Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 20, 2013

High speed service possible for town

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Town of Lockport residents without a high speed Internet connection may be able to log on soon. And quickly.

On Wednesday, the Town Board discussed an initiative that started in the Niagara County Legislature to bring high speed Internet to rural areas. It’s a wireless system that would be installed in order to bring the service to areas currently without it.

Supervisor Marc R. Smith said a good portion of the town —  it’s estimated about 15 to 20 percent of residents — does not receive high speed Internet service, particularly in the North End and along the town’s eastern border.

“This is how we run our society these days,” Smith said. “If we don’t have the availability of that service, people are missing out.”

What the county is asking of the town is a three-step request, Smith said. The first is to complete a survey, looking at which areas of the town have high speed Internet. The town can do the survey itself or pay $4,800 to have it done by a third-party.

Councilman Paul W. Siejak said he was apprehensive of government getting involved in something business-like, such as providing Internet service.

“I don’t think it’s the government’s job,” Siejak said.

Board members felt more discussion was needed and will meet with Legislator David Godfrey, who is leading the broadband initiative.

• In other town news, officials will look for a cheaper way to carry out a townwide reassessment program.

The Town Board voted Wednesday to table approval of a contract with GAR Associates. GAR would assist with the program at a total cost of $65,000, which is three times higher than expected, Smith said.

The board will seek proposals. The process isn’t expected to slow down the reassessment.

• The town scheduled a public hearing on demolishing a house on Tonawanda Creek Road, for 1:30 p.m. July 24 at the town hall on Dysinger Road.

The single family home is beyond repair and needs to come down, Town Attorney Michael Norris said Wednesday. But there is a bank and a property owner involved, meaning if the Town Board decides at the hearing the structure needs to be torn down, it will be up to the bank to have the house demolished.

But if that doesn’t happen after 60 days, the town can go ahead and carry out the demolishing. A lien will then be placed on the property.

• The Town Board also appointed Angela M. DePasquale-Glena as a full time clerk for the building and assessing department at a pay rate of $10.75 per hour. Board members also re-appointed Assessor Jill Lederhouse to a six-year term starting Oct. 1 and ending Sept. 30, 2019.

• Siejak said town residents recycled 6,952 pounds of electronics during the month of May, netting Lockport $510.38. That was much higher than the 1,545 pounds of electronics recycled a year ago.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.