By David Yarger
Tuesday night, the Town of Niagara Town Board met for its monthly meeting. A topic of discussion was the former U.S. Army Reserve Base off Porter Road.
Supervisor Lee Wallace announced a purchase option between the town and Reger LLC for the old base site. The town will also hold on to 3.7 acres of land for the proposed Western New York First Response and Preparedness Center.
The center will host Mercy Flight, the Niagara County Emergency Operations Center, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit and the Niagara Crime Analysis Center.
Wallace said the agreement was a long time coming for the town.
“We are officially out of the Army site business. We acquired it and sold it to Reger LLC. … After a long, long negotiation and a long, long period – the town has been doing this since 2005 – it finally ended. We’re finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel here. It’s a good day for us. That property now will be on the tax rolls for the first time in over probably 60 years-plus. Mr. Reger will be coming back with plans on exactly what it is he is going to do there, because that hasn’t been developed at this point in time. It’s a good day and a good thing for the town that this has finally come to fruition,” Wallace said.
In his closing remarks, Wallace thanked the Town Board for its “patience and diligence.”
“It almost seemed like it never would happen, but without their constant trust … to do the right thing and get this thing taken care of, it would not have happened,” Wallace said.
The agreement was approved unanimously.
In other news:
•The Town Board will host two public hearings at its next meeting on May 14. The first one will consider to revising chapter 204-9 of town code pertaining to the regulation of political signs. The second covers a proposed local law to code and restructuring the town environmental management commission. The third covers rezoning a property from R-1 single family to V-1 general business.
•The board agreed to purchase a 2019 Ford Expedition from Delacy Ford in the amount of $41,552.47. Wallace said the fee will be paid over a four-year period.
•The Town Board approved crack filling of town roads from the lowest bidder, not to exceed $25,000. This was due to extreme winter weather.
•The town will pay United Survey Inc. $19,800 for manhole rehabilitations at various locations throughout the municipality. Wallace said this amount would be reimbursed by the Niagara County Sewer District.
Resident Charles Hoy expressed concern about how much money the town would lose upon the Republic landfill’s closure. Hoy said he heard in the range of $1-2 million.
Wallace said eventually the landfill would close and that what funds Republic gives the town and how much the town pays for garbage pickup would be in the vicinity of how much the town would lose.
Upon the thought of a town tax, Wallace said it could happen, but many years down the road, as the landfill is not closing immediately.
“There will be a way we’ll have to figure out some way to make it up. But we’re not talking about something that’s going to happen tomorrow. This is probably six to seven years down the road,” Wallace said.
•Prior to adjourning, councilmen Rick Sirianni and Sam Gatto, as well as Wallace, used part of their closing comments to praise the work of Town Clerk Sylvia Virtuoso.
Sirianni thanked Virtuoso for guiding clean-up missions throughout the town. Virtuoso is also the head of the Niagara Beautification Committee.
“Like most communities in Western New York, after a long winter, they need some cleaning up, and some people have responded,” Sirianni said. “Sylvia Virtuoso … reacted in very positive way. And I just want to commend her for, No. 1, reaching out to the board, getting other people involved to do clean up on different days throughout our town. And I want to thank Bob Herman for reaching out to Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, because they have work programs. They’re gonna do some of our roads; do some cleanup.
“I want to thank the residents who brought it out and Sylvia and Bob Herman for reacting to it.”
Gatto read a paragraph in regard to an honor Virtuoso was selected for.
“On behalf of the New York State Town Clerk’s Association, it is my honor and pleasure to inform you that Sylvia Virtuoso, town clerk, has been awarded this association’s Certificate of Registered Municipal Clerk,” Gatto read. “This prestigious award recognizes the professional competency of Mrs. Virtuoso in fulfillment (of) the responsibility of her office. Certification is granted only after an applicant has demonstrated they have met the stringent education experience requirements established by New York State Town Clerk’s Association.”
“I also want to congratulate Sylvia on the award,” Wallace said. He then remarked on Virtuoso’s efforts to help clean up the community.
“Again, Sylvia jumped in and kind of took the bull by the horns. For those of you who don’t know, Sylvia is in charge of beautification in Niagara County, so it was a perfect marriage that way,” he said.
•The Town of Niagara’s next Town Board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14.