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Friday, April 5, 2013 at 6:17 am

Today's Poll: Which big retailer would you most like to see come to Batavia?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls

NOTE: This isn't about tax incentives or not, nor meant to address "shop local" or not. Whenever news comes up about new stores opening or coming to town, it always generates talk from people about "I wish this or that store would come to Batavia," so I thought the topic would make a fun and interesting poll. That is all.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Fun and fitness are goals of hula hoop class at Blue Pearl Yoga

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Blue Pearl Yoga, fitness

After the first hula hoop class presented by Blue Pearl Yoga this evening, the oft-repeated word was "fun."

Instructor Rachelle Simons said it is fun, that's why she went from a mom hooping with her four children to a serious devotee of the sport.

"It's a tremendous work out that works virtually ever muscle in your body, from head to toe," Simons said. "As you're doing it, you don't even realize you're doing it because it's so much fun."

The introductory class covered hoop basics, stretching and a bit of actual hip movements to keep the hoop going.

For many of the dozen students, it was the first time they had hooped since they were children.

The last time for Julie Yaeger, "probably not since I was 12, and I won't tell you how long ago that was," she said.

Donna McJury joined the class because she expected it to be fun, relaxing and a chance to get fit.

"I think I'll get more energy," she said. "And maybe a smaller waist."

Simons ended the class with a demonstration of hula hoop dancing, showing off several tricks and techniques, telling class members that they were all capable of learning everything she did.

She then talked about the types and weights of hoops she has available, and which people might consider using based on their hoop plans and abilities. Her hoops are available at luvhoopsonline.com.

The cost for the five-week session is $45 and if there's demand, more classes could be added.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Petition drive started to protest further tax incentives for COR and Dick's Sporting Goods

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Towne Center, business, GCEDC

Press Release from Phil Ricci, chairman of the Gensee County Libertarian Committee:

Dick's Sporting Goods also does not expect to win, or ask for, tax abatements to expand here. "Our goal is to deliver everything at the lowest price," Hennion said. "We really don't feel like we should be using customers' money to build our stores."

That was a direct quote from the VP of Dick's Sporting Goods!

The classification of the Batavia Towne Center as a "tourist destination" is laughable at best, and a complete deception regardless. More than $6 million dollars has already been promised to COR over a 10 year period. Yet even though the company did not complete many of the promises within the original project, they are asking for an additional $ 1 million in "tax incentives" to re-fit a previously failed space!

No tax payer should be asked to subsidize a multi-billion dollar retail chain, so they can do business in their town, but what's even worse is when that retailer is not asking for the help!

Stop the abuse! Tell Mary Pat Hancock and the GCEDC Board to not approve the additional funds!

Sign the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/706/682/307/stop-the-additional-funding-of-tax-incentives-to-cor-for-dicks-sports/

About the Genesee County Libertarian Committee: Advocate. Educate. Choice. The Genesee County Libertarian Party. For more information, please join us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/GCLP.NY.
Also Please join us for our first fundraiser, April 13th at Batavia Downs! http://thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-celebrate-liberty-night/36799
Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Batavia PD announces three promotions

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Press release:

The City of Batavia is proud to make the announcement of the following promotions and appointment.

Sgt. Robb Yaeger, a 25-year veteran of the Police Department, is being appointed effective April 7 to fill the position of assistant chief of Police. City Council approved the creation of the position of assistant chief of police as part of the 2013/14 budget.

Sgt. Yaeger began his career in law enforcement in 1986 in the position of corrections officer assigned to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Jail. Prior to this he had served for two years as an animal control officer for Genesee County. In 1988 Sgt. Yaeger was hired by the City of Batavia as a police officer for the City of Batavia. During his time as a police officer Robb served as a field training officer, was assigned to the Neighborhood Enforcement Team, was assigned to the Genesee County Drug Task Force, was a member of the Batavia Police Department’s Crash Management Team and joined the Emergency Response Team.

In 2003 Robb was promoted to the rank of sergeant. He became the Field Training Program’s coordinator, having helped mentor and train countless new police officers. Sgt. Yaeger also served as the department’s quartermaster, fleet maintenance officer, a certified Taser instructor, the department’s STOP-DWI coordinator as well as coordinating several grants awarded to the police department. All this while operating as a uniformed supervisor on various assigned shifts. Sgt. Yaeger is a past recipient of the Batavia Police Officer of Year and was also honored with the Distinguished Public Service Award.

Robb has demonstrated his dedication to serving the City of Batavia, its residents and commuters, all the while holding himself to the highest of standards. Robb is married with three children and lives in the Town of Batavia.

Robb's duties will include, but not be limited to, acting in the capacity of the chief of police when necessary, overseeing and directing the duties and functions of the Road Patrol section of the police department, as well as assisting the chief of police with day-to-day managerial functions of the department.

Officer Chris Camp was promoted to sergeant in February following the retirements of Lt. James Henning and Sgt. John Peck.

Chris is a dedicated police professional, having been assigned to Road Patrol since being hired in 2006. Chris has consistently demonstrated a high drive and zest for police work. Sgt. Camp became a field training officer in 2009, is a certified police instructor, firearms instructor and member of the police department’s Emergency Response Team. He is also a past recipient of the Kiwanis Officer of the Year.

Officer Eric Bolles is to be promoted on April 7 to fill the Sergeant position vacated by the appointment of Assistant Chief Robb Yaeger.

Officer Bolles joined the police department in 2006 after having worked in the private sector. Eric is a former member of the Air Force, having supervised several lower ranking members of his unit. Officer Bolles is also a field training officer, having mentored several new officers.Officer Bolles’ private sector and military leadership will be beneficial to the police department moving forward.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Attention shoppers: Super MAMMOTH Sale is Saturday

post by Daniel Crofts in garage sales, photos, St. Joe's, SUPER MAMMOTH

After nine years, Kathy Stefani, of Batavia, will soon gallop into the sunset as organizer of the Super Mammoth Sale at St. Joseph School.

But she will be going out with a bang, as they say, because this year's sale is the biggest thus far and includes several new attractions.

The sale will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. -- with a 15-minute break for restocking at 12:30 p.m. -- at St. Joseph School, at 2 Summit St. in Batavia.

Here are some pics:

NEW: Car/Truck Room

Volunteer Jerry Fisk will be running the car/truck room, which will feature models and toys of various vehicle types from the oldies right up to Nascar.

The Baby Room

Paintings and prints

Artisan Doll Room

Showroom #1 (cafeteria) - stage

Showroom #1 (cafeteria) - main floor

Showroom #2 (gym)

Note: Because there is so much inventory this year, both showrooms will be restocked at 12:30 (in the past, this has only been done for showroom #1).

Other items for sale will include a "barely used" Wii system with two remote controls for only $100, four Elvis Presley albums, and a copy of The Beatles' very first album.

There will also be a tent outside featuring furniture, gardening equipment, grills, and other miscellaneous items.

All proceeds of the sale will benefit St. Joseph School. For more information, call Stefani at 344-2701.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Grand jury indicts man on four felony counts for allegedly selling cocaine

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy

Adam M. Brodie is indicted by the Genesee County Grand Jury for the criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, which is a Class B felony. He is accused of knowingly and unlawfully selling cocaine on Oct. 18 at 67 Main St. in Le Roy.

In count two of the indictment, Brodie is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, for allegedly possessing cocaine with the intent to sell it.

In count three of the indictment, he is accused of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, for allegedly selling cocaine on Oct. 23 at 67 Main St. in Le Roy.

In count four of the indictment, he is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, for allegedly possessing cocaine with the intent to sell it on Oct. 23.

UPDATE: Since this post, the Sheriff's Office has put out a press release on Brodie's arrest. Brodie, 29, of West Bergen Road, Le Roy, was arrested as the result of an investigation by the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force. Following arraignment in County Court, he was jailed on $7,500 bail.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Distraught man and law enforcement in standoff on Bank Street Road

post by Billie Owens in batavia

A distraught man inside a house on Bank Street Road is threatening to harm himself and he reportedly has a pistol. Law enforcement is on scene and traffic is being stopped at East Saile and Bank, and at R. Stephen Hawley Drive and Bank. He was on the phone with a counselor, but now is not answering the phone.

UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: An adjacent house is ordered to be evacuated.

UPDATE 4:42 p.m.: The occupants of the adjacent house have left. A state investigator is talking with the original caller to dispatch about this incident to try and glean more information. A nearby church is going to be checked and if anyone is there, they will be told to leave.

UPDATE 4:46 p.m.: Mercy medics are told to go to Bank Street Road and Hawley Drive in case they are needed.

UPDATE 4:48 p.m.: A responder who checked out the church says it appears to be sealed up and no one is there.

UPDATE 4:52 p.m.: At the scene: "We've got him coming to the front door. ... we made contact briefly. He went back inside the front door."

UPDATE 4:54 p.m.: Parents of children in a nearby daycare center are informed that when picking up their kids, they must travel via the city northward to the daycare facility.

UPDATE 4:56 p.m.: The man is in custody. The Emergency Response Team is cancelled.

UPDATE 4:59 p.m.: The adjacent residents are being called and told they can return home. The road is reopened. "The daycare knows what's going on and they're all set."

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.: Responders are back in service.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Batavia woman arrested today for alleged welfare fraud

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

Sarah Elmore, 31, of 8146 Bank Street Road, Batavia, was arrested today and charged with six felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and one count of petit larceny following an investigation by the Genesee County Department of Social Services.

The charges were filed after an investigation revealed that Elmore submitted various forms to the Genesee County Department of Social Services on which she allegedly concealed the fact that she was working as a self-employed personal care aide and earning income from her business.

Elmore is accused of receiving Food Stamp benefits totaling $686 and Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits totaling $75 between January and December 2011 to which she was not entitled. Elmore was arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department and issued an appearance ticket to appear in Batavia Town Court on April 11 to answer to the charges.

Anyone wishing to report suspected cases of welfare fraud in Genesee County can contact the Genesee County Department of Social Services at (585) 344-2580, ext. 6417 or ext. 6416. All calls are confidential.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Batavia Towne Center expected to generate more than $4.3 million in new tax revenue by 2018

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Towne Center, business, GCEDC

NOTE: There was a big mistake in the original headline of this post about the amount of property taxes that would be generated over 10 years.  The correct number is $4.3 million, not the significantly higher number previously quoted.

Batavia Towne Center, in the four years since the first stores opened there, has generated more than $500,000 in new property tax revenue for schools and county government.

It's also generated more than $500,000 in new fire tax revenue for the Town of Batavia.

We don't know how much sales tax it's generated because those figures are considered confidential. But COR Development estimated -- when it applied to GCEDC in 2006 for tax abatements for the project -- that at build-out, the center would add more than $4.5 million in annual sales tax to the state and county treasuries.

Under the current terms of the agreement between COR and the Genesee County Economic Development Center, Batavia Towne Center will generate an estimated $4.3 million in property tax and fire tax revenue by 2018.

COR is asking that the original agreement be modified to help the company attract Dick's Sporting Goods along with one or two other retailers to the former Lowe's location.

There are three tax abatements under consideration:

  • $180,000 sales tax exemptions
  • $43,750 mortgage tax exemption
  • $828,390 property tax exemption

Before there was a Batavia Towne Center there was 47-acre parcel of land that didn't have much on it except for the Wood Hill Trailer Park off Park Road that -- according to a June 22, 2006 article in the Batavia Daily News -- was filled with aging trailers that once housed race jockeys from Batavia Downs.

The total assessed value in 2008 was $1.6 million.

After Batavia Towne Center opened, the assessed value jumped to $14.5 million.

Under the terms of the original agreement with GCEDC, COR received a $6 million tax incentive package:

  • $2,078,400 sales tax exemption
  • $312,500 mortgage tax exemption
  • $3.6 million property tax exemption

COR was planning a 375,000-square-foot shopping plaza that would be anchored by Target and Lowe's with Bed, Bath & Beyond, PetCo and Michael's, as other key tenants.

It would cost COR an estimated $40 million to build the center.

COR estimated at build-out the stores would employ 364 full-time equivalents (FTEs), who would be paid $9.9 million in annual wages, and the stores would generate $4.6 million in annual sales tax on $667 million in gross annual sales.

In 2007, the project was split into two parts, because Target insist on owning the building and real estate of their own stores, so the benefits and liabilities of the project are now split between COR and Target.

For the life of the agreements, both COR and Target are required to submit an annual report to GCEDC on employment.

By the time all of the stores were open in 2009, COR and Target reported a combined 365 FTEs.

As the economy declined after 2009, so did employment, dropping to 341 FTEs in 2011.

After Lowe's closed, the number of FTEs dropped to 270 in 2012.

The bulk of the incentive package for COR (all numbers in this story roll up COR and Target as if it were still a single project) was the property tax abatement.

The abatement is known as a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). 

A PILOT is designed to forgive a portion of property taxes on the increased assessed value on a parcel of real estate that are the result of improvements.

In the case of Batavia Towne Center, as stated above, the property's assessment rose from $1.6 million to $14.5 million.

COR continued to pay property taxes on the original $1.6 million assessed value, but in 2010, when the assessed value jumped so dramatically, it paid no property taxes on that additional $12.9 million in assessed value.

Under state law, fire district taxes cannot be waived, so when the assessed value jumped, so did the amount COR pays for fire services in the Town of Batavia.  Currently, COR and Target pay more than $266,000 annually in fire protection taxes.

Starting in 2011, COR began paying taxes on 20 percent of the increased assessed value, or on $2.6 million of the new additional assessed value.

This year, COR's share jumps to 40 percent of the assessed value.

By 2017, COR will be paying 80 percent of the increase in assessed value and the PILOT expires in 2019, at which point, COR and Target will be paying property taxes on 100 percent of the increased assessed value, or about $4.1 annual in property taxes.

The bulk of those taxes go to the school district with the rest going to the county.  The Town of Batavia currently has a zero property tax rate.

The projected numbers are based on the current assessed value, which is subject to change annually.

For the exemption of the center to accommodate Dick's and other retailers, COR is asking for the PILOT to be amended to cut the taxes on the new assessed value of that portion of the project.

Currently, the portion of the property that contains Lowe's is assessed at $6.9 million.

The improvements will increase the assessment to an estimated $8.6 million.

COR is asking for an amended PILOT just for that parcel that will begin at the 40 percent of increased assessment value and extend the life of the PILOT (just for that parcel) through 2024.

Rather than going up 20 percent every two years, the 40 percent of assessed value would last for three years, then go up to 50 percent for two years, 60 percent for two years, 70 percent for two years and 80 percent for two years.

In 2007, as we reported earlier, the project was only eligible, as a retail project, for tax incentives, because it was declared a "tourist destination."

Under terms of IDA law, a tourist destination is defined as a location that will attract a significant amount of traffic from people living outside of the IDA's service area.

In this case, from outside Genesee County.

The agency also had to find that the project would offer a service not otherwise available to county residents.

In a June 8, 2007 letter, COR's VP and attorney Joseph B. Gerardi, wrote in a letter to Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC:

It is anticipated that the Towne Center will provide economic and/or tourism opportunities for commercial uses not otherwise readily available to residents of the Genesee County Economic Development Region. ... The Towne Center project is also anticipated to retain a significant percentage of the retail sales available in the Economic Development Region that is likely to be leaving the Region, and create additional economic development activity. This is a result of the potential for Towne Center to attract retail sales from counties that are in near proximity to the Region and/or development.

Legislature Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock wrote in a letter dated Jan. 2, 2007:

In order to assist the Agency in making such a finding, the Company has represented that the Project is the sole comparably-sized shopping center available to residents of Genesee County and therefore provides a service that would otherwise be unavailable.

Hancock's letter did not address the "tourism destination" designation.

While the project was in development, GCEDC was apparently interested, according to a February, 2007 article in the Batavia Daily News, in adding a multi-screen theater to the project.

COR seemed less than thrilled with the idea, noting that adding theaters would mean less parking, and theater patrons would take up a lot of parking spaces that would otherwise be filled with store shoppers.

The original project proposal also promised restaurants, but none of have been built in the plaza.

COR also promised to plant $200,000 in trees in the parking area.

It's expected that if GCEDC is to grant new tax incentives to COR for Dick's Sporting Goods and other additional retail space, the project will need to be approved as a "tourism destination" and provide goods and services not otherwise available in Genesee County.

In 2005, while discussing sports retail outlets in Forth Worth, Jeff Hennion, then VP of strategic planning for Dick's Sporting Goods, told the Star-Telegram that Dick's wasn't interested in tax incentives for their stores.

"Our goal is to deliver everything at the lowest price," Hennion said. "We really don't feel like we should be using customers' money to build our stores."

UPDATE: Original site plan map added, courtesy COR Developerment.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Tractor-trailer blocking traffic at East Main and Clinton

post by Billie Owens in batavia

A disabled semi-truck is blocking traffic at Clinton and East Main streets. City police are responding.

UPDATE 4:32 p.m.: A wrecking tow is called to haul away the tractor-trailer.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Sponsored Post: Celebrate Liberty Night!

CELEBRATE LIBERTY NIGHT! Come to the Genesee County Libertarian Committee’s 1st Fundraiser & Membership Drive as we prepare for our inaugural convention on June 1st!

Registration 6:30 p.m. | Social time 7 p.m. | Dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets include: $15 FREE Casino Play along with dinner. Entree: choice of steak, chicken or pasta primavera; baked potato & vegetable. Unlimited salad & soup bar, coffee/tea & soft drinks, & ice cream station. Live Entertainment starting at 9 p.m., basket raffles, cash bar!

Ask yourself... Are you disappointed with the state of your government? Not feeling very well represented? Wondering what you can do to help change things?

Get information: What’s a Libertarian? How do I know if I’m Libertarian? What will the Genesee County Libertarian Party stand for? What makes Libertarians different from other political parties?

We welcome everyone in the community to come out to celebrate liberty. Bring your friends, join the party, bet on freedom, register to vote Libertarian, & have fun!

HURRY: Advance Tickets Only – Must be purchased by April 9, 2013. Tickets: $ 30 per person ($20 for students, age 21 & under). Tickets are available for sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday. Please contact Debbie Paine at Arctic Refrigeration, 26 Cedar St., Batavia, NY 14020. For more Information, go to: http://www.facebook.com/GCLP.NY or e-mail: gclp.ny@gmail.com

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

No trash haulers planning to offer service to Batavia residents will offer totes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, garbage collection

If you're a city resident who thought you might get totes for your garbage and recycling starting June 1, you will be very disappointed to learn that none of the haulers planning trash service for Batavia will offer totes.

Not even Waste Management, one of the largest refuse collection companies in the nation, will offer totes in Batavia.

Genesee ARC, who had the contract with the city for garbage collection for 28 years, will offer the same bag and can service the agency has always offered.

Jeff Gardner, starting up Gardner Disposal, will pick up bags and cans, and PSI, based in Alabama, will pick up bags and cans.

Or you can drop off your own bags at Scofield's transfer station in Stafford or the Town of Batavia's transfer station.

But a tote that you can wheel to the curb? Forget about it.

Waste Management will charge $24 a month for up to a dozen 30-gallon bags. The quarterly rate, with fees and fuel charges, will come to $92 to $95.

Genesee ARC will charge $21.95 a month for curbside pick up of cans and bags, or you can buy 10 bags at a time for $30, or ARC will offer a drop-off service at the West Main site is 10 cents per pound.

The new kid on the block, Gardner Disposal, will be locally owned and operated and at least to start. The new owner, Jeff Gardner, will also be the garbage man picking up the trash.

He plans to charge $20 a month for up to seven 13-gallon bags or up to five 30-gallon bags. (Gardner offers more information on his Web site.)

PSI is $25.50 per month for six bags a week.

All services will offer free recycling pick up, but again, no totes.

As for bulk items, prices will vary and picks must be scheduled with your contracted hauler.

Here's a list of companies and phone numbers offering service to Batavia residents

Gardner Disposal: (585) 343-4626
Genesee ARC: (585) 343-1123 or 585-343-4203
PSI Disposal, Inc.: (585) 599-3255
Waste Management, Inc.: (800) 333-6590

Transfer stations to drop off refuse, recycling and bulk items:

Scofield Transfer and Recycling: (585) 343-7373
Town of Batavia Transfer Station: (585) 343-1729

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Man loses control of car, somehow doesn't hit trees, but does hit neighbor's house

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

There was a string of miracles today when an older, handicapped driver backing out of the driveway of his Clinton Street home lost control of 2010 Toyota sedan and slammed into his neighbor's home.

Somehow, he avoided hitting his own fence. The car shot through a stand of trees and into the gap between two trees that was no wider than his car. Nobody, including the driver was injured. And while his neighbor's house was badly damaged, it wasn't knocked off its foundation and should be repairable.

"As you can see it's a pretty tight fit," said Officer Frank Klimjack. "It's amazing that he didn't hit a tree or his own fence or anything like that and he came down here and hit the house. Fortunately, nobody's hurt and we can fix the house and fix the car and we should be all set."

Skid marks in the lawn indicate the man's car became airborne just before it hit the garage.

The man, who doesn't have full use of his right leg, said the normal right-side gas pedal in his car is blocked and he has a gas peddle on the left side of his brake. Somehow, he missed the brake peddle and stepped on the gas. The car accelerated so fast he had no time to react.

He said all he was thinking about was how to stop apply the brake and stop the car. He didn't even see where he was going.

The man was trapped in the car and city fire responded to assist him. He waited in the vehicle until a family member showed up with his motorized wheelchair.

The garage needed to be stabilized before the car could be moved.

(Initial Report)

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10:41 am

Big rig and car collide on eastbound Thruway

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A semi-truck and car collision is reported on the eastbound Thruway at mile marker 386. Possible serious injuries. Mercy Flight is on ground standby. Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 10:47 a.m.: The car is well off the roadway. Traffic is not blocked. State Police on scene requesting the fire department to cancel its response. A dispatcher notes "that's interesting." Fire command orders all units to continue to the scene.

UPDATE 10:50 p.m.: The car is in the center median.

UPDATE 10:56 a.m.: The truck driver is OK and so is his truck, except for some damage to the tires.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: The driver of the car is a 41-year-old female who did not sustain serious injuries. She is being transported to UMMC with chest pain.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

Driver backs into closed garage, can't get out of the car

post by Billie Owens in batavia

A driver backed into a closed garage at 39 Clinton St. and is not injured, but is unable to get out of the car. City firefighters are responding along with Mercy medics as a precaution.

UPDATE 10:44 a.m.: There is serious structural damage. A code enforcement officer is en route. A second vehicle, which was already parked in the garage, is also damaged.

UPDATE 10:53 a.m.: Code enforcement is on scene.

UPDATE 10:54 a.m.: Mercy medics are back in service. The patient was a sign-off.

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