Village State Received by Sherman Board | News, Sports, Jobs
Residents of the village of Sherman, as well as village administrators, received a “Village State” presentation before the regular meeting of the council on January 12.
Sherman Mayor Colleen Meeder described dozens of areas where activity is taking place in an effort to make Sherman “a stable and sustainable community.
Meeder began with a history of the past four years. At the start of 2017, it was clear that “For the village to move forward, there are necessary changes that need to be made,” she said.
Meeder said the last updated annual document of the village’s financial records had not been completed since 2009 and there had been no bank reconciliations since that year. No grants could be requested until the situation was rectified.
“So everything from 2009 to 2017 was recreated from scratch,” she said.
Additionally, all of the hardware and software needed to process things like utility billing, payroll and water metering needed to be updated, Meeder said.
“The desk was filled with papers with no organized folders,” she said. “We touched all office paperwork…and adopted a new records retention policy.”
After that work was completed, the first application for a community development block grant to conduct a comprehensive study of the sewage treatment plant was submitted in 2017, Meeder said.
The village also established a vision, mission statement, governance policies and procedures for the village, Meeder said. In terms of governance, they defined responsibilities for village, municipal, and zoning laws and state building codes. The village has updated operations for three different but overlapping areas – building and fire code, property maintenance and zoning codes.
Meeder then shared details of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s smart comprehensive plan that the village has been developing over the past four years to have a vision for the future. The village received an $18,000 grant that they matched to create the plan
Meeder also talked about several different aspects that make up a community. For example, she says, a lot of work has been done to improve community celebration. The old Main Street Christmas lights have been replaced with LED lights that change colors throughout the year to celebrate each holiday. The annual Sherman Day celebration continues under the direction of an independent committee; yet, “the village does a lot of work in the background,” Meder said.
A lot of work has been done in the area of beautification. The village has worked with the chamber of commerce and volunteers to help maintain the beauty of the downtown area in areas such as flowers, decorations, etc. A tree committee has also been formed whereby the village contributes one tree for every tree purchased by a resident.
“More than 100 trees have already been planted”, she said.
Meeder applauded the Sherman Historical Society for its attention to the Yorker Museum, which has been a village treasure for decades. She noted that the village has formed a Historic Preservation Committee to recognize historic sites and homes of those who settled and influenced Sherman.
In terms of community development, Meeder first talked about needed community services in the area, for which Sherman could be the host. These services include programs for children and families, seniors, as well as mentorship programs, life skills programs and a community garden. She praised the work of Helen Reynolds and a team of volunteers who run a food pantry on Main Street.
Housing rehabilitation is a primary area of concern, Meeder said. The village was awarded a community development block grant of $488,250 which is administered by Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corp. CHRIC employees select eight or nine single-family units to receive $40,000 to $60,000 each in improvements, she said.
Also, under community development is activity surrounding Sherman’s parks, Meeder said. The George Edmunds Memorial Park along French Creek received $30,000 from the Wake Family Charitable Foundation for its maintenance and development, she said. In addition to the village dog park, the municipality has sought to improve its trails, which are part of the Chautauqua Rails to Trails system.
“At the end of the day, the goal is for Sherman to be a trail city,” she said.
Economic development is one of the village’s top priorities, Meeder said. She recounted how village clerk Jeanette Ramm recently created a “Sherman Page” for Chautauqua County Travel Guide.
“He literally put Sherman on the map,” Meder said.