This report was six years in the making....One thing for sure the city loves to do studies...Still waiting to hear about the plans to do something with THE MALL....
Molino updates city council on projects first proposed six years ago
Submitted by Howard Owens on October 10, 2012 - 11:19am
Six years ago, the City of Batavia laid out an ambitious checklist of projects and assigned teams of officials and citizens to figure out how to accomplish each task.
Though communication about the Community Action Team's work has been sparse, City Manager Jason Molino said Monday, there has been quite a bit of progress.
For example, a "keep downtown looking great" campaign was started, a municipal power authority was formed, and a confidential hotline for housing complaints was established.
There's still much to do -- some of it audaciously ambitious (such establishing a wind farm to generate electricity for the city -- and some of it mundane (such as create a city staff technology team).
"While a lot of communities are slowing down because of economic challenges, you've been able to achieve a lot during that time frame," Molino said.
There are projects -- even the wind farm -- that could be grant-funded in the future, and part of that process will flow from a $226,000 Brownfield Grant the city has already received.
It will allow the city to study, plan and apply for funds for such things as converting city buildings to geothermal heat and creating residential revitalization districts.
Other possible projects that could move forward under the Brownfield Grant are a boat launch (originally at Kibbe Park, but possibly behind the courthouse), extension of park and walk trails, installion of small electric turbines on the Tonawanda Creek and pursuit of a Tonawanda Creek Park plan.
Just my thoughts on what a useless study group can consider: A boat launch - really? We don't need that when there is already a new one in the Town of Batavia. To me this would be a waste of money on building this and on spending time discussing this issue and to consider putting one in behind the courthouse is really stupid. Hey study group, try parking at the courthouse during the day and you will realize that there is no place to put a boat launch with what little space there is for parking. We have enough parks in the city that I see no reason to put one along the Tonawanda Creek. Yes that would be pretty to look at (when the water IS clean looking) but why not utilize funds to help control the flooding. If you build a park area and when the creek floods you will have to use money to repair the damage. If you want to go to a park locally near water you can go to DeWitt or Kiwanis - Don't use money to make another park. Ok maybe you can get grant money to help with these things but shouldn't the city spend it's time looking for grant money for important necessities and not things that make no sense. Sometimes you gotta wonder.
Cheryl, I take issue with your opening sentence about "useless study group". I was a member of one of the CAT groups who's focus was services within the city. Our useless group poured over consolidation of police, paid v volunteer fire services, garbage, collection, etc. We did our homework by seeking out similar communities like Batavia, establishing benchmarks to achieve, and even worked under the intimidation of one of the local agencies. All CAT team groups were committed to task. Yes, some groups looked at the simpleist of things but all were focused on a better Batavia. Don't hold each CAT team accountable for their submitted conclusions that took city council six years to review and/or implement.
Linda you said Our useless group poured over consolidation of police, paid v volunteer fire services, garbage, collection, etc. First of all thanks for putting in the time to do this..What were your suggestions for the police and fire services and also garbage collection...I read the report on the city's web site and never saw any mention of those things..Just wondering because those are the biggest drivers of our tax rate here in the city..None of what Malino talked about was a way to stabilize the city tax rate..Which we all know is too high...I don't hold anyone on the CATS team accountable for taking 6 years to review this..I lay blame with the city managers........But i'm sure they will suggest another study be done .
Remember, it was not the City Manager that ignored the reports. The CATS was started by then council member Ferrando, who then ignored them. You notice that now that Mr. Ferrando is gone from council, the reports are finally being considered.
Mark, your comment is not surprising. It what seems like a long time ago in a land far away, my recall from the group is:
Consolidation of law enforcement - Co. Sheriff and BPD operated radio equipment that was non-compatible. Citizens were concerned about losing city PD oversight and response times in emergency situations. This was also as a new sheriff's department was being considered and built. We all know that results. BPD remained downtown and dispatch was consolidated.
Garbage collection - We reviewed different solutions from fee for service, bag purchase, and status quo. Based on information that was provided, feel secure that status quo will remain. It had something to do with NYS and ARC. The particulars escape me.
Paid v volunteer fire - It was determined that both groups of fire fighters received essentially the same level of training, refreshers, etc. With a very strong union, you will not see this change. This was also at a time when the hospital was looking at priviiazation of ambulance service since the city was losing it's shirt from unpaid services. Once again, we all know how that played out.
Hope that helps. Perhaps the avoidance is because these items as you acknowledge affect all citizens.
Thanks Linda...You provided more information on these issues than Malino did....Thanks again for donating your time to this..Sounds to me that all things will stay status qou in Batavia as our population continues to shrink in size...Tax rates will continue to increase..