Westfield Uses Fund Balance To Move Projects Forward

Pictured is the Market Street Parking Lot.

WESTFIELD — The Westfield Village Board has decided to move forward on two projects members have been mulling for a while.

The first will drastically improve the parking lot behind the Main Street business section between Portage and Market streets.

Assistant Department of Public Works Director Edward LaBarron explained it will be completed in two phases, which will cost approximately $350,000.

“Probably about $100,000 of this project is part of the EPA requirement for the Clean Water Act. It’s something we never worried about in the past, but unfortunately, we don’t make those laws,” he said.

The village has $33,000 in a capital reserve fund for the project and $15,000 in its parking lot budget for this year. The village had hoped to receive NYSERDA funding for the project, but DPW Director Andrew Thompson explained the project would have to create energy efficiency.

“We have to submit the plan by Tuesday (today). What I wasn’t aware of is we can’t just get the $50,000 and use it toward a parking lot, it has to afford some type of an energy efficiency. So, I had somebody give me a price on LED lighting for the parking lot. I got that and I think it was about $32,000,” he said, noting it reduces the amount that could be used toward the parking lot, but the village can also apply to it’s electric authority’s energy-savings program to help with the cost of the lights.

Deputy Clerk Rebecca Jackson said the village can use fund balance to cover the unbudgeted $52,000 portion of the first phase’s $100,000 cost and once a better figure is obtained, the village can bond for the entire project. Trustee Alan Holbrook said he is wary of the bond market, which could increase rates.

Holbrook asked about cash flow and the amount of fund balance. Jackson said the village has $487,000 in fund balance.

The board decided to take this course of action anyway and approved the transfer of the $33,000 out of the capital reserve line, subject to permissive referendum. The other actions did not require a vote.

The board also discussed an agreement with Inner Lakes Federal Credit Union on space for a collective dumpster location in exchange for a drive thru ATM in that parking lot.

The board also decided to dip into fund balance for four wireless cameras to help with downtown security.

“I certainly still like the idea of four cameras watching the entire downtown and the parking lot for around $28,000, $7,000 a camera. I just think if there’s a camera in the back parking lot, people are less likely to not only do crime, but also petty things,” Mayor Michael VandeVelde said, noting these cameras are high-quality and can see 2,500 feet.

The board approved the funds transfer to pay for the cameras.

The board also approved a $16,840 change order for walkways for the wastewater treatment plant, $428,000 for engineering for a new waterline from Greenman-Pedersen Inc. (formerly Hills Engineering) and a $29,987 Chevy Volt for the Electric Department on a piggyback bid from Erie County. These will be paid out of those respective funds.

VandeVelde brought up an issue with the former Portage Inn site project. He said creating a road for vehicles was more complicated than originally thought. Instead he proposed a parking lot and walking path and asked the board to approve an expenditure for drawings of the new plan. He said it would cost $1,500 or $3,500 with a survey and there is a chance the state will not include the expense in the grant. The board approved the $3,500 option.

The village board opted not to create a ClearGOV webpage due to the maintenance cost and the availability of the same data through the comptroller’s website. It was also noted the Westfield Development Corporation’s community website, which is in progress, could include this information.

The board held a public hearing on amending the sewer law to add a “mini pre-treatment program,” which was a requirement of the Department of Environmental Conservation when it issued the village its last discharge permit. There were no comments and the law was adopted.

VandeVelde said he would also look into addressing complaints that vehicles are not stopping at the intersection of Jefferson and Pearl with an additional sign or lights.

The next meeting is Sept. 18.