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North Collins to study Lawtons water system woes

NORTH COLLINS — James Lint of Marshfield Road in Lawtons came to the North Collins Town Board looking for assistance. Lint holds a water certificate and has been volunteering his time stewarding the more than 100-year-old water system that serve 40 homes.

New York state health officials are insisting on repairs to the system that would amount to at least $250,000 in expenditures.

According to Town Clerk Margaret Orrange, her records indicate the formation of a private water district in the area in 1913 under the name of the “Unincorporated Village of Lawtons.”

Lint said the system is simple. Four springs feed a storage container; gravity then takes the water to the homes served. The ease of operation has kept costs for water low for participants.

The town does not operate any water system and Town Attorney Richard Schaus said the town would need to form a water district if it were to decide to get involved and a public hearing would be required.

Orrange said she has done some preliminary research on the topic and believes a no-interest loan could be secured from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The town could also apply for Community Block Grant Funding, which she estimated to be $100,000.

Lint said there was a possible second alternative to repairing the current system. The Seneca Nation water system currently terminates on Seneca Street, a quarter of a mile from the affected area. Informal requests to extend that line have been met favorably and the Nation already provides water to several municipalities off of its territory.

The board approved having Orrange continue to work with the Lawtons committee on the research she is doing.

Councilman Karen Ricotta voiced her concern that payments to the three fire companies in town had been held up. Historically, the contracts were paid on or around March 15 and the contract itself calls for payment no later than April 1. Ricotta said payments were issued May 5 this year, and only after a request by one of the companies.

Supervisor Rosaline Seege agreed payment was late and cited her involvement with the recent audit of the town and other matters as the cause for the delay.

Councilman Mike Perry reported that the electronics recycling program that the town has sponsored for the past two years is no longer free and would now cost the town $2,000 to run. He suggested residents utilize the regular collection dates in Brant, which charge a nominal fee for non-residents.

Jan Mathis, co-recreation leader, reported on his palette of offerings. The first Mother’s Day breakfast drew a large crowd and Mathis thanked the Cub Scouts volunteers.

Concerts will be back this summer, with two scheduled for Danker Park in New Oregon and two in the gazebo in Dr. Joy Park in the village. The first concert there will immediately follow Memorial Day services and will feature high school student performers.

Fox Construction has donated poles for three volleyball courts and Mathis requested $150- $200 to purchase nets.

To date, seven individuals have made donations toward creating a Frisbee® golf course in Fricano Park. Donors will be recorded with permanent plaques at each hole.

The after-school program has offered a more structured environment, since teacher aide Terry Blidy has taken the lead. Included now is accelerated reader time, along with time in the elementary school’s computer lab.

Reporting for the parks committee, Sue Alessi voiced some concern over plans for the parks, especially the Frisbee® golf course.

“We need a master plan; we can’t just keep putting things anywhere,” Alessi said.

Mathis assured her that aerial views of the park will be used to determine placement. Feelers for landscape architectural services have also been put out.

Highway Superintendent David Winter reported his contact with a firm that produces playground equipment.

He will develop a fundraising plan to add playground equipment to all three parks that is designed for children with disabilities. He also urged park users to utilize the parking lots. “It’s not safe for kids to be going to cars parked along the road,” Winter said.

Mike Gullo informed the board that the newly formed baseball association would be willing to take over the fall Youth Soccer League. He requested that materials on hand and any monies left in the soccer account be given to his group. The board approved transfer of the equipment, but will need to study the books to determine how much money is from the soccer program.

Karl Simmeth, representing New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro, presented Orrange with a State Certificate in honor of Municipal Clerk’s Week.

In other board matters:

– A work session was set for May 27 at 7 p.m.

– The continuance of agreement with Erie County that sees the town receive $10 for every driving while intoxicated arrest within its borders was approved.

– It was agreed that plaques will be secured to recognize Corinne Leone who is the honoree of this year’s Susan B. Komen “Race for the Cure,” and for Annie Metcalf, principal of North Collins Junior-Senior High School, on her selection as New York State Principal of the Year. The awards will be presented at the July meeting.

– Setting the pay rate for program director for the town’s summer youth program at $12.50 per hour was approved. That position is currently being advertised.

– The retaining of Chad Lantaff to rake and stripe the town’s ball fields through the start of the fall soccer season for $1,500 was approved.

The town board will next meet in a work session on May 27 and in regular session on June 11.
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