It took two specially called Cattaraugus Village Board meetings to draw enough trustees for a quorum for the opening of truck bids. However, on Wednesday, March 9, that goal was achieved, allowing five bids to be publicly compared. The type of vehicle being considered was a 2011 pickup with a crew cab, and competing dealerships were: Bob Johnson Motors, Springville; Rock City Chrysler, Jeep & Dodge, Little Valley; Towne Chrysler, Hamburg; Lake County Dodge, Jamestown; and Joe Basil, Depew.
After the bids were opened, Department of Public Works Supervisor Jason Opferbeck asked the board's permission to review the two lowest bids (from Bob Johnson Motors and Lake County Dodge) in order to be sure, as he put it, "whether the bids cover everything we specified -whether we're comparing apples to apples."
Opferbeck then undertook to explain why frequent trades can often be more economical than keeping a vehicle for many years. "We paid $21,000 for our present pickup three years ago," he told the board. "I have a minimum guarantee of $17,000 for it at auction, so basically this truck has cost us $4,000 to driveor a maximum of about $1,333 per year. We haven't made one repair on it, other than normal maintenance procedures like oil changes. Plus we trade it in while it still has good value."
Police business was also addressed. Since Mr. Kirk Brumagin turned down the village's recent offer to join the Cattaraugus police force as a part-time officer, local officer Mike McCarthy asked once again that he be allowed to add at least one more officer to the local roster. Trustee Patrick McGlew offered to take on the responsibility of hiring someone himself, thereby saving McCarthy the trouble, but McCarthy said he felt it was his job, and he preferred to be involved in the process. "I'd like to set up interviews and meet with the candidates myself," he stated.
In other police-related business, McCarthy asked Opferbeck if he had obtained figures for a contemplated trade-in of the village's present Durango police vehicle. Opferbeck said he'd been told that the Durango has a potential value of $15,000, while the only suitable replacement presently on state bids is a Tahoe, "which we could possibly buy for around $25,000 and change." He added that he thought transferring the new computer equipment from one vehicle to the other would be a fairly simple job. No final decision concerning this transaction was made.
As a follow-up to the village board's budget decisions, trustees passed a motion to accept an 8.2199 percent increase in tax rates. Trustees stressed that they took this action reluctantly, but as they observed, the loss of over half a million dollars in taxable property creates hard choices.
Much of this taxable property reduction came about as a result of Tax Assessor Mary Bailey's reassessment of the Setterstix Plant on South Main Street. Setterstix has had a longstanding complaint about what they viewed as major over-assessment, and Ms Bailey obviously agreed. Also, Ms Bailey made a downward adjustment in the assessment of the old Setter Brothers Plant recently purchased by Robert Raber. This was done in consideration of the building's current condition and usage.
When the village loses taxable property or sees reductions in assessments, it seldom sees corresponding decreases in expenses. It's a problem facing many communities as populations shift.