Town drainage issues discussed
by Terry Duffy
Lewiston Town Board members opened 2014 amidst a host of familiar issues and questions, from drainage to lagoons, CWM to finance. Among the newsmakers:
•The town heard more concerns on the lagoon issue. Resident Alexis Wise who owns properties on Ridge Road and on Porter Center Road, reignited the Quasar controversy when she presented board members pages on the lagoon issue, including details of assorted violations the company is contending with in Ohio, and then asked why would Lewiston want to do business with them. "My fear is they are going to store equate at the Niagara County Water Treatment Plant and they are going to truck it in to all the acreage they purchase here and inject it in. That's my fear."
To which new Supervisor Dennis Brochey replied, "Your concerns are our concerns. We have to do everything legal, but at the same time we are concerned and have to do everything for the benefit of our community."
Over past months, Quasar reps have been in discussion with Lewiston officials, including Brochey, on the possibility of a lagoon equate storage operation in the town but have yet to appear at Lewiston Town Hall. Following a green light approval last fall by the Niagara County Planning Board for consideration of such a lagoon, company reps were expected to meet with members of the Town of Lewiston Planning Board to discuss such an operation on a private property on Porter Center Road. Recent Planning Board agendas listed scheduled appearances by Quasar reps, first in November, which was cancelled, then for December and again in January. However, following the initial outbursts by Lewiston residents, none has yet to occur.
News came this week, however, that Quasar, which has a processing facility in the Town of Wheatfield, would be appearing at a Feb. 24 public information meeting with the Wheatfield Town Board to discuss a site plan modification for an accessory storage tank for equate at the Quasar facility on Liberty Drive.
•Brochey announced the appointment of a new finance director for the town. "I wanted to mention that Paul Kloosterman, CPA, will be starting Feb. 3 as my new finance director," said Brochey. "At this time I wanted to mention that I've been working with Mike Johnson on my transition and will keep Mike Johnson on to transition Paul Kloosterman until Mr. Kloosterman feels 100 percent comfortable at his new position as finance director."
The move follows board approval at the Jan. 2 reorganization meeting to appoint Johnson, who served as finance director under the Steve Reiter administration, to fill the post on the internal claims auditor budget line, which was created last fall. Johnson is expected to continue in that position for at least the time being to help Kloosterman in the transition and oversee town finance operations.
Kloosterman, a Lewiston resident, will be receiving an annual salary of $60,000 with no benefits.
•Brochey requested the board void the appointments made to the CWM Siting Board CAC at the Jan. 2 reorganization meeting. Brochey said the appointments were approved by mistake and that he would be revising them. No appointments were announced that evening.
•Town Board members heard more on drainage concerns, first from Jason Court resident Charles Deering, who attributed sump pump problems in his basement to water backups and clogging of town lines, then from Perry Court resident Tom Deal, who told of continuing drainage problems in his neighborhood and attributed it to construction of the nearby Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course in the early 2000s and of town lines that were not properly completed. "We've been having all kinds of problems in our subdivision," said Deal.
When asked for his input by board members, Town Highway Superintendent Doug Janese said that problems "do exist on numerous properties, public and private. But there are several different things that can cause it."
Brochey and Janese both indicated they'll continue to look into the respective drainage concerns of the two residents, and others.
On a related matter, Town Engineer Bob Lannon of CRA Engineering discussed plans being considered to help alleviate the now years-long drainage/water collection issues afflicting residents of River Walk subdivision. Lannon said that as part of corrective measures under consideration it would utilize drainage lines to Joseph Davis State Park as well as connections via nearby private properties. He said the town is considering studies of existing town lines to see if it was feasible. Lannon presented a plan where the town would contract out to a private firm for cleaning and a video study of the lines at a cost of $3,500 per day to determine the integrity of line to connect to state parks line. He indicated the plan, which was first discussed by former Supervisor Steve Reiter, is intended to alleviate River Walk water collections via a line under Lower River Road through Joseph Davis to the Niagara River.