Councilman Jay Boardway continued his pursuit against the Safe New York Act when he and the rest of the Boston Town Board met on Wednesday, Feb. 6. “I’ve been involved very much over the past few weeks since the Safe New York Act has been passed by Albany in corresponding with the various supervisors and councils and board members in the other towns and municipalities in Erie County,” said Boardway during his report. “There is an association of Erie County governments; our town is a member of that association. I’ve kind of been the contact person of that association for a while.”
According to Boardway, this association of Erie County governments is “in the process of putting together a joint resolution” regarding the recent gun control legislation, though the disagreement stems to something much more fundamental than gun use. “It’s amazing to me how strongly most folks feel on this issue that the entire process of the passing of the gun control legislation in New York State was just a pure violation of essentially due process of the mandates that are imposed upon the New York State assembly legislation and senate leaders by our constitution, and they just threw it all out – threw it in the wind. Just ignored it,” said Boardway. “The association has drafted a draft resolution which I would like to bring before this board at the next meeting we have . . . . The association of towns is recommending that public hearings or informational hearings be held to allow the citizenship, the folks in the town, to actually be heard on this exact issue. It’s not even so much an issue of ‘they’re going to make me now put only seven bullets in my gun’ or ‘they’re going to call some of the rifles I have assault weapons.’ It’s more of an issue of ‘they just trampled on our civil rights.’ They trampled on our second amendment rights.
“The government should not be allowed to do this,” he continued. “We try not to do this. We are your first line of government here, sitting in this room, the five of us. This is where it starts. This is the grassroots.”
Boardway proposed that the board schedule an informational hearing on its agenda as soon as possible. In order to properly inform the public, Town Clerk Jennifer Mule suggested March 6 at 7:40 p.m., a time which was carried by the board. “What this will do is just give the opportunity for folks that want to be heard strictly on this issue to be heard if they’d like, at which point in time there will be a resolution, more than likely presented by myself, for a vote on this board.”
It will be an informational hearing, as the councilman clarified. “This is not a public hearing in the sense that we need a public hearing to pass a local law,” Boardway said. “It’s simply an informational hearing, but I would like it to be incorporated into our meeting.”
“I’m completely agreeing with [Boardway] on the gun law that should not have been passed,” said Councilman Gary Vara. “I have two son-in-laws that are in law enforcement, and it just overstepped the bounds.”
In other board matters:
• The board reached a consensus to appoint Anthony Zeniuk as the town’s recreation director, taking over for Bonnie Clesse, whose retirement officially took effect on December 31, 2012. “For a little more than a year now, everyone has had the grand impression that [the board members] can’t work together,” said Boardway. “That’s not true, and the appointment of the recreation director is proof of that. We were divided right down the middle, and we talked it out, we worked it out and made a decision tonight. So my fellow councilmen deserve the credit for that, and I’m glad that was able to occur.
Supervisor Martin Ballowe was excused from the process, as Zeniuk is a personal relation of the supervisor. “I do want to make it perfectly clear: Supervisor Ballowe had recused himself from this entire process. This recusal took place back well over a month ago when the application for Mr. Zeniuk was presented to the board. There was a relationship there, which Supervisor Ballowe disclosed to the board and he immediately recused himself. So the supervisor did not take part in any of the interviews, did not take part in any of the discussions tonight – in fact, excused himself from our meeting downstairs this evening when the final decision was made.”
Steve Bohan and Lisa Turner were also considered for the position. “We had three extremely qualified and very good candidates apply for this position, and the board, various board members, Councilman [Larry] Murtha, myself, former rec. director Bonnie Clesse and Councilman Vara took part in the interview process. The candidates have all been vetted, and then it led essentially to a discussion this evening at our board meeting where it came down to two candidates.
The recreation director’s salary was agreed upon at $15,680 for 2013 and will be prorated between Clesse and Zeniuk. “Clesse graciously stayed on board with us,” said Boardway. “She officially retired on Dec.31, 2012 but has been integral in this process over the last six weeks in both assisting us in the interview process, taking part in all the interviews, and in starting some of the preliminary work that needs to be done for 2013.”
• “We’ve had a lot of residents ask about being able to pay their taxes online or with a credit card,” reported Mule. “We did have that in the past. It did not work out so well, so I’ve been researching it and have found a company called MuniciPAY, Nationwide Payment Solutions. It’s currently being used in the town of Hamburg and the town of West Seneca, and [the company does] very good business with [these towns]; [the towns] have no issues or problems.
“I would like to be able to be able to add this to the town’s website to give our residents the opportunity and option to pay their taxes with a credit card,” she continued. “The one issue is that any fees that are incurred will be paid by the resident and not the town. The fee is about 2.45 percent of the total transaction or a $3 minimum. If it is an electronic check, the minimum is $1.50 – just so everyone knows that it is not a fee that will be paid by the town whatsoever or by any tax dollars. It is a convenience for our residents only. If the residents feel they want to pay that extra fee, then they can pay that. It’s not put on the town whatsoever. So that option will be there at some point when I can pull it all together. A link will be added to our online tax service, and, if a resident comes in, they can also pay it my office with a credit card.
• The appointments of the following individuals to the Boston Emergency Squad were approved by the town board: Jacob Ingoldsby, Alyssa Mandiak, Matthew Schwanz, Nicholas Yonkosky and Brittany Wells.
• The board awarded a bid for Water District No. 3 to Mark Adamchick, CPA, which was $1,350. The other bid was for the range of $2,100 to $2,400 from Toski & Company, PC. The bid is for an audit service for the water district that needs to be audited each year as required by the state.
• Having already received the information from the Boston Fire Company for its yearly service award program points, the board approved the numbers for that fire company. “I have verified this [information] this evening, reviewed it with the town board of their 65 active fire fighters in the fire company at this point in time,” said Boardway. “Twenty-five of them qualify for service award points in 2012.”
• Councilman Jeff Genzel reported that he has received and forwarded the maps of Backcreek Road from the Erie County Water Authority. “[The gap in water coverage] is about 2,000 feet long,” he said. “It’s a pretty big gap. It affects probably nine parcels. I will be forwarding these maps onto the parties that were interested in here, and they’ll have to continue on with their quest to try and get water to that area.” Genzel also reported that the Keller Road Waterline Stabilization Project has been put on hold due to inclement weather.
• Sharon Bulger was appointed as the town’s nutrition assistant at a salary of $10.15 per hour effective immediately.
• Jeffery Szudzik was approved for reappointment to the Boston Conservation Advisory Council. His term was set to expire on March 1. “As we all begin the new year,” said Szudzik, “I look forward to the chance to once again take part in the varied projects which the CAC will be organizing for the benefit of the town.”
• Genzel made the first donation toward the town’s fireworks fund of $500. “Please donate if you can,” the councilman said. “It was a successful event last year, and I think it’s only going to be better this year.”
The next board meeting for the town of Boston will be held at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston, on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The meeting will begin at 7:30 pm.