by Terry Duffy
The Town of Porter got the year off with swearing-ins and the setting of appointments, salaries and town procedures at its 2012 organizational meeting, Tuesday afternoon at Town Hall.
The session opened with Council members Jeff Baker and Larry White taking their oaths followed by Town Clerk Gail Zachary and Town Highway Superintendent Scott Hillman. "I offer my congratulations," said Town Supervisor Mert Wiepert to the four, who had all won re-election, uncontested, to four-year terms last fall.
Soon after it was town government again taking over, with a brief public hearing held on a sewer rate increase, followed by board approval. Wiepert explained the increase had been prompted by a new sewer rate of $3.25 per thousand gallons that the town is paying to the Town of Lewiston in 2012, resulting in a 50 cents per thousand-gallon increase. Also, the town needs to contribute its share on the $3.1 million bond used to upgrade the Lewiston Water Pollution Control Center, which resulted in a 15 cents per thousand increase. All total, the town sewer rate for 2012 will be $4.70 per thousand gallons, with a minimum of 7,000 gallons being $32.90, and anything over 7,000 gallons being $4.70 per thousand.
Next up came board approval of a whole host of routine appointments and salaries covering a number of town operations and services, along with the setting of various fees. Highlights included:
•Reappointment of Town Attorney Michael Dowd at $20,000, with services to cover such areas as town-wide, zoning and planning concerns. Dowd was also reappointed to serve as town prosecutor for 2012 at $8,000.
•Appointment of CRA Infrastructure and Engineering as town engineer for 2012 at $7,200.
•Zoning Board of Appeals appointments, which included, John "Duffy" Johnston for a term of Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2016, and William "Hoppy" Leggett Sr. to finish the term of Bill Tower, from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2015. Johnston was also reappointed as ZBA chair and Nancy Smithson was reappointed as ZBA secretary, both for 2012.
•Planning Board appointments, which included George Spira as chair for 2012, the reappointment of member Anthony Collard from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2016, and the reappointment of Pamela Parker as Planning Board secretary for 2012.
•Town Board and community liaison appointments. Included were: CWM Citizens Advisory Committee: Wiepert, William Choboy, Peter Diachun and J. Anthony Collard; Village of Youngstown: Tom Baia; recreation department: Wiepert; Niagara Falls Area Chamber of Commerce: Baia; libraries: White; fire companies: Baia, Youngstown, and Baker, Ransomville; human relations: Joe Fleckenstein, Hillman and White; buildings: Dave Truesdale, Wiepert and Hillman; Planning Board: Fleckenstein and Baia; Zoning Board: Baker and White; historical: Wiepert; Niagara River Region Chamber: Wiepert and Baker; Lake Ontario Ordinance Works Restoration Advisory Board: Choboy; and Niagara River Greenway: White.
•The setting of salaries for town officials, as per the town budget, general fund A for 2012. Included were: supervisor, $29,979 per year; councilman, $7,165 each per year; town justices, $16,657 each per year; justice clerk, $18.49 per hour; and court officers, each $11.17 per hour.
Also: Confidential secretary to the supervisor, $40,526 per year; deputy supervisor, $515 per year; tax collector, $5,763 per year; budget officer, $1,474 per year; assessor, $31.83 per hour; town clerk, $37,480 per year; deputy town clerk, $33,781 per year; highway superintendent, $35,042 per year and town historian, $2,257 per year. The town's grant writer, Bernie Rotella, was retained on a month-to-month contact of $800 per month and 2 percent commission, with a maximum of $5,000.
Other approved salaries for 2012 include: deputy highway superintendent, $23.36 per hour; water superintendent, $15,342 per year; and sewer superintendent, $14,453 per year.
•Water rates for 2102 were set as follows: 0 to 7,000 gallons, $15.75 minimum; 7,000 to 20,000 gallons, $2.26 per thousand; 20,000 to 100,000 gallons, $2 per thousand and over 100,000 (irrigation rate) $1.50 per thousand. Village of Youngstown rate is $1.66 per thousand, and the town's new sewer rate is listed above.
In miscellaneous items:
•Town dog license fees are $10 for spayed and neutered; $18, not spayed/neutered and $25 for purebreds.
•Town Board meetings for 2012 will be held on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. Exceptions will be in October with the session set for Oct. 15 due to the Columbus Day holiday, and in November, with the session set for Nov. 5 due to Veterans Day.
•Town Hall hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Official town newspapers are the Niagara Gazette and Lewiston-Porter Sentinel.