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FEMA work continues

by jmaloni

Wheatfield supervisor job tougher than expected

Thu, May 27th 2010 02:50 pm

by Susan Mikula Campbell

The Wheatfield Town Board on Monday set a public hearing for 7 p.m. July 12 regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new floodplain maps for the town.

Town Attorney Robert O'Toole said hopefully the town will have a response from FEMA by that time on the question of removing some Bergholz properties from the maps.

The town already has successfully fought to remove several hundred new properties FEMA planned to add to its revised floodplain maps. Those homeowners would have had to purchase expensive flood insurance. The Bergholz properties that the town now is trying to have removed have been on FEMA floodplain maps for years.

Town Engineer Tim Walck of Wendel Duchscherer Architects & Engineers said he has finished the revised modeling of Bergholz elevations, required by FEMA, for 100-year and 10-year floods and should have the 50-year model done by the end of the week.

The board also amended its Jan. 4 minutes to reflect the number of days to be reported to the New York State Retirement System for new Supervisor Robert Cliffe be 240 days per year or full time rather than part time or 120 days per year.

Cliffe has been logging in about 150 to 160 hours a month, except for January, his first month in office, when he logged about 200 hours.

"It's not getting any better, by the way," Cliffe remarked about his time on town business.

In other matters:

  • Boy Scout Ryan Brown of Troop 833 out of Adams Fire Hall was promised he would know by the end of the week if he needed town permission to fix up the playground behind the firehall as his Eagle Scout project.
  • Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon announced that this year, Wheatfield has joined forces with North Tonawanda and the Town of Cambria to form a Little League-certified boys baseball league. This means it is possible for teams to qualify for the national Little League championships. Uniform, umpire, banquet and trophy costs come from participation fees paid by parents.

Girls teams also have formed a league with North Tonawanda and Cambria.

  • Sturgeon also reported the annual senior citizen picnic will be from 1 to 5 p.m. June 12 at the Community Center. The event is open to Wheatfield seniors. Outsiders may come, but must pay a surcharge.

In addition, Sturgeon said the town will hold its first fishing derby on June 26 at the Fairmount Park pond, from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by a picnic and awards presentation. This will be a seniors vs. kids derby. Look for the upcoming ad in the Tribune or call the Recreation Department at 731-3942 for more information.

  • Both Sturgeon and Richard Donner, water/sewer director, indicated they might need more advertising for employees. Donner said he had one employee leaving in June. Sturgeon may need up to six summer employees. One groundskeeper quit on his first day this week.

Councilman Gil Doucett suggested Sturgeon consider using senior citizens because "they show up every day, and they're good with the equipment."

"The problem is the physical labor that is involved; that type of work is not for every senior," said Sturgeon, noting that the heavy outside labor may have been a cause of the groundskeeper quitting.

  • Highway Superintendent Art Kroening reported that the town's tire drop-off day on Saturday was a success. Since every year he gets people calling to say they forgot, he wants town residents to know that it usually takes about a month for the tires to be picked up, so they can bring tires to the Town Garage on Ward Road during regular business hours until then.
  • The board approved R-2 zoning for property owned by Michael Anczok on River Road next to the Niagara River near the North Tonawanda line. O'Toole said the R-2 designation allows up to two-family residential construction and is consistent with other property riverside. Across the street from this parcel, there is some C-1 (commercial zoning) property.
  • The board heard a pitch from representatives of the Public Service Energy Cooperative indicating the group could save the town $7,000 to $10,000 per year on electric costs, with the cooperative's six- or 12-month fixed rates, which already are lower than what currently is offered by National Grid. Joining the cooperative, which already includes more than 20 municipalities across the state, would be at no cost to the town. National Grid would still be in charge of services such as billing and emergency outages. The cooperative purchases a block of power at a fixed rate.

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