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Wheatfield calls special meeting to award culvert project

WHEATFIELD – The Town Board will meet at 8 p.m. today to award a contract for reconstruction of a culvert on Errick Road at Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said the apparent low bidder at $77,000 is Site Services, the same company that received an $18,750 contract Monday to install a “flapgate,” a unit to hold a backflow preventer, on the drainage line leading from Wilrose Lake.

The culvert on Errick Road, carrying Sawyer Creek beneath the boulevard, “is starting to give way,” Cliffe said. “This rehabilitation should last about 30 years. To get the bridge done up to modern standards would cost about $250,000. This project will cost under $100,000.”

The flapgate project is part of the town’s ongoing effort to improve drainage in the southern part of Wheatfield. Earlier this year, the town cleaned pipes beneath Ward and Witmer roads, part of the two-mile southern drainage system that takes stormwater to the Niagara River.

The artificial lake is located on Wilrose Court, a road of about 35 homes in a subdivision off Krueger Road, east of Ward Road.

“(Drainage from) hundreds of homes all end up in that one lake,” Cliffe said. It doesn’t help matters that Wilrose Court is lower than the lake and the nearby creek, making the street flood-prone.

With the backflow preventer, Cliffe said, when the town pumps water out of the road, it won’t flow back into the artificial lake, whose normal level was lowered thanks to the pipe cleaning work earlier in the year.

Last December, a rainstorm combined with snowmelt flooded the street. “It went down in two days. When I took office, it would have taken 12 days,” Cliffe said.

The drainage system is hampered because the terrain drops only about two feet in the two-mile journey to the river. “It’s a very fragile system, and there’s not much head pressure,” Cliffe said.

In other action Monday, the board formally accepted the retirement of Highway Superintendent Arthur F. Kroening, effective Oct. 31, and appointed his deputy, Paul Siegmann, to replace him, The appointment lasts until the end of 2015, since it’s legally too late to place the office on this year’s election ballot. Kroening has held the post for 15 years; his term was to expire at the end of 2015.

Siegmann inherits Kroening’s salary of $65,100 for this year, which is scheduled to rise to $66,601 in 2015.

“It’s got to be the same, because you can’t cut a salary in the middle of a term,” Town Attorney Robert J. O’Toole said.

Siegmann will be able to appoint a new deputy highway superintendent, but the board would have to ratify his choice.

The board also passed a batch of minor adjustments in the proposed 2015 budget, the largest of which was to add $10,000 to pay for design services for a planned town veterans monument. The board increased the sales tax revenue estimate by $10,000 to come up with the money.

The other amendments resulted in a reduction of $4,657 on the spending side and $4,543 on the revenue side, increasing the proposed tax levy by $114, which didn’t alter the percentage increase of 0.84 percent.

A public hearing on the budget is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 3.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com