be having a discussion in the coming days,” said Pembroke Town Supervisor Thomas Schneider Jr. this morning as he contemplates the pros and cons of the county’s offer to either share a fixed $10 million in sales tax revenue with towns and villages, or a combination of sales tax and other revenue over the next 38 years.

As indicated in a story on The Batavian on Friday, Genesee County Manager Matt Landers and Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein presented their plan to town supervisors and village mayors last Wednesday at a meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

The amended strategy currently boils down to two options:

  • The first one being a $10 million annual distribution of sales tax revenue, contingent upon all the county’s towns and villages opting into an updated water supply agreement by mid-August;
  • The second one being that without universal update water supply agreements, the county would allot $7 million in annual sales tax distributions and pass annual revenue distribution resolutions for another $3 million – minus water surcharges to the municipalities that do not opt in.

Darien, Pembroke and Corfu have yet to agree to the revised plan.

Schneider, noting that the Town of Pembroke is proactive in “generating as much new business growth as possible,” said it is vital for his town to receive as much as possible in sales tax and/or revenue sharing.

“However, I don’t really like the fact that it’s a locked amount for 38 years,” he said. “With that, we don’t get to share in the growth, and we do include sales tax revenue in our budgets. We really don’t have a lot of power since we can’t collect sales tax.”

He said he also would like to see changes in the county’s Smart Growth plan, mentioning situations where some property owners are unable to hook into nearby water lines.

Schneider did acknowledge that the county is open to sharing more revenue over that period of time if conditions allow.

“I would think that if the county keeps more sales tax, then it would lower the tax rate or share more with the towns to take pressure off of the taxpayers,” he said, adding that Landers and Stein are scheduled to talk with Pembroke Town Board members at their workshop on July 22.

Darien Town Supervisor Steve Ferry Jr. mentioned that over the past 20 years, those three municipalities have been paying more for water than the other towns and villages due to the fact that the county has to buy water from Erie County “to supplement that because they can not move enough water efficiently through the county to get to us.”

“At this point in time, we’re paying $1.14 more (per 1,000 gallons) than what the rest of the county is paying,” he said, adding that no action has been proposed to provide an equalization rate to Darien, Pembroke and Corfu.

Ferry said that stabilization of the water rate would go a long way toward the Darien Town Board signing the new agreement.

“But as it stands, the agreement is a little tilted unfairly for the western side of the county,” he said.

Stein said that she spoke with Ferry over the weekend to clear up any misconceptions that he may have had.

“In a sales tax agreement, a distribution has to be straightforward and there can be no reductions to make the county whole for that water surcharge. There’s no allowance for that in a sales tax agreement per the (state) Comptroller,” she said.

As far as the $3 million figure set aside for voluntary revenue sharing based on the taxable assessed value of all the municipalities, Stein said that amount ensures there will be enough to secure the water surcharge from Darien, Corfu and Pembroke and the growth going forward for 38 years.

Stein said the county has to make sure it can make the debt payments on the bond due to the Monroe County Water Authority for bringing more water into the county as “unfortunately, there are still areas in our county that do not have access to public water.”

She said the most important aspect of the plan is that the county and City of Batavia are open to bringing towns and villages back into the sales tax agreement.

“This means that they have, for 38 years, a foundation of funding for their communities that currently they do not have,” she said. “This is a big win for every single town and village, and it allows for flexibility far forward into our future.”

Previously: Genesee County leaders present plans to distribute $10 million in sales tax/other revenue to towns and villages

October 30, 2020 - 12:59pm

oip.jpgDavid J. Saleh, well-known attorney, judge and community volunteer, died on Thursday after a short battle with brain cancer, leaving behind many heartbroken colleagues and friends. He was 67 years old.

“As my former partner (with Oshlag, Saleh & Earl), Dave was an excellent attorney in all areas of the law, and especially liked the challenge of criminal law and criminal trials,” said Kevin Earl, current Genesee County attorney, as he fought back the tears. “More importantly, he was an outstanding human being – very involved in his community through civic activities.”

Saleh lived in the Village of Corfu for many years before relocating to the city in 2013. Last December, he was appointed as part-time City Court judge, filling the vacancy created by former part-time Justice Durin Rogers’ election to the full-time post.

Both Rogers and Paula L. Feroleto, administrative judge of the Eighth Judicial District in Buffalo, expressed their sadness at Saleh’s passing.

“The City of Batavia and our community have experienced a great loss,” Rogers said. “I will very much miss my friend and colleague Judge David Saleh. Judge Saleh had a passion for the law and was highly regarded by his friends and colleagues on the bench and bar.

“He strove to be just and compassionate, treating people who came before him with fairness. I learned from him both as an attorney and a judge. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Feroleto said that the “judges and nonjudicial employees at Batavia City Court and the Genesee County Courthouse will very much miss Judge Saleh.”

“During his brief tenure as a Batavia City Court Judge, he was a diligent, hard-working jurist,” she said. “He enjoyed a reputation of being kind to the staff at the court. Despite experiencing personal health challenges, he continued his work on the bench to serve the public in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was a consummate professional and will be missed by the Court.”

Prior to accepting the city judge position, Saleh served as the City of Batavia Republican Committee chair.

“Dave was just a great asset to this community, and not only respected by Republicans, but also by many of our Democratic friends,” said Richard Siebert, chairman of the Genesee County Republican Party. “He was so dedicated – fund raising for the party and instrumental in getting great candidates for the City of Batavia.”

Siebert said he was impressed by Saleh’s dedication to any cause that he supported.

“He was so active. Some people get in and then get out, but when Dave got into something, he stuck with it,” said Siebert, also mentioning that Saleh was a well-respected attorney and served as party chairman for the Town of Batavia for many years.

Saleh had been a lawyer for more than 40 years, with experience in various disciplines, including being both a defense attorney and prosecutor as well as practicing corporate and municipal law.

Saleh, vice president/general counsel for Inlighten Inc., of Clarence, also was involved in several community and civic organizations, including president of the Batavia Lions Club and was recognized for his volunteer efforts to support the residents of Corfu.

In September, he was honored by the Village of Corfu with the dedication of a new bench at the village hall.

As indicated in a story on The Batavian, Saleh used his legal expertise to help the village and the volunteer fire department. In 1995, he helped lead the effort to create a fire district to support the department and relieve the village of the expense. He's volunteered with the department for more than 40 years.

Three months earlier, Corfu volunteer firefighters supported Saleh in his fight against cancer by conducting a parade past his home and showing off their new fire engine tanker.

Telephone calls to Corfu Mayor Tom Sargent for comment on Saleh’s passing were not returned at the time of the posting of this story.

Saleh is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and four children. His obituary can be found by clicking on the Obituaries tab at the top of this page.

March 16, 2016 - 6:41am
posted by Billie Owens in Village of Corfu, news.

Here are voting results for the Village of Corfu.

Total Voters: 79

Number of votes for two Trustee positions:

Arthur Ianni – Democrat:                                         40 votes

Kenneth Lauer – Republican:                               56 votes

Joseph “Biggs” Johnson – Republican            66 votes

(Bold print indicates the two nominees elected to the Trustee positions.)

June 9, 2015 - 2:56pm
posted by Traci Turner in Village of Corfu, dissolution, pembroke.

Village of Corfu residents will not get the chance to participate in a public hearing on whether to dissolve their local government after the board of trustees voted 3 to 2 against holding a hearing Monday night.

Board trustees Al Graham, Ken Lauer and Jenny McMartin-Eck did not approve moving forward with the dissolution public hearing because they felt residents would be losing out -- on police protection, maintenance services, as well as village office, court and board services. Their main concern is that the needs of 700 Village residents would not be met by the Town of Pembroke.

Mayor Dave Bielec and Board Trustee Art Ianni were in favor of the motion to hold a public hearing because they wanted to give residents a chance to voice their opinion in an open forum.

The issue of whether to dissolve the village and combine with the Town of Pembroke has been going on for approximately a year. Then Pembroke Town Board met in March to discuss the nitty-gritty issues of dissolution.

The town board agreed to cover the cost for the village's streetlights but special districts would have to be created to address sidewalk repair and lawn waste pickup. Village repairs in the past have been completed by private contractors. For police coverage, board members discussed contracting with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Regarding the village's fund balance of $500,000, the board sought opinion from the state Comptroller's Office.

Next, a Dissolution Committee Meeting was held May 12th to discuss the requirements of the final plan. The committee is composed of village board trustees, town board members, and residents from Corfu and Pembroke. A representative from the New York State Department of State answered questions regarding the Dissolution Law.

As things stand, that's all moot now. (SEE BELOW)

Other topics discussed at yesterday's meeting included sewer plant updates, grant applications to fund redevelopment and a proposal for a village yard sale day.

Board Trustee Graham presented requirements that would allow the sewer pretreatment plant to move forward with the proposal to hook up two truck stops -- Travel Centers of America and Flying J. The plant requires smoke testing, dye testing, inspections, meetings, lab work and a permit to have the companies hook up to the plant. Graham also mentioned a grant proposal to make the sewer pretreatment plant larger by building another plant next to the existing one.

Lauer discussed applying for New York State grant funds to improve community development. Historical structures including the Union Hotel and Bowling Alley, recent tattoo parlor and the former Odd Fellows building are in need of repair. The government could take over the buildings or support private development. The revitalization effort would open up the possibility of creating parks, activities for youth and seniors and more downtown parking. The board approved a motion to have a grant writer work on the grant application that is due at the end of July.

Village residents proposed a community yard sale to the board of trustees. The board approved the yard sale days and will be asking private business owners to support the event as well. The yard sale will take place this summer on a weekend in August. Final details will be advertised in the Village of Corfu summer newsletter.

CORRECTION: (By Billie) I added the sentence "As things stand, that's all moot now." Village Board Trustee Al Graham pointed out in comments that that is not right. Citizens have recourse. They can petition to force a vote on village dissolution. I stand corrected and apologize for the error, which the writer of the story, our intern Traci Turner, had nothing to do with whatsoever.

July 19, 2012 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Village of Corfu.

The wheels of justice can sometimes turn slowly, especially, it seems, when it comes to investigating the operations of judicial departments.

Sometime earlier this year, the state's Judicial Review Commission opened an investigation into alleged financial irregularities in the Village of Corfu Court.

The months-long process, according to documents obtained by The Batavian through a FOIL request, has village officials wondering when they might be able to file an insurance claim and get reimbursed for money they suspect was stolen from the court.

The allegations of missing funds first came to light with the release of an audit by the state comptroller's office that found at least $30,000 in alleged irregularities in the amount of fines collected, bail money received and reports filed with state agencies.

The village has attempted to file a claim for at least $10,000 with its insurance carrier, but the carrier demands further documentation before it will review the claim.

Internal emails obtain through the FOIL request reveal a degree of frustration and concern among village officials over the lengthy process to settle the matter.

The State Police, according to village officials, are unwilling to launch their own investigation until the Judicial Review Commission completes its work for fear of hampering that investigation.

According to village Attorney Mark Boylan, the commission is a deliberative body that works slowly and takes its time to check and weigh every fact.

An email within the FOIL package indicates that the commission has requested and received "a lot of paperwork."

That's probably the same kind of paperwork needed by the insurance carrier.

"The insured does need to present documentation that would prove they sustained a loss from employee dishonesty for coverage to be provided," wrote Julie Diehl, a property specialist for Glatfelter Claims Management of York, Pa., in a letter to Boylan. "This does require a high level of documentation and each transaction claimed must be shown to us."

The village must also prove that the bonded employee converted the money for personal financial gain.

"The narrative of the audit report ... does not speak to employee dishonesty rather to poor record keeping and a cash shortage due to that poor record keeping. So it is even more important to present the financial records, receipts, bank statements and cashbook entries and other documentation available to show the clerk diverted the monies to obtain personal gain."

Boylan responded and told Diehl "The Village Justice maintains all of his own books and records ... and the village does not have access to those records at this time."

Until the investigation by the commission is completed, and possibly until the State Police complete an investigation, those records probably cannot be turned over to the insurance company.

Glatfelter originally demanded it receive the records by June 6, but the village has been granted a 60-day extension and may apply for further extensions every 60 days as necessary, according to the documents.

For the period covered by the comptroller's audit, Brandi Watts, the daughter of Village of Corfu Justice Robert Alexander, was working as Alexander's clerk. 

Watts was eventually dismissed by the village board after discovering under state law Watts was too close of a relation to Alexander to be working for him and an appeal by Alexander to the state was denied.

According to the FOIL'd documents, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman plans to seek the appointment a special prosecutor (or special district attorney to handle the case).

In an interview this week, Friedman declined to discuss the specific case, but explained that whenever his office might have a conflict of interest -- in this case, working closely with an arm of the judicial branch -- Friedman can petition Judge Robert Noonan to appoint a special district attorney.

The DA is usually selected from one of the surrounding counties.

Because there have been no criminal charges filed in this case, no such request has been sent to Noonan, Friedman said.

The documents received by The Batavian indicate a good deal of ongoing conflict between Alexander and the village board. Officials are concerned the situation is disrupting the normal operations of the court, which is another reason they're eager to get the situation resolved.

"We need to ensure that justice is being served and people’s cases are being heard and the job is being performed," Boylan said.

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