by Joshua Maloni
The Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees voted Monday to send $43,120.54 to the Town of Lewiston for Water Pollution Control Center refurbishments.
"That is a fund that was set up (for this purpose)," Trustee Vic Eydt said. "The water treatment plant is primarily operated by themselves, but very closely with the Town of Lewiston. And what they did is, two years ago, they put together a program for about a three-and-a-half-million-dollar plant upgrade that was ... being forced on them by the DEC to upgrade pumps and lines and whatnot."
The Village of Lewiston is a member of the quad-community advisory board, a four-municipality unit that utilizes and funds the WPCC. The other members include the Town of Lewiston, the Town of Porter and the Village of Youngstown.
"Each one of these communities ... had to take on responsibility of paying for that three-and-a-half-million dollars," Eydt said.
Including interest, the cost to rehab the WPCC is $4.78 million. The Village of Lewiston will pay 16.36 percent of that total, or a little more than $781,000, over the next 20 years.
Eydt said the village is close to or exceeding its water usage on a regular basis, which is putting added stress on the WPCC and an unnecessary financial burden on taxpayers.
Trustees will look to combat inflow and infiltration problems in the new year.
"As a village, as the whole group, we have to start working on getting some of these sewer breaks taken care of," Eydt said.
"We have been aware for years about the infiltration and our water breaks infiltrating the sewer system," Mayor Terry Collesano said. "We had gotten it down. We worked on it diligently for several years. ... It's slipping back up again."
With Christmas just a few days away, trustees approved some holiday spending. The Village Board OK'd a $5,000 payment to the Town of Lewiston to support the festive Family Ice Rink at Academy Park.
The board had nearly $4,700 set aside in its celebrations account to use for such an occasion.
The Village of Lewiston received a $177,000 consolidated funding grant from Empire State Development to shore up Water Street's south retaining wall and put the sidewalk and pavers back in place. With in-kind services, the project is estimated to cost about $400,000.
Environmental studies and design should begin next spring, with the construction contract then sent out for bids. Work is expected to begin in the spring of 2016.
Lewiston Police Department Chief Chris Salada said his squad is teaming with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and State Police to find the person or persons responsible for a pair of burglaries in the village.
"Hopefully we'll come up with some arrests and resolve those issues soon," he said.
He warned residents of phone scams, namely those involving callers pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service or a lost or injured relative in need of money.
"Just be aware," Salada said. "Don't be afraid to call us if you have any questions about stuff going on. We encourage you to call for anything suspicious in your neighborhood. I can't tell you how many times, now, that we've had incidents occur where something's happened and (a resident said), 'Well, I did see somebody,' or 'I heard something last night, but I didn't call.' It's no trouble for us to check."
Salada encouraged residents to change up their patterns, look into motion sensor lights or call the LPD and arrange to have an officer come over and check basic safety measures (locks, lights, landscaping).
Village Attorney Ed Jesella informed trustees he is retiring at month's end.
"Forty-two years I've been practicing law, and I think - I just turned 70 - it's time I gave it up," he said.
Jesella offered to help trustees until they find a replacement.
"It's going to be tough, because, quite honestly, I don't look at my clients as my clients. Most of them are my friends," Jesella said. "I really appreciate the opportunity the mayor and the council gave me to serve here for the last four-and-a-half years."
"It's just been a great time. I had a great time," he said. "There's just wonderful people here. ... This is one of the nicest boards - one of the best-serving boards I've ever seen. I mean, really care about the people that are here, and just doing a wonderful job. It's hard for people that don't interact everyday, but truly it is a great bunch of people that we have here."
Jesella joked he had to join his wife before she decided to stop feeding him.
"It's time," he said.
"We're really going to miss you," Collesano said. "You were a lightning rod for this group. You helped us out on many cases."
"I want to thank Ed for his help," Eydt said. "He's helped this board tremendously in the last four years."
"He's the type of guy who goes above and beyond," Eydt added.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Trustees wished residents a happy holiday season.