Gowanda discusses audit, swears in officers

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Mike Hontz is sworn in as a new police officer for Gowanda Police Department at the August Gowanda Village Board meeting.

GOWANDA — The Annual Financial Review for the village of Gowanda has been completed, and the numbers were staggering. Mayor David Smith read them off at the village board meeting that took place in August to a packed room.

“Three years ago, the village of Gowanda was borrowing $300,000 just to make payroll and ends meet,” Smith stated. “Now, the financial document has been released, and between cash and investments the village has $1,263,111 on hand, which does not include reserves, that at the end of the fiscal year for sewer, water and operating reserves ended at $417,521. These two amounts together basically equal $1.7 million dollars to the good.”

Mayor Smith then took the time to thank everyone involved in the finance committee, from Deputy Mayor Carol Sheibley to Treasurer Traci Hopkins and particularly Andy Burr, who is also a Cattaraugus County legislator.

“He puts in roughly 20 to 25 hours a week on various village business items and does not take a penny from the village; he is strictly a volunteer,” Smith said.

The good news in finances for the village continued to be an exciting topic as the $2.5 million Smart Growth Funds capital project is about to be begin. Joy Kuebler and her team out of North Tonawanda, were chosen from a narrowed-down pool of four landscape architect firms that applied for the project. The board was excited to name them the waterfront design consultant for the three areas of the village the grant will help to shape: Gateway Park, Creek Side Park and under the Aldrich Street bridge off of Panther Drive. The grant will also enable the completion of the Hollywood Theater as well, which many were happy to hear.

Grants continued to be an active discussion point, as Deputy Mayor Carol Sheibley mentioned an award from Sen. Cathy Young’s office.

“Gowanda Recreation is receiving a grant for $5,000 that will be for youth football, the softball tournament, the co-ed soccer and bus transportation that we had for our summer programs and field trips,” Sheibley stated.

In addition to all the positive monetary news, the board also swore in two new village police officers, Michael Hontz and Shannon Worner. They also mentioned beginning conversations with the Seneca Nation, for a potential sewer agreement to help with the west end of the reservation, the contract with providing water and sewer to Perrysburg and the Community Spirit Parade, that will take place at the end of the month, lead by the Buffalo Bills Drum Corp.