by Joshua Maloni
The Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees will hold two public hearings on Wednesday, April 18. The first conversation concerns the tentative budget for fiscal year 2012-13, while the second involves application for capital project-related bond anticipation notes.
Following Monday's work session, copies of the work-in-progress budget were given to members of the media. Clerk Anne Welch said the figures would change, so the packet was almost moot. However, Mayor Terry Collesano said "most of the big items are taken care of," and, barring any additional changes, the board would try and keep the tax rate flat at $7.12 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
"That's what we're working toward," he said.
Collesano noted the two biggest wildcards in the village budget are the Lewiston Police Department contract (now in negotiations with the Town of Lewiston), and union costs associated with the Department of Public Works.
Earlier on Monday, the state retirement fund, a program the village buys into, issued notice that fees for the next fiscal year had risen by about $10,000.
With regard to the bond anticipation notes, the board intends to apply for between $98,200 and about $103,000 to cover the costs of fixing new inflow and infiltration problems. The Village of Lewiston shares water services with the Town of Lewiston and the Town of Porter through the Town of Lewiston Water Pollution Control Center. Following a period of proper usage, the municipality sent between 13 percent and 18 percent more than its allotted portion to the WPCC in 2010 and 2011.
Village Engineer Richard San Giacomo briefed trustees on proposed capital improvement projects for 2012. Four of the five projects are designed to reduce both the level of unaccounted water and, ultimately, the amount spent on treatment.
"I think it's important we stay ahead of these problems," San Giacomo said. "If we ignore this again, I think we're going to have a problem."
San Giacomo worked closely with former trustee Mike Marra and the DPW in reducing the village's previous inflow and infiltration overages through a series of scopings and subsequent sewer line patches or replacements. Through their efforts, the village dropped below 100 percent usage.
But when that happened, subsequent inflow and infiltration repair efforts tapered off. Unfortunately, "You correct an area, then it moves to another area," San Giacomo said. "We found problem areas ... that weren't there before."
"Now we're back where we started," he said.
To lessen erroneous inflow and infiltration, San Giacomo recommended the installation of 1,200 linear feet of 12-inch storm sewer on North Fourth Street, from Oneida to Chicora (estimated cost: $13,700; work to be done by DPW); replacing 300 linear feet of 8-inch sanitary sewer on East Lane ($55,000; private contractor); locating and repairing sewer lateral on Mohawk Street near West Lane ($2,500; private contractor); and further analysis and TV inspection ($12,000; private contractor).
He also included one non-water-related project, which is the installation of parking spaces at Academy Park ($15,000; DPW).
Under the terms of the bond anticipation note, the village would borrow the full amount while initially only paying about $1,000 in annual interest fees.
Collesano said the repairs could save the village between $20,000 and $30,000 annually in water usage fees, thus allowing the village to pay off the bond.
San Giacomo agreed, and said, "I would hope in five years this would pay for itself."
"Each year we do I-and-I we save money," he added.
The capital improvement projects would count against the 2013-14 budget.
Board Thanks Al Soluri
Collesano and trustees thanked former Village of Lewiston Police Commissioner Al Soluri for his time serving the community. The board abolished the police commission at a joint meeting with the Town of Lewiston on March 26.
"The dedication that he put in ... was far from the norm," Collesano said.
The mayor credited Soluri with parking and traffic improvements at Artpark, as well as the push to reduce the concert crowd size.
"He succeeded at doing almost an impossible task," Collesano said. "If it weren't for Mr. Soluri, we wouldn't be in the position that we're in now.
"We are very much thankful for his service."