LOCKPORT – Thomas J. Keough, a retired Air National Guard officer, was appointed Wednesday to fill a vacant seat on the Town Board.
Keough, 62, a Republican, replaces Cheryl A. Antkowiak, who was elected town justice in November.
Keough’s appointment is good through the end of this year. He said he intends to run this fall for the final year left on Antkowiak’s term. Voters will fill the seat for a full four years in the 2015 election.
“I’ve always liked how this town is managed and has grown, and I wanted to be part of it,” said Keough, who has lived in the Town of Lockport since 1992.
He said he was in part recruited to the seat by Councilman Mark C. Crocker, a former colleague of his in the military. Supervisor Marc R. Smith said Crocker probably would have had to abstain on the vote to appoint Keough, but Crocker missed Wednesday’s meeting because of a death in the family.
Keough, who has never sought public office before, was in the Air National Guard from 1975 to 2007. In the 107th Air Refueling Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, he was chief of safety from 1993 to 1996; operations support flight commander from 1996 to 1999; group commander and air operations officer from 1999 to 2006; and wing vice commander in 2006-07.
He moved to Florida for two years after that to work for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, where he flew old F-4 fighters by remote control in weapons system testing at Tyndall Air Force Base.
“Tom had an amazing career, and we’re very glad he’s interested in being on the Town Board,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, the board appointed Antkowiak’s husband, Daniel, to a seat on the Lockport Community Cable Commission.
In other matters Wednesday, the board scheduled a public information meeting for 7 p.m. Feb. 10 in Town Hall regarding an upcoming sidewalk installation project on East High Street, Locust Street Extension, Shimer Drive and other streets near public schools. The town received a state grant for the work.
The board voted to open bids Feb. 21 on a sewer pump station upgrade on Eastview Drive. Town Engineer Robert D. Klavoon said the new pump will be buried underground, and a natural gas-powered emergency generator will be above ground in a fenced enclosure. The project was expected to cost $255,000, but Smith said burying the pump instead of placing it in a building is expected to reduce that by about 10 percent.
Residents in that neighborhood have complained about flooding, as have those on Forestview Drive near Tonawanda Creek. Klavoon said a survey in a detention pond there will determine whether it needs to be cleaned or whether there’s a drainpipe that can empty the pond into Mud Creek.
The board also voted to open bids Feb. 27 on an estimated $150,000 sprinkler system for the town highway garage, and it voted to seek proposals for a larger shed to store electronic waste as it waits for recycling pickup.
Smith said the current 10-by-16-foot shed, which cost $3,600 three years ago, has proven to be too small to hold all the material. It is likely to be moved to a park for storage use, and the new shed is expected to measure 12 by 30 feet and cost about $7,300, Klavoon estimated.