TOWN OF NIAGARA - The creation of a commercial sidewalk district will be put off until next year.
Supervisor Steven Richards said the district, which would ensure sidewalks along Military Road would be cleaned of snow and ice for pedestrians, needed more work before it could be presented at a public hearing. Discussion of the district was slated for the Town Board's meeting on Tuesday.
During the winter months, state road plows pile huge amounts of snow off the road and leave the sidewalks impassable. Town officials are concerned that the situation could result in accidents or fatalities as pedestrians walk in the road.
A similar statute was enacted in Amherst last year, 10 years after three teenagers were struck and killed by a vehicle as they walked on Niagara Falls Boulevard.
In the new district, sidewalks would be cleared by town crews and the businesses would be charged. The board still needs to decide how much of the three miles of road between Route 31 and the boundary line with Niagara Falls would be included in the district and how the payment formula would be structured.
The charges could be based on property assessments, frontal footage, or a flat rate. Highway Superintendent Robert Herman told the board last month he thought the town should come up with a total cost and spread it out evenly among the businesses. His preliminary figures for labor and equipment costs would be "manageable for them."
Richards said there would not be time to work out funding of the district before the 2013 town budget is drawn. Richards scheduled presentation of the budget for Oct. 2.
Until the district is created, businesses would be responsible for cleaning the sidewalks, he said. If the sidewalks are found obstructed, the town would perform the snow removal and charge the business.
In another matter, Richards told Police Chief James Suitor at a board work session Thursday that he would have to wait until next year to purchase any new patrol cars for his department.
Discussion of the purchase of four police cars was on the agenda for next week, but Richards said the request would have to be pulled due to budget constraints. No formal cost estimate was given, but the supervisor told Suitor he should put it in his department budget for 2013.
The chief remarked that he would be forced to continue to repair the existing fleet. He said he has spent about $15,000 on repairs so far this year.