Making it official

It was a heartfelt goodbye to a longtime official at the Pomfret Town Board meeting Wednesday night.

The board approved a resolution accepting Town Clerk Roberta Valentine’s official letter of resignation due to retirement, effective June 29. Valentine has served the town for the past 24 years as councilwoman, deputy supervisor, and most recently, town clerk.

“She has always been a dedicated representative of the town, working for the people, and I learned a lot serving with her in various capacities and I’m going to miss her,” Town Supervisor Donald Steger said.

The board also passed a resolution appointing Allison Dispense, the current deputy town clerk, as the new town clerk, effective June 29. Dispense has served the town in her position for the past four years. She will fill out the remainder of Valentine’s term, which expires at the end of the year.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege the past 24 years,” Valentine said. “Clerks are the hub of town government, so they must be open to changes throughout their job. I will truly miss my coworkers, friends and colleagues. Allison will be an asset to the town’s government. She is willing to learn, she is bright, and she is quite capable of doing the job. I would also like to thank the Chautauqua County Municipal Clerks Association for the support system that is in place for town, city and village clerks.”

During the audience portion of the meeting, former town councilman Chuck Civiletto brought up Phase II of the town’s north end water district, which has yet to be designed.

“I’d like to ask the board if they would be willing to move forward with a map plan and report for the formation of Phase II,” he said. “Seeing how we are moving forward with Phase I, we thought that in order to get this moving, the most important part of it is to have the map plan report completed so you know the cost and amount of people that it would serve, and it has to be finished for any funding that you would go for.”

“This takes some examination by the board in consultation with the engineers,” Town Attorney Jeffrey Passafaro said. “But the board first needs to take a look at and see where there are areas of need … there is a ways to go [for Phase I], but it’s certainly something the board could start to look at.”

Also at the meeting, in response to the village of Fredonia raising its water and sewer rates as of June 1, the board passed a resolution increasing proportionately its own rates for the same districts that are served by the village.

Steger announced at the meeting that he has been in talks with the towns of Portland and Dunkirk and engineers working with Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. on the regional water district. These talks were in regard to replacing the water main on Route 5 due to its poor condition and frequent breaks.

“We’re currently looking at potential funding sources,” he said. “They’re proposing tapping into the 20-inch line on Brigham Road in Dunkirk near the new tower. Putting this size of line down Route 5 will actually eliminate the need for the Portland water tower and the pump station at the golf course. They’re due for another paint cycle within the next few years anyway, which is $100,000.”

Councilwoman Patricia Lynch Christina proposed her own resolution during the meeting, which was approved by the board, that declared opposition to Chautauqua County’s significant pay increases for the county clerk and the county executive, among other lower-level increases.

“At a time when hundreds of county employees are losing their jobs, it seems inappropriate,” Christina said. “So many people in our county are struggling just to stay afloat. This, to me, seems unjust and unfair.”

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for July 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pomfret Town Hall.

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