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Where we live; A town-by-town digest of what's happening in our communities

Amherst

Amherst elected officials' salaries will remain unchanged in 2012, according to resolutions filed for the town's annual reorganizational meeting on Jan. 3.

Robert Anderson, the town's highway superintendent, remains the highest paid elected official, earning $97,000 in base salary and stipends. The town's two full-time justices would each earn $96,700.

Supervisor Barry Weinstein's salary remains $75,000, while the town clerk will earn $65,000.

Council members receive $25,500, with the deputy supervisor earning an additional $3,000 stipend.

Some non-union employees and administrators would see some raises after most saw no raises in 2011.

The Town Board's reorganizational meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 3 in the Council Chambers of the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville. There will be no work session preceding the meeting.

Also coming up:

*There will be no meeting of the Williamsville Board of Trustees until Jan. 9.

***

Aurora

The Town Board plans to hire a new computer support services provider when it meets at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The town is considering proposals from Aurora Consulting Group, Binatech of West Seneca and Network Services.

The town is looking to not only improve its website, but address ongoing issues with its large fleet of more than 40 computers that are very old, including its server.

During a work session last week, town officials continued reviewing plans for seven new baseball diamonds on athletic fields at the new Town Hall complex at 300 Gleed Ave. No formal approval was given, although the Recreation Department sent notices to neighbors so they know what work will be going on near the new Town Hall.

Town officials also discussed a revised plan for space allocations for the new Town Hall, in which town offices will be relocated from the current Town Hall on the Roycroft Campus at the corner of South Grove and Main streets. The Town Board may soon vote on putting the renovations out to bid on the new Town Hall on Gleed, but town offices will likely not be relocated there until at least late spring or early summer.

"We run at the speed of government, and everything takes time," Councilwoman Susan Friess said.

In continuing a review of the town's policy manual, debate ensued between town officials and highway staff over taking town vehicles home. Friess said the Town Board does not have power over town highway law to dictate that, but she said she merely questioned it out of budget concerns.

Highway Superintendent David Gunner has the right to allow Jim Walczak, the working crew chief, to take home a town vehicle, if he deems it necessary, Friess said. She said she found merit in Walczak's reasons.

"Working crew chief Jim Walczak wanted to make his case of why he needs a vehicle at home because he responds when the police call or there's a water problem," Friess said. "He needed to argue his point with Dave Gunner. All we can do is ask the question to try to watch out for the taxpayer. Just justify it to us. I don't have a problem if he has a vehicle, but I wanted it justified because of the budget. The Town Board has no control over it."

***

Buffalo

Proposed regulations for food trucks will be introduced before the Common Council on Tuesday.

City lawmakers tabled the last set of rules for mobile food vending in January and have since tried to get both sides of the issue to develop a unified proposal. That didn't happen.

A committee of food truck owners and restaurant owners formulated two separate sets of proposed rules -- one from each side.

The latest proposal, sponsored by North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., would require a 100-foot buffer zone between food trucks and the property line of a restaurant with an operating kitchen. There would also be a 500-foot buffer zone between a mobile food vendor and a festival, or other city-sanctioned event.

When the proposal is introduced on Tuesday, it will likely be sent to the Legislation Committee. If no changes are made to the proposal, the earliest it could be approved by the Council is Jan. 10.

Tuesday's regular session of the Council begins at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers in City Hall.

Also coming up:

*The Council will hold its premeeting caucus at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Room 1417 of City Hall.

*The Buffalo School District will hold a series of public hearings on the renewal applications for three charter schools on Jan. 4 in Room 801 in City Hall. Here is the schedule: 3:45 p.m., Pinnacle Charter School; 4:10 p.m., Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School; and 4:30 p.m., Western New York Maritime Charter School. The hearings are required under state education law.

***

Cheektowaga

Angela M. Wozniak, the first Republican woman to hold a seat on the Cheektowaga Town Board, will take her spot on the seven-member panel at its meeting at 6:45 p.m. Jan. 3 in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 3301 Broadway.

Wozniak, 24, will be joined by another newcomer to the board, Gerald P. Kaminski, a Democrat, and incumbent Democrats Charles C. Markel and Supervisor Mary F. Holtz. All four won election to the Town Board in November.

Rounding out the board are Patricia A. Jaworowicz, Stanley J. Kaznowski III and James P. Rogowski, all Democrats.

Also coming up:

*All town offices will be closed Monday for a town holiday.

*The Town Board will hold a work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council office conference room.

*The Conservation Advisory Council will meet at 6 p.m. Jan. 5 in the council office council room.

*The Cleveland Hill Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 4 in the Community Room at 105 Mapleview Road.

*Cheektowaga's seniors will ring in 2012 in style with a New Year's dinner from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at Salvatore's Italian Gardens. For more information, contact the Cheektowaga Senior Center at 686-3930.

***

Clarence

Town Board members are working on their decision about the town attorney for next year.

Steven Bengart has held the position since January 2004. David Donohue has served as deputy attorney since January 2005.

No decision has been announced about who will hold those positions in 2012; the town's annual organizational meeting is scheduled for Jan 4.

Town Board members and the incoming supervisor, David C. Hartzell Jr., have met twice to discuss various appointments and assignments. A third such meeting is planned for 5 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall; if necessary, a fourth meeting will be 2 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall.

The choice of attorney will be a group decision, unlike Hartzell's appointment of Kathleen Hallock as deputy town supervisor, which does not require board approval.

The 2012 town budget calls for the town attorney/prosecutor to be paid $69,556, and for the deputy attorney to be paid $28,069.

During last Wednesday's Town Board meeting, Councilman Bernard J. Kolber and the outgoing supervisor, Scott A. Bylewski, praised Bengart's work on a case the town recently settled. In a show of support, Bylewski read aloud a portion of a letter written to Bengart by Dennis R. McCoy of Hiscock & Barclay, the opposing attorney in the case.

"You are to be applauded for working diligently toward this resolution at at a time when you were uncertain as to the future of your position with the town," McCoy wrote. "Others might have decided they would leave this important but difficult task for others. It's nice to see we have people in public service who take their responsibilities seriously."

Elsewhere in town, work is nearly complete on the Flight 3407 memorial at the site of the crash on Long Street in Clarence Center, said Michael B. Powers, president of Remember Flight 3407 Inc.

Four of the stepping stones had to be replaced, flat stone needs to be added to the top of a bench, and two boulder-type stones will be added to the site. One will have the address of the home the plane struck, and the other will display the names of the people who died in the accident, as well as the two people in the home who survived.

A dedication is planned for June 2012, when many of the families will be in town for the annual Flight 3407 Memorial 5K race.

***

Grand Island

The Town Board will meet at 8 a.m. Thursday for a workshop in Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road. Members will discuss drainage bids and the town's computer server.

Also coming up:

*The American Legion Grand Island Post 1346 will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 180, 2524 Grand Island Blvd.

***

Hamburg

Hamburg village employees will be trained in Lean Six Sigma, a management strategy used to increase efficiency.

The village has contracted with the University at Buffalo's Center for Industrial Effectiveness and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to provide Lean Six Sigma training at a cost of $4,600.

Village Administrator Donald Witkowski said department heads will undergo training and will select a project to work through with UB facilitators.

Village Board members also have appointed the son of Mayor Thomas Moses as a maintenance worker in the Recreation Department. Timothy Moses will start work Jan. 3 at a rate of $14.31 per hour. The mayor abstained on the appointment.

New Year's Eve in the Village of Hamburg will feature the second consecutive "Rock the Roundabout," but it won't be in a roundabout this year.

The family event, featuring music, games, refreshments as well as a ball drop at midnight, will start at 9 p.m. Dec. 31 in the village parking lot off Main and Buffalo streets.

Parking is available in SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church lot on Main Street.

Village garbage pickup will not be affected by the holidays and will take place on the regular days, Monday and Jan. 2.

Also coming up:

*The village Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Village Hall, 100 Main St.

*The Town Board will conduct its final meeting, usually reserved for end-of-year account transfers, at 8 a.m. Thursday in Town Hall, 6100 South Park Ave.

*The Village Board will conduct a work session at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3, followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. in Village Hall.

*The town Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 4 in Room 7B in Town Hall.

***

Lackawanna

Outgoing City Council President Chuck Jaworski got the last word in his longstanding feud with former First Ward Councilwoman Andrea Haxton.

Jaworski refused to allow Haxton the opportunity to address council members during the public hearing portion of their final meeting of 2011.

"You're not recognized," Jaworski said to an incredulous Haxton, who had raised her arm to speak.

Haxton has been a frequent critic of the council, and particularly Jaworski, since her days as a member of the board.

In the previous council meeting on Dec. 5, for example, when Haxton got up to speak, she concluded her address by asking Jaworski how it felt to be a "lame duck," a reference to the fact Jaworski did not win the mayor's seat and was leaving city government because his term as Council President is up on Dec. 31.

Jaworski at first responded that it felt great finally to be retired, but then turned to City Clerk Jacqueline Caferro and muttered: "What a nut."

Haxton admitted that the unusual question probably led to Jaworski's refusal to recognize her in the Dec. 19 meeting.

"Sure he's mad at me. He was fuming," said Haxton, who called the lack of recognition "a big insult."

"Right to the very end he stifled me," she said. "He tried to."

The Dec. 19 otherwise was full of good will among council members. In addition to Jaworski, 2nd Ward Councilman Geoffrey Szymanski and 4th Ward Councilman Joseph Schiavi also participated in their final meeting, and they received wishes and plaque presentations from colleagues, 1st Ward Councilman Abdul Noman and 3rd Ward Councilman Francis Kulczyk, whose terms continue.

Noman took the opportunity to thank a long list of city department heads, going on for several minutes, and finally prompting Szymanski to wise crack: "Abdul, you were talking like you were leaving."

Meanwhile Schiavi, who rarely offers any commentary at meetings was asked by Kulczyk if he had anything to say. Schiavi simply said, "No."

A minute later, he changed his mind, adding, "It's been a very interesting, enjoyable eight years. I never missed a meeting."

***

Lancaster

The Lancaster Historical Society's museum is closed until February for work to alleviate flooding issues in the museum basement and to add new exhibit cases on the first floor.

The museum at 40 Clark St., behind the Lancaster Opera House, closed Dec. 18 to give volunteers the time to prepare for the start of the construction, said Terry Wolfe, the society's vice president.

"It's a monumental job," she said.

P&G Woods Construction Co. will install a new drainage system in the basement and a second sump pump, said Wolfe and Terrence D. McCracken, general crew chief in the town's Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

The basement flooded three times this past spring and summer, and the floor still is covered with some silt from the last flood, Wolfe said. "We were so demoralized by the whole situation," she said.

Volunteers are temporarily relocating artifacts from the basement to the first floor and moving displays away from the perimeter of the basement to make room for the contractors.

The town is paying the $8,000 cost of the work in the basement of the town-owned building, with construction expected to begin after the New Year, McCracken said.

The society will end up paying $750 to $800 for the cost of labor and materials for the new display cases for the first floor, said Ruth Phillips, the society's treasurer and Wolfe's daughter.

Steven Parra, a Boy Scout working on his Eagle Scout service project, is overseeing the temporary relocation of the exhibits and is categorizing the society's collection of donated military uniforms, Wolfe said.

Wolfe added that, though the museum is closed, members of the public with questions for the staff still can call the society.

Also coming up:

*Supervisor-elect Dino J. Fudoli will hold his swearing-in ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Town Hall, 21 Central Ave. The public is encouraged to arrive any time after 1.

*The Depew Village Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Village Hall, 85 Manitou St.

***

Newstead

About 43 families, including 139 children, will benefit from the Akron/Newstead Rotary Club's annual holiday auction.

Event coordinator Sarah Kempistry said $15,000 was raised at the Dec. 1 event at the Timberlodge on Clarence Center Road that included the auction of wrapped gifts and a theme basket raffle. The proceeds are used to buy groceries and other items for families in need. Gifts donated by Angel Tree sponsors also will be distributed by local community service organizations.

Donations can be mailed to the club at P.O. Box 300, Akron 14001. Checks should be payable to Akron/Newstead Rotary Club and indicate Neediest Family Fund on the memo line. In other developments in the town, A very small turnout Wednesday of Akron Central School District voters approved spending $210,000 to buy buses and similar vehicles. The vote was 18-1, reported Cynthia Tretter, district administrator/treasurer.

Also coming up:

*The Town Board will hold its last meeting of this year at 8 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall, 5 Clarence Center Road. Town Hall is closed Monday.

*Newstead Senior Center is holding a New Year's gala from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday at Salvatore's Italian Gardens, 6461 Transit Road, Depew. Tickets are $25. For reservations, contact the center at 542-6645. Akron Fire Company, 1 Main St, is hosting a New Year's Eve dinner and dance starting at 7 p.m. Saturday. The dinner buffet at 8 p.m. is by Leo's Catering; there will be music and dancing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Presale tickets are $55 for a couple and $30 for singles; at the door, they will be $65 and $35. Sales are limited to 250. For more information, call 207-9745.

***

Orchard Park

Children walking to Orchard Park Middle School will have an added safety measure next spring when a pedestrian safety sign will be placed in a crosswalk near the school.

The Village Board has approved placing the portable sign warning motorists to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk on Lincoln Street near School Street.

Next year, another sign will be placed in the crosswalk on South Davis Street in front of the elementary school, Mayor John Wilson said. The third sign is to go on West Quaker at North and South Davis streets.

Wilson said the village is finalizing plans with the state Department of Transportation.

"We're looking to get people to use the crosswalk. We're looking to control the traffic," he said.

The signs will be placed at the crosswalks during the morning and afternoon, when children are going to and from school, he said. They will be put out from April through June, and again in September and October.

"These signs were specifically asked for by residents," Wilson said.

Also coming up:

*The Town Board will conduct a work session at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the supervisor's conference room in the Municipal Center, 4295 S. Buffalo St.

*The Town Board will hold its reorganization meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 4, immediately followed by its regular meeting in the Municipal Center. A work session will start at 5 p.m. Jan. 4 in the supervisor's conference room.

*At that meeting, the board will hold a public hearing on the "alarm avoidance" local law. The law sets up a fee schedule for false security alarms that require police and fire companies to respond.

*The first three alarms in a calendar year that police respond to would not result in fines.

*Board members want to cut down on the number of alarms police respond to, and they believe setting a limit in each calendar year will give residents the incentive to fix faulty alarms.

***

Southern Erie County

The Town of Boston swearing in ceremonies will be Jan. 1.

Newly elected Councilmen Gary E. Vara and Lawrence A. Murtha along with Boston Town Clerk David Shenk will be sworn in at 12:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 8500 Boston State Road, by Town Justice Michael M. Metzger.

Highway Superintendent Robert J. Telaak will be sworn in at 2 p.m. by Town Justice Debra K. Bender.

Also coming up:

*The Marilla Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 1740 Two Road Road, for its annual close-out meeting.

*The Wales Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 12345 Big Tree Road, for its annual close-out meeting. Appointments will be extended to the organizational meeting on Jan. 10.

***

Town of Tonawanda

Water and sewer rates, as well as the water capital improvement fee, will increase during each of the next two years in the Town of Tonawanda.

"The last time we did this was two years ago," Councilman Joseph H. Emminger explained at this week's Town Board meeting. "We are looking at 5 percent increases for the water and sewer rates for our town residents."

The capital improvement fee, implemented in 2008, can be used only to pay for capital improvements.

"The need for water and sewer infrastructure in our town is great. The capital improvement fee is not going to pay for all of that," Emminger said.

Quarterly water rates for residents currently begin at $33 for the first 10,000 gallons consumed. That will increase to $34.50 in 2012 and $36 in 2013.

For industrial users, monthly water rates begin at $13.20 for the first 4,000 gallons consumed. That will increase to $13.80 in 2012 and $14.40 in 2013.

Sewer charges, which are based on water consumption and sewage flow, are $2.23 per 1,000 gallons. They will increase to $2.39 in 2012 and $2.56 in 2013.

The water capital improvement fee, a fixed cost, is $5.58 a quarter for residents and $1.86 a month for industrial customers. That will increase to $5.85 and $1.95, respectively, in 2012, and $6.15 and $2.05, respectively, in 2013.

Also coming up:

*The Kenmore Planning Board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Room 15 in the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave.

*The Tonawanda Town Board holds its annual organizational meeting a 5 p.m. Jan. 3 in Council Chambers in the Municipal Building. A work session begins at 4 in the conference room.

*The Kenmore Village Board meets at 8 p.m. Jan. 3 in Council Chambers in the Municipal Building. A work session begins at 6:30 in the mayor's office.

***

West Seneca

The ceremonial swearing-in of new West Seneca Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan and newly elected Town Board members John M. Rusinski and Eugene P. Hart Jr. will be held at 4 p.m. Friday in the West Seneca Senior Citizens Center, 4620 Seneca St.

Meegan, an incumbent Town Board member herself, defeated incumbent Supervisor Wallace C. Piotrowski in a hard-fought election in November. Hart and Rusinski are newcomers to the three-member board.

Rusinski narrowly edged out Richard P. Schunke for the post, scoring a 5,990-to-5,826 victory, according to results from the Erie County Board of Elections.

The new Town Board will hold its organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 4 in Town Hall, 1250 Union Road.

Also coming up:

*Town Hall will close early on Friday, with town offices closing at 3 p.m.

*An opening reception for "Historical West Seneca, the newest exhibit at the Charles E. Burchfield Nature and Art Center, will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 6 at the center's 2001 Union Road location.

*Town Historian Jim Pace is scheduled to provide a brief lecture on some of the events, places and people depicted in the exhibit.

*The exhibit is being provided by the West Seneca Historical Society and will feature photographs and artifacts depicting the lifestyles, buildings and people who contributed to the town over its history. Among the free-standing artifacts on display will be a sewing machine, spinning wheel and "Ebenezer People."

*The exhibit will be on display from Jan. 4 to Feb. 1 during regular hours at the center.

***

Town of Orchard Park / By the numbers

Total population: 29,054

AGE:

Median: 44.4
Percent under 5: 4.9
Percent under 18: 23.7
Percent over 65: 18.5

***

Population by sex

52.1% female

47.9% male

***

Population by race

96.7% white
1.6% Hispanic
1.3% Asian
0.7% black

***

HOUSING:

Total units: 12,104
Percentage vacant: 5.8
Percent owner occupied: 76.3
Percent renter occupied: 23.7

***

HOUSEHOLDS:

Total: 11,398
Average size: 2.51
Percent with husband-wife: 59.3
Percent with husband-wife and kids under 18: 25.1
Percent with single fathers: 1.6
Percent with single mothers: 3.8

Source: 2010 Census