Holley mayor wants action on projects in the village

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 July 2022 at 9:25 am

Roofs, grants, amenities at park among issues that need attention

Photos by Tom Rivers: Holley village officials discuss village business during their monthly meeting Tuesday evening. Pictured from left include Trustee Rochelle Moroz, Deputy Mayor Connie Nenni, Mayor Mark Bower, Village Attorney John Sansone, Trustee John Morris and Trustee Jim DeFilipps.

HOLLEY – Mayor Mark Bower, who was elected last month and started on July 4, spent two years as a trustee on the Village Board.

He said many issues are often discussed at length, but then continue to linger with little action.

He wants to the Village Board and officials to push to complete projects and address issues in a more timely manner. He acknowledged the village has a small staff and limited resources.

Mayor Mark Bower said he doesn’t want issues to linger in the village.

But he said he will push each month to highlight needed work in the village, and give an update on the status of addressing the issue.

“We have talked about certain issues for month after month,” he said. “Let’s nail down completing a few things that we have been talking about.”

Bower presided over his first meeting on Tuesday evening as mayor. He brought up many issues that he said need attention.

Roofs on village-owned buildings

That includes several roofs on village-owned properties, including the sewer plant, bathrooms and shower building by the canal, gazebo by the canal and the Holley-Murray Historical Society depot.

Estimates for the sewer roof came in at $20,000 to $22,000. The board didn’t vote to accept a bid yet. It is considering using some of its federal American Rescue Plan Act funding or supplementing money from insurance.

“We have a lot of roofs that are sadly in need of a lot of repair,” Bower said.

The board also is considering using its share of the ARPA for a new police car and paving High Street.

The depot for the historical society is owned by the village, with the historical society owning the contents. Bower said non-profit organizations have a better chance of securing grants for building upgrades. He said it may make sense to transfer ownership of the depot to the historical society. Not only would the historical society be in a better position to obtain a grant, but the historical society can actively do fundraising for the project. The village shouldn’t seek donations, Bower said.

He wants to discuss the issue with the historical society.

Fireman’s Field

The village also owns the fireman’s field across from the elementary school on North Main Street. The land is leased to the fire department, which maintains the field and also rents out a lodge area for events.

Bower would like to see more amenities at the field, including a splash park, and possibly an ice rink in the winter and covered bocce courts in the warmer weather.

He thinks the fire department would be in a better position to receive grants and do fundraising for upgrading the park. That may mean transferring ownership to the fire department. The village would keep the land for a telecommunications tower and continue to receive that revenue. He wants to talk with fire department leaders about how to best improve that site.


The village with its high poverty index is eligible for may state and federal grants, Bower said. Holley should identify projects and go for funding, he said. However, those grants often still require some local dollars and time from village personnel. Bower said it will be a balance for how much Holley can handle financially and also with its limited manpower.

He would like to see Holley pursue grants for upgrading waterlines, the sewer plant, sidewalks and other infrastructure. There are also grants for homeland security for the police station, community development and other projects in the village.

The village is working to finish up a sidewalk and waterline project, and wants to repave High Street.

Bower said the board should identify projects and see where Holley has the most need and best chance for securing funding.

The board already is going after one grant. The board voted on Tuesday to pursue a grant to develop a new comprehensive plan for the village, which could mean updating zoning and codes.

That grant could be for up to $180,000, with Holley paying 10 percent or $18,000 of the cost.

The project would include putting Holley’s local laws online so people could easily look up the local codes. People could also see zoning maps online.

Mylynda Kuba, the Holley code officer, said the comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated since 2010.

“Our zoning map has some holes in it where there isn’t zoning,” she told the board. “That’s kind of scary.”

The board voted to hire Bergmann, a  Rochester planning firm, to prepare the application for the grant which is due to be filed by July 29. Bergmann will be paid $105 an hour for its work on the grant application, at a maximum of $5,000.

Mayor Mark Bower said more signs are needed to direct people to the Holley waterfalls.

Bower also said a grant is due next month that could add signage in the village to direct people to attractions, including the Holley waterfalls. He said many business owners tell him visitors aren’t sure how to get to the waterfalls. He also wants signs directing people to the community garden and original canal loop.

Police Chief get formal appointment

Bob Barton speaks during a forum in March 2021 during a meeting about police reform and community policing in Holley.

The Village Board removed “acting” from the title of Police Chief Bob Barton. He has been leading the department for about a year following the retirement of Roland Nenni.

Barton is retired from the Greece Police Department and worked as a part-time officer in Holley for several years.

He will be paid $35,000 annually to serve as police chief. He was praised by Village Board members for getting the department to full strength by hiring several part-time officers.

Barton was appointed as permanent chief after he recently passed the police chief test through Civil Service.

“He’s performed the duties quite well,” Bower said. “He presents himself as a chief. He is professional in every way. His reports are detailed.”

Holley raises rates for food vendors

The board voted to increase the daily fee for food vendors from $25 to $30 a day. The yearly permit will go from $250 to $300 a year. Debbie Schaivone, the village clerk, said Holley’s rates for food vendors are lower “than just about everybody.”

Other action

The village will bring back the Mayor Vaughn Appreciation Award. Bower said he discovered Holley used to give out these awards to citizens. It was last presented in 1983.

“We would like to reactivate the award and acknowledge contributions made to the village and show our appreciation to residents,” he said.

The board responded to a request from the Orleans County United Way to have a sign displayed about its annual fund-raising campaign. Bower said he would talk with the DPW staff to pick a spot. He wants to know how long the United Way would like the sign to be displayed.

The board approved spending $425 for eight weeks of summer concerts by the canal. That is in addition to funding from the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

The board voted to coordinate with the county cleaning up 54 South Main St., a site that has been “seemingly abandoned”  with tall grass, vines and shrubs “encapsulating the entire structure.”

Neighbors have complained about the unsightly appearance, and the “proliferation of vermin,” according to the village resolution.

Holley officials are hopeful the site will be sold through the county tax auction next year. In the meantime, village officials want the site maintained. The board said it will pursue having any expenses to village be recouped as part of the sale at the auction.