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North Collins town officials want residents to participate in a community planning survey that will be used to help steer the town’s development over the next 15 to 20 years.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Town Board, Councilman John Tobia stressed the importance of the survey, noting it gives residents an opportunity to have a voice in the future of the town.

“The planning board is working very hard to come up with a comprehensive plan,” Tobia said. “A vision of our town and village … It’s easy for (the board) to tell you what we want but it might not be what you want. It’s important that we get everyone’s voice.”

Improvements to the town’s infrastructure would be costly, but grants could make new projects affordable.

Town Clerk Margaret Orrange has secured grants for North Collins in the past, but the board heard a presentation from Bernie Rotella, grant administrator for Rotella Grant Management, based in Sanborn in Niagara County. He told the board that no matter where the town seeks to make improvements grants can help reduce costs by up to 80 percent.

“Any way you can offset money by using grant money, why not take advantage of it,” Rotella said.

The board didn’t indicate its interest in hiring a grant writer but Rotella told the Town Board his firm works on a monthly retainer fee. He said working on retainer is better than working for a percentage because it’s generally more cost effective for municipalities. For example if his firm worked for 1 percent of a grant’s cost, he would bill the town $10,000 for securing a $1 million grant. Instead, Rotella charges $1,200 per month.

Tobia noted that Rotella could work for the town for a year and not secure a single grant. Rotella agreed, but pointed out that if the town doesn’t like his work, the contract is monthly and “you can fire me.”

The community planning survey can be found on the town’s website, www.northcollinsny.org. Residents have until Aug. 2 to return the survey.