Wider scope of fracking may result from Carriage House closure

BROCTON – In light of the recent announcement of the impending closure of Carriage House operations in Chautauqua County, a wider scope could develop on how hydrofracking is viewed.

Diane Hofner, representing the League of Women Voters, attended the recent Portland Town Council meeting and thanked the councilmen for tabling the issue of a proposed moratorium on fracking and the transportation of its related materials across town roads. She asked that the council continue to table the issue until they’ve confidently heard both sides of the issue, which the council had resolved to do at an earlier meeting this year.

Just coming from a league sponsored event on the value of the grape industry to the area, Hofner stated to the council, “The economic value of the grape industry is in the billions, and we need to continue our tourism. The presenters today all answered questions pertaining to this and they did a great job answering them on economics, environment and tourism in this area, as well as fracking. They encouraged not pushing one side or the other, because with the closing of jobs, if we lose our environment, we lose our attraction.”

Hofner reported to the board that a meeting of both sides of the issue has been slated for June 10 at 7 p.m. on the campus of SUNY Fredonia, at which both sides will present their arguments for the public. She promised the council that she would update them on further details of the forum as it would “serve as a good opportunity for you to ask questions.”

In other matters, the council officially opened sealed bids for highway materials, which were turned over to Highway Superintendent Ron Delcamp for review. The council accepted the low bid of Roger Gloss for mowing of town properties for the year.

Councilmen granted permission to Derek Burns with the Brocton/Portland Little League to arrange and perform volunteer work at the Community Park baseball diamond for Little Leaguers to begin practicing. Little League crews will begin maintenance of the Community Park field upon receipt of a certificate of insurance requested by the council as they wait for their main field to be opened and ready for the season.

The council also recognized a correspondence from Jerome Hacker, asking that the town consider more consolidation opportunities with the Village of Brocton and also recognized the current underage drinking awareness campaign underway sponsored by the Chautauqua Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council.

The first law of 2014 was passed, allowing for the town to award purchase contracts based on the best value to the town, rather than low bid. The law will take effect upon its official filing with the Secretary of State.

Details are still being ironed out as to what outfit will be retained to install the foundation of the proposed Peerless Street Bridge. According to Town Supervisor Dan Schrantz, the town is seeking counsel from Cattaraugus County, which had a similar project, on how the process will work so that the bridge itself can be ordered as soon as possible.