By David Yarger
The Town of Wheatfield Town Board met for the second time in 2018 Monday night. The meeting was didn't last very long, but several items were approved, all with relevance to town residents.
Town Attorney Matt Brooks started the meeting saying there was nothing new to report out of the Quasar Energy group's biosolids suit, as well as the Niagara Sanitation Landfill suit. Brooks said the case with the landfill is still in the early stages and a case like it could last almost a dozen years.
Recreation Director Mike Ranalli announced that the third annual Wheatfield Winterfest is Saturday, Feb. 10. For a preview on what to expect at the festival, visit www.wnypapers.com
Also, he said Cortland University reached out to the department with a grant to offer cooking courses for kids in the area. He said a schedule was being arranged and should be finished sometime soon. Ranalli mentioned to the board that it offers pickleball, a new sport that's been offered by the town for a few months now. He added the reception for the sport has been very good.
Tim Zuber of Wendel, the town's engineers, talked about an agenda item for a public hearing based on proposing changes to the town's signage requirements. Zuber said lighting changes were also mentioned, but he said, "We talked about doing updates to the signage and the lighting, but since we've been looking into this, we determined that lighting is not something in our realm to be able to recoup the cost for. Each one of the lights is paid for on an annual basis. There's no upfront installation costs."
A later approved motion set a public hearing on the proposed changes for signage at 6:45 p.m. before the next regular meeting on Feb. 26.
In other news, the board authorized Wendel to provide storm water management program assistance for 2018 for an estimated fee of $6,000.
The Town Board also moved to apply for a $15,000 grant that would continue the process of acquiring funds to complete the town's Municipal Agricultural and Farmland Implementation Plan, which reviews farmland zoning laws.
Councilman Larry Helwig said the farmland reviews examine how much the land is worth and gives farmers an idea of the cost if they want to eventually sell their land.
The $15,000 grant is the maximum grant amount, and Councilman Curt Doktor said New York state recommended the increase to $15,000, which would include just a $250 increase on the cash contribution towards the grant.
Next, the board authorized Supervisor Don MacSwan to execute and enter an agreement with GHD Consulting Services Inc., to provide certain engineering services to the town for 2018.
The board also authorized the Town Court to rehire Melinda Agnello to the assistant town clerk position, pending a Niagara County Sheriff's Office background check.
The Town Board approved a motion to increase the residential driveway culvert pipe permit fee from $25 to $100 and also increase the residential yard culvert pipe permit fee from $25 to $50.
Next, the Town Board authorized the highway department to change the traffic light at Sawyer Drive and Plaza Drive to a three-way stop with a flashing red light in all directions. Town Highway Superintendent Paul Siegmann cited the change due to old wiring in the light, and said replacing the light would be an expensive cost to the town.
Siegmann also noted that other municipalities have resorted to flashing red lights as stop signs for the same reason.
The Town Board also authorized MacSwan to execute the fire protection contracts with the five local volunteer fire companies (Adams Volunteer Fire Co., Bergholz Volunteer Fire Co., Frontier Volunteer Fire Co., Shawnee Volunteer Fire Co. and St. Johnsburg Volunteer Fire Co.).
There were two late items, which included abolishing the director of personnel position in the town.
The last motion of the night came from Helwig who talked about setting up a public hearing about a proposed bike path trail along River Road, extending from Griffon Park to Gratwick Park. Helwig said if the State Department of Transportation were to take over the project, it wouldn't be any affect to town taxpayers. Helwig also said the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation is looking to put money towards the project, as well. The public hearing will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the Community Center.
During board member items, Doktor took his time to welcome a new business into the Town of Wheatfield. Synergy Nutrition and Wellness opened their doors recently and Doktor said the facility would be a one-stop wellness facility to help improve people physically, mentally, nutritionally and spiritually. Doktor added that the new addition to Wheatfield will be a great and healthy benefit to the town.
Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey was in attendance at the meeting and he spoke late. Godfrey spoke about bringing broadband to the Town of Wheatfield. He mentioned that there are a few homes, which Spectrum and Charter wouldn't be able to reach, but he said Verizon has a chance to come in and give broadband to those people on "the last few miles."
Helwig finished the meeting announcing the town will be working with the Local Updated Census Addresses to update the town's census. Helwig said the population has been growing and the last census was done in 2010. Although, the next census isn't out until 2020, the town gives its inventory in 2018.
The next regular Town Board meeting is 7 p.m. Feb. 26.