By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — Lewiston residents living in a specific section of the Riverwalk subdivision are getting closer to relief from a longstanding drainage issue.
Town engineer Ryan Smith said his team has made significant progress in planning ways to empty what has become a standing pond in Riverwalk, which is located near the town's wastewater treatment plant and Lower River Road.
"We've progressed well from our last meeting," Smith said during Monday's Lewiston Town Board meeting. "We just need to get this (memorandum of understanding) figured out. The plans are completed for the most part."
The MOU, a legal matter, is being handled by town consulting attorney Michael Dowd. He said the town will need to secure an easement across private property to drain the water.
There have been conversations with the attorney of the property owner, but nothing is finalized.
The plan is to pipe the water, which collects at a low-level area, to a Niagara County-owned sewer pipeline across River Road from the property.
Though estimating a timeframe for the work to be completed isn't possible, according to Highways Superintendent Doug Janese - who said he has yet to even see any plans for the work - town officials are hoping approval for the project could come as early as the town's work session, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 9.
Supervisor Steve Reiter previously said he'd like to see the project started – and finished — in September.
In other town news, the town announced its townwide fund balance now sits at more than $6 million.
"This is the result of innovation, hard work and closely monitoring town spending," Reiter said. "I'm proud of the fact that we've accomplished this without any cuts to services. Actually, we're offering more services."
The balances, representing the final 2012 positions, include an increase from 2011 in the general fund, the largest portion of the town's spending. It currently sits at $1.2 million, almost $100,000 more than its position the year before.
In all, it's an increase of 20 percent from three years prior.
The only trouble area may be the highway department fund balance, which dropped $100,000 from 2011 to 2012. But Reiter said he's not worried about it.
"We've heard a lot of commentary that we're overspending our budget," Reiter said. "This is untrue. We're saving more than ever. We're in great fiscal situations across the board."
Finally, Reiter announced Nussbaumer & Clarke Inc. has completed estimates to continue installing sidewalks in the Sanborn community.
Reiter said portions of Tallman (360 feet), Maple (540 feet), Niagara (600 feet) and Erie (360 feet) streets will receive sidewalks in the plan.
The firm is projecting the 1,860 feet would cost about $69,750, using a "conservative" estimate of $7.50 per square foot.
It had budgeted $75,000 for the project.
The town is also planning $8,500 in resurfacing to the pathway in Sanborn park.Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.