by Susan Mikula Campbell
Inconsiderate ATV users in Wheatfield could soon be paying for the damage they cause.
The Wheatfield Town Board plans to discuss further at its next meeting the possibility of hiring a Niagara County Sheriff's Office deputy to crack down on ATVs.
Supervisor Bob Cliffe said at Monday's meeting a deputy can be hired for a six-hour shift at $760 or a four-hour shift at $505.
Councilman Larry Helwig reported at the last meeting that ATVs have damaged winter crops at the DeVantier and Milleville farms in the Doe's Hill area off Liberty Drive.
Cliffe said he has received complaints from the Jagow Road area, and Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon reported ATVs are costing the town money for repairs to damage on athletic fields in Mario Park.
In other matters:
•Protests by some property owners about the town's new policy requiring multi-family residences and businesses to install Knox Box locks led the board to approve the purchase of 29 Knox Box tone devices at a cost of $20,700.
The requirement for Knox Box locks was made at the request of the town's Fire Advisory Committee and its five volunteer fire companies. The boxes provide keys for emergency responders to gain access to all areas of a building.
Some property owners indicated concern for security of their buildings due to fire officials being able to access their keys.
"We have never been able to identify an incident where a volunteer firefighter used a Knox Box key to secure improper entry into any building in New York state," said Councilman Art Gerbec.
Gerbec noted that the new purchase will ensure that a building's Knox Box can only be accessed by an electronic tone sent by the NCSO dispatch.
"The Sheriff's Office would control and document any access into a building through the use of Knox Box keys," Gerbec said, noting that the electronic access devices will be installed on emergency response vehicles and owned by the town.
•The board approved a recycling cart policy for the new, large, wheeled bins that will be distributed this spring, when bi-weekly collection of recycling by Modern Disposal starts in the town. The complete policy is available on the town's website or at the town clerk's office.
The policy notes that all the carts are the property of the town and remain with the residence or business if the owner moves. It also includes the requirements for residents who want to downgrade from a 64-gallon cart to a 35-gallon cart and for those who want to upgrade to a larger cart.
•Cliffe reported that the board and most responses from the community agreed that "we're a rural area, this is country living, and we should keep it that way." Therefore the street light policy will not be changed.
Councilman Ken Retzlaff noted that those who want extra street lights can petition for a special lighting district, as was done in Bergholz, and pointed out, "You'll have to pay for it."
•The next senior citizen's dance at the Wheatfield Community Center will celebrate St. Patrick's Day at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17.
•The annual town Easter party will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 31, at the Wheatfield Community Center. Sturgeon said families can expect some new activities at the event this year.
•The next Wheatfield Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 26. Public hearings are scheduled at 7 and 7:15 p.m. to discuss possible changes to the town's sign and fence laws, followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Cliffe said the most changes are needed in the sign law, because of the advent of new electronic signs.