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Hamburg Village Board discusses dog ordinances, tax levy increase

HAMBURG — It came to light, during the Hamburg Village Board’s March 17 meeting, that the generally accepted presence of dogs in certain village parks goes against posted ordinances.

Reporting about a recent public forum held to gather feedback, Recreation and Parks Department Supervisor Josh Haieck said that a local mother had asked why dogs were permitted in village parks, especially during warm-weather sporting events, in opposition to posted signs.

“Do we want to enforce the ordinance?” Haieck asked, reminding the board members that signage banning dogs and horses has been placed in all village parks.

While Board Member Paul Gaughan said that waste pickup should be enforced, and Board Member Mark Colmerauer said that all dogs should be kept on leashes in village parks, all trustees were in agreement that banning dogs would not be easy.

“It’s a gray area, in terms of enforcement,” Gaughan said.

Deputy Mayor Thomas Tallman said, “If it says no dogs, we should enforce it,” and Colmerauer concurred, saying, “Our signage should match our policy.”

The village ordinance will be checked, and the issue will be revisited.

In another matter, the board approved Local Law No. 2 of 2014, which overrode the tax levy limit. As explained by Village Administrator Donald Witkowski in previous meetings, the board does not intend to go over the tax levy limit with this year’s budget, but decided to allow the overage as a safety precaution.

The board also adopted the budget for the fiscal year: June 1, 2014 – May 31, 2015. The general fund tax rate for the village was set at $19.85 per 1,000 of assessed value.

The capital improvement program will expand $1,053,158, in the next fiscal year.

In other board news:
– Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Moses said that a town hall-type meeting was recently held with Sen. Mark Grisanti, who Moses said was “surprised about the lack of funding for training.” The fire chief said that firefighters are being deprived of advancement in their communities, because of this monetary issue. “Hopefully [Grisanti] will come on board and help us,” Moses said.

– The board approved the transfer of $10,300 into the water reserve. This funding was originally allocated for the Lombardy waterline replacement project, but was not spent, because the final costs were lower than the estimated budget.

– Hamburgh Holidays’ request to have live reindeer present at next year’s lighting of the star was given the green light. In addition, that organization has asked that a community group or business sell coffee and hot chocolate, during the annual holiday event.

– Barbara Brown of Blasdell was hired as a part-time seasonal (non-competitive) clerk for the clerk-treasurer’s department, at $13.06 per hour.

– Witkowski reported that the state department of transportation has agreed to do center striping on Main and Buffalo streets, but will not be utilizing the more expensive paint, or doing the safety lane, both of which are scheduled to be completed next year.

“The state should do everything they can to keep the safety lane safe,” Tallman said. “Does safety on the state’s calendar start in 2015?” The board members recommended that Witkowski remind the DOT about June’s “walkable” event, which they said should offer participants a clear and defined safety lane.

– Mayor Thomas Moses Sr. was authorized to sign the 2014 Fire Protection Contract between the town and village of Hamburg and the Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department.

– Colmerauer reported a lack of a quorum for the traffic safety committee, and said, “The question becomes, ‘Do we have a traffic safety committee?’” Moses said that nobody wants to become the chairman. “We need to get our act together,” he said. Various options regarding this committee will be discussed.

– Moses was authorized to sign the sponsor authorization form prepared by the Service Award Program Committee for the eligibility of members of the volunteer fire department for the Service Award Program.

– Marc Shuttleworth of the department of public works said that this spring’s projects include beginning to switch lights in village lamps on Kenton Place and Paxton Court to LED.

– Haeick was appointed to the permanent civil service position of recreation supervisor, retroactive to March 19, 2013.

– A request by the Hamburg Alumni Foundation to hold a Hamburg High School reunion event on private property adjacent to the village general municipal lot between Main and Union streets on Aug. 18 was approved.

– The board authorized the All American Soap Box Derby of Hamburg to close down the road to the Hamburg Counseling Center at 97 S. Buffalo St. for the second annual Soap Box Derby on June 21, pending submission of adequate insurance.

– The Hamburg Oktoberfest Committee was authorized to hold Oktoberfest on Sept. 13 in Memorial Park, with the proper insurance.

– The board agreed to allow the J.P.’s Foundation to host the fourth annual Run the ‘Burg for Autism 5K Run in the village on June 7. The applicant must provide the approved race route and appropriate insurance.

The board will host a work session meeting at 5:30 p.m. on April 7, followed by a regular board meeting at 7.

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