HANOVER — After serving the community in one way or another for most of his adult life, Lou Pelletter was sworn in as Hanover's newly elected town supervisor shortly after the start of the new year. In his new role, Pelletter hopes to make a difference in how the city of Hanover is run.
“I think we need to change our approach to how we do business.” Pelletter said during a prepared speech at the City Council's reorganization meeting, following the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Certainly, I think we need to work together wherever we can, but we need to make sure it's fair and, most importantly, economical for all parties.”
Pelletter was elected in November 2015 to serve on the city council, where he has served for eight years. With 33 years of experience in the Hanover and Silver Creek police departments, Pelletter hopes to prove that as a supervisor he has “the best intentions for the whole city.”
Since joining the city council, Pelletter has expressed concern about population loss in the area. He said the decline of the community is evidenced by “no real economic growth” with the loss of many long-term businesses in the area, including Petri Bakery and Lake Shore Hospital. Pelletter said his priorities as town supervisor will be public safety, economic development, historic preservation, shared services with other entities and quality of life in the community.
Among a list of more than a dozen points of importance, Pelletter said he intends to be more visible at City Hall and more accessible to the public than his role has seen him in recent last years. Pelletter also said he would ask each council member for reports on their activities related to city business at each meeting. He expects the new City Clerk, Elizabeth VanCheri, to take note of the reports contained in the meeting minutes made public online on the city's official website. Pelletter will also ask department heads to attend city council meetings.
One of the changes Pelletter implemented immediately after taking over as supervisor is the city council meeting schedule. Rather than varying between one and two meetings per month throughout the year, Pelletter committed to holding two meetings per month, on the second and fourth Monday of each month, at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall and at Hannover court. Each meeting will be preceded by a workshop, starting at 6:30 p.m., which will allow for in-depth discussions on points of interest to the municipal council.
A self-described fiscal conservative, Pelletter plans to put more emphasis on the city's spending procedures.
“I am concerned about the increasing cost of doing business, which is why I will ask the board and department heads to follow a new procedure on how we conduct business. I would like our accountants, Elmar Kiefer and Vito Flitt, to approve any large or urgent purchases first, then with the department liaison, then with the entire board. With inflation well above the 2% tax cap, I think we need some additional insight, and I hope it helps us stay on budget. » said Pellette.
As Silver Creek Village Historian, Pelletter has a strong working relationship with the village, dating back to his days with the police department. By working closely with the Village, Pelletter hopes to eliminate duplicate amenities and services, “where it makes sense.”
Pelletter also said the city needs to support the village in major projects, such as the projects underway at Hideaway Bay and the redevelopment of Main Street School to create senior housing. Pelletter has consistently expressed his support for the senior living project over the past few months.
Another key point highlighted by Pelletter concerns economic development centered around a hotel serving as “an anchor” for the Routes 5 and 20 business corridor. Pelletter referenced an economic development meeting with government officials a few years ago that ultimately resulted in a grant to assess water and sewer in the region.
Pelletter hopes to hold a meeting with businesses and community members to receive feedback on the direction they hope the city council will take. Pelletter openly criticized the Department of Transportation's handling of a lane reduction project on Routes 5 and 20, stating his belief that the concerns of the Commission and the public at large were not being heard.
Additionally, with a tip of the hat to one of Pelletter's new city council members, Aimee Rogers of Imagine Forestville, Pelletter hopes the board “Continue the progress made by Imagine Forestville in its quest for a historic district, its farmers' market, its hiking trail, its beautification and economic development project.”
A point of contention in recent months in the city has been the negotiation for increased police protection with the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office. Pelletter said he is finalizing a two-year enhanced police protection contract worth $587,579 for 2024 and a 2.5% increase for 2025. If ratified , the new contract – which was approved by the county legislature – would replace the previously approved contract. one-year, $626,513 contract through 2024. Pelletter also expressed his desire to consider supplementing police coverage in the city of Hanover.
Other items Pelletter highlighted in his speech were building safety and upgrades to City Hall, improvements to city parks, beaches and boat ramps, and flooding along from the shore. He called his long list of points to be addressed “did not understand everything” and welcomed community input.
“I look forward to support from the community and the board as we move forward.” » said Pellette.