Cassadaga board talks water, fire, budget

OBSERVER Photo by J.M. Lesinski Cassadaga Fire Chief Chris Wichlacz (seated left) speaks to Trustee Bill Astry (seated right) about the Fire Department’s budget at the latest village board meeting Wednesday.

CASSADAGA — A problematic water line was brought to the attention of the Cassadaga Village Board by Public Works Superintendent Sam Alaimo Wednesday evening at the regular meeting. “I’ve got some concerns about the water line that feeds the Job Corps,” Alaimo said. “I’m worried, it has froze in the past … It hasn’t frozen on me (yet), but if it freezes and breaks, plus it’s in the middle of a creek bed, that pipe is 48 inches around.”

The size and location of the pipe could spell trouble in the near future, but there is a solution available to prevent that.

“I think it would be wise to do a directional bore underneath the creek and run the line so it isn’t exposed on the surface, it wouldn’t be in the creek bed,” Alaimo stated. “It’s not a trout stream or anything, so I don’t think permits will be too bad.”

Alaimo also provided copies of the bids, photos of the pipe itself and explained the options to the board. “I got two different bids…St. George ($23,330) and E & R ($20,000), St. George was higher than E & R’s,” said Alaimo.

“I talked to E&R General Construction,” Alaimo continued. “They said their agenda was full for all of 2019, but they would be able to do it right away — and I said we’re trying to work on the next following budget — they said that they would do the work now and do the charge for the next budget. If they were going to do it, they would have to do it pretty soon.”

In addition to the pipe, Alaimo gave an update on the village’s meter pits.

“I had a meeting with the health department on what I wanted to do as far as meter pits,” Alaimo said. “They had to talk with some other people regarding the design of them. It’s basically a standard meter pit, we’re looking for two or three of them.”

Following an incident related to a large water main break earlier this year, keeping meter pits out of the elements and up to date has become a top priority for the village.

“My concern is where it’s wet by the lake, and keeping them dry,” Alaimo commented. “They’re supposed to be dry or water-proof, and I don’t think we have any of them.”

The cost for a new water meter would, however, be a cost for the specific landowner to take on.

“If somebody needed a meter pit, they would need to purchase it from us,” Alaimo stated. “But that way we would have all the same meter pits up to specification. The landowner puts up the cost for this … It’s a cup of coffee a day. They’re roughly $400 apiece, I looked at some plastic ones, I did not like those.”

In addition to the news from DPW, it was also budget night at the village board meeting.

Cassadaga Fire Chief Chris Wichlacz was present and stated his department’s current needs to the board.

“I’d like to leave my budget the same. No adjustment,” Wichlacz said. “The only two things I’d like to ask … the first thing would be that you remember that we’re going to try and replace our rescue vehicle to better suit our needs (in the near future).”

Wichlacz also mentioned the new New York state law requiring fire departments to provide cancer coverage for certain firefighters.

“The other thing … the fire department itself is incurring a lot more expenses,” Wichlacz stated. “The village now has to cover us for cancer coverage. There’s still a lot of discussion on what the law states, but I think we’re currently not doing it right. That could really increase our numbers, (but) we’re still trying to get clarification from the state on it.”

Prior to the budget notes, Wichlacz provided a brief update on the Cassadaga Fire Department’s activity. “We’re having quite an eventful year, Jan. 3 we cracked our ambulance on the side,” Wichlacz noted. “To get it fixed will cost about $2,300. I don’t have the exact total numbers, but I can tell you we’ve had 28 rescue calls alone to the same address.

“Every time we go, we have to get her in and out of the house in her wheelchair, get her secured and comfortable and we’re relying on mutual aid just to cover how often it occurs,” Wichlacz added about the 28 rescue calls to the same address.

Mary Mary Jo Bauer closed out the meeting with her budget notes on salaries and wages in the village. “I always believe in following the cost of living,” Bauer stated. “Obviously job performance has something to do with it, (but) you’ve got to be able to afford the cost (of living). We’re proud of our employees, they should be able to be compensated as such.”