Board revises computer security policy; sets new start times for Town Board meetings
Summit Mall update provided
By David Yarger
As the clock struck 7:30 p.m. Monday night, Town of Wheatfield Supervisor Don MacSwan called the regular Town Board meeting to order by banging his grandfather's gavel on the desk, something that meant a lot to MacSwan.
It was the first Town Board meeting for MacSwan and newest councilman, Curt Doktor, who were both elected back in November.
The board had a busy night, approving four pages full of motions, hearing public input and also hearing from town department heads.
MacSwan laid the law down early in the meeting, asking citizens to speak up at the center podium microphone, and for department heads to come speak at a side microphone.
Oddly enough, the first request from a citizen during public input was for Town Board and department heads to speak clearly into their microphones so citizens can hear, which MacSwan understood.
"I have a hearing impairment and the many meetings I've been at, and I've sat with other people who could not hear. So, that's the purpose of having people come up front and also come over here as well, not just for the residents but for me," MacSwan said.
The citizen also asked about the cost of hearings regarding the Niagara Sanitation Landfill. Town Attorney Matt Brooks didn't give an exact amount, but said the town and other corporations involved are splitting costs, which he called it "a shared cost."
Town Highway Director Paul Siegmann began input from department heads, reminding citizens to not park on the road in the middle of the night. Siegmann noted one citizen who decided paying the parking ticket was no big deal, which turned into that citizen having their car towed. The board later approved the motion, which increased town parking violations. Parking in a no parking zone is a $25 fine; parking on the road between 2 and 6 a.m. results in a $30 fine; blocking a driveway or sidewalk results in a $25 fine; parking less than 25 feet from a crosswalk or traffic control device results in a $25 fine; parking less than 15 feet from a fire hydrant results in a $50 fine; parking in a no standing zone is a $25 fine; and parking with an expired vehicle registration or inspection is a $30 fine, and if any of the listed fines are not paid within 72 hours, the fine increases to $85. Also, the price for illegal parking in a handicapped zone results in a $100 fine, which increases to $150 if the ticket isn't paid in less than 72 hours.
Rich Donner of the water/sewer department also warned individual that plowing in a fire hydrant would result in a ticket.
Recreation Director Mike Ranalli announced registration starting for the town's baseball leagues and also the scheduled dates for Winterfest.
T-Ball age groups are 4- and 5-year-olds, coach pitch is 6- and 7-year-olds, minors is 9- and 10-year olds with 8-year-olds deciding between coach pitch or minors. Majors is 11- and 12-year-olds and for girls, there are 11-, 14- and 18-and-under programs. Ranalli said Winterfest is slated for Feb. 10 between noon and 2 p.m.
Tim Zuber from Wendel, the town's engineers, noted several projects that were presented at recent Planning Board meetings. The big projects brought up were plans behind the Summit Park Mall.
Big Thunder Brewery and Sports Bar proposed to turn the former Toy's R' Us into a brewery and sports bar. Along with that, exterior improvements to the building's façade, four outdoor volleyball courts, a patio and an outdoor lounge house/bar were proposed.
The Planning Board reviewed the sketch plans and noted several items for the group to investigate, which included detailing the exterior improvements, the perimeter access road and the main entrance to the mall. Zuber said a public information meeting will be held at some time during the site plan review. No action was taken at the meeting.
Also mentioned by Zuber was a revised site plan to the Niagara International Sports and Entertainment event center, behind the mall.
The new plan involves constructing two 96,000-square-foot metal buildings, opposed to domes. This was brought up in the fall, as the domes posed issues due to bright lighting and noise complaints to surrounding neighborhoods.
Zuber said, "The structures will be in a revised configuration from those previously approved, including one structure directly connected to the mall and the second building attached to the first with a covered walkway. The structures will have a 35-foot wall height with 75-foot peak height."
Along with that, Zuber noted several steps NISE will have to follow, once again, to get the revisions approved.
Along with the mall projects, Zuber noted plans for an expansion to the Anchor Motel, a new Dollar General store at 2366 Niagara Falls Blvd., and an expansion for the Driftwood Motel.
In other news, the Town Board approved to switch its phone service to Univerge Blue and NEC. Councilman Larry Helwig said the company would be coming to Wheatfield soon to change around 52 town phones.
The board also approved to purchase a 2006 Caterpillar asphalt paver in conjunction with the Town of Niagara, Porter and Lewiston. The Town of Wheatfield is responsible for 25 percent of the purchase price, to wit $27,500 to be paid from the highway department's 2018 budget.
Next, the board authorized the Wheatfield Lions Club to operate the Fairmount Park snack bar for 2018.
The board also appointed Daniel Joseph Guiher as a constable for 2018.
Also, earlier in the month, the board met to interview three grant writers for the town, and on Monday night, the board reappointed Bernie Rotella and Rotella Grants Management as the town's 2018 grant writers.
The Town Board also approved the Town of Wheatfield's 2018 holiday schedule as listed, Feb. 19, President's Day; March 30, Good Friday; May 28, Memorial Day; July 4, Independence Day; Sept. 3, Labor Day; Oct. 8, Columbus Day; Nov. 12, Veterans Day; Nov. 22 and 23, Thanksgiving; Dec. 24, Christmas Eve; Dec. 25, Christmas; and also a date to be determined for a floating holiday.
The Town Board also approved version 2.0 of the town's information technology security policy. Ever since the town's email system was hacked in early fall, Helwig and the board have been taking steps to increase security on their systems. The revisions to the ITSP involved new and improved password policies for town employees, as well as vamped up login rules. Required by the ITSP, Helwig was appointed as chief information officer and Don Wallace was appointed as information security officer.
Next, the board announced it would advertise to fill the position of Wheatfield town justice. The position is currently vacant after the recent passing of Judge John Mattio in December. The town agreed to take applications for 30 days after the first advertisement. After that, a candidate would be selected.
At the end of the meeting, MacSwan asked the board if members wanted to switch the start times of board meetings to 7 p.m. All approved the change, meaning regular meetings will now start at 7 p.m.
MacSwan later told the Tribune initial test samples of the Niagara Sanitation Landfill came back from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Although, MacSwan couldn't get deep into the topic, he said initial results look positive for the town. For more on the samples, see the related cover story for a report from the DEC.