by Joshua Maloni
Since 2002, the Village of Lewiston - through no fault of its own - has paid the Niagara County Water District only 54 percent of what was due for its allotted water usage. The municipality was supposed to pay $1.40 per $1,000 gallons used, but instead was charged and paid 75 cents per 1,000 gallons. That will change tomorrow, when the village mails a check to the county for the full amount, $132,915.61.
At Monday's board work session, Mayor Terry Collesano said the village was not asked to pay any back-due amounts and will not incur any penalties. To cover the other 46 percent, trustees approved an amendment to the water fund appropriated balance, increasing the appropriation line by $50,000.
The village's water fund appropriated balance has enough money to cover the $132,915.61. No tax raise is required, but Clerk Anne Welch warned water rates will likely rise, perhaps as early as January 2012.
The board also learned Niagara County plans to raise water rates.
"So, we're going to get a double-whammy," Trustee Vic Eydt said.
The Town of Lewiston assessor's office is requiring the Village of Lewiston to pay property taxes to Niagara County on two prominent rentals: The Silo Restaurant at 115 N. Water St., and the Little Yellow Chocolate House at 476 Center St. The village is on the hook for a total of $3,520.07.
The board entered into a 10-year agreement with the Western New York Land Conservancy allowing the not-for-profit "to enter the Village of Lewiston Grassland Restoration Site (on the plateau by Artpark's upper parking lot) for the sole purpose of enhancing native grasslands," the contract states.
The Western New York Land Conservancy's "Grassland Restoration Project" "will focus on the removal of the following invasive species: multiflora rose, garlic mustard, buckhorn and mugwort."
Also, a five-acre area "will be reseeded and/or overseeded to increase the density and diversity of the grassland grasses and forbs."
The Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will carry out restoration and maintenance.
Trustee Therese Mudd asked Collesano about the controversy involving the Niagara Sunday Fliers, a group that drew the ire of local environmental interests when it was given permission to run remote-controlled planes adjacent to the wildlife area. The mayor said it was discussed, and that, "I think they were relieved to learn this isn't a permanent thing."
Trustees approved a request from First Presbyterian Church to hold its annual "Pooch Parade" at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. The event will stretch from South Fifth Street to Center Street and Academy Park.
When talking about last year's "Pooch Parade," Collesano asked Eydt, "Did they bless the dogs?"
"No," Eydt replied. "The dogs blessed the street."
Trick-or-treat hours in the village are from 4 until 8 p.m. on Halloween (Monday, Oct. 31).