At the August New Albion Town Council meeting, Judge Brenda Smith submitted a report of the court's receipts for the months of May, $1,812.00; June, $2,525.00; and July, $2,336.00. She also advised the council that the Niagara Falls Court had donated several articles of furniture for use in updating the New Albion courtroom. These included a micro office suite consisting of a large L-shaped desk and a metal cupboard, plus three 6-foot pews and three 8-foot pews.
Judge Smith said with the council's permission, she wanted to purchase some lightweight folding tables to replace the heavy ones now in use. She explained these would be easier to move out of the way on court nights when the courtroom is generally crowded. She also mentioned new lighting, as well as new paint for the courtroom. The courtroom, of course, occupies the same space used by both the Cattaraugus Village Board and the New Albion Town Council for their monthly meetings.
The judge said that Court Clerk Dan Busekist is making substantial progress in disposing of the backlog of scofflaws that faced the court when Smith took the bench more than a year ago.
After Judge Smith left, Ms Connie Cordes addressed the council about her concerns over an ongoing difference with a neighbor, who owns property adjoining hers. Her property is set back from the road and can be reached only by a shared driveway.
"There are old tires and junk all over," said Cordes. "He has a freezer full of rancid meat standing (in the yard), where I have to drive by it."
She told the council that her neighbor finally did move a semi-trailer, which had been parked close to the driveway for some time.
"And he came up and brush-hogged around, so I probably won't see him again for at least another year," she said.
Cordes also voiced her displeasure over Judge Smith's repeated postponements of her case, asking why the council didn't do something about it. When Councilman Mike Weishan responded that the judgeship was an elected position and the town had no power over the court, Cordes asked, "Can you impeach judges?"
In a parting remark, Cordes told the council she was thinking of putting a mobile home on her property.
"I'm not going to get a permit either," she said. "and if you do anything about it, wouldn't that be discrimination?"
Rick LeFeber then took the floor, inquiring about the status of the town's court case involving alleged encroachment onto the Pat McGee Trail by Linlyco Lake resident Mike Zacholski. LeFeber said he'd been told that the defendant and his lawyer were going to attend this meeting to discuss the matter with the council.
"But they don't seem to be here," he observed.
"We have an anniversary coming up," continued LeFeber. "Aug. 26 will start our eighth year trying to settle this thing. As Eric (Pritchard) said at the last meeting, 'He's making a mockery of our laws.'"
Council members agreed and voted unanimously, directing Town Supervisor Loyd Chilson to inform town attorney, Eric Weyand, that they wanted the matter resolved. They further directed that the maximum fine of $250 per violation, per week be assessed, starting with the day Zacholski pled guilty before the New Albion Town Court on July 19. According to town law, those amounts may be assessed weekly until the problem is remediated, and the board voted to do that.
The three infractions at issue are simple and clear-cut: failure to build in accordance with the building permit; building across his property's boundary line; and failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy.
Later in the meeting, the name, Linlyco Lake, came up again, when Supervisor Chilson read a letter from the Department of Environmental Conservation. The gist of this communication stated that DEC's records showed that the Town of New Albion is the owner of the dam at the lake site.
The town's own records show only that New Albion took over the Linlyco Lake road when that association disbanded in 1962. However, according to Clerk Rose LaQuay, a dedicated search of council minutes back to 1940 by Deputy Clerk Gayle Patterson, failed to reveal any mention of the town ever assuming responsibility for the dam.
Council members decided it was important to establish the facts before some emergency arose that could put the matter at issue. A motion was made directing Clerk LaQuay to inform the DEC that, despite a thorough search, New Albion found no record of ownership as regards the Linlyco Lake Dam. She was further asked to request that the DEC furnish copies of any documentation they had to the contrary. If no such proof is forthcoming, the town will assume it is not responsible for the dam.
In unrelated business, Clerk LaQuay informed the council that the New York State Fish and Wildlife Management Board recently presented the town with a Certificate of Recognition for "most habitat and access stamps sold by a municipality in Cattaraugus County for the 2009-2010 year."
Chilson told the council that the Colvin family, who reside near the north end of the Tug Hill Road, had asked him to thank Road Superintendent Jerry Cobo for his efforts at reducing the dust problem on the road.