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Sinkhole prompts emergency action

Fri, May 19th 2017 04:35 pm
By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Another sinkhole near the town's water treatment plant on Whitehaven Road has necessitated an emergency repair.
Monday the Grand Island Town Board took emergency action to authorize up to $300,000 in funds to fix a new sinkhole discovered near the water tank at 1600 Whitehaven Road. On Aug. 13, 2013, an employee in the water department noticed a sinkhole, where it was later discovered a 30-inch concrete sewer line, about 35 years in age, had deteriorated. At the time, Town Engineer John Whitney called the workdays addressing the problem the longest in his then 27 years with the town.
Town Attorney Peter Godfrey told the board the emergency nature of the current problem allows the board to skip the normal bid process required in an improvement project, as the repairs are needed to avoid interruption of service. The board voted to authorize the supervisor to take such action as is necessary to address the situation, and then set a public hearing to discuss the bond issue to pay for the work, not to exceed $300,000.
Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray advised residents to stay away from the site because it would only aggravate the situation "and you're not going to see anything anyway."
•The board also voted to accept the resignation of Cyndy Montana, assistant to the supervisor, and appoint her replacement, Emily Wynne.
Montana will leave her post June 2 as she enters the race for Town Board in the November election. A candidate for Town Board in 2015, Montana has received the endorsement of the Democratic Committee in the 2017 race.
•The board will meet Tuesday at 5 p.m. to discuss a proposed community center, and if it's anything like the work session that preceded Monday's regular meeting, the discussion is bound to get heated.
Councilman Mike Madigan called last week's Dispatch column by McMurray about the proposed community center "inexcusable" and told McMurray, "What you do is you bully people." McMurray rehashed the town's process of building its new maintenance building, and Madigan disputed the supervisor's version of the facts in that matter. He likened McMurray's negative tone in the community center issue to the way he dealt with opponents of the West River Parkway closing, saying, "You did it with the West River folks."

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