During their June meeting, Cattaraugus Village Board members discussed the current status of the old Setter Brothers building on Mill Street. For several months, the village has tried to persuade the Federal Marshal's Office in Buffalo, N.Y. to release the property, which was seized after a task force broke up an indoor marijuana-growing operation on the site.
Reporting on his work as board-appointed point-man to coordinate village actions on this issue, Rick LeFeber pointed out that the following necessary steps have been completed:
Dan Barry has completed the physical survey of the property.
Fritz Weyand, village attorney, has contacted the Federal Marshal's lawyer, communicating the importance of timeliness in the property transfer .
The $12,497.30 requested by the marshal's office for their interim maintenance of the property was remitted to them on May 28.
In concluding his report, LeFeber said, "On this end of things, everything that can be done, has been done. At the county level, Crystal Abers has been a great friend to this community. We've also had phenomenal cooperation from other department heads, as well as the legislature."
LeFeber added that he'd personally spoken several times with Beata Hoskins, the Property Custodian of the U.S. Marshal's Office in Buffalo, in an effort to explain how important the prompt return of this property would be to the village. "I told her," he said, "that the jobs provided by this simple action would a godsend to this community."
Hoskins response during each conversation was, that she had to wait for her orders from Washington.
In other business, Heidi Nash said that a town picnic is being tentatively planned for Saturday, August 21. She asked, on behalf of the picnic committee, if village water could be used for a water battle which would be arranged by the fire department. The board decided that unless a water emergency occurred, water could be used for that purpose, since it was a function staged for the benefit and enjoyment of the residents (and neighbors) of the village.
Nash also requested the use of a section of South Street for a tricycle race and a bed race on picnic day. She explained that the events would last only a few minutes each, and the street would never be rendered completely impassable. The board agreed with this request as well, but said that some sort of police or fire police presence would be required for safety's sake. Clerk Rose LaQuay was requested to notify those residents who would be impacted by the temporary street closures.
In other business, Superintendent of Public Works Jason Opferbeck reported that the gate for the village's Yard Waste Dump at the north end of Franklin Street has been put in place. The board discussed what day or days the dump should be open, and finally decided that three days a week would be fairer to the public than only two. Their final decision: The Yard Waste Dump will be open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, hours, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Opferbeck said he would post a sign to that effect by the gate. He added that he also planned a second sign stating clearly just what sort of trash is permissible and what is not. He said the village has determined in the past that only small lawn trash (clippings, twigs, weeds, etc.) may be dumped at the site, but added that there have been numerous and ongoing violations of that regulation.
"People have dragged whole trees and big limbs down the street and left them there," he said. "They've also thrown bags of diapers around--and other nasty stuff. Last summer we were taking out a truckload a week."
"If DEC inspectors look at it and decide we're running a garbage dump there, they'll shut us down," he concluded.
Opferbeck also reported that he would like to purchase a "more adaptable" paver and would be checking one out soon. He said the village's present paver doesn't pull straight, particularly on hills, and is too narrow, and therefore wasteful.
The super informed the board that their new backhoe was scheduled to be delivered next day. He explained that by following the plan now in place, he hopes to trade and buy yearly, thereby keeping each new machine under warranty and cutting down maintenance costs. "If we can follow this plan we can have a new backhoe every year for $2,000," he said.
In unrelated business, the board voted to accept a bid of $14,944 by the Gray Insurance Agency for next year's village coverage. They also opted to purchase a million-dollar umbrella policy rider for an additional $1,000.