Sessions see action on solar law, reorganization items
By Terry Duffy
To wrap up 2020 and open 2021, the Town of Lewiston held its end-of year session on Monday, Dec. 28, and a leadoff reorganization meeting on Jan. 4 – both closed to the public due to COVID-19 and conducted online via Zoom.
Highlights from the December session saw the Town Board approving modifications to Article 27 of the town’s solar energy systems law. Continuing in a moratorium, changes noted earlier to the town’s solar energy law included those covering setbacks and screening for ground-mounted solar installations, primarily in the town’s rural residential and industrial zoned areas.
Following input from residents last month, the town further reviewed various matters and issued a negative declaration following a State Environmental Quality Review en route to approving changes in the local law.
Other news from the session included the scheduling of a public hearing for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, to consider a proposed helipad facility on the grounds of Mount St. Mary’s Hospital on Military Road. The move follows the board’s issuance of a negative declaration on the MSM project on Dec. 28.
Moving on to the town’s Jan. 4 reorganization meeting, that session saw approval of a number of procedural matters covering town operations. Also included was a restructuring of the management responsibilities for the town’s parks and highway departments.
“I’ve given a lot of thought to the Parks Department,” said Town Supervisor Steve Broderick, stating he would like to move in a different direction from past years.
Commenting he felt parks could be managed more efficiently by moving that department under the direction of Town Highway Superintendent Dave Trane, Broderick offered a motion to appoint Trane as parks superintendent for 2021. That is in addition to his duties in highway.
Seconded by Town Councilman Bill Geiben, the motion was approved 5-0. Trane won reelection as highway superintendent last fall. Brian Christman was reappointed as deputy highway superintendent.
Also at that session, Broderick offered a resolution to increase Trane’s budgeted salary of $72,989 by $10,000 to cover the additional duties. Soon after, Councilman Al Bax offered a resolution, seconded by Councilman John Jacoby to consider adoption of Local Law No. 1 of 2021 to increase Trane’s salary. The matter will be addressed in a public hearing, set for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, prior to the board’s regular meeting.
In the past, Mike Dashineau handled parks and recreation duties. He will now serve the town as recreation director at a salary of $45,563.46.
As noted, a number of procedural items were set that evening, including Town Board work session and regular meeting dates for 2021. Work sessions will be held Jan. 11, Feb. 8, March 8, April 12, May 10, Sept. 13, Oct. 25, Nov. 22 and Dec. 13. No work sessions will be held in June, July or August.
Town Board regular meeting dates will take place Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 22, April 26, May 24, June 28, July 22, Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 25, Nov. 22 and on Dec. 30 with the board final audit session. Starting times for both will be at 6 p.m. at Town Hall. All sessions are open to the public.
Also announced at the reorg session was the naming of liaisons by Broderick. Included were: Board of Ethics ex-officio – Tom Seaman; building inspector – Bax; Cable Commission – Councilman Jason Myers; CWM Siting Advisory Committee – Bax; engineer – Geiben; Environmental Commission – Bax/Geiben; Fire Bureau – Broderick/Jacoby; highway/drainage – Bax; Historic Preservation – Jacoby; Justice Court office – Broderick; Lewiston Council on the Arts – Jacoby; library – Jacoby; Lighting Advisory Board – Myers; Niagara River Region Chamber – Broderick/Geiben; Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee – Geiben; Personnel Committee – Geiben; police – Bax; town/village police liaisons – Broderick/Bax; Planning Board – Bax/Jacoby; recreation – Geiben; risk manager – Broderick; Sanborn Business and Professional Association – Broderick/Geiben; senior citizens – Geiben; Signage Committee – Myers; water – Broderick; WPCC – Bax; and Zoning Board of Appeals – Bax.
Other appointment/confirmations included: GHD Consulting Services for town engineering services; Linda Johnson as town assessor; Heidi Seguin as real property appraisal technician; Tim Masters, town building inspector, as well as SEQR compliance officer; Chris McAuliffe, code enforcement officer and storm water manager; Frank Previte, Lewiston Police chief; Town Clerk Donna Garfinkel as registrar, records access officer (FOIL) and records management officer; Les Myers, fire prevention chair; Melinda Olick, senior citizens coordinator; and Marjorie Maggard, town historian.
The board took no action for attorney for the town. Current attorney Thomas Seaman said he was anticipating changes and requested his appointment be tabled. The board is expected to revisit the matter at the Jan. 11 work session.
Wrapping up, the Town Board designated KeyBank as the official town depository, approved the town’s 2021 holiday schedule, mileage rates and designated its official town newspapers for the year. The Tribune/Sentinel will serve as official newspaper for informational pay ads and notifications, and the Niagara Gazette for legal notices.
Details on all Town Board reorganization items for 2021 can be found on the town’s website, www.townoflewiston.us.