CATTARAUGUS - Town of New Albion Assessor Mary Bailey appeared at the November Cattaraugus Village Board meeting to acquaint the board with its options regarding partial senior citizens' property tax exemptions.
First, they could stay with the village's existing plan, under which $18,500 is the income level cutoff, below which tax credit is issued. Second, they could follow the county's newly adopted sliding scale, which allows fifty percent credit for incomes up to $18,500 varying to twenty percent credit for incomes of $24,000. Or, she said, the village could mandate a new limit of its own choosing.
She said that under the present system, the village has fifteen senior households that qualify for the credit. Under the county's system, that number would rise to about forty. Whatever revenue is lost in granting these exemptions must be compensated for from the rest of the taxpayers, she explained.
Trustee Patrick McGlew commented that he was inclined to favor going along with the county since it would do more to alleviate senior hardship.
Mayor William Myers agreed with McGlew's opinion, commenting, "I wouldn't want to see people moving out of the village, or failing to move in due to that consideration."
The mayor asked Bailey when the village would be impacted by any decision made, and she replied that the taxes would be computed on the 2010 tax roles, and would show up when those taxes are paid in June, 2011.
After a brief discussion, the board moved to follow the county's example.
Responding to a request from St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church to place a sign near the village limits announcing the presence of a Catholic church in town, the board decided to turn the matter over to Code Enforcement Officer Elliott Ellis, II. Trustees discussed the feasibility of erecting a sign that would announce the presence of all churches, as well as other services available in the village, but didn't arrive at a decision on that issue.
In other business, Public Works Superintendent Jason Opferbeck asked the board, on behalf of his staff, if something can be done about the unwieldiness of the present health insurance claim system. "The men like their insurance (Blue Cross/Blue Shield)," he added, "but the paperwork is unbelievable." The board moved to continue with the current Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance plan, while researching whether or not a different billing system is possible.
Mayor Myers told trustees that the Cattaraugus County Board of Elections wished to be informed of any village board openings that will need to be filled in next spring's election. It turned out there are three trustees; Patrick McGlew, Angela Hogan, and Gayle Patterson, whose terms will expire. Mrs. Patterson took the opportunity to tell the board she'd be tendering her resignation, effective immediately, since she has applied for the post of deputy clerk for the village and the town.
In other business, the mayor reported he had attended the Open House hosted by the newly opened Trading Post South on Washington Street. At that time, Manager Elizabeth O'Neill asked him about the possibility of parking a large truck in the street once a month. She said the Trading Post had arranged to receive a truckload of perishable food for distribution, probably on the first Wednesday of each month. The vehicle will need to park out front long enough for volunteers to offload it.
The board passed a motion allowing this procedure to go forward, conditionally. If the unloading can be done in a reasonable amount of time, and doesn't hinder traffic too much, it can proceed as planned.
In his public works report, Opferbeck stated that his department had been busy picking up leaves, and fixing water meters when time allowed. He gave the board the welcome news that FEMA had recently signed off on several projects, so there would be reimbursements coming in from that agency in the near future. He requested that the anticipated funds be placed into the DPW's equipment fund.
Treasurer Eugene Doucette went over R.A. Mercer's audit report. "One thing that really needs to be done," he said, "is to get an up-to-date audit of our fixed assets (items over $500 in value)." He recommended that the village continue its association with Mercer, which also prepares W-2 forms for both the village and the Town of New Albion. The board moved to comply with his suggestion.
Progress appears to be inching forward toward closing the deal on the old Bush Property at 1 North Main Street. Lawyers for the village and for the proposed buyer are working to fine-tune a contract, according to the mayor.
The next scheduled meeting of the Cattaraugus Village Board will be Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.