Westfield awarded grant for wastewater treatment plant

WESTFIELD – The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded a grant to the village of Westfield for improvements to its wastewater treatment plant.

The grant awards $2,116,400 in public works funds to fund upgrades to the wastewater treatment infrastructure to increase its capacity and support expansion of the region’s grape farming industry. The improvements will reportedly result in a more efficient system that will accommodate the expansion of existing businesses, startup of new businesses, and allow more competitiveness in the region’s agribusiness industries. This investment is part of a $4,232,800 project that the grantee estimates will save 146 jobs and leverage $400,000 in private investment.

It is undecided whether village board members will hire Clear Cove to improve the plant, or someone else. Members will speak more on this subject at the board of public works meeting Thursday evening. Afterward, board officials will talk about how and where to bid on this project.

Mayor Michael VandeVelde spoke of Coronado expanding to the village of Westfield, which will allow up to 25 new hires by next month, as well as 70 new hires in the next year. Coronado offers a variety of stone products.

In other business, Westfield Fire Chief William Bills spoke in-depth on the issue of physical exams for interior versus non- interior employees.

Reportedly, there have been complaints yearly on physical exams for the firefighters.

“There is something said about having all the documents done by the same place with all the physicals at the fire hall,” Bills said. “People want their own doctors to do the physicals, but we want them all done by the same company.”

Code Enforcement Officer Jim Pacanowski said the idea of everyone needing a physical was vetoed two years ago.

“For a whole year the fire department protested,” he said. “There were no parades and they were leaving the fire trucks at the department.”

Bills noted people with a commercial drivers license use it to do part-time work for grape owners, who require the license and usually pay half, if not all, of the fee for the license.

“Why should we have to pay for it if there are only a few guys who need it to do their job at the fire department,” he said.

Physicals are due today, so the fire department will function as normal this year.

“We will get people together and get this done soon,” Bills said.