Poland Board Looks To Increase Bids For Town Hall Project

KENNEDY – Kathy Stanton, town of Poland deputy supervisor, chaired the recent Poland Town Board meeting due to the temporary indisposition of Kelly Snow, supervisor. The accessibility project for the town hall was one of several topics discussed.

Under legal business, Stanton asked Paul Webb, town attorney, if changes could be made to the proposals for required bodily injury limits under insurance coverage for contractors bidding on the project. The architect felt that since the project was of a smaller nature, many contractors would feel the necessity of a larger insurance coverage prohibitive for bidding. Webb said the lower requirement would be permissible, and he would make sure the requirements would be changed before the request for bids was announced.

Under old business, Dennis Stornes reported on the new library building. Work is taking longer than anticipated, with extra work being required because of late design changes. Inside painting is currently underway. A retaining wall will need to be built to hold the bank back from the lower storage entrance. He said that he hoped officials would soon be able to tour the facility. Although it will open to the public later than first hoped, it should still be removed from its current site in the town hall so the accessibility project timeline is not greatly impacted.

Stanton informed the board about the last meeting with the architect concerning the accessibility project. The decision on the time frame was discussed. It was proposed to advertise for bids on Sept. 30; open bids on Oct. 28; award the contract on Nov. 11; and start work on Jan. 5, 2015, to be completed in April 2015. Also, Stanton handed around a revised budget on costs for the project, in which the architect estimated an increase of $5,000 in the cost. Final costs would not actually be known until the bids were opened. It was noted that since the first BAN payment would not be due until 2016, it would not have to be reflected in the 2015 budget. Larry Mee, highway superintendent, agreed to act for the town as owners’ representative to be available to the contractor if there were any questions. Stanton said the plans have been completed and Mee will be given a copy. Bonita Wallace, town clerk, will be available to meet with contractors when they want to do a walk-through to prepare their bids. Plans will be coordinated with the architect to set up appointments. Once definite plans for construction are made, town officials will coordinate their temporary spaces to maintain services during construction. After all these discussions, board members approved the proposed timeline.

Mee said he had heard nothing from the DEC about work on Dry Brook Creek. He would try to contact them again before the next board meeting. Town officials agreed that the weather this season would make it difficult to complete the repairs to the concrete blanket this year, as originally planned.

Stanton noted that the steering committee for the comprehensive plan had met, and had discussed the results of the focus groups and the survey about public opinions on where the town of Poland should be headed. Stanton said that less than 10 percent of residents of the town of Poland submitted surveys. Snow has met with a representative on a community foundation to seek grant money to help with costs for the development of the comprehensive plan. As things go forward, public meetings will still be held, to give residents a chance to voice their views.

Wallace reported that there had been a problem with issuing DEC licenses. A new vendor has been selected by the state, and there have been some errors in the online process. This is a statewide issue, and they are requesting that the public practice patience as they work to solve the problems.

Mee stated that his department had gotten the septic system installed for the Kennedy Free Library, it had been inspected and grading had been done for the front of the building. The library is applying for a grant for the concrete retaining wall. It will also support the emergency exit from the main floor. Repair work from summer storm damage is ongoing. The second mowing along town roads was almost completed. Work is being done on a drainage project on Second Street in the hamlet. Catch basins and 450 feet of pipe are being installed to correct a low-spot drainage problem. The foundation for the addition to the highway garage has been dug, and pouring of the footer scheduled. The new metal building is supposed to be delivered around the end of September. Mee said that FEMA has declared the May storms disasters. He has been to three meetings, and there will be a lot of paperwork, but the town should be able to get some assistance with costs for the storm damage. Mee said his department would do topsoil and seeding at the library when they are ready.

George Gustafson, zoning officer, noted that there had been a difficult issue about property usage, but that a variance had been received and the matter settled. There had been a lot of permit activity in the town, indicating that people are looking to the future of the community. Alan Gustafson, code officer, reported that discussion had begun for a second Amish school on Sprague Hill Road. They had submitted a plan, and are anxious to begin construction for the upcoming school term. Alan Gustafson also said that the Amish community is interested in having their own cemetery. Research into zoning laws and other state rules concerning cemeteries is being done.

Ron Lemon, county legislator, said one thing that would be discussed at an upcoming legislature meeting would be the costs for assigned legal counsel. He believed that one legislator would present a resolution that instead of just assigning counsel from within the county, maybe sharing with other counties would work. Feedback that Lemon has gotten suggests that people are not in favor of this, since it takes work away from county practitioners. He said that he was going to get more information on this issue in order to make the best-educated decision possible. A second concern is over the costs of social service benefits the county incurs. One person wrote a letter to the editor suggesting residency requirements in Chautauqua County for benefits. Lemon noted that this is a state-controlled issue, not local. A study showed that there is an average of 700 applicants per month in Chautauqua County, with only 20 from out of state. Each case is judged on its own merit. Lemon also stated that the Welfare to Work program has saved the county over $20 million since 2010 with its Front End Detection System. This FEDS oversight program makes sure that recipients are only receiving benefits to which they are entitled.

Councilman Terry Walker read a letter from Roland Swanson tendering his resignation form the Memorial Day Committee. Swanson gave a recommendation for someone to take his place on the committee. Board members discussed the possibility of some kind of recognition from the town for his many services to the community.

Cemetery caretaker Alan Short’s report stated that the new sign was up in Riverside Cemetery. Everything was under control in the cemeteries.

The next regular meeting of the Poland Town Board will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. in the town hall. Snow will be available at 5:30 p.m. to meet with residents about any concerns. Residents are encouraged to attend and see their elected officials in action.