Gene Stevenson, head of the Elma Water Department, told the Town Board Wednesday that several residents have suffered frozen pipes, including water lines inside their homes.

He cautioned residents not to use torches to thaw the lines but to call a professional plumber. Heating the frozen pipes too fast could cause them to burst or cause a fire in the wall, Stevenson said.

He suggested opening faucets, which could allow water to expand and prevent pipes from bursting, and leaving doors open under vanities so heat can reach the pipes inside.

The Water Department chief made his report during the Town Board’s annual reorganization meeting.

The board routinely approved numerous personnel appointments and regulations, and Supervisor Dennis Powers appointed Councilman Tracy Petrocy as deputy supervisor to serve in Power’s place if necessary.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of each month except for June, July and August when it will meet only on the third Wednesdays.

For the fifth year in a row the town will enter into an agreement to share an assessor with West Seneca.

The cost will be $42,099, including salary, fringes and taxes.

Building Inspector Joseph Colern reported that for the year 2013 his department issued 281 building permits, collecting fees of $147,298 on an estimated construction value of $21.11 million.

There were 50 homes, including 5 duplexes and 12 patio homes. Fees for the year were up $30,000 and the number of homes up by 20.

Residents were urged to sign up for the town’s Code Red Alert via the Internet. The code was used recently to remind people of a driving ban and closure of town departments during the blizzard this week.

The next board meeting will be a work session at 6 p.m. next Wednesday.