Portland Town Council begins meeting with water business

BROCTON Members of the Portland Town Council had the concerns of three water customers on their agenda to hammer out during a recent regular meeting.

John and Carol Boltz, Water District 7 customers, asked for an update from the board on the proposed progress needing to be done on their property following the installation of the most recent water district.

The couple claimed to the board that the contractor scheduled to do the restoration work has had no communication with them on a start date or what the intended work would entail. Boltz asked the councilmen if they could obtain quotes from their own independent contractor to ensure the proper restoration would take place.

Town Supervisor Dan Schrantz said contractors have been waiting for dry weather to begin the restoration work, that when finished, will finalize the completion of the water district. He agreed to contact the contractor to ask about a potential start date and details of what work would be done. He also encouraged the couple to obtain price quotes and have them prepared in the event that the contractor would agree to have the work completed that way.

Council members also returned to the issue of another Water District 7 customer, Dale Morse, who claimed he was unknowingly charged for an additional water tap at his residence where one home is being lived in and one is being used for storage purposes.

Morse came before the council at its last meeting to request a refund for the tap charge for the tap that was installed but will not be used.

Town Attorney Charles Loveland stated Wednesday, “I’ve spoken to the bond counsel and other counsel that are familiar with these situations and was told that it would not be recommended to forgive that charge. It’s the tap that generates the bill, regardless of what they do with the house on that property.”

Schrantz reiterated his feeling on the matter, stating, “It’s unfair to the resident.”

Town Clerk Roxanne Sobecki asked Loveland if there was a possibility of removing the tap from the property and allowing the service charge to be removed.

Water Department Supervisor Drew Smith answered, “If you take that one tap out, everyone else’s charge would go up a little.”

Loveland agreed to request a formal letter from the bond counsel involved explaining their reasoning.

Councilman Rick Manzella also related that in 1993, the water district created where his barn stands caused him to be unfairly charged in a similar way. He stated he paid the charge “in protest, but asked for a refund and I was told ‘no refund.'”

Schrantz reported to the council that the Local Efficiency Grant application has officially been submitted by Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation. He also noted that talks are still continuing with the West Town of Dunkirk and the Town of Pomfret water officials regarding a possible water line along Route 5.

The council also entertained a motion to accept sealed bids for road material and mowing of town property, including a once a year tree trimming. All bids are due to the Town Clerk’s office April 9, and will be officially opened at the April 10 council meeting.

Councilman Al Valentin announced that Historical Museum hours for the season will run from June 1 to Aug. 31 and reminds residents that the 2013 Town of Portland 200-year celebration keepsake calendars are still available. They may be purchased at the Town Hall and include a pictorial history of the past 200 years of the Town of Portland as well as birthdays, memorials and anniversary dates of town residents.

The council will reconvene on April 10 at 7 p.m.