FALCONER – A business owner in the village of Falconer is voicing his concern over what he fears is a growing public safety issue involving a neighboring businesses.
Gary Visosky, long-time owner of the Belle-View East restaurant on E. Main St. in the village, voiced concerns to the village board Monday night about the number of emergency calls that haven recently come in for incidents at the Budget Inn, directly across the street from his business.
“Something has got to be done. The people that they are allowing to come into this village and stay at this place is just causing a major uproar,” Visosky told Falconer officials. “I’ve got customers coming to my restaurant and asking, ‘Gary, is it safe to come to my restaurant and eat anymore? Do we have to bring a gun when we come down there? Every time we come down here there’s police cars and ambulances all over the place and the Budget Inn.'”
Visosky said that from what he understands, the Budget Inn is serving as a halfway house for individuals who are being released from jail and prison.
“Anybody that comes out of the jails here, if they have no place else to go, they send them down here,” Visosky said. “[The owner] has a contract with the state and he’s being paid by the state. So he’s just bringing anybody that wants to come in. He gets paid for it and gets a check for this stuff.”
Falconer mayor James Rensel said the village is aware of the situation and is working on it. He also acknowledged the the frequent calls are taking a toll on the Falconer Volunteer Fire Department, which is who responds to emergency calls when they come in.
“We’ve wrestled with this ourselves,” Rensel said. “It bothers me, in a public safety realm, where I’ve had discussions with the fire chief numerous times. We have what I liked to describe as volunteer capitol and we are pretty much hitting that volunteer effort very hard.”
While specific numbers were not provided, officials have said there’s been a sharp increase in police and EMS calls to the budget in in recent months. WRFA has reached out the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office to learn the number of emergency calls that have been sent to that location during the first three months of this year, compared to the previous year.
Mayor Rensel also said that the village really can’t dictate to the a privately owned business who can and can’t accept as customers. But he did say that officials are working on finding a solution. The village code enforcement officer did say that he has inspected the property and it is up to code.
“The situation is that it’s horrible for people that are having a tough time. They are people that deserve our respect as far as them trying to get back on their feet, so we have to recognize that aspect of the situation and try to address it in a compassionate way, but also a fair way. So we recognize it and we are working on it.”
Village board member James Jaroszynski also suggested the mayor, fire chief, and Ellicott Police Chief meet with the owner of the Budget Inn to discuss the concerns.