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Town of Lewiston board hears of new taxpayers' alliance

Sat, Jan 30th 2016 07:00 am

Lannon discusses need to replace muckland pumps

By Terry Duffy

Editor-in-Chief

Despite Town Board changes and a new year, the frustrations of residents on how the Town of Lewiston manages its affairs continue as January 2016 turns into February.

Occupying a good portion of community comments Monday were gripes heard from River Walk and Lower River Road residents over vagueness and the lack of accountability by the town at the developing French Landing subdivision and at nearby River Walk, which is seeing a change in ownership.

Resident Paulette Glasgow, from the escarpment area above the hill, joined with attending residents Ellen and Nancy Correa, MaryAnn Broda and Elizabeth Davis from below the hill, in voicing their concerns and announcing the newly formed Taxpayers Accountability and Action Alliance.

"The Taxpayer's Accountability and Action Alliance was formed to hold public officials accountable for their actions, while educating the public on how their representatives made those decisions and for whom," said Glasgow in a letter to Supervisor Steve Broderick and Town Board members. "The alliance's goal is to encourage all Lewiston residents to speak out on those issues affecting our community and their quality of life. No one in government should ever think that the citizens they work for will not and cannot scrutinize their actions."

With that, Broderick and board members listened to an array of complaints, including: French Landing construction site conditions by River Walk resident John Grola; River Walk pipe costs to the town by Lower River Road resident Steve Lowe; a question of impropriety by River Walk resident Davis over the town's selection of attorney A. Joseph Catalano; questions over coverage of Town Board meetings by Broda; and continued complaints over French Landing transparency by the two Correa women.

Overall, board response to the concerns was somewhat limited. Broderick indicated a willingness to discuss the River Walk matters further with the group. Council members Al Bax and Bill Geiben suggested further examining the Time Warner agreement that provides for educational access, with an eye for returning the Town Board sessions to be televised.

Other newsmakers from the session included:

•With members of the Artpark & Company board, including new Executive Director Sonia Kozlova Clark, in attendance, the Town Board endorsed an application proposal to be submitted to the Niagara River Greenway Host Standing Committee, which, if approved, would provide $100,000 to Artpark for interactive children's and family festivals programming.

"You have a resolution, it's for Artpark, a $100,000 commitment for a programming project. The application was submitted this past Tuesday. It's coming out of Greenway funds," Town Grant Writer Bernie Rotella said.

Following unanimous board approval, the limited discussion closed with a request by Geiben to be apprised by Town Attorney Brian Seaman as to the Greenway developments on the proposal. The Greenway Commission is expected to address the matter at its March 15 session.

•Town Engineer Bob Lannon of Conestoga, Rovers and Associates updated the board on the muckland pump replacements, which cover drainage issues for farm areas off Sanders Settlement Road and on the escarpment. Lannon said the cost has now risen from $40,000 per pump to $100,000-$120,000 or more. Currently, the town has one pump operational and the other needing replacement. Both are deemed necessary to address drainage, particularly in the late winter and spring months. Lannon suggested the town would be best to act on replacements for both sooner than later.

Town Finance Office Martha Blazick said that, thus far, up to $40,000 in funding was acceptable by the New York Power Authority to pay for their replacement, using hydropower money provided to the town. The matter was left with Rotella instructed to look into additional grant funding to cover the cost.

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