The North Collins Village Board approved soliciting bids for one component of the flood mitigation project currently underway on July 2. That work will involve the section of drainage that passes under the Wentland Funeral Home parking lot as water is directed towards Big Sister Creek. Bids for that project will be opened on July 26.
However, Village Attorney Richard Schaus reported that no response has been received concerning a necessary easement to divert an estimated 60 percent of the water now entering the village at its northeast edge. That plan would catch water coming down the hill and divert it along Eagle Drive and into Franklin Gulf where it too would join the waters of Big Sister Creek further downstream. The project is perhaps the biggest piece of the project as the most severe flooding has occurred in that area and would also reduce the total flow sent through the village.
The project would require a 40-foot easement and an trench dug ranging from 7 to 15 feet deep through the property of Howard Purdy which is currently under cultivation. Schaus reported that Purdy has not responded to repeated requests concerning the easement and also said that numerous options have been offered as well.
Schaus said Purdy had raised concern that the project would cut his property in half with the ditch but added that proposals to link the two sides had been made by the village. Those plans could see several bridges installed over the ditch and even the possibility of piping and burying the line although that would add significant cost. Schaus noted that the planned route of the ditch would follow an already unfarmable wet area and should actually help with drainage issues on the parcel itself.
The attorney went on to urge the Board to begin thinking about using eminent domain proceedings to gain access to the parcel due to its importance to the community good. He further suggested that if the Board agreed to pursue the action it hire separate counsel who specializes in such cases and presented the trustees with a copy of all the variables involved when using the Eminent Domain law process. Communication with Purdy will continue and the Board will discuss additional options at its August meeting.
The Trustee seat vacated by Thomas O’Boyle last month will remain vacant until the March elections said Mayor Vincent George. O’Boyle left after being seated in April citing time constraints as he plans to travel extensively following his recent retirement.
Woode Avenue resident Bill Nellis came with two complaints, the first, the condition of an adjacent property, which has stood vacant for four years since the death of its owner. “If I wanted to live next to a hayfield, I could move somewhere else,” said Nellis pertaining to the high grass at the rear of the residence. Village Clerk Lynn Maciejewski said DPW crews have been able to mow grass at the front of the house but its equipment is too large to access the rear. Information the village has seems to indicate the parcel is currently under foreclosure proceedings but Schaus recommended calling the last-known owner before the town justice for the continual violations. Additionally, Nellis, after regularly receiving cards requesting him to read his water meter, despite having an external one, he watched the meter and found it inoperable. A call to the Public Works department confirmed that the meter was broken. Nellis complained that he was never notified that the meter was broken or told that he should read the interior meter for a correct reading. “Now I could be facing a huge water bill,” he said.
A written letter was received from village businessman Mike Gullo concerned about uneven sidewalks and elevated curbs in front of his properties . He also requested the village to cement over the holes left after the village removed trees from along Main St.
Mayor George thought paving over the tree holes could be done but stated that consultation with engineers state that shaving down curbs can leave them jagged and sharp, increasing the hazard to pedestrians. The board suggested seeking a concrete firm to see what can be done about the curb, or to see if it is actually a State DOT problem. As to the sidewalk, Schaus read off a section of village law that makes sidewalk repair the responsibility of the property owner. Schaus clarified that if village work is responsible for damage, then it would assume liability, however, no work on the recent water project was performed on that side of Main St.
Mayor George referred to the recent activation of a “Code Red” notification system in the Town and Village of Hamburg and suggested that research be done into a similar program in North Collins. He sees great value in being able to contact residents in time of emergency and noted that the system could also promote various events.
The Mayor also said that he had received an e-mail from the County that there is a small amount of money available to address the poor condition of rail crossings in village. The news follows a tour the Mayor conducted with County Legislator John Mills last month. Work on the Langford Rd. and School St. crossings is expected to begin this August while the county has determined that immediate work is not required at the crossing on Franklin St.
Two members were approved as additions to the fire department roster as well as the first of a newly created Active Restricted membership category that will allow 16-18 year-olds to participate in training and some scene support.
The North Collins Emergency Squad requested and received permission to utilize the municipal parking lot for dedication ceremonies of its two new ambulances on July 21.
The Historical Society informed the Board that a grand opening of the restored Quaker Meeting House on Route 62 will be held July 14 along with a chicken barbecue.
Bills totaling $112,311.01 were approved for payment.