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Legislature committee backs new fire coordinator

A Niagara County Legislature committee unanimously approved the nomination of Jonathan F. Schultz to be the county's new fire coordinator Tuesday.

A confirmation vote next Tuesday by the full Legislature is expected to clear the way for Schultz, former chief of Lewiston's Upper Mountain Fire Company, to start his new job March 12.

Schultz, 38, is currently the Catholic Health System's manager of safety, health and emergency services for Sisters Hospital in Buffalo and its St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga.

His annual salary will be $64,753. The position was budgeted at $66,296, but County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz said he dialed it back a bit "because of experience."

Schultz, a newcomer to county government, was chosen after the top three scorers on a civil service examination were interviewed by a committee of county officials. He will become a permanent employee after a probationary period of up to a year.

"We are getting a very qualified and highly energetic individual who will enhance our fire coordinator and emergency management [department]," Glatz said.

In other matters Tuesday, the Administration Committee agreed to let the county Water District spend $300,000 from its surplus to drill a tunnel for a new water line under the Erie Canal near the Wruck Road Bridge in Royalton.

District Administrative Director Herbert A. Downs said Babcock Utilities of Gasport won the contract and must be done digging beneath the canal by April 15.

The state Department of Transportation has ordered the eventual removal of the bridge, which has a 10-inch water line attached to its frame. It was closed in 2007. Downs said he didn't know when the DOT would come up with the money for the demolition.

The committee also approved the Sewer District's reappointments of P. Andrew Vona of Lockport as its attorney and Conestoga-Rovers and Associates as its engineering firm for the next two years.

The engineering firm will be paid $750 a month plus an hourly rate for work on the district's projects.

Vona's pay -- a retainer of $2,500 a month plus $125 an hour for litigation and work on capital projects -- remains unchanged.

Also, Vona will pocket 1 percent of the value of any bond issue. Sewer District Director Anthony Hahn said a $4.2 million bond issue is in the works, so that's an extra $42,000 for Vona.