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Boston Town Board reacts to recent shoot-out that occurred near the town border

When the Boston Town Board convened on March 19, its members provided updates and shared insight regarding an emergency situation that recently occurred just outside the town limits.

On the evening of March 17, Mathew Eck, a resident of Brown Hill Road, was involved in a standoff, including gunfire with police, that began at approximately 9 p.m. and lasted for nearly 12 hours. Eck is now in custody.

“We had an extremely serious situation,” Councilman Jeffrey Genzel said. “At first, we thought it was in town, and then later on, we found out it was actually in the town of Concord.

“Our emergency services in this town, as Councilman [Jay] Boardway has always said, are second to none,” Genzel continued. “Thank you to the Boston Fire Company, who opened up their doors to have a command center at their hall; their new hall down there on Mill Street.”

Genzel extended thanks to the North Boston Fire Company fire police, for blocking off the roads. “Of course, our Patchin Fire Company was on call to back up our other two companies,” he said.

“Also our Boston Emergency Squad was on duty, throughout the night, with ambulances waiting, if they were in need. Our emergency services pull together and work as a team, when you have the Erie County sheriff, the state troopers [and] the FBI. We’re just all thankful that no one got hurt and the suspect is in the appropriate hands to face the charges. Thank you to all our emergency services, for being there and protecting our citizens.”

Supervisor Martin Ballowe said that he appreciated the communication that went on between the responding parties. “I had the opportunity to meet with Councilman Genzel and discuss having a meeting with our fire companies and emergency management in town [regarding] what we can do better [and] how we can be better prepared for things like this,” he said.

Last year, the town looked into a “red alert” system that would notify participating citizens of emergency situations via telephone. The cost of the system has kept the board from utilizing it, to date.

“The red alert system that [we] investigated last year with Hamburg dispatch is something that would sort of fit into that kind of thing, for a very specific area of people that could have been affected, would have been notified,” Boardway said. “The cost was prohibitive for us at that time, to involve ourselves in that system.”

“It’s an unfortunate thing that happened on the outskirts of our town,” Ballowe concluded, “but we’ve been in contact and we’ve been discussing this, and I’ve been discussing this with Councilman Genzel and our emergency management, too, to move forward.”

Genzel said that any inquiries regarding responses to emergency situations such as this can be directed to members of the town board.

In other board news:

– Two board members addressed statements recently made by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding local government spending. “Gov. Cuomo is on a little mission right now to impose restrictions on municipalities; to impose restrictions on towns such as ours, where he’s putting the cap on us real tight,” Boardway said. “This town board in particular has done a tremendous job for the last four or five years; in the last two, again, in particular. We stayed under the cap. We’ve done everything. They keep putting unfunded mandates on us.”

Boardway said that he met with Assemblyman Dave DiPietro, who spoke about a recent situation in which Cuomo and Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver “lost $120 million in federal aid because they refused to restrict Welfare cards ... at strip clubs and liquor stores.”

The Boston budget is approximately $4 – 4.5 million. “That $120 million would run our town for 26 years without it costing you or I or anybody in this room a penny, and he has the nerve to come down here and blame the municipalities for being over-governed and over-districted,” Boardway said. “It’s nonsense. The people up there are out of their mind.”

Boardway told the public that the Boston board members are aware of things that are going on in the state. “We’re doing our part here,” he said. “I want you to rest assured of that.”

Ballowe said that the board will continue to work to keep taxes low. “Going forward, the town is in great financial shape, as you can see from last month’s meeting,” he said. “We came about 4 percent under budget again, by watching what we do in this town.

“I take a little offense when they say they do it at a town level,” he added. “Town level is the easiest thing to do, and it’s the best results first-hand we can do, at [the] town level. It’s when you get above the town level [that] they can’t work within their budgets. I think that reverse has to go toward counties, has to go toward states [and] has to go toward those levels. But I appreciate his input and his noticing that we [have] the 12th highest county taxes in the United States.”

– Boardway announced that the Erie County Legislature recently passed a resolution to prohibit Erie County from using any county letterhead, county seals, etc., from the state, in reported opposition to the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

“The state’s going to start passing on charges, or trying to, to the gun owners and everything else, and they’re going to go under the guise that Erie County’s going along with this. That is not the case,” Boardway said, adding that the county legislators oppose the SAFE Act “since it was passed in the middle of the night. I promised you back in November, before you guys all pulled the lever to put me back up here, that I would keep you appraised of that, and that I would strongly continue to oppose it, and I still do.”

– The town supervisor reported that he has been in contact with Sen. Patrick Gallivan, who has said that he may be able to help Boston financially, with some of its ongoing projects. Ballowe specifically mentioned the bathrooms and shelter in North Boston, saying that Gallivan “is working to hopefully get us some money toward that.”

– Genzel spoke about the water district on West Hill. “We’ve received 91 returned income surveys so far,” he said. We need 131, so we need 40 more. We’re going to give it another week or so, and then we will start the either door-to-door or start calling people, to see if we can get enough income surveys back. If not, then this project is going to be dead, because obviously the majority up there doesn’t want to have it. So we’ll just push forward and, in the next few weeks, see if this is going to go or not.”

– The board received correspondence from NYS, regarding the proposed speed limit reduction on Rice Road. The letter read, “A traffic engineering investigation has been initiated to review this request.”

Councilman Larry Murtha said, “This was complained about approximately four months ago. It looks like the state has it now, as of Feb. 26. Now we’re told it’s going to take three months for them to do this study, and it took approximately two months for them to even get it. So we’re looking at five months before this study will be done and we’ll get an answer about the dangerous situation at the intersection of Rice and Feddick [roads].”

– The board approved Ballowe’s signing a contract with General Code, to begin working on code book revisions. “Our code book is fairly out of date; the paper version,” Boardway said. “The online version always remains somewhat in date. But we do need to update this.”

He added, about that code, “They are very well known in this area. They do a very good job. We had experience with them. [Jennifer Mule’], the town clerk, works with their office on a regular basis [and] says good things. The proposal includes updated changes, revisions, editing for the book before it actually goes to print, and then various copies of the book. It is $11,900.”

– The board approved, by a 4-to-1 vote, the bid by Courts and More to “resurface the tennis courts, repair the cracks, line them and get both ready for the people of Boston to enjoy,” according to Councilman Gary Vara, referring to the town’s tennis courts. The winning bid was for $27,780, the lowest of the three bids.

– A public hearing “to hear comments regarding granting of a franchise to Donna Rockwell to mow, trim and/or cultivate the vacant land owned by the town of Boston, at 8555 Boston State Road” was scheduled for 7:40 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16 at the Boston Town Hall.

The next board meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2 at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road.
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