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TOWN OF NIAGARA – Contract talks that have been continuing for nearly a year and a half with town employees are apparently close to settlement.

The Town Board authorized Supervisor Steven Richards on Tuesday to sign a collective negotiations settlement agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association that represents about 41 town employees in the water, sewer, highway, and police departments as well as clerical positions in the town hall.

Richards declined to discuss details of the pact until it is ratified by the union membership. Richards said he did not know if a vote has been scheduled. Deputy Supervisor Danny Sklarski explained that union leadership had accepted the terms.

Sklarski called the contract “affordable for residents and businesses” and “within the realm of municipal contracts” that are being approved nowadays.

The contract is retroactive and will cover a six-year period that expires in 2018, it was noted.

In another matter, the board approved the long-debated rental fee schedule for use of facilities at Veterans Memorial Park.

The schedule, which has been discussed at several work sessions during the past year, was developed by Recreation Department head Lee Wallace. The schedule takes effect immediately.

For use of the Calvin K. Richards Community Center, residents will be charged $25 an hour along with a $150 security deposit. Baseball diamonds will cost them $50 per game and a $100 deposit. No charge will be made for use of any of the five pavilions to residents but a $100 deposit is required.

Non-residents are to pay $30 an hour for use of the center and $55 per game on the diamond. They will be charged $75 or $125, depending on which pavilion they rent. All security deposits are the same as the ones charged to residents. Richards said security deposits would be returned if there is no damage or problems from the usage.

Non-profit users would not be charged, Richards said.

Alcohol use is not permitted in the center nor in the park, according to the rules.