By Jennifer Weber

Mayor William Krebs addressed resident concerns over the plowing of the sidewalks at the Village Board Meeting held on Jan. 3.

The first priority in a snow event is for the Department of Public Works to keep the streets open, starting with the emergency routes and moving along to the side streets. The sidewalks are plowed after everything else.

“When we get a foot of snow in 24 hours…it takes a week and a half to clean everything” stated Krebs. “It just takes time… we need residents and store owners to understand that this is a partnership and they need to clear the snow and ice from their sidewalks.”

The Village code states that the owner of the property must maintain their sidewalks. The Village of Springville does plow sidewalks, but this practice does not relieve the home and business owners of the responsibility to make sure the sidewalks are clear and free of hazards.

“When we have three feet of snow in three days our schools did not close, we didn’t issue a state of emergency, we didn’t put out any travel bans; we stayed open,” said Krebs. “There aren’t many other villages in Erie County that can stay open and we did it because of our DPW crew, but also because of the partnership we have with our residents.”

In other news, Krebs swore in the 2017 Springville Fire Department officers: Chief Dave Klenk, First Assistant Dennis Dains, Second Assistant Jim Siminski, Third Assistant Marc Gentner, Fourth Assistant Cheryl Gentner, Captain Paul Smith, Lieutenant 1 Mike Cochran and Lieutenant 2 Jim Jozwiak.

The Board passed a resolution approving a Fuel Agreement with Springville-Griffith Institute School District which allows village vehicles to fuel at the school’s facility on North Street. The Village will pay an administrative fee of $.05 per gallon for administrative costs and $.03 per gallon for fuel additive costs.  The SGI School Board will discuss this topic at its Jan. 9 Board Meeting.

Authorization for a public hearing was set for Local Law 1-2017, amending chapter 125-5 to include Heritage Park and the Rail Trail and adjusting the hours of use. Currently the hours are set for 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. Also would like to adjust and include a new rule that motorized vehicles are prohibited from the park and subject to police enforcement.

The board also approved the Mayor to sign a settlement agreement with Occhino regarding work to be completed in spring 2017 on colored crosswalks and sidewalks in the Franklin and Mechanic Streets area.

A resolution was passed to amend the Village Police Fee schedule to include a $10 charge fee to request a copy of police reports, which will cover the costs to prepare and mail out reports to insurance companies.

Officer in Charge Nick Budney stated, “The fee does not include people that are specifically named in a report, so if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident or named in a police report, you can still get the copy for free from the Village Office or Police Department.”

The Village of Springville Police Department responded to 1,474 calls, worked 557 shifts, wrote 579 tickets (parking and arrests) and patrolled 25,750 miles in the year 2016.

The Village will continue Department of Transportation inspections, finding that approximately 20-25 percent of the vehicles brought into the checkpoints are placed out of service and not in compliance with state laws. Liz Melock, Village Administrator, reported that budget worksheets were handed out to department heads and due Jan. 13, with budget meetings scheduled to begin the week of Jan. 23. The tax cap is set at 1.15 percent, which is still below 2 percent.

Superintendent Kenneth Kostowniak reported an update from the electric division stating Governor Cuomo has launched a new Green Energy initiative at a cost of $5 billion and the initial way to pay for this program will include charging the supplementary power company, Springville Electric. The rate will increase this year by 3mils/kilowatt which should be on average $1.80 a month more for all users.

The board passed a resolution naming Kostowniak as the delegate representing the Village of Springville at a special meeting to learn more about this program and to figure out how government funding of renewable energy program will impact Springville Electric.

“If the Governor’s initiative is for clean energy and we are in the energy business, then it really makes sense for us to be on the cutting edge, out front on this issue.” said Mayor Krebs. “We want not just to understand the tariff, but if the ultimate goal is for sustainable, cleaner, cheaper reasonable prices, we want to continue that trend, that’s why we’re in the Municipal Electric Utilities Association of New York State (MEUA).”

In other news, the Board approved the appointment of Kate Moody to the Zoning Board and Joe Wolniewicz as the chairman of the Zoning Board with term end date set at April 4, 2017.

The next Village Board meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at 5 West Main Street in Springville.