By Colleen Mahoney

The Ashford Town Board, on Aug. 10, announced that it had been approved to apply for grant funding through the Restore New York Communities Initiative. Town Supervisor Charles Davis, III, reported that all businesses in the town and in West Valley are eligible to apply.

According to the Empire State Development website, the Restore New York Communities Initiative “provides municipalities with financial assistance for revitalization.” Eligible projects must involve the demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties. The grant funding is available to commercial and residential properties and aims to encourage “community development and neighborhood growth.”

Discussion was held on procedures to handle a possibly “overwhelming” response to the grant application after Councilwoman Jean Bond raised concerns. Davis suggested the planning board could be of assistance in the event of a lot of responses.

The board approved a resolution to take legal action against D&H Excavating Inc. and E&M Engineers and Surveyors, PC, for errors in their work at the Fox Valley Road bridge and culvert.

The issue stems from work done in 2009 by both companies to repair damage caused to the bridge and culvert after a thunderstorm. With assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the town entered into a contract with the two businesses to make the repairs. Since then, the town has learned that the work included “multiple structural design and construction errors involving the hillside supporting and surrounding” the bridge, according to the resolution. The town requested the errors be corrected as there is concern for public safety.

The town approved retaining Hodgson Russ, LLP, as outside counsel to pursue legal action, effective immediately.

The Cattaraugus County Legislature is discussing privatizing county nursing homes in Olean and Machias, which the Ashford Town Board feels will have a negative effect on its residents and employees. With that in mind, the board approved a resolution opposing the action and any bill that would “have adverse effect” on town residents.

The board also approved a resolution for the New York State retirement standards for town employees, adopted a policy for highway project design and construction standards and awarded Valley Fab and Equipment the contract for purchase of one new and unused plow equipment and dump body, in the amount of $89,925.

The Ashford Town Board will next meet Monday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ashford Community Center, 9377 Route 240 in West Valley. The meeting was rescheduled to Monday to accommodate the National Cleanup Workshop, which two board members will be attending.