SALAMANCA — Two long-time employees and leaders in the city of Salamanca were recognized for their dedication to the community at Wednesday’s Common Council meeting.

New York State Conference of Mayors, the council and Mayor Michael Smith presented two Certificates of Public Service to Ruthe Riehle and Nicholas Bocharski for 55 years of combined service to the city.

“Joining us Dec. 4, the year 1989, it’s a pleasure to award you for 30 years of service to Salamanca,” Smith said to Riehle, executive director of the Salamanca Industrial Development Agency.

“And joining the city on Jan. 2 of the year 1993, it honors me to award you for 25 years of public service, 25 years of putting your life on the line for the city,” the mayor said to Bocharski, Fire Chief of the city’s fire department.

“That’s a long time,” Smith added. “Think of the things they’ve seen in 55 years combined.”

Additionally, the city was recently honored for the third straight year at the Cattaraugus County Healthy Living Consortium with certificates complimenting Salamanca on the Seneca Nation’s Pennsy Trail revitalization project and on the beautification of Main Street.

“Everything we’ve done to make our city more walkable and more liveable. We were complimented on Salamanca pride and the cleanliness that has improved through the city,” Smith said. “They brought up the city-wide cleanup we did two years ago. Everything we do in this city, people notice.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS, the council discussed pursing a Hometown Heroes veterans banner program in the city, similar to the villages of Allegany and Portville.

“We talked earlier about rolling on the veterans’ banners hanging over Broad Street and Main Street, and that’s looking to be positive,” Smith said.

During the council’s pre-meeting work session, Riehle expressed to the council a desire to start the banner program in Salamanca after seeing a lot of other communities doing it in the area.

“We’ve done up an application and I want to hand the application out,” she said. “If I collect the money, order the banners and do all the work, maybe the Legion and everyone else will participate.”

Riehle said individuals who want to honor a loved and their service would buy the banners. She said her father’s hangs in Portville and seeing it makes her very proud.

“It would really liven up this town,” she said. “I want to include the Seneca Nation and ask them to participate. … I want to give the funeral parlors some applications because that might be a good place for someone who wants to.”

Purchasing a banner for a veteran would be $150, Riehle said, and would include the large banner with the veteran’s name, a picture and details about their service, as well as the metal brackets to hang it on a pole.

“For $150, I think it’s worth it to donate that for a picture of your ancestor,” she added. “It took Portville three years to get where they’re at, but as soon as I saw the banners up, I needed to get one.”

Riehle’s vision is to have the banners on poles along Route 417 from the Broad Street Extension heading east through the city.

“That way we could take it all the way down Clinton Street to Parkway Drive,” Riehle said.

Between Memorial Day and the Falling Leaves Festival, the city flies American and Seneca Nation flags on alternating poles along Broad Street and the Clinton and Main streets bridges. With the banners included, every third pole would have one of each.

In preparation for the project, the council suggested the Board of Public Utilities look at renting a vehicle to put up and take down all the flags and banners instead of using the electric department’s bucket truck as in past years, which puts a lot of wear on the equipment.

“Let’s get this rolling and have something at the next meeting a month from tonight,” Smith said.

ALSO OF NOTE, the council:

  • Adopted Local Law #2 for 2019 changing the zoning of 148 Clinton St. from single family residential to neighborhood commercial use district. It was noted this change was approved by the city planning board and Cattaraugus County;
  • Approved a fee proposal between the city and SNY Pomeroy Appraisers Inc. of Manlius for the annual Indian Lease updates for 2020-24. The cost would be split 50/50 with the Seneca Nation;
  • Declared a fire department ambulance as surplus and authorized the advertising of sealed bids with a minimum of $4,000 to be accepted; and
  • Appointed Matthew Paonessa of Olean as a full-time firefighter with the city for one year as vacant/zombie properties coordinator through a grant for a project to tackle such properties in the city.