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New full-time budget officer will take over all financial duties in Lewiston

LEWISTON – There will only be one person handling finances in the Town of Lewiston, not two, Supervisor Dennis J. Brochey said after Monday’s town board meeting.

He announced to the board on Monday that Certified Public Accountant Paul Kloosterman will officially take on the role of full-time budget officer on Monday. Brochey said the former budget officer, Michael A. Johnson, will stay on to train him for a few months until he feels comfortable in the position, but Brochey said after the meeting that he expects Johnson to move on and leave his employment with the town once that transition is in place.

At the reorganizational meeting Johnson was removed from his role as budget officer and then appointed in a 5-0 vote to a secondary financial role as internal claims auditor. The civil service position, which was created in the 2014 budget, gave Johnson the same salary he was making as budget officer, about $42,500, according to Johnson. The board has taken no steps to remove him from the newly created position. He was replaced by Kloosterman, a Lewiston resident and Niagara University graduate. Johnson said after he was appointed that he would be responsible for procurements, negotiations, overseeing contractors and purchases.

But Brochey said he has met with Johnson and spoke to him about leaving.

“He knows we have talked about this,” said Brochey.

But Brochey said it may take several months to make the transition adding, “Mike has a wealth of knowledge to share.”

Brochey said due to his education and training as a certified public accountant, Kloosterman will be paid a salary of $60,000, but will not receive benefits.

Kloosterman “is really what I feel we need. Mike told us two or three months ago that if we don’t get things straightened out we would be looking at a town tax in 2014,” Brochey added. “I don’t want that on my watch.”

In another matter, Town Engineer Robert Lannon outlined a plan to address a longstanding problem with drainage issues for Riverwalk subdivision residents. According to Lannon the plan was investigated in 2009, but never completed.

He told the board that they would like to connect a drain pipe to an existing 24-inch drain pipe underneath River Road, which would then flow into the Niagara River.

Lannon explained to the board that the storm pipe, in Joseph Davis State Park, is owned by the New York State Parks and were told by New York State Parks that before any connection can be made they would need to inspect, clean and video all of the existing pipe to determine it’s integrity before making any connections.

He said he felt that was a fair request and told the board that a two-man crew can do this for about $3,500 and would likely take three to four days. Lannon said he would get quotes for the board.