Salamanca council holds public hearing, approves grant application for upcoming projects

City of Salamanca Ronald J. Yehl Municipal Building

SALAMANCA — A public hearing for one grant application and the approval for submission of another regarding two potential projects for the city were made at the regular Common Council meeting Feb. 10.

First, a public hearing was held concerning the submission of a Community Development Block Grant application for funds to assist with the city of Salamanca’s water system evaluation contractual costs.

“We’re trying to get money for an engineering firm to come in and see what we can do because we’re currently operating on 90-year-old water lines for the majority of the city and we’re looking at 80-year-old pumps at the water plant,” said Justin Chudy, water department supervisor for the BPU.

The grant would aid to replace aging infrastructure like many cities have throughout the country, Chudy said. He said there is no back-up power source for the plant and no reliable way to keep the water pumping.

“When the power went out a couple years ago, we had a 1940s diesel pump,” he explained. “It’s enough to slow the bleeding, but not enough to keep up with the demand of the city.”

In an inspection the county recently performed, the report cited the city for violations with the plant, Chudy said. Although the city was given a window to make the needed repairs, he said the deficiencies in the system could help improve changes for receiving funding.

If the city can get this grant to have someone assess the system, grant administrator Sandi Brundage said that would lead to the next step of applying for a grant to help pay for the millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades.

The council approved an application to Generator Z for a $100,000 grant for a youth afterschool program at the Salamanca Youth Center. Brundage said the grant program would fit the community well, noting a life skills category that the youth center is interested in.

“We feel like after querying some of our kids and some of our younger staff people that this would be a great opportunity to teach kids in real-life time about budgeting, money management, time management, soft skills you need for jobs, those kids of things,” she said.

Brundage said the program would primarily take place at the youth center, but she hopes they’d be able to take kids on field trips or have guest speakers come in.

Councilman Barry Smith (I-Ward 3) asked if the program could be done in conjunction with the school district. Brundage said although it will be separate, there could be times when they will work together, but noted that some kids respond better outside of the school setting as well.

IN OTHER BUSINESS, the council first approved the purchase of LiveScan fingerprinting equipment and software from Idemia of Alexandria, Va., for $21,450, the first of several items concerning the police department.

“This is to replace the equipment that’s getting outdated and hard to get parts for anymore,” said councilman John “Jack” Hill (D-Ward 1). He said the funds for the purchase are in the 2021-22 budget.

Next, the council authorized renovations for a secure entryway in the police department by Duggan & Duggan General Contracting of Allegany for $17,900. Hill said the renovations are for increased safety for the officers and will use funding from the upcoming budget.

“You’ll have to get buzzed in and there will be a window there to talk through and slide papers under,” he explained. “And if you have to go in further, they have to open another door for you. This is something they’ve been working on for quite a few years and they’re finally going to do it.”

The council then authorized declaring a 2014 Ford Explorer from the police department as surplus and transferring it to the Department of Public Works. “This is past practice that when we’re done with a police car, we hand it over to the DPW to run their people around town,” Hill said.

ALSO OF NOTE, the council appointed the Hodgson Russ LLP law firm as city attorney for an indefinite term.

“It’s somebody that we’ve used right along for contracts and things like that, so we’re just continuing to use them for now,” said Mayor Sandra Magiera. “If we find someone else, we can also change or keep them.”

(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com.)

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