Town approves paver MOA, new Building Department fee schedule
By Terry Duffy
Not too much on the agenda this week, but interesting, nonetheless.
Minus Supervisor Steve Broderick, Monday's Lewiston Town Board regular meeting served up a number of small items worthy of note over the course of nearly an hour.
It opened with remarks by resident Paulette Glasgow, a familiar face at past meetings who returned to this session following illness. Glasgow, a member of the Lewiston Taxpayers Accountability and Action Alliance, raised the issue of transparency as she proceeded to criticize the Town Board's lack of naming, but summarily approving a large number of town appointments, at its reorganization meeting earlier this month.
"Did you miss me?" Glasgow asked board members as she moved to her comments. "I looked at the Jan. 8 reorganizational meeting ... that's where you do your appointments."
Glasgow a former Town Board member went on to chastise the current board on its lack of informing the public on who was appointed. The list was extensive and included the entire town clerk's department -- the FOIL officer and deputy, the deputy, deputy registrar and deputy town clerk/sub registrar; the assistant tax receiver and clerk typist; the dog control officer, deputy and janitor; the building inspector, SEQR compliance officer and building clerk typist; the engineering clerk; the justice clerks and typists; the assessor and clerk typist and the external auditor.
"It goes on," Glasgow said.
Also appointed but not identified was the town prosecutor. Glasgow commented, "I'm hoping he doesn't have a case tomorrow night." Still more included the park's superintendent, parks laborer, recreation director and part-time recreation typist; the chief operating officer of the Water Pollution Control Center and clerk typist, WPCC personnel; the water department superintendent and personnel; the highway and drainage personnel; water administrator; the entire senior citizens department; the Lewiston Police Department chief, captains and officers; and what Glasgow called the kicker - the supervisor's office, finance director and executive secretary.
"So I would think that, tonight, someone does something to reappoint these people, because they're working," Glasgow told the board.
Her comments soon launched into a back and forth with Town Councilman Bill Geiben.
"Mrs. Glasgow, when did you determine this?" he asked.
"I determined it by looking at the film," Glasgow said, referring to the videotaping of board sessions by the Taxpayers Alliance. "Are you accusing me of something?"
Geiben told Glasgow that, following the Jan. 8 reorganizational session, Broderick invited residents with any questions to call him.
"He didn't ask me," Glasgow returned. "Why do I have to tell you how to do your job, Bill?"
Geiben replied he felt the issues raised were "a difference of opinion on whether or not those items you mentioned had to be done."
"You did it when you (and) when I were on the Town Board," she replied.
To wit, Geiben commented, "There's an old joke about why do you cut off the ends of the ham when you cook it. ... It doesn't mean that just because we did it that way (before was better). ... We learned some things since then."
The dialogue continued with Geiben inviting Glasgow to "give us a call" on any issues, while Glasgow responded, "I don't have to tell you how to do you job. That's your job. ..."
"Well things do change," Geiben said.
And so it went.
The names of the appointed can be found on the town's website, http://www.townoflewiston.us.
Among the other newsmakers from Monday:
•The Town Board approved a request from Highway Superintendent Dave Trane for a memorandum of understanding/purchase agreement with the towns of Wheatfield, Porter and Niagara. The $25,000-per-town MOA covers the purchase of a paver from Yarussi Construction of Niagara Falls for use by the highway departments in each town.
•The board approved a new fee schedule for the Town of Lewiston Building Department. The fees take effect immediately and cover a broad range of applications over three areas: residential buildings, commercial buildings and miscellaneous.
Explaining why Lewiston saw the need to its increase fees, Building Inspector Tim Masters said he reviewed the fee schedules from a number of neighboring communities and all showed either higher fees or additional fees charged in each category.
"It shows how our fees would compare to North Tonawanda, Amherst, Wilson, Niagara Falls, Wheatfield, Pendleton and Porter. You see the price and the plus; there's additional fees (charged for services)," he said. "If you go to Wheatfield, for example, they might charge $300 for a building permit. We charge $400, but they have a lot fee; they charge a curb cut fee; they charge all these other added fees. ... We have not raised our fees in our department since 2006 ... the actual building department fee has not been raised since 2006."
•The board approved a request by Town Clerk Donna Garfinkel to hire a temporary dog control officer due to current DCO Dave Sheriff's continued absence. No salary figure for the position was determined that night.
On a related note, the board announced the proposed town dog shelter will be going out for bid in February.
•On a recommendation from Ryan Parisi, attorney for the town, the board approved to retain attorney Brian Doyle to cover litigation matters between the town Highway Department and Teamsters Local 264.
"It is new litigation against the town. We recommend that outside counsel be retained to handle this," Parisi said.
He said Doyle will be compensated at a rate that was approved in 2017 for work with the town and it would be the same for this case.
•In old business, the board approved the appointments of the following: Signage Committee - Trane, Gary Wasco, Chris Winstow and LPD Chief Frank Previte, with Councilman Rob Morreale as liaison. Also approved was John Sharpe as town historian.