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Ripley officials discuss progress for water, sewer projects, other items
June 15, 2017

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RIPLEY - The archeological study for Sewer District 2 is done and submitted, town board members learned from Supervisor Doug Bowen at the meeting on June 8.

This news was met with applause from town members who attended the meeting.

"SHPO (the State historic Preservation Office) will review the document," Bowen said, "and we'll contact elected representatives to ask if there is any funding becoming available this fall."

Bowen and Ripley council members have experienced several frustrations and delays in their efforts to bring the water and sewer projects to completion. The latest holdup was the need for further archeological tests.

Bowen also gave board members an update on the Chautauqua County Regional Solutions Commission. A shared services public forum was held in Mayville on June 7; the projects which are being developed for shared services were presented.

Chautauqua County was one of the Phase 1 winners, Bowen said, which gives the county a unique opportunity for a $20 million grant program. The Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency competition was part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's mission to "reduce the heavy property tax burden in the state by cutting costs, sharing services and increasing efficiencies," according to County Executive Vince Horrigan.

Bowen pointed out how consolidating services is a challenge for Ripley because of Lake Erie to the north, Pennsylvania to the west, the town of Mina about 15 miles to the south, and Westfield to the east.

If the county wins the $20 million dollar grant, there will be a "pool," Bowen said. A heavy equipment service garage shared by the school district and the town is a possibility for the town, Bowen said. "We need to think out of the box," he added.

Bowen also told board members that Matt Ingalls, a consultant for the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, will help the town with the grant application for Ripley Beach.

Councilman Michael Rowe informed the board that the Consolidated Funding Application, which allows municipalities to access multiple state funding sources, will also be utilized to obtain funds for improving Ripley Beach. There will be a community meeting on June 19 at 6:30 p.m., Rowe noted.

"We want to demonstrate community support for the project," he said.

Rowe also told the board that a meeting was held in May regarding development of the Main Street plan.

"It will allow us to write additional grants for what we want to do on Main Street," he said.

In another matter, Bowen asked the board for approval to send a letter to the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield. A letter was drafted asking the center to remove the book "Killing Ripley" by Jeffery "Buck" Buchholz from its shelves. "However, we've been told the book has already been removed," Bowen said.

Councilman John Hamels suggested drafting a letter of appreciation for the Grape Discovery Center's support of the community. Councilwoman Patricia Hathaway told the board that not many copies of the book were sold and a new policy will ensure this doesn't happen again.

The board agreed not to send the original letter. A motion was passed to draft a new letter thanking the Grape Discovery Center for its cooperation and support.

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