WELLSVILLE — The Town of Wellsville addressed two core issues facing the local government Wednesday night — the status of its fire protection, and where it will call home.

On the latter, the town board is deferring any decision until after Friday, when the village is scheduled to have its plan for occupancy of 23 North Main in hand. Plans for the ground floor of the former Burrous Building have changed since the initial announcement of the renovation project, which called for the town and village sharing space. Now, building owner Two Plus Four is intent on moving its property management partner, the Alfred Housing Committee, into the ground floor.

The town is skeptical there will be sufficient space to house all three entities.

“At this point in time it appears that the Town of Wellsville will continue to pursue other options, but we’re going to defer the final resolution of occupancy of 23 North Main until after the village of Wellsville has made a final determination of what it is that they want to do with that building,” said Town Supervisor Shad Alsworth. “The ball is still in their court. We do have other options.”

As for the matter of fire protection, the town and the village continue to work through issues long in the making.

“This was a sticky situation. A lot of people have tried to kick this can down the road for many years because it’s not an easy conversation to have. We’re done kicking cans,” Alsworth said. “We’re going to address this issue and come to a resolution, and by Dec. 31, 2019, we’re going to know what direction is in everybody’s best interest. I’m excited about that.”

Two of Wellsville’s four fire companies, the Wellsville Fire Company and the Dyke Street Engine Company, have announced their intentions to merge operations. Alsworth said the merger has the full support of the town.

“I commend both of those departments moving in that direction and trying to provide a little better level of service, if that’s possible, and save taxpayer dollars,” he said.

How fire protection breaks down for the town and the village in the future remains an open question. The town has raised several issues with the current arrangement over the last few months and no resolution has yet been found. The potential merger of two companies adds another element to the debate.

No matter how the negotiations unfold, Alsworth stressed the town, village and the fire department are working together towards the best possible outcome.

“They are considering many different options. I want to make it very clear, the town of Wellsville and the Village of Wellsville are working together with the Wellsville Fire Company and the Dyke Street Engine Company to come up with a resolution that’s in everybody’s best interest,” he said. “There’s been a lot of meetings, a lot of discussion, a lot of heated comments and conversations and questions, and we’re not done with them. We won’t be done with them for several months. I can promise you one thing, the level of fire protection in the town and village of Wellsville will not change regardless of outcome. The final decisions are not going to be easy decisions and it’s going to take a lot more meetings. I ask that everybody exercise patience.”

Alsworth said at some point, the town and the village will likely present a plan to the public, one that may change traditional precedents.

“Emotion-based decisions aren’t helping anybody. We just need to stay level-headed,” he said.

Waterfront revitalization

Jones Memorial Hospital Vice President Brenda Szabo made the case for the town’s participation in a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) in partnership with other towns along the Genesee River. A breakdown of the project was previously reported in The Spectator and is available at https://www.wellsvilledaily.com/news/20190421/waterfront-development-in-allegany-county

“I think it’s an investment in our future, for our children, trying to make it a place people want to come down and visit and live,” Szabo said.

Assuming the grant application to get the study off the ground is accepted, the town board unanimously supported chipping in $5,000 over two years for its share of the LWRP.

Madison Street bridge

In other business, the town approved paying its share of the local contribution to the Madison Street bridge project, splitting its cost with the village. The total is $19,290 for a project that is in excess of $2 million.

“It’s a great deal for the town and the village,” said Highway Superintendent Dean Arnold. “We need that access.”

More from Wednesday night’s meeting will appear online and in a future edition of The Spectator.