LEWISTON – The Lewiston Town Board accepted a 2013 financial report on Thursday that paints a dire picture of the financial health of the town.
Finance Director Paul Kloosterman told board members that in 2013, the town had a net deficit of $700,000 and cut into the fund balance quite heavily. Kloosterman said one cause of the deficit is that tipping fees from Modern Disposal are down.
He said he doesn’t see any change for the current year. “It is a concern,” Kloosterman said. “We’re really getting down to a low point. My concern is that there will be a town tax or there will have to be something done.”
Kloosterman said residents may lose their water discounts from the New York Power Authority.
Last month, Supervisor Dennis J. Brochey had sought to use power authority funds to buy new water meters for the town and village, but when that failed, the Town Board adopted a plan to reduce discounts, from about $10 per month to approximately $7.50 per month, in order to fund the meters.
Kloosterman said the power authority told town officials they should never have been using the authority fund for water rate discounts in the first place.
“They told us the discount that we have been doing was not proper and it was supposed to be used for the electricity to run the pumps for the water meters. They want us to stop the discounts immediately and come up with a new plan,” he told the board.
Councilmen Michael Marra and Ronald Winkley said the plan that is in place for water bills had been approved. Rather than changing the discounts immediately, the board agreed to have the town attorney discuss the plan with the power authority.
In another matter, the board voted, 4 to 1 with Brochey dissenting, to allow Artpark to pay $40,000 for police protection and traffic cone setups for the upcoming summer concert season.
Brochey said after the meeting that the costs should be closer to $70,000 to $80,000.
The board also announced the death of the Lewiston Police Department’s K-9, Radar.
Radar, at age 7 was still in his prime, but had to be euthanized Wednesday after being diagnosed with spleen cancer, said Marra.
“My condolences go out to Officer Scott Stafford, who was his handler and who spent basically every day with Radar,” Marra said.
Lewiston Police Chief Christopher Salada said the department will be seeking to purchase another dog from the Czech Republic. Salada said the dog will be trained and funds to purchase and ship it already have been arranged through a donation.