by Terry Duffy
Despite some rumors to the contrary heard over the past week around Lewiston, the Lewiston Town Board acted in a spirit of cooperation and uniformity Monday when they moved to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of member Ernest Palmer. It was announced the Lewiston Town Clerk's office would be taking letters of interest and applications from town residents for the position up to March 5.
Inquiries should be made to Town Clerk Donna Garfinkel at Lewiston Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road, P.O. Box 330, Lewiston, NY 14092, or via email to [email protected].
In making the announcement, Town Councilman Mike Marra led off by offering words of praise for Palmer's service to the town - a gesture that went on to be repeated by all board members and Supervisor Dennis Brochey.
"Most people know Ernie Palmer has retired, and I want to thank him for his service to the town and community," said Marra.
"It was an honor to work with Mr. Palmer on this board," said Councilman Al Bax. "He brought a lot of insight; his experience as a law enforcement officer and his dedication to his family, his community will be sorely missed."
Brochey, who defeated Palmer last November in the race for town supervisor, spoke of the cooperative atmosphere he found in working with him. "In the short period of time I worked Mr. Palmer, I enjoyed my time with him. When he sent me his resignation, I responded that I'll reject it," said Brochey. "He will be definitely missed."
Lewiston Councilman Ron Winkley, a former law enforcement colleague of Palmer, stated, "I've known Ernie for years. I went through the police academy with him, I worked with him, he's very dedicated. I wish him all the luck; he will be missed."
The comments served as the latest example of the new cooperative air seen on the GOP-dominated Town Board - one that's led by Democrat Supervisor Brochey. Throughout the session, board member-supervisor discussions were constructive on matters and actions that were taken or items tabled with very little discourse. Some highlights:
•Brochey announced formation of a drainage committee headed by resident Glen Claverly "to check into residents who have long-standing issues with problems in their yards." Up to 20 residents are affected in the town and Claverly said he would work with Town Building Inspector Tim Masters on the research, which would involve surveys and testings of affected properties, to commence in the spring.
"We've got a lot of residents involved, and I'd like to get to the bottom of this," said Brochey. "I'm glad you're on it."
•The board approved a motion to compensate former town attorney Michael Dowd payment of $3,000 for earlier town work done in Rochester. Brochey said he "was satisfied" with the amount and added, "I think we should go ahead and pay him."
On a question from Winkley, Town Attorney Mark Davis provided some details and offered his opinion. "He traveled to Rochester and appeared before a court department. He achieved good results for the town and moved that project forward," said Davis. "The time spent on it in my opinion was reasonable."
The voucher matter had been raised due to the fact that it was pulled during the final town audit when Brochey questioned some details on dates. Brochey indicated at the session he was now satisfied on the matter.
Offering further clarity, Davis continued, "To make the record clear, the amount of the voucher was approximately $3,000; it was not $89,000 as reported in a local newspaper. It was $3,000 related to a specific appearance for litigation."
Soon after a motion by Bax and Winkley, it went on to be approved.
•The board approved spending $3,500 for a sign for Dickersonville Cemetery, which is owned and maintained by the town. Board discussions revealed some monies could be available via grants due to the historic nature of the site or Power Authority funding. The $3,500 approved would cover cost and installation of the sign.
•Town Engineer Bob Lannon of CRA Associates reported he was seeking a second quote from Drain Doctor to cover the televising of sewers related to the River Walk drainage project. It follows on last month's initial quote of $3,500 per day, received from Sewer Specialty Associates for the work. More to come next month.
•Lannon reported he received an inquiry by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation regarding an offer for a new 12 by 18 foot sign for Joseph Davis State Park, to be furnished by the state and installed by the town near the Lower River Road entrance. Board members indicated they would be looking into the request and no action was taken.
•The board discussed addressing replacement of two 1930s-era muckland pumps serving a more than a 1,800-acre watershed basin, located west of Bridgman Road, and north of Saunders Settlement Road in the town that's comprised primarily of agricultural and farm areas. The basin drains from Cayuga Creek on the south and eventually discharges into the Niagara River. Currently there is one muckland pump operational at the site and Lannon advised replacements for both. "Something needs to be done," he said.
The board closed its discussions by requesting data from Town Highway Superintendent Doug Janese and CRA Associates on cost estimates to replace to muckland pumps, versus an option for gravity-fed drains, estimated by Janese to cost $1.6 million.
"A pump replacement would be far less than that," said Lannon.