LEWISTON – Town Supervisor Dennis J. Brochey gave the Lewiston Town Board a list of numbers Monday that added up to nearly $2 million of town money used to help fund Artpark over the past 11 years.
He said he wants to stop paying Artpark a share of annual Modern Disposal tipping fees and also have Artpark cover the cost of police protection for Tuesday and Wednesday summer concerts.
“We’ve helped Artpark get on its feet long enough and it’s time that we take care of our town’s needs,” Brochey said. “We have a worn out senior bus that has 171,000 miles on it. A senior center with a leaky roof and no air conditioning. Our own sewer department needs a new roof. Our electronics water meter heads are two years beyond their life expectancy. All of our roads need repaving and a new larger water line is needed in front of Lewiston-Porter School.”
Brochey said all combined the town needs about $3 million and called the town “overbonded” at $14.4 million.
“I’m trying to put a stop from going for more,” Brochey said of bonding. “As great as Artpark has been for many years, we have to stop now and keep the money for Lewiston.”
Brochey said that each year, the town gives Artpark $120,000 in tipping fees and wants that money to go instead into town coffers. He also said that the town is paying $65,000 towards police protection during the Artpark summer concert season, with the Village of Lewiston paying 19 percent or $12,350.
Councilman Ronald Winkley, a former Lewiston police chief, disputed Brochey’s numbers for police protection – suggesting a number closer to $42,000 not $65,000.
Winkley, who is also a former member of the Artpark board of directors, additionally disputed the timing of the plan to cut funding.
“[Artpark] just wants to know the true costs. I did those numbers for seven years,” Winkley said of police protection. “If we were going to stop Artpark from getting that money, we should have told them in January because they are already in their season and are committed to their shows. This is money that goes towards their children’s programming. We are not here to blackmail Artpark.”
Brochey also asked the board to lower the New York Power Authority discount on water bills.
Both matters were tabled by the board in order to discuss the matter with Artpark, the police department and board members.
The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on April 28.