Fredonia not ready to hire village consultant

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Fredonia Village Trustee Douglas Essek, left, says the administration should consider having the Dunkirk and Fredonia Police departments share one building.

The Fredonia Village Board tabled a motion to hire Nate Aldrich for economic development services Monday night, after Trustees Douglas Essek and Roger Britz expressed concern that they had not had enough time to look over his contract.

“I have questions on the contract that I was just given tonight,” said Essek of the pact, which would pay Aldrich $25,000. He stated the questions couldn’t be addressed at the meeting and added, “We need to look things over and do our proper vetting.”

“Nate has proven himself,” responded Mayor Athanasia Landis, who added that village attorney Dan Gard had looked over the contract and given it his blessing. As a Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation employee, Aldrich has been working with village officials in recent months on finding and using state grants.

Gard had said earlier during the board workshop session, “He’s continuing to do what he’s done for us in the past. What he does or doesn’t do for the $25,000, that’s the village’s risk. But he has a proven record of going above and beyond for the village.”

Trustee Kara Christina proved to be the decisive vote in Essek’s motion to table approval of the contract. While Britz and Essek voted “yes” and Trustees James Lynden and Michael Barris voted “no,” she voted “yes” but added, “I want to make sure this happens for the new year.” Aldrich’s contract is slated to begin Jan. 1.

In other business at Village Hall on Monday night:

¯ During a portion of the meeting set aside for trustees’ reports, Essek used his time to renew a proposal for consolidation of the Dunkirk and Fredonia Police departments into one building.

“This administration should reconsider looking at shared facilities at this point,” he said. “We need to start looking into intermunicipal cooperation, see what other municipalities need for their facilities.”

Landis responded by saying the village has already looked into the police department merger. “My belief is after we did a lot of research, that consolidating buildings and people does not save a lot of money,” she said.

Landis added that the only practical place to put a shared station would be on Central Avenue in a residential area — but that it is her belief Fredonia’s police department should be on or near Main Street, close to the downtown business district.

“There is nothing there for us to move forward,” Lynden said. “We have discussed it over and over.”

Essek asked the board if it would back him in an attempt to gather information on the issue. There was no response, and the meeting moved on.

¯ Fredonia is taking a step to find out where leaks are draining its water system. The board hired New York Leak Detection, Inc. to “provide a comprehensive leak detection survey and report on the approximately 67.5 miles of water distribution lines at a cost of $16,000,” as the resolution states.

Landis said after the meeting that 48 percent of the water in the system is “unmeasured.” While a lot of that is due to unmetered lines, there is a sizable amount from leaks, she said.

¯ The board approved the sale of six village-owned vehicles through sealed bids. Initially, three police cars were to be sold off. However, Essek suggested the board add an old street sweeper, tractor and truck to the resolution, and after Gard said it was OK to make the addition, all agreed.