Story by Christina Hedding
The Village of Florida Board of Trustees held their monthly business meeting on Wed., Jan. 11. After the approval of the minutes from the December meeting, the Board voted on the transfer of funds to cover the cost of other Village projects. A transfer was made to cover the payment of the water line replacement on the Highview/Ceder Scanlon which was completed in the fall as well as several other projects. The Board also voted to transfer funds to pay for the installation of generators in the Village Hall and the Senior Center.
Seward/Mapes House Project Update
Mayor Jim Pawliczek discussed his meeting with Building Inspector Adrian Mateosian about the progress of the Seward/Mapes Homestead Restoration project. Mateosian reported that the roof was finished, the chimney caps were placed, and the dormers would be put in place when the weather breaks in the spring. He reported that the Village has spent about $145,000 on the project so far and that the community funds have raised around $10,000 towards the NYS matching grant that they received. They still believe the full restoration will be between $340,000 and $470,000.
Mateosian also said that the Village has submitted grant proposals to the state for more funding. He concluded saying that further work will not be done on the project until the next budget year. In addition, it was reported that there were plenty of volunteers ready to take on projects inside the house during the cold weather at no additional expense to the Village.
During the Public Comment section of the meeting, resident Patricia Rotella voiced concerns that the Seward/Mapes project would raise taxes for Village residents. Mayor Pawliczek responded saying that the project was budgeted to be completed with funding from state grants, what funds the Village Board planned for the project in their yearly budget and what funds the project committee raised throughout the year. He said the only way the project would raise taxes was if the Village spent over their budget.
Florida Little League
Jay Whitmore, Vice President of the Florida Little League, sent a letter to the Board requesting donations or what assistance the Village could provide to the program. Whitmore explained to the Board that the program needed help to maintain the land that was donated to them to be used for the field and their program. Mayor Pawliczek expressed concern for the cause but said the Board could not make a donation of Village funds to the program because it is not what Village funds are to be used for. He also pointed out that unfortunately the land that the field is on is technically outside of the Village of Florida’s Village line and that it was situated on Town of Warwick land.
Trustee Brian Slattery proceeded to ask Whitmore if he had asked local business owners to make donations to the cause. Whitmore said he had reached out to all members of the local government, including state legislators. Slattery said again that Whitmore and the league should reach out to local businesses as they have supported the program in the past and may feel inclined to do so again. Whitmore thanked the Board and said that he was going to continue to work towards the success of the program.
Energy in the Bank Approved
Village of Florida Attorney Bernard Kunert reported that the Village’s negations with Energy in the Bank to accept a contract for the Village’s energy for the year were successful. The company accepted Kunert’s 60-day window to get everything up and running for the Village’s energy connection.
Update on Unregistered Vehicles
Adrian Mateosian also reported on the cleanup of unregistered vehicles on properties in Florida. After the Board passed a motion in July to limit the number of unregistered vehicles per property in the Village, Mateosian has been inspecting properties and informing residents of the policy. He reported that since the summer most of the properties have taken care of the unregistered vehicles, bringing the number from 65 properties to only 15. Mateosian asked the Board to make a motion enabling him to issue violations to the remaining residents who did not adhere to the new policy. The Board made and approved the motion.
The Village received a letter from Wolfgang Lange expressing his concern about the dead trees on the Sturr Lane property. Village Trustee Brian Slattery reported that the trees and stumps were cleaned up by the Village and hoped the problem was satisfied. The Board also discussed the property’s importance as a watershed for the Village and, despite the cleanup, decided to have a contractor look at the property again in the spring.
The next meeting of the Village of Florida Board of Trustees will be held on Wed., Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall, located at 33 S. Main St. in the Village.