Cattaraugus County Shuffles Priorities

LITTLE VALLEY – Joseph Pillittere, Cattaraugus County Department of Public Works commissioner, and his crews will be busy in the coming months. Replacement of a bridge, acquiring land for safety and drainage and road maintenance were on the agenda for the Cattaraugus County Legislature’s most recent meeting.

In a joint venture between New York state, Cattaraugus County and the Seneca Nation of Indians, the 58-foot span on Lebanon Road, across the Cold Spring Creek, will be removed and replaced in the coming construction season, according to Pillittere. The project was the subject of an agreement between the state Department of Transportation and the Seneca Nation of Indians since December 2004. The project has been held up in final approval stages since then.

The replacement project has found its way up the Seneca Nation and Cattaraugus County priority lists. For the project to be completed, since it is an inter-municipal project, the state DOT will be the lead agency in design and construction, shouldering 80 percent of the project costs. Cattaraugus County will be responsible for the remaining costs, according to treaty between the state and Seneca Nation, in dealing with infrastructure on the territories. This bridge is deemed to be an important entrance point to the Allegany Territory.

The 20 percent local share, picked up by Cattaraugus County, may be lessened, according to Pillittere. Through state Marcheselli Funding, it is usually used as a means of reducing local government’s funding shares on non-state-sponsored projects, such as dealing with Seneca Nation projects. The program could reduce the county’s share by about 75 percent, Pillittere said.

Once that share is taken care of, the Cattaraugus County responsibility to the project will be complete. The total replacement cost is estimated to be between $1.5 million and $2 million.

Another county project will require some land to be acquired, according to the resolution as passed. Along County Road 71, in the town of Great Valley, two parcels of land are going to have to be trimmed a bit to make an area a bit safer and to improve on a bit of hydrology, Pillittere said.

The land in question is owned by Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation for use as an electrical substation – the portion of land to be acquired through an eminent domain process. The right of way needs to be widened for safety and culverts in the area that need to be replaced, Pillittere said.

“Niagara Mohawk said this would be the quickest and least expensive way to do this,” he said. “We are on good terms with them, and it was their suggestion to us.”

The amount to be paid as fair market value of the land to be acquired is to be determined, with work to start after the process is complete.

Finally, Cattaraugus County has received $2 million in Consolidated Highway Improvement Project System funds that will go toward the resurfacing of two roads throughout the county. County Road 18, almost 14 miles running from the Route 219/Route 98 intersection in Great Valley to Franklinville, via Humphrey Hill, and County Road No. 7, just over 10 miles from Conewango Road, in East Randolph to New Albion by way of Elm Creek and Pigeon Valley road, will receive $1 million to make improvements as needed.