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Ripley board approves revitalization panel with focus on Main Street

February 18, 2016
By David Prenatt ( , Westfield Republican

Ripley Town Board members agreed to form a Town Revitalization committee focusing on Main Street at their monthly meeting Thursday, Feb. 11.

Town supervisor Doug Bowen told Board members plans to turn the old Oddfellows Hall on Main Street into an outdoor atrium must be postponed because, for the second year in a row, grant money for the site has been declined.

"It has to be part of a whole revitalization plan," said Bowen. I would like to have a committee with two to four work groups to plan street-scape enhancements," he said. The Oddfellows Hall would potentially be one of the first things in the plan, Bowen said.

Bowen said the committee would consist of the full town board, as well as property and business owners in the area. The board passed a resolution to form a Main Street Revitalization committee with councilmen John Hamels and Mike Rowe to head work groups.

In another matter, The board tabled a discussion regarding the town assessor's request for a separate phone line. Bowen noted that all calls come in on the same line, and the purchase of a system to separate incoming calls is worth exploring. "Eighty-five percent of the calls on my answering machine are for the one of the justices," he said.

Bowen said he investigated several options. An additional line would cost $37 a month, he said, whereas a complete system that would allow the town to own its own switches would cost $8,000 to install. Another option would be to install a system where callers could press a number to be connected to the office of their choice. "None of these options are cost-effective at this time," Bowen said.

Board member Hamels suggested that the town look into working a new system into next year's budget. Board member Robert McIntosh made the motion to table the matter for further research and discussion.

In other business, the board decided to hire Trent Johnson to be the summer Recreational director for the town. Johnson said in a letter to the board that he had worked in the recreational program for six years as an assistant and one year as director. Hamels noted the advantages of appointing a director early in the year.

The board continued its discussion regarding the purchase of a software program for the highway department. Highway superintendent James Spacht said the program would keep track of all highway expenditures as well as any work done on the roads. However, he said, the program requires an initial cost of $2,950, with a yearly fee of $720. "I think that's a lot of money just for the program," Spacht said.

Bowen added that it would cost the town $85 an hour for installation and training and an additional $90 a year for each additional station. He noted that there will be vendors at the upcoming training sessions who may offer an alternative program.

The board voted to purchase air conditioning for the Sterling Plow truck. Members discussed the option of a roof-mounted unit and concluded that this type would not work well. Bowen agreed that a back wall unit which costs $3928. would be best for the plow truck.

The board also passed a motion to go out to bid for the purchase of a 4WD pick-up truck and an excavator similar to the Deere 85G model. "We'll put the old 2007 Chevy 2WD pick-up available for bids or we'll see about trade-in bids with it," added Bowen.

Bowen noted that these pieces of equipment will be used for the water-sewer extensions, so they will be included in the cost of the projects. Bids are due by 2 pm on April 8, to be reviewed at the town meeting on April 14.

Board members announced that large trash days will be set for the first three Saturdays in May. The matter of whether or not to accept electronics was discussed. "My opinion is only if we are going to charge for it. There is no place left in Chautauqua County that it is free," said councilman McIntosh.

The board agreed to discontinue accepting any electronic materials as part of trash day. "We did it for a couple of years," said Bowen. "Hopefully we got a lot of the older stuff."

Councilman McIntosh updated the board on the Veterans' Valor sign. "We have roughly $8,000.raised so far. We are not at the end of the grant cycle yet so we won't know until the end of March if the grants are going to come through," he said.

The board also appointed Phil Chimera to the town planning board and Jim Tolon to the zoning board of appeals.



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