Town of Otto Supervisor Ronald Wasmund attended the New Albion Town Council's October meeting to extend Otto's gratitude for help rendered during the August floods.
"On behalf of the Town of Otto, I want to thank Jerry (Cobo), his crew, and in fact, the whole Town of New Albion for the help you gave us during the flood and after," he said. "I don't think we could have handled it without you."
Cobo is the New Albion Highway Superintendent, and at the time of the August flooding, he immediately started checking his own township's hilly roadways. He was pleased to note that, despite the often steep terrain, most of his roads had escaped relatively unscathed.
However, word of the massive washouts along Otto roadways soon came in, and Cobo moved quickly to mobilize his equipment and drivers and place them at Otto's disposal. Of immediate concern, was the foot of Dunkleman Hill Road, where a large sluice was completely destroyed. New Albion helped truck in and grade many tons of fill to reconnect the working dairy farm further up the road with the outside world.
In the days that followed, New Albion continued to send men and needed equipment to help Otto's Highway Superintendent Tom Hill and his crew repair the ravaged roadways. There were literally miles of pavement torn up or undermined, or, in the case of Marek Road, completely destroyed.
Cobo acknowledged Wasmund's thanks, saying that emergencies call for teamwork. "Next time it might be the other way around," he said.
Wasmund left the meeting with the remark, "Thanks again. It's nice to know you have good neighbors."
In other business, during the public hearing portion of the meeting, no residents showed up to comment on Local Animal Control Law 1-2009. This law was written to supersede Dog Control Law 1-1994. The new law corresponds with the old one in most respects, with these exceptions:
" Fines for violations will be adjustable, ranging from a low of $10 for minor infractions, up to $150 for chronic offenders. This more closely corresponds with practice in other localities.
"Cats are no longer listed among the animals that the animal control officer will pick up, since most shelters will no longer accept them. The only control for that problem is to better educate cat-owners to neuter and confine their pets.
In other business, Supervisor Loyd Chilson acquainted the council with some 2008 statistics concerning property taxes in Cattaraugus County as compared with other counties in the state and the nation as a whole. He related that while median property taxes paid on homes in the United States are $1,897, the median in this county is $1,970. However median home value in the U.S. is $197,600, whereas in this county, it's less than half that, a mere $78,200.
More revealing was the information that median income is $65,385.00 nationwide, while only $48,938 in Cattaraugus County. Figures for other counties in New York State (and some other states) were also given, leaving Cattaraugus County residents to reflect on the fact that even though their median property taxes are among the lowest, their median income falls into that same category.
Highway Superintendent Cobo gave his monthly report, saying the primary jobs were raking the gravel roads, cleaning out ditches and cutting roadside brush. He added that truck maintenance was also on the agenda, and that preparations for the winter season were complete.
Cobo mentioned that he would like to see a copy of the inter-municipal agreement with the Village of Cattaraugus pertaining to shared use of the roller. Clerk Rose LaQuay said she would provide him with that document after the meeting.
The Super also told the council he would be reviewing bid packets for a 2009 heavy-duty, tandem axle, diesel-powered cab and chassis. Once he has approved them, they will be available at the town hall clerk's office and at the highway garage for public viewing.
The town has started its budget process for the coming year, and Clerk LaQuay provided copies of the proposed 2010 budget to council members. Treasurer Gene Doucette was present at the meeting to ask and answer questions.
A budget work meeting was set for Monday, Oct. 26, and the public hearing on the budget was scheduled for Nov. 5. The budget will likely be adopted at the next regular council meeting, Monday, Nov.16, at 7 p.m.