by Terry Duffy
With the November elections now history and changes in the town looming for January, the Lewiston Town Board held a "nuts and bolts" type meeting Monday to address old business, ongoing drainage problems and set the stage for cooperation under a new Dennis Brochey administration.
Newsmakers included the town reaching agreement on the long-stalled Legacy Drive issues, a new suggestion to address River Walk Drive drainage, and Town Board explanations on its option to create a new internal claims auditor position.
Following years of discussions between Lewiston and Massaro family interests on the lingering Legacy Drive road dedication and that of unfinished residential housing units nearby, agreements in principle were reached Monday with regards to addressing site plan issues, dedication and the project as a whole. Town Attorney Mike Dowd said work had progressed to a point where actual town approval on a Legacy Drive dedication and follow through for completing the project could become a reality.
Issues ironed out involved Massaro interests' commitment for the building of sidewalks, modifying a fire truck access stone road for emergencies, evaluations of completed but non-used sewer lines, installation of street lights, green area issues and ultimate development of units leading to certificates of occupancy for five buildings. Despite hesitation by Councilman Ernie Palmer who commented, "These are a lot of issues," the board approved a punch list of items with conditions set for escrow accounts created for the work involved, the Legacy Drive dedication and timetables for completion. "I'm committed to make this a beautiful site," said Sicoli and Massaro Vice President Dominic Massaro.
Next up was River Walk, where Highway Superintendent Doug Janese, noting residents' frustration on the town's lack of progress by engineers to correct standing water and drainage issues, suggested the town pursue the hiring of a "competent contractor to come in and get the job done. Money (spent) on engineering is accomplishing nothing. We need to get this done properly," said Janese. He left the session soon after.
"All we do is talk about it and not do anything," added Palmer. "It's been going on for eight years."
Town Engineer Ryan Smith then voiced disagreement to Janese's comments and Deputy Supervisor Gary Catlin quickly moved to settle the matter by promising a meeting on Tuesday with Janese to "review the matter" and come up with a solution.
Still another issue tackled was the newly created internal auditor's position by board members following adoption of the 2014 town budget. Resident Paulette Glasgow chided the board on this in community comments, saying, "I'm wondering why none of you informed the public you were creating a $43,000-plus position, especially after informing the public that no new positions were being created."
Board members responded they created funding for "an internal audit control line, not a position."
Palmer said the move merely "allows the town to consider an outside position. There was no intent on the part of the town to hide anything here," he said.
Councilmen Al Bax and Ron Winkley said board members "are not provided sufficient time" to approve payment for town expenditures and the move was one to provide for greater scrutiny and clarity on town spending. Winkley added the town has state directives to provide for "more audit controls."
Soon after, board members convened for an executive session on personnel issues. Incoming Supervisor Brochey was requested to attend and sat in on the meeting.