BROCTON - Goals for the town of Portland in 2014 were outlined during the town council's regular meeting. Elected officials were sworn in by Town Justice Richard Delcamp and the council held its annual reorganizational meeting to establish town business for the new year.
Atop the list of priorities for the town will be: actively working on the Peerless Street Bridge Project; resolving the town's longstanding problem with the highway garage floor; researching and working with the town of Pomfret and the West Town of Dunkirk to find ways to correct the water issues along Route 5 in the town; and working with Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation on the large-scale North County Regional Water system to provide the most adequate water to town residents and businesses at the most effective cost.
Town Supervisor Dan Schrantz also named involvement with the town assessor to research and update the town's property records and equalization rate process; and pursuing shared services to investigate ways to reduce costs and provide the best services to town taxpayers as equally important goals heading into 2014. The council unanimously adopted the reorganizational policy for 2014, as well as the procurement policy, with no changes from last year.
Photo by Ann Belcher
Portland Town Justice Richard Delcamp (far left) administers the oath of office to elected officials in the town of Portland. Serving the town are, left to right: Town Justice Rob Myers, Town Highway Superintendent Ronald Delcamp, Deputy Clerk & Registrar of Vital Statistics Susan Hindman, Town Clerk & Registrar of Vital Statistics Roxane Sobecki, Councilman Jerry Boltz, Town Supervisor Daniel Schrantz and Councilman Rick Manzella.
Opening the regular meeting, Schrantz asked the attendees to observe a moment of silence for the late father of Councilman Al Valentin, who recently passed away from an extended illness. A moment of silence was also observed for lifelong Brocton/Portland resident Rod Mawhir, who passed away Jan. 5. Mawhir, a skilled self-employed carpenter, previously served as a bus driver for Brocton Central School, a public works superintendent for the village of Brocton, was a very active member of the Brocton Baptist Church, a retired Brocton fireman and former village police justice, and was instrumental in the building of the Arthur "Bud" Miller Memorial Sports Complex in the village.
The council also scheduled a public meeting to further discuss options for the proposed resolution by the League of Women Voters and members of CROP PLUS to ban the transport of hydrofracking materials on town roadways. This meeting will take place Thursday at 3 p.m. Details concerning the proposed campground site by Speelburg Enterprises will also be discussed at the special meeting.
Schrantz updated the council on Concerned Residents of Portland members who are working to resolve the equalization rate issue.
"The members couldn't make tonight's meeting, but are keeping up on the equalization rate issue. We haven't heard anything from the state assessment representatives and we're fearful they're stalling. We're hearing numbers of 54 or 55 percent, but that doesn't really help us and we don't want this to slip away from us. It's strange that nothing has been set so late in the year, but it could be the whole mix-up with the STAR tax rebate program that put everybody behind. The general position of the group on a re-eval is that they still don't want to see one done unless neighboring towns do one, too."
Tax bills are anticipated to be mailed out, according to Town Clerk Roxane Sobecki.
Town Attorney Charles Loveland updated the council regarding his letter to CSX and Norfolk Southern Rail-road officials concerning maintenance and notification issues. He has not received any response back.
Concerning the Peerless Street Bridge Project, Schrantz said he and Town Highway Superintendent Ron Delcamp and Deputy Highway Superintendent Ken Becker recently met with officials from E & M Engineering to iron out a potential February bid for materials and services. Delcamp noted that he is seeking cooperation from Chautauqua County Highway entities to offer assistance with the execution of the bridge project.
The council will reconvene Thursday at 3 p.m. to address the hydrofracking proposal, as well as details of the Speelburg Enterprises campground project.