Town Board OKs serial bond refinancing, town fee schedules
By Terry Duffy
With a limited Town Hall audience and viewers on Zoom Monday evening, the Lewiston Town Board meeting had its focus on various financial matters. Newsmakers included:
•The Town Board moved on a resolution intended to provide financial savings to Lewiston from a 2013-dated municipal bond of roughly $5 million. Town Attorney Al Bax said its financial consultant from Municipal Solutions Inc. had recommended the town pursue a new lender and obtain a more favorable rate.
“They had recommended that we go out or a RFP to see if we can have other lenders possibly provide us with a better deal and save the town some money,” he said.
Bax revealed the town could, in fact, realize a savings of $594,000 over the next 12 years.
“This has been estimated by Municipal Solutions. … The greatest savings will come from these bonds being reissued by Green County Commercial Bank (located in Catskill),” he said. “Part of the savings … is that Green will be holding these internally; they will not be reissuing to the public. There’s a sizable savings right there.”
Bax added, “This particular financial institution was able to save an additional $50,000 over the next … greatest bank (lender).”
Bax said the resolution, once approved by the Town Board, would trigger the refunding of $3.18 million from the original bond to go toward refinancing by Green County Commercial Bank.
The board went on to approve the resolution by a 5-0 vote. It took effect Feb. 22.
•Town Councilman Rob Morreale presented a resolution to update the town’s municipal fee schedule. Morreale said the fee schedule had not been updated since 2006, and Building and Zoning Inspector Tim Masters worked on revising it over the past year.
“It had a lot inequities that just didn’t make sense. … It needed to get done,” Morreale said.
“The fees have not been updated since 2006,” Masters said, noting the town has been charging the same $400 building fee since that time.
“For the last year, we have been reviewing it, getting comments from contractors, checking other town’s fees. It’s all the same amount of work. … In one place, they’re getting 10 times the amount of money that we’re getting for doing the same amount of work,” Masters said.
He noted that, in addition to revising the fee schedule for building and zoning, fees are also being revised for planning review, and subdivisions, which have not been updated since 2012.
Town Councilman John Jacoby said the new fees reflect the time town inspectors have to spend on all the background areas needed toward permit approvals.
“I think our old fees, broken down, we were paying far more in wages and benefits. … It was a total loss. Now we’re approaching at least a break even on it,” he said.
Bax said the resolution incorporates two sets of fees: the 2021 fee chart for the building department and another for the municipal review fee schedule.
The matter went on to be approved by a 5-0 vote and takes effect immediately.
•The town took action on a bid packet for the Kiwanis Park basketball project. Town Engineer Robert Lannon of GHD said the project calls for demolishing the existing half-court basketball court, constructing a new, larger court in its place, along with a new half-court.
“The existing basketball court, tennis court and pickle ball courts would all be repaved, as well,” Lannon said.
He noted drainage issues would also be addressed and new basketball goals installed, which were acquired earlier by Parks Director Mike Dashineau.
Soon after, the board approved for the Kiwanis project to go out to bid by GHD.
•Town of Lewiston Senior Center Director Melinda Olick said the AARP tax prep program at the center is now underway.
“People should call if they would like an appointment for seniors to have their taxes prepared by AARP,” she said.
Olick noted the program will run on Mondays and Fridays at the center to April 12. For more information, call the center at 716-754-2071.