Village to replace water meter heads, review local laws
By Joshua Maloni
At the end of Monday's Village of Lewiston work session, Joe Guerrero announced what he hopes will be the start of an annual event in Western New York and Southern Ontario: A lake to lake portage run.
Motoversal Touring & Expeditions is organizing the 32-mile "marathon on water" for kayakers and canoers on Aug. 18.
"It's going to start at 6 o'clock in the morning at (Fort Niagara). We'll load buses, that way everybody will have their cars at the fort for completion. We'll take everybody down to Erie Basin Marina. Once every bus gets in there, they'll come off the bus, grab their boat off the truck that's accompanying that bus. They'll come through the starting gate. My system will pick up their time. They'll be on the water. Go around Black Rock Point. Down they go," Guerrero said. "East side of Grand Island. They'll come out at Griffon Park (in Niagara Falls). Put them on buses there. There's where the shuttle starts. We'll have three buses at that point running between Griffon Park and (Lewiston Landing)."
Of the 32 miles, 27 will be on the water. Cash prizes will be awarded to the three fastest racers. A post-event party will be held at Fort Niagara.
If all goes well, Guerrero said he plans to continue the all-day event "every year."
Moreover, he envisions a grand race in 2019.
"I'm going to take the top 20 out of this group and take the top 20 from another club in Canada, and next year I'm going to try to plan one (portage run) across the lake," Guerrero said. "They'll cross each other. Starting at Toronto, that group will take off at the same time a group takes off at Fort Niagara, and they'll cross each other and spend the night. And then they'll come back and do it again. And we'll see who wins."
Guerrero doesn't need board approval to hold his event. He came to the work session to inform trustees of event details.
He also offered to pay the dock fees for participants.
"We'll look forward to (the race)," Trustee Vic Eydt said.
"It sounds like fun to watch," Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland added.
DPW Set to Replace Water Meter Heads
Trustees gave Department of Public Works Superintendent Terry Brolinski the go-ahead to complete a purchase in the amount of $208,938.28 for new water meter heads. He will place the order with Lockport's Lock City Supply Inc., the Badger Meter distributor for the Western New York area.
The board will use about $170,000 from its capital improvement account to provide residents with these upgraded meter heads. Clerk/Treasurer Amy Salada and Brolinski found the balance of the meter money in this year's budget.
"We can do this without raising taxes," Sutherland said.
"Yes, without putting it on the water bill or raising the taxes," Salada said.
"We've been talking about these water meters and doing something with them, and I think now is the time," Eydt said. "We've got that money set aside. It will cover probably about 80 percent of the cost of these water meters. Every month, Terry is going through and getting more and more water meters (to fix or replace). He's got to actually send the guys into the house. ... We're losing money. It's costing him his guys' time and money."
The water meters were expected to have a shelf life of 10 years. Many of them are 14 years old or older.
"I think it's important that we do it," Sutherland said.
Last year, the board was told it would cost around $370,000 to fully replace 1,200 water meters in the village.
Local Laws in Question
After months of debate, trustees opted to keep in place a local law regarding traffic enforcement.
Upon hearing from Lewiston Police Department Chief Frank Previte, the board didn't want officers taking time to be "meter maids" and ticketing or towing cars on private property. Rather, they suggested property owners call and make their own towing arrangements.
Moreover, Eydt said neither the board nor the LPD wants to be liable for towing mishaps.
Local Law 2018-2 was offered as an amendment to the village's current motor vehicles and traffic statute. It was recommended by counsel Joseph Leone as a means to "clarify" and bolster what he called an "ambiguous" law.
The proposed new language stated motor vehicles and motorcycles parked "upon any public or privately owned premises or property, parking areas or parking lot without the consent and permission of the owner or lessee of such premises" could be ticketed and/or towed provided "a conspicuous sign or signs" is "posted at the entrance to such parking area or parking lot, informing the public" of the law.
Previte said, "I don't think we should be doing private property work. We don't for any other division of any form of government. Although I sympathize with the business owners, it's not our responsibility. It's not a public safety issue. It doesn't benefit the general public. I think the town and village resources should be spent serving the general public and not individuals."
Leone suggested the Village Board amend the local law or vote to repeal it.
"I'm not recommending that the police go out on private property and ticket. I am recommending that either the police don't go on private property at all, or that an amendment go into effect allowing ticketing. Because right now it's questionable whether or not they can do it," Leone said.
Instead, trustees opted to keep the law as it's presently written, stating a change was more work than worth.
Lewiston Event Center and Lewiston Stone House owner Emery Simon brought two additional laws to the board's attention. He said the village code prohibits the use of tents, as well as any non-parking-related usage of parking lots.
Board members expressed dismay at the language of these two laws and said further review was necessary.
Eydt also brought up a law that speaks to the placement and storage of recreational vehicles in driveways. This, too, he said, needs to be revised to accommodate residents using such means of transportation in the warmer months.
Artisan Market Complaint
Tops proprietor Anthony DiMino said he was not pleased to learn of the upcoming Academy Park artisan market via an article in The Sentinel. He said he works hard to provide shelf space for local vendors, and that he should've been notified that similar products would be sold across the street from his supermarket.
Market organizer Jamie Symmonds said she wouldn't allow Tops vendors to participate in her weekly event. She said she tried to find products and vendors that would be unique to Lewiston.
Trustees said they would look into what effect the artisan market has on Tops' sales this summer.