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ATMOSPHERE CORDIAL DURING WORK ON NEW GAS UTILITY

Two dissident Sloan Village Board members didn't get the information they wanted on the village's new gas utility Monday, but were pleased nonetheless at what one called a friendlier attitude toward them by the board majority.

"They were so cordial . . . 100 percent different than they've ever been," Trustee Denis A. Sommerfield said after a board work session, when he and fellow Trustee Dean M. Lach asked for an update on the Sloan-Hamburg Municipal Utility, which began operating last spring.

Sommerfield said that although village officials couldn't provide the specifics on the gas utility that he and Lach were seeking, their "more cooperative" attitude indicated it will be forthcoming.

"They seemed to want to give us all the information we asked for, which is encouraging," Sommerfield said. Since taking office in April, Lach and Sommerfield have complained about being shut out of internal government affairs, encountering difficulty in obtaining public records and being barred from non-public areas of Village Hall.

Meanwhile, Sloan Mayor Kenneth A. Pokorski said a special village meeting on the gas utility will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 in the Sloan Fire Hall. The purpose will be to update residents on the utility and let them air concerns and get their questions answered, he said.

Lach and Sommerfield said that although the utility is supposed to save residents money, some have complained that their bills have actually gone up with the advent of the village's own gas company.

Pokorski said the village meeting Oct. 5 will include representatives from the billing company, the village's consultant on utilities, and the Village of Hamburg. "With winter coming . . . it's time to make sure that everyone is on the same page," Pokorski said.

Last week, Sommerfield and Lach let it be known they would be asking questions about the gas utility at Monday's board work session, in case any residents wanted to attend and listen.

But in announcing the Oct. 5 meeting, Pokorski countered that many people can't attend afternoon meetings.

"A special meeting is the best way to allow residents to obtain information on the utility because, unlike a work session, it can be scheduled at night when residents (can) participate," Pokorski said.

In a jab at the two minority party trustees, the mayor said, "Our village government is geared toward serving the people of the village, not just two trustees who are not even customers of our village gas company. Hopefully, this meeting will (encourage) residents who have not yet joined the utility to share in the savings already being received by the present customers," Pokorski said. Sommerfield and Lach said that as trustees, they are supposed to be directors of the new Sloan-Hamburg utility, yet no board of directors meeting has been held since the utility began operating last spring.

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