BROCTON - When it comes to issues facing the town of Portland, the town supervisor hopes at least one state representative has listened.
Recently, Portland received a visit from a representative from the New York State Comptroller's Office. It was one of at least 16 townships in upstate New York that was picked for a site visit and asked a series of questions, which will be compiled in an informational report regarding issues facing municipal townships.
"I thought my visit with the representative went very well," stated Town Supervisor Dan Schrantz.
"I was asked a series of questions and provided my answers based on the township. A point that I did offer to the representative was the fact that our township is comprised of approximately 52 percent of tax exempt status land and how that impacts us. I also discussed the issue of the equalization rate and how that impacts our school district tax billing, which has three different townships and three separate equalization rates affecting the tax rolls."
Where infrastructure questions were concerned, the town supervisor thinks he may have given the representative more than was asked, but wanted to give a crystal clear picture of how the town is affected by infrastructure.
"We did talk about different issues such as the water infrastructure system and how things like rate increases can truly impact our town and customers, which lead into a discussion about the possibility of a regional water system and how that could make water affordable to town residents. I probably gave him more than he asked for, but those were the exact kinds of things he was looking for to compile in his report," stated Schrantz.
Information on the Peerless Street Bridge Project, which Schrantz described as "the biggest unforeseen infrastructure project to have an impact on our town that exists without a funding source" was also touched on.
"The rep wanted to know what our long range plan was for the Peerless Street Bridge, and I did explain to him how we had to look to leftover HUD money to get the project going. The lack of funding for infrastructure projects is drastically needed throughout the whole country, not just our part of the state. To just go to the user to fund major projects can only last so long. You can only raise rates and raise taxes for so long to accomplish these goals."
He pointed to the disappearance of federal stimulus money for town and village projects as a factor in funding or not funding infrastructure projects that need to be addressed.
The town supervisor walked away from his question and answer session with a good feeling noting, "at least I know that someone is listening."
Regarding the Peerless Street Project, the Portland Town Council discussed the status at its recent meeting. Final plans are being worked on in order to fill out the necessary permit paperwork for the roadway and bridge, which could be issued as early as late spring, according to Schrantz.
An update was also given Wednesday regarding work being done to rectify the town's highway garage floor. Work is currently underway to break up the top layer of crust of the concrete floor. From there, it will be ground down and sealed. Once the floor is sound tested to establish that a solid foundation exists underneath the sealed layer, the town supervisor added "we should have one of the better floors of any highway buildings."
In other matters, council members also encouraged any Portland residents who receive a mailed survey regarding the town's comprehensive plan to please take the time to fill it out and return it.
"This is allowing the resident to look at the future of how they wish to see the town in the next 10 to 20 years. If there are things you feel need to be addressed in the township, express how you want to see those changes implemented and where you feel the needs exist. It's very important for people to reply to this this is the future of our town and we need your comments and concerns," stated Schrantz.
Under the new business portion of the meeting, council members resolved to re-appoint Marvin Zirkle for a one year term on the Board of Assessment and Review.
The councilmen also resolved to apply for an annual JCAP grant on behalf of the Portland Town Court, which previous years' awards have yielded new furniture and office supplies for the courtroom.
The town's budget will be officially presented to the town clerk on October 4 at 4 p.m.
The council will hold its next regular meeting on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.
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