WHEATFIELD – The Town Board committed Monday to supplying $189,000 in matching funds if a state grant is obtained to build a sidewalk on Krueger Road, where a teenage pedestrian was killed in a hit-and-run accident.
However, residents on Krueger and surrounding streets may ultimately have to provide the money because the town may create a special tax district to pay for the sidewalks rather than put the expense into the general town budget to be paid by all taxpayers.
“There’s a good possibility that residents on Krueger Road are going to have to pick up $189,000, just so there’s no surprises,” Councilman Gilbert G. Doucet said.
Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said that there are about 674 homes in the area bounded by Niagara Falls Boulevard and the North Tonawanda border, between Ward and Nash roads. Those residents cannot be taxed for the sidewalks without their consent.
Town Attorney Matthew E. Brooks said that about 75 percent of the affected residents must approve and that a public hearing is mandatory.
Krueger is where 16-year-old pedestrian Ryan Fischer was killed by a hit-and-run driver in November 2014. He is believed to have been walking just inside the traffic lane, because at the time there was very little space between the pavement and a drainage ditch. Since then, the town has filled in the ditch with level ground over a buried drainpipe.
Cliffe said that Monday’s vote was necessary for the town’s application for $945,000 from the state, but whether there will be a sidewalk district for Krueger is yet to be determined.
The supervisor said he doesn’t want to tax all town residents for the sidewalk. The match is 20 percent of the grant.
“We can’t go any farther with the application unless we do this,” Cliffe said.
Town grant writer Bernie Rotella said that it will take several months to obtain grant approval and that if it comes, the Town Board will have to vote again to accept the funds.
Brooks said that it would also take several months to go through the process to create a sidewalk district.
Krueger resident Debbie Fadel said she was frustrated by the delays. “I don’t understand,” she said. “This is safety.”