By Joshua Maloni
The Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees approved a 5-cent sewer rate increase at Monday's monthly meeting.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation mandated capital improvements be made to the Water Pollution Control Center, which is used by Lewiston (town and village), Porter and Youngstown.
In the Village of Lewiston, residents will pay $4.64 per 100 cubic feet (748 gallons) used.
"I think that we're in the position where we're going to have to pass that cost on," Deputy Treasurer Edward Walker told the board. "It's been one of the recommendations of our accountants (Brown and Company), in their audits, that we pay very close attention to what our water rates and sewer rates are."
The village last raised this rate July 1, 2013.
"In asking you all to sign off on that agreement, I think we need to acknowledge that we need to pass this along," Walker said. "Nobody likes to. I have reservations about increasing water rates. But if we don't, we're going to be tapping our reserves to a higher extent. That is something that our accountants, during their audits, said we need to be very, very mindful of."
Mayor Terry Collesano said the rate increase "is the response to DEC's design specification change for (an) intermediate-size wastewater treatment system."
Village Board members said each of the "quad-communities" would have to approve a rate increase.
"It isn't just the Village of Lewiston that's getting the 5-cent rate increase," Trustee Vic Eydt said. "It's all four municipalities. ... It's across the board to everybody. It's not just us."
"We're all in this together," Walker said after the meeting.
Trustees will hold a special budget meeting workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Red Brick Municipal Building, 145 N. Fourth St. (this is a date change announced Saturday).
Schedule change for Planning Board, ZBA submissions
Planning Commission/Historical Preservation Committee Chairman Norm Machelor expressed disappointment the principals behind the proposed Fairchild Place proposal did not attend last Monday's scheduled public information session.
"We're kind of frustrated that we published that we're going to talk about something, in this case Fairchild, and then we don't get a plan," he told trustees. "I don't blame the residents (in attendance and those who planned to attend) for being upset. 'Yes, come on and talk about this,' and then it gets pulled at the last minute."
The Village of Lewiston is enacting a new policy wherein all people looking to make a presentation to the Planning Board and/or appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals must submit information and/or materials to the mayor's office 10 days prior to meeting dates.
"What happens to us is that we get promises that these things are going to come, (but they don't)," Machelor said. "The trustees don't get a chance to see the plans; the (Planning) Board doesn't get a chance."
"I know what you're saying. It's frustrating for all us," Collesano said.
The Planning Board now meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday of each month (save holidays). The ZBA assembles at 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month.
For more information, call the mayor's office at 754-8271.
Cluster of races ahead
Trustees approved a trio of street races: Rivershore Inc.'s second annual 5K run/one-mile walk, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 2, in front of the Barton Hill Hotel & Spa on First Street; St. Peter's R.C. School's inaugural 5K run/one-mile walk, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16; and the first "Mighty Fitz" 5K run, beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, near The Brickyard Pub & B.B.Q. The "Mighty Fitz" will be held in conjunction with events marking the 40th anniversary of the freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald's sinking.
Local race organizer Paul Beatty will time these races. He said, "Most of the runners that we're bringing in are from out of (the) Lewiston area, so we're bringing money in from the Southern Tier, Buffalo, other counties, which is nice for the village."
Lewiston Police Department Chief Chris Salada requested all race organizers meet with the LPD one month before their respective events to discuss routes, safety procedures and traffic patterns.
The board is working with the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce to find sources of funding for white lights, which would be on display at Center Street intersections.
Business owners, pleased with the village's Christmas lights, recently asked for a more permanent source of illumination.