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Board decides on new policy allowing town to cut grass

The town is going ahead with a new policy of sending town crews to mow grass on lots where the owner hasn't.

The Town Board decided in a work session Wednesday to hold a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 on a revised property maintenance law that allows the town to cut grass if a property owner doesn't respond to a town directive to do so.

The town will charge $250 plus the cost of labor, Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman said.

"We have to give [property owners] notice. They're entitled to a hearing," Seaman said.

The price of the mowing will be added to the following year's tax bill if it is not paid.

Seaman said the town will take an interest when grass grows more than a foot high.

"I think it will be a good tool for our building [inspection] department," Supervisor Marc R. Smith said of the proposed law.

He said Chief Building Inspector Brian M. Belson has a list of about a dozen problem properties.

The issue came to a head in June, when Dorchester Road resident A.J. Southard complained about high grass at a vacant home across the street, which had been tied up in a three-year foreclosure battle.

In that case, the town finally tracked down the last owner of record and got him to cut the grass, but the incident put a spotlight on the town's longtime policy of not going onto private property to mow.

In other matters, Town Engineer Robert D. Klavoon said New England Pipe Cleaning Co. of Waterbury, Conn., was the apparent low bidder for televising and flushing sewer lines on Dorchester Road and Erna and Jennifer drives.

The bid of $14,300 beat out five other companies. The contract is to be awarded at the September board meeting, with work to begin in about four weeks. The job should last three weeks, Klavoon said.

Also Wednesday, Councilwoman Cheryl A. Antkowiak said the town received its first check from Rochester Computer Recycling & Recovery, which is paying the town 5 cents a pound for electronic equipment dropped off at the town highway garage for recycling.

Budget Officer Kate Carter said the first check was only $18.10, but Smith said he's sure more is on the way. The drop-off bins have frequently been full, he said.

In another matter, the board learned that Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-Amherst, will have a staff member at Town Hall from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of each month to listen to constituents.

Smith said he met with Hochul Wednesday morning, and told the board that Hochul assured him that she'd be on the lookout for funds to help town projects.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com