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Town of Lewiston Board reviews EMS proposal; approves new INI fees


Tue, Jun 4th 2024 07:00 am

Board signs off on Modern litter fence, new Dollar General in Sanborn

By Terry Duffy


EMS services and inflow and infiltration fees were among the varied news items at the Town of Lewiston Board’s regular meeting on May 30.

John Malinchock, president and assistant chief of emergency medical services at Upper Mountain Volunteer Fire Co., visited and sought approval to participate in a new EMS benefit earlier approved by New York state. Malinchock said the plan allows for fire companies to be directly reimbursed by insurance carriers for fees covering EMS services.

“Last year, New York state passed legislation that allows us to be reimbursed for fees,” he said. “Those fees would be collected through the (patient’s) billing agency and would be basically assessed to the insurance carriers of the providers that we service within our district.”

Malinchock said the resolution allows fire companies to set a fee schedule for their EMS services; the patient would not be responsible beyond their deductible or what the insurance carrier pays.

Discussing the state’s direct pay bill to assist EMS providers, Malinchock continued, “We bill the insurance agency; the insurance agency then accepts the payments (for the service). No resident in our district would be paying anything beyond that. So, if they were to add their deductible, the deductible would be balanced out. … Basically, over the course of the last year, the state has seen a wave of the fee system being enacted.”

Malinchock said 12 volunteer fire companies in Niagara County have either received approval from their municipalities or are in the process of getting approval. He mentioned the Shawnee and Rapids companies as two local examples.

“The price of everything is going up. … We’re providing this service to our residents,” Malinchock said. “The enactment (by the state) basically allows us to set fees that will help us to offset some costs, that allow us to claim though the program and put it towards our firematic program. Our hope is to get it in place by the end of July.”

“We’ve started negotiations with our billing agency on this. They’re drafting the appropriate changes that have to be in place,” he said.

Supervisor Broderick said Town Attorney Alfonso Marra Bax would need to review the matter prior to any board approval.

“I don’t believe the board is prepared tonight to pass that resolution,” Broderick said. “But as soon as we can possibly get it on the next agenda, (we will). I reached out to (Niagara County Director of Emergency Services and Fire Coordinator) Jonathan Schultz. He said a lot of fire companies are pushing for it. Hopefully, we’ll have a resolution for the next meeting.”

The program, which would cover residents in the Upper Mountain service area, drew the support of Town Council members John Jacoby and Sarah Roat Waechter.

“This is all about getting quality ambulance service available to the people in Lewiston,” said Jacoby, a retired battalion chief with the Niagara Falls Fire Department. “And we can’t offer quality ambulance service unless it’s properly funded. And the only other alternative is to somehow invent a new tax. This particular program … will allow Upper Mountain to provide the service that it’s intended to provide.”

In other news, Broderick unveiled a new town fee intended to offset increased inflow and infiltration costs resulting from the impact of increased water/sewer usage in all new subdivisions. The proposal would impose a “$100-per-gallon-per-minute” water usage fee onto the developer’s PIP building fee schedule to cover associated INI increases.

According to Jeff Ritter, superintendent of the Town of Lewiston Water Pollution Control Center, the new fee reflects the monetary component of a regulation the state Department of Environmental Conservation established for the purpose of controlling INI activity into a sewer system. It places the charge on the developers of large subdivisions in a community, such as Essex Homes, Legacy of Oak Run in the town.

Ritter said the INI fee system has become common practice in municipalities throughout Erie County and was adopted into the Lewiston code in 2020.

The Town Board’s action taken last week merely established the monetary component. The fee does not impact the builder of a single-family residence or subdivision.

“The DEC requires any kind of developer that puts more than 2,500 gallons a day to our sewer system to pay an INI offset fee. … Originally, (a developer) would have (had) to remove four-and-one-half times the amount of water they proposed to put into a (sewer system),” Ritter said. “(In response), Erie County came out with a DEC-approved list of (property issues)” and assigned a fee based on the impact to the system.

“A crack in a pipe is this many gallons per minute of INI. A broken manhole is this many gallons of INI. So, what towns in Erie County started to do – and we adopted in Local Law No. 1 of 2020 – the Town of Lewiston changed it into a monetary consideration. After they changed it to a monetary consideration, there was a fee schedule put with it. A fee schedule was put in place in accordance with the local law (last week).

“We wanted to make sure that was on all the building departments (in the town), and the Planning Board fees up front, so that (developers) know what it is.”

Ritter reiterated the fee only impacts the developer and not the individual builder of a single-family home. “So, if you were to buy a house in a neighborhood that is building 100 houses, the developer has to pay that.”

He said a one-person household may contribute about 100-150 gallons of water per day toward the sewer. “So, (for developers), if you’re going to put about 2,500 gallons in, it’s a few houses you’re going to build. … It’s the developers who are going to build the houses before they even buy them.”

The measure went on to be approved by the board. It will be placed into the fee schedule of section 270-63 of the town code.

Wrapping up, the board approved a Planning Board type 2 State Environmental Quality Review and revised site plan recommendation presented by Councilman Rob Morreale for Modern Disposal. The resolutions allow for construction of a litter fence on Porter Center Road by Modern as part of its ongoing landfill redesign work in the area.

Also approved was a Planning Board SEQR review and site plan recommendation for construction of a new, 10,640-square-foot Dollar General store by the Broadway Group at 2835 Saunders Settlement Road in Sanborn. Conditions approved by the board call for the Broadway Group to submit a state DOT-approved work permit for related roadwork improvements on Saunders Settlement Road; and submit applications covering revised site plans for a proposed dumpster area at the site; and for improved landscaping to comply with town code.

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