Niagara Gazette

June 25, 2013

Lewiston bonding $1.8M for road work and equipment upgrades

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

With money tight in the Town of Lewiston, the town board has turned to long-term borrowing to fund some much needed road work and equipment upgrades.

After months of talking and negotiating which roads the town will pave, the five-member board voted to bond approximately $1.8 million.

"This is sorely needed in the town," Highway Superintendent Doug Janese said. Janese is the man who will spend the money, which was broken up into $1.3 million for road paving and $450,000 for two plow trucks which will replace two of the oldest pieces of machinery in the town.

How old are the plows which will soon be replaced? Together, the machines are almost half a century in age. They increase the average age of the highway department's equipment to 15.8 years. Other towns in Lewiston's vicinity average about 7.8 years, Janese said.

"You try to drive a 20-year-old car to work everyday, and do 40 miles every day," he said. "That's essentially what's been happening here."

Janese said the replacement trucks were purchased by tagging along on a Chautauqua County bid for trucks, which allowed the town to avoid its own bidding process and make the purchase quicker. Nothing is finalized, though, until after the money is secured.

Bonding the money is subject to permissive referendum, which would require petitions containing 10 percent of voters in the town be turned over to Town Clerk Carol J. Brandon within the next 30 days.

Repaving town roads is also expected to be expanded beyond the original conversations. Janese presented the board with a list of roads needing some new blacktop last month, but said both Swann and Bridgeman roads were two of the most dire.

Supervisor Steve Reiter, though, said additional streets from the list were added to the repaving schedule. Which roads were unclear and wouldn't be revealed until after the permissive referendum time frame is cleared. 

Still, the money will allow more than seven miles of street to receive new surfaces.

"Swann Road is the longest road in the town," Janese said. "All of Bridgeman Road will need to be milled, where a machine will break up the top layer of blacktop. And some of Swann will be milled."