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More Lewiston Spending Comes to Light

Steve Reiter

It seems as though a day doesn’t go by without someone calling or writing the Reporter with yet another story about the Town of Lewiston and its administration during the previous four years.

This week has been no exception, with new details about Joseph Davis Park and other matters coming to light.

We have uncovered that an additional $10,000 was paid to Consultant Lou Giardino, Supervisor Steve Reiter’s advisor to the Joseph Davis Park L.D.C. that was set up to create jobs for the community. Despite the facts that not one job was created and no one has a clue what, if anything, he actually did for that money, this brings the total paid to Giardino to $260,000.

Even after soaking up that much money, the LDC board failed to file requisite paperwork with the Authorities Budget Office citing that none was due because there was "no financial activity" by the LDC.

The truth was that there was financial activity; quite a bit, in fact.

For example, aside from Mr. Giardino’s pay, there wasn't just one lawnmower purchased, without bidding. Two were purchased totaling more than $110,000, and without Town Board approval. The LDC minutes show the directors voting twice to approve an operating budget for 2011 and 2012. Indeed the board voted to spend $1,700 for a website; $4,300 for landscaping; $12,900 for a groundwater study [no bid]; $1,500 for D & O insurance.

Then we have the partially paved parking lot for $189,000, a puzzling $149,000 for engineering services when no projects other than the parking lot were performed; an estimated $15,000 for two old, heavy duty trucks, (the trucks were purchased at a municipal surplus auction) $260,000 for consultant Giardino and $110,000 for lawnmowers.

To date, the board has spent over $750,000 and very little was accomplished.

While all the money may have been spent with the best intentions, it is clear the town was misled when it was said that Joe Davis Park would cost the town nothing. It appears that about $460,000 of town money was spent and that is not counting Greenway money, which, if it had not been spent there, would be available for other uses in town.

Not that the Greenway money has been spent much better at times. A large sum of Greenway money was spent on a restroom project on the walking path along Lower River. The building is at the intersection of Pletcher and Lower River Roads. After spending over $70,000 of Greenway funds, the project was simply abandoned and the restroom has never been opened for one single day.

In the meantime, one has to wonder what the legacy of the last four years will be.

Rumors to the effect that the town is in horrible financial condition are sweeping through the town. Some say that the town is over a million dollars in the hole, meaning there will not be enough money to cover the budget this year.

Informed sources say that the town has borrowed itself to the limit, and that the $6 million dollar fund balance that was bragged about last year was nothing but smoke and mirrors. There is no reserve fund to use. There is a surplus in sewer and water, but that money cannot be touched for general budget purposes.

Another story has to do with the plans of Quasar to use the town to spread sludge and waste over acres of farmlands to degrade and decompose. It seems they have abandoned their plans for a lagoon and now have another idea. Apparently Reiter received the initial notice of Quasar's plans and placed it in a pile of other not related documents after receiving it last August, allowing the issue to sneak up on new Town Supervisor Dennis Brochey, who has said he will do all in his power to keep this trash out of Lewiston.

Those will be new stories that will be coming, and coming soon.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Mar 18, 2014