Borrello starts town board tour

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello speaks at the Arkwright Town Board meeting Monday. Borrello plans to attend a meeting of every town board in Chautauqua County this year in order to hear residents’ questions and concerns in person.

ARKWRIGHT — Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello started a tour of every town board in his jurisdiction by telling the Arkwright Town Board he was pushing economic development collaboration this year.

He said he is getting together a county-wide economic development alliance, which will be launched later this year. “The idea is to have, for the first time, a county-wide economic development strategy,” he said. “We can read from the same music sheet, we can speak with one voice.”

Intermunicipal collaboration is another of Borrello’s priorities. “There are opportunities out there to look at more efficient ways of doing things,” he said.

That includes municipal dissolutions and mergers. Borrello pointed to the dissolution of the village of Forestville as one that had a positive effect on its residents.

“They had a government there that through no one’s fault, wasn’t functioning well,” he said. “The long story short is, between dissolution and incentives provided by the state, folks in the former village of Forestville are saving approximately 55 percent on property taxes.”

The county executive said he wasn’t advocating for anything, but noted that county agencies could provide assistance to municipalities that wished to consolidate. “This is a personal decision for each community to consider but it is a very difficult thing to navigate,” he said.

Borrello did not take questions from the public during the meeting but did so after it adjourned.

In other business:

¯ Arkwright resident Jill Casey asked the town board if they had considered her suggestions from November about improving communications with residents and starting a citizens’ advisory group on the controversial wind turbines built recently.

Town Supervisor Fred Norton replied that he had not gotten back to her because he was in the hospital, but did pass around her suggestions to other board members. The board wasn’t interested, he said. “Their feeling was there was enough opportunity to comment (on the turbines) coming to town board meetings and making phone calls,” Norton said.

Casey asked town officials to reconsider her ideas.

¯ Norton said the town’s engineer “has purchased on our behalf sound testing equipment” to test noise from the turbines. The engineer will be training the town building inspector in use of the equipment. Tests will be done on specific sites after there are complaints about them, the supervisor added, noting that a tryout of the equipment was attempted Friday, but abandoned due to high winds that skewed the data.

¯ Norton said there are no plans drawn up yet for the new Arkwright Town Hall. “We’ve collected information from department heads as to their needs,” he said. The town will then plan a new building based on that.

¯ After a public hearing that saw no one speak, the board approved a one-year fire protection contract with the Sheridan Fire Department. The cost will be $16,939, for which the SFD will provide firefighting and emergency medical services, but not ambulance service.

Norton said the Cassadaga and Forestville fire departments also serve Arkwright.

¯ The board turned down the purchase of a 2002 International dump truck from the town of Charlotte for $15,000. Board members were concerned that the truck would be replacing another vehicle that was marked off for surplus, and that the double frame style of the truck could harm its longevity in winter.