No resolutions were on the table at a special meeting of the Village of Fredonia board of trustees Monday evening, and several items of business require further discussion.
The original agenda published Friday suggested a resolution might be placed on the agenda after an executive session was called. The reason given for the executive session was "to discuss personnel at the DPW (department of public works), water filtration plant and treasurer's office," and a collective bargaining issue in the police department.
Last month, excessive purchases of water by the water filtration plant from the City of Dunkirk were announced totaling $99,000, which was a surprise to the board and village administrator. However, the issue was not addressed at the special meeting.
During the workshop session, Trustee Janel Subjack said Barbara Sam will no longer direct the farmers' market, and said the Chamber of Commerce has expressed interest in directing the market and Festivals Fredonia. The board will meet with representatives from the chamber at a December board meeting to discuss the proposition.
Parking issues in the village were discussed. Trustee Joseph Cerrie noted complaints about vehicles on a certain street being seemingly abandoned. Because parking in unrestricted areas is considered 24-hour parking, trustees shared ideas on how to effectively deal with problem vehicles. Limiting parking to 72 hours was suggested by Cerrie as a possibility.
Trustee Adam Brown said he liked Police Chief Bradley Meyers' suggestion at an earlier meeting of limiting daily parking to 23 hours per day for lots and streets.
Trustee Thomas Brown II added the board may wish to consider restricting a turn on White Street to right turns only.
The board agreed to continue to discuss parking laws at future meetings and after speaking to residents and other village personnel.
In old business, lengthy discussion surrounded a stream bank erosion project, on which the village has worked for years with the Army Corps of Engineers. The board must decide whether or not it will pursue the completion of the project with the Corps or on its own with a private contractor, while taking the engineering study materials developed by the Corps as fruits of prior dealings with the Corps. Village Administrator Richard St. George explained he estimates the costs to remain with the Corps will likely be lower than costs with a private contractor, despite seemingly high estimates from the Corps, because the village is only responsible for 35 percent of the costs.
Village Attorney Sam Drayo said dealing with the Corps over the years has been difficult and he did not expect the Corps to start on the project until 2014. He also said he spoke with a Corps representative who would not commit to a project time line.
Mayor Stephen Keefe reminded all present of meetings with Senator Charles Schumer and others to work out problems with the Corps in the past over billing and other issues. The Corps attempted to charge the village for work the Corps did not approve and Keefe and Drayo battled with the Corps for the charges to be removed over the summer.
While St. George said the costs would likely be less by doing the project with the Corps, Brown expressed skepticism the project would move forward smoothly or according to plans. "Don't you have that voice in the back of your head saying ... if we've gotten the shaft from them multiple times before ... then maybe they're not reliable?" he asked.
Drayo pointed out problems with the Corps billing, saying hours worked, materials or other are not itemized on invoices. "When we get a bill, it just says $50,000 and a coding number," he explained, so the village has no way to track ongoing expenses or progress.
Brown II asked if requests for proposals from other companies could be solicited, but St. George explained it would cost money. "You have to put together a bid package like anything else," which would detail engineering steps needed to complete the project, St. George explained.
The board agreed to look into the matter further and discuss the issue again at the next workshop meeting before making a decision on how to proceed.
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