BY MAT CLOUSER
PITTSFORD — The Pittsford selectboard met for nearly two hours last Wednesday night to discuss several ongoing issues with sidewalks and the West Creek culvert project, as well as to gain some clarification about the ongoing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recently awarded to the Pittsford Village Farm.
Following up on the board’s request from their Aug. 3 discussion surrounding redoing all the village’s sidewalks, Brenda Fox-Howard presented the board with a new bid that included sidewalks. The board had requested a new bid to include extruded sidewalks and curbs.
However, the contractor did not include a bid for asphalt curbs, instead furnishing a bid for stone curbs in addition to stating that they did not recommend installing the extruded curbing.
“When I read what he wrote, I wanted to stick a fork in my eye. We’ve been over this a thousand times,” said selectboardman David Mills discussing the lengthy back and forth the board has had during his tenure in an attempt to fix the sidewalks.
“I don’t care whether he recommends it or not,” said David Mills, “If we have to sign off saying we understand they may not be durable—we don’t care—we need something there to keep people from driving down the sidewalk. If a snowplow takes a little piece out, we patch it. No big deal.”
In the end, the board voted to move forward with the current bid of $95,000 to fix the village sidewalks along Route 7 but did direct Fox-Howard to go back to the contractor and find out if they would be willing to construct the extruded curbs, provided the town sign a waiver freeing them of any liability issues.
During Fox-Howard’s Town Manager’s report, she gave an update on the West Creek Culvert project stating that the concrete had been laid on Aug. 12 and was curing. She also mentioned that a crane had been procured, and the assembly process would begin on Aug. 23 at 8 a.m. and continue throughout the day, noting that it would require about four hours where nearby residents would be without power.
Fox-Howard said she had every indication that the project would be completed on time and that a temporary one-way bridge would soon be constructed to allow residents and businesses access to West Creek Road.
In another discussion stemming from the Aug. 3 meeting, members of the Pittsford Village Farm board, as well as Isaac Wagner, their CDBG development consultant, were on hand to alleviate some of the misunderstandings the board had expressed about additional unanticipated work hours the town now has to dedicate to completing the grant process.
At the crux of the matter was the town’s need to create an updated financial policy, a certificate of insurance, and a secondary bank account to act as a pass-through for the $60,000 in grant funds, all of which would happen at the town’s expense.
“When this was brought to us, we were assured that we would have to have nothing to do with it. All we were going to do was be a pass-through,” said David Mills. “I think that is where the rub is coming here. Now we’re finding out, no, you’ve got a little bit more you’ve got to do.”
“I see this a lot with these grants,” said Mr. Wagner discussing his role in helping facilitate the process for rural areas that typically don’t have the infrastructure to dedicate more personnel to acquiring grant funds.
“I wasn’t involved with this project last year. I kind of wish I was,” he continued, explaining how the grant process is the same for $60,000 or $500,000. “I can totally understand how you feel a little sideswiped by this, actually.”
The board eventually agreed to move forward with the process, citing its outstanding need to create a better financial policy regardless of the situation, and Mr. Wagner said that he’d do everything in his power to see the project move along to the next phase in anticipation of that policy.
In other news, the selectboard also:
- Discussed the new municipal Park-and-Ride grant program, noting that the parking lot of St. Alphonsus Ligouri Church might be a good location for both a Park-and-Ride and a potential EV charging station.
- Agreed to look into adopting a Cannabis Review Policy at the recommendation of Brenda Fox-Howard.
- Reviewed costs on a new mower attachment for the town’s existing loader but did not agree to purchase one, citing insufficient make and model data in the documents provided.
- Heard from Chairman of the Otter Creek Watershed Insect Control District (OCWICD) Doug Perkins, who urged the board to find a replacement for one of the town’s board members who has not been attending for the past six months. Selectboard Chair Alicia Malay volunteered to serve as an alternate to the OCWICD board until a new replacement could be found.