Brocton/Portland committee holds joint board meeting to further look at options

OBSERVER Photo by Ann Belcher Brocton/Portland Shared Services Committee Chair Dave Travis leads a discussion while committee members, town and village leaders and employees listen.

BROCTON — A recent meeting held by the Brocton/Portland Shared Service Committee boasted many more attendants than normal.

The committee invited current and past members of the Portland Town Council and Village of Brocton Board of Trustees to discuss a second, but equally relevant subject item.

After recommending to the village to eliminate the justice department, the committee is now examining the potential absorption of the streets department, as the impending retirement of Brocton Streets Supervisor Tom Allen approaches.

In an effort to reiterate the mission of the group, Chairman Dave Travis summarized the goals at the start of the meeting, noting, “Our objective is not to eliminate services or jobs, but to look at ways to more effectively provide services. We are an ad-hoc committee, and are not looking to increase costs to anyone.”

Committee member Henry Link concurred, adding, “We’re not looking to put anyone out of a job. It would happen only through attrition, if it happens.”

Brocton Mayor Richard Frost added that he is interested in seeing a tangible savings at the end of the process, should the department be absorbed, “otherwise it’s not worth looking at.”

With Allen present at the meeting, next to Ken Becker, who at the time was running unopposed for town highway supervisor, the committee outlined exactly what village streets crews take care of and what would potentially be absorbed by the town.

As questions began to arise in detail about how a village streets department — which includes six miles of village roadways and many other responsibilities — would look as part of a town entity, Legislator and County Executive elect George Borrello offered the possibility of a professional analysis being constructed by local Center for Government Research representatives.

Borrello noted that in the process of the town of Hanover and Forestville combining services, an analysis was drafted within approximately 60 days, making it easier for residents to view the subject at hand.

In agreement, the voting members of the committee unanimously approved a measure to allow Borrello to investigate the option of having a professional analysis constructed and report his findings back to the committee.

Travis thanked both boards for attending, as well as Allen and Becker, so that detailed questions could be answered and looked at. The group will reconvene today at 7 p.m. at the Brocton Legion.