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200 write to support Stowell duties

A town resident Tuesday night presented letters from 200 residents urging the Town Board to return sewer and water duties to Highway Superintendent Jeffrey R. Stowell.

Sandra L. Masterson, a Pendale Circle resident, reminded Town Supervisor James A. Riester of her promise made in a January meeting to produce letters from at least 100 residents asking the board to reconsider its action assigning Stowell's water and sewer duties to James T. Argo, his former deputy. The Town Hall meeting room was packed with about 70 residents, many of them supporters of Stowell.

Masterson called the new position unnecessary, noting that many of the residents who wrote letters are concerned about their taxes rising.

Currently, Stowell earns $48,000 a year as highway superintendent and Argo $53,000 as water and sewer superintendent. No new positions were created, but Argo got a salary increase.

Town Board members have argued that because the town is growing, there is too much work for Stowell to do.

In addition, Councilman Joseph M. Frawley said during a previous meeting that the board was losing confidence in Stowell.

"There are 40 items" on a Town Board list noting problems with Stowell, Frawley said.

One problem, he noted, is that Stowell does not come to work meetings.

Riester said during a January meeting that he would like to cut taxes and the number of employees in the Highway Department. He said the Town Board could cut the highway tax almost in half by eliminating three positions.

The issue is likely to surface when the Town Board meets in a work session at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in Town Hall.

The board scheduled a public hearing on an update to the town master plan for 7:30 p.m. March 7.


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