Gowanda moving forward next spring with flood mitigation project

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Arnie Andolsek, village resident and former Persia town justice, complains about the lack of unkempt homes and yards on surrounding side streets at the village board meeting Tuesday, July 10.

GOWANDA — The village of Gowanda received news from the Army Corps of Engineers, concerning a timeline for the flood mitigation project, which has been pending for awhile.

In a recent conference call involving the engineers and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) with Mayor David Smith, the project culminates in a public review slated for next spring. At that time it will hopefully end with the signed agreement between the Army Corps of Engineers, the DEC and the village.

“We’re still in the midst of a feasibility study,” Paul Zimmermann, village trustee stated during a recent village board meeting. “The timeline has been pushed back as things continue to move forward. There’s still some internal reviews that’ll allow them to be in a position to fund the project from their end of things.

“With that being the case, the mayor worked with state Sen. Cathy Young and DASNY to obtain a million-dollar grant which is going to help pay a significant portion of the village’s cost of the ultimate channel, that will be put in place to help with the flood mitigation.”

Water bills and their costs was a point brought up at the meeting, as well as the state of homes and properties on the residential streets in Gowanda.

Jack Broyles, a village resident, was quite displeased with the costs of his bills and the fact that the village allegedly is giving breaks on large, overdue bills of non-paying residents.

“There was some discussion about the water bills coming out last January,” he began.

“Some people being delinquent and the possibility of people’s water being shut off. The village took some action, met with some of these people. It’s my understanding that the village even cut some people’s water bills.

“If you find that it’s a faulty meter or some fault through the village, that’s a different story, but to just out-and-out cut, because that person hasn’t paid and you decide that you want to get them back on track, that you want to be nice to them and give them some of our money, that’s not right,” Broyles said.

Arnie Andolsek, former Persia Town Justice and village resident was also unhappy with the state of properties, particularly rentals on the side streets in the village.

“Last meeting we were discussing how nice the village looked, but no one is paying any attention to the side streets. The condition of some of the property that we have, it’s embarrassing. The board is more concerned about how the village looks in the business district but not on the side streets,” Andolsek said.

“We should be putting more pressure on the property owners and I know there are a lot of absentee landlords.”

Village Attorney, Deb Chadsey commented that the board is looking to toughen up on the building codes throughout the village.

“The building code covers not just construction that’s happening now, but existing conditions,” Chadsey commented.

“Any structure within the village that there’s an existing condition that’s in violation which covers not just the materials, but health and safety issues, that structure is going to be cited.”

The next village of Gowanda board meeting is on Aug. 14 at 5 p.m.