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Chautauqua takes over code enforcement

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon Mayville officials discuss the proposal for the town of Chautauqua to run the village’s code enforcement office.

MAYVILLE — A new agreement between the town of Chautauqua and the village of Mayville regarding code enforcement is now official.

During separate meetings, both the Mayville Village Board and the Chautauqua Town Board approved an agreement to have the town of Chautauqua run code enforcement for both municipalities.

The new agreement calls for the village of Mayville to pay the town $16,000 annually for the service.

The Chautauqua Town Board approved an agreement to have them run code enforcement in exchange for the village to waive all fees related to the use of the village’s recycling center by town residents. The town was not seeking any payments.

That recycling proposal made certain village officials nervous. Trustee Rick Syper called it “the worst agreement I’ve ever read.” He also complained that the village board hasn’t had enough time to review the document as a group.

Mayor Ken Shearer said he sent the agreement to all village officials on Oct. 5 and noted that code enforcement was discussed during a joint meeting between the two boards in August. “We need to have a code enforcement officer. We don’t have one,” he said.

Shearer works for the town of Chautauqua’s code enforcement office. He said because of his employment he contacted the state comptroller’s office to make sure the agreement was OK and state officials told him it was.

During the village board workshop town Supervisor Don Emhardt was in attendance and said he investigated the recycling proposal. “I talked the state comptroller’s office and they liked it,” he said.

He also added that he wanted a vote as soon as possible because it will affect his proposed budget, which is scheduled for a vote next month.

Village treasurer Jennifer Obert was asked her opinion about the recycling option. She said she prefers to make a direct payment to the town instead of free recycling, because the recycling costs can vary year to year.

The village had been paying $16,000 for its part-time code enforcement office until they had a retirement earlier this year. Emhardt said he would be comfortable accepting a $16,000 payment instead of the free recycling. “We just looked for something comparable. … If you want to pay us we’re glad to take that check,” he said.

During the regular meeting, the village board approved the agreement, with Trustees Syper, Ben Webb, and Tim Jacobson voting in favor, Sun Ray Eagle Harrington voting against and Shearer abstaining. After the meeting Harrington said he felt more investigation was needed. “It should have been done differently. … We should have looked for a code enforcement officer first,” he said.

Because Mayville altered the agreement that was approved last week by the Chautauqua Town Board, the town board had to approve the modification, which it did during its meeting Tuesday night.

The new agreement is for 10 years, although either municipality can opt out after four years with 180-day notice.

With the new agreement, the town of Chautauqua will increase its code enforcement from one and a half to two-full-time officers and Mayville residents now have a full-time office they can go to when seeking permits. Shearer said the village can also now do fire inspections, something that hasn’t been done in the last eight years.

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