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Sewer rate increase is possible in village

The Village Board used the first meeting of the new year Tuesday to discuss a variety of issues facing the village in the coming year, from sidewalks and sewer rates to the Frontier House and the Little Blue House.

They also welcomed new Superintendent of Public Works Bryan S. Meigs, who replaces longtime Superintendent David A. Jacobs. Jacobs retired Dec. 26.

Meigs said he has been with the village for the past 26 years and served as deputy superintendent for the past 2 1/2 years.

On the agenda for discussion was the potential increase in sewer rates, possibly with the next bill in April.

Mayor Richard F. Soluri said the rate the town is charging the village is up 15 cents [per 1,000 gallons] and village bills would need to reflect this increase.

Trustee Kenneth Kenney said the village sewer fund was "not in good shape" to absorb any increases.

"It's like a mandate. What can we do?" added Trustee Michael Marra.

Village Engineer Michael Merino said the village is going to need funding for improvements.

Trustees discussed using relicensing funds toward infrastructure and sewer taxes just to cover day-to-day operations and management.

Soluri said that at the next meeting they can decide if a 15-cent increase is adequate.

The board also discussed sidewalks on Mohawk and South Seventh streets and applying for a grant that could extend the sidewalk beyond Seventh, toward Sixth Street. A plan for repairing all the sidewalks in the village was also discussed. No work was approved, and nothing will begin until spring.

Trustees learned that plans to move the historic Little Blue House are continuing. The Old Ford Veterinary Clinic on Center Street was built in the early 1800s and is expected to be moved across the street to Academy Park and used for tourism. Merino said he is meeting with a contractor this week.

Another landmark, the Frontier House, is still under consideration for use as a culinary arts school for Niagara County Community College.

Soluri said the college is also considering sites in the City of Niagara Falls but has encouraged a letter-writing campaign to bring the school to Lewiston.

"We feel Lewiston is a better site, a better atmosphere, and has a lot to offer," said Soluri.

The board also discussed several plans to repair doors, the roof and install a generator at Village Hall. Trustee William Geiben said a civil defense grant may be available to get a generator if the building will be used as an emergency shelter.

The board is expected to meet again at 5 p.m. Jan. 16, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on the 15th. Residents are invited to speak with a representative from National Grid about longtime problems with electrical failures in the village.

Also on the agenda will be Samuel M. Ferraro of the Niagara County Economic Development Commission, who will discuss the Greenway Commission plan with trustees.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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