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Bids to be let for water line project

NORTH COLLINS — The North Collins Village Board authorized advertising to secure bids for the major piece of its current flood mitigation project at its June 3 meeting.

The board agreed to seek bids for the trenching and laying of pipe that will divert water from the village's northern neighborhoods and into nearby Franklin Gulf.

Mark Cavalcoli of CRA Engineering, consultants on the project, said the only final permission is expected shortly from the Army Corps of Engineers. The corps will advise if the village will need to create a concrete structure at the drainage end, or if it will be sufficient enough to allow water over the embankment, much as it naturally does farther up stream.

Bid opening was scheduled for June 26.

Also at the meeting was Joe Castiglia, executive director for the Southtowns Community Enhancement Coalition. Almost a year into his tenure there, Castiglia is visiting all member municipalities to update them on his progress. The village is a charter member of the coalition and Mayor Vincent George serves as the group's treasurer.

Castiglia pointed to the ongoing success of developing agri-tourism in the southern portion of the county that is expected to lead to spin-off economic benefits.

He noted that the group had recently received its non-profit status and was in a position to accept donations. That development could help member towns and villages initiate projects they otherwise would not be able to undertake alone.

Castiglia also said the coalition hopes to be the lead agency for the area and its regular monthly meetings allow supervisors, mayors and other officials to meet regularly to discuss ideas and problems.

North Collins town councilmen made appearances as well, with John Tobia inquiring if the village might be interested in sharing a percentage of the cost of a grant writer.

Tobia said, “Good grant writers are not cheap,” adding that he has been speaking to one as he prepares for next week's town meeting. “But I really believe a good grant writer could bring in enough money to justify the cost,” he concluded.

Councilman Karen Ricotta sought joint participation, as well. She said she would like to see some form of welcome packet developed for new residents of both the town and village.

Ricotta also revealed that following a lengthy executive session at the town board, it was decided to let the Helmuth Advisory Board resume its function in overseeing operations at the dispatch center. The town of North Collins currently serves as lead agency for a consortium that includes the town of Collins and the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation.

“The Advisory Board is made up of fire chiefs who know when things aren't working and know what needs to be done,” Ricotta said.

The village has expressed concern over continued increases in dispatch center costs. Village Trustee Brenda Bauer-Petrus, who is also the village liaison with the Helmuth Council, said that she, along with town Councilman Michael Perry, would soon meet with Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services Dan Neaverth to investigate dispatch options.

Code Enforcement Officer Phil Tremblay reported on progress with several problem properties. On one, the bank involved will be performing work on the structure. He has also noted work being performed on another property and said he plans to investigate further. He was concerned that a home on Main Street has little value left in it and believes it should be condemned. That parcel was boarded up by the village, to prevent unauthorized entry.

Grass around abandoned properties drew concern, as well. The village has favored using outside contractors to perform the task and add the charges to already delinquent tax bills. However, Bauer-Petrus noted the high growth at present, “We can't wait to get bids, it's already June and the season is short; it has to be cut.”

Trustee Kathleen Myers voiced her objection to village crews performing the work. “I have a problem with us doing it,” Myers said, “We don't have the manpower and there's wear and tear on our equipment.”

Myers did suggest that a service fee be instituted, to cover the cost. “We need to identify how many homes need the grass cut and charge a fee,” she said.

George added that the current charge of $50 per mowing is low. “I've checked with other towns and villages and we're cheap,” he said.

Village Attorney Richard Schaus had no objections to a fee structure, but also suggested that property owners be called into court.

The board agreed to a mowing fee of $150, per occasion. It also authorized village personnel to mow the worst sites promptly.

The board renewed the Sherman Avenue BAN in the amount of $50,000 for one year at current interest rates.

To secure a new backhoe, sweeper and wood chipper for the department of public works, the village agreed to pursue a Bond Anticipation Note for $135,000. Following advertisement of the plan, the board expects to vote on the matter at its July meeting.

Part-time DPW employee Dexter Tebo submitted a letter of resignation, after five years of service with the village. The board approved advertising for the 19-hour-per-week position.

The board approved payment of bills totalling $58,789.71. It will meet again on July 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the village hall.

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