Lakewood Extends Invitation To House Busti Town Offices Following Sale

LAKEWOOD- The Lakewood Village Board went on record Monday supporting the sale of the Busti Town Hall. However, in the same resolution, the board said it would still like a chance to determine the suitability of consolidating the town and village into one building.

To afford time to conduct a detailed engineering/architectural study of the various alternatives to accomplish this goal with the town, the village would provide town employees with temporary office space in the Anthony C. Caprino Municipal Building. The board’s resolution noted the time the town may need to find available housing following the sale of their current office at 121 Chautauqua Ave.

Trustee Susan Drago voiced concerned over the wording of the last part of the resolution, which began by saying “ultimately” the village would like to work with the town.

“I feel like we are forcing their hand there and we are putting the cart in front of the horse,” she said. “They have to make the decision if they want to move in with us, then we can go ahead.”

The rest of the board said they did not interpret it that way, but suggested to change the wording a bit to say that the village “invites” the town to conduct a detailed engineering/architectural study of various alternatives to determine the suitability of consolidating the town and village functions into one building.

Village Attorney Edward Wright spoke out about the resolution saying, “You are inviting the town to work with you and giving the impression you are moving forward without them.”

The public will have a chance to speak on the matter Wednesday at Busti Town Hall at 6:45 p.m.

Erik Kraft, a Jamestown police K-9 officer, spoke in front of the village board during the work session to provide background on the K-9 unit and to answer any questions the board may have.

During a recent meeting, Lakewood Mayor David Wordelmann expressed concern over the board accepting a $59,000 grant, part of which would include the addition of a K-9 unit to its police force.

Kraft explained the pros of having a K-9 unit, saying besides dogs being an excellent tool during police work they are a good deterrent for physical altercations with suspects.

“The mere presence of a dog causes suspects to surrender,” he said.

David DiSalvo, Lakewood trustee, had some questions and concerns about the future position of the code enforcement officer. DiSalvo said he wanted to make sure the best person for the job is hired. Wordelmann explained the town had appointed Jeff Swanson the temporary part-time-in-training code enforcement officer with the hopes and intention he would become a candidate for the full-time position in June when Charlie Smith, Lakewood building inspector, retires. DiSalvo wanted to begin to advertise to make sure there is an open, competitive process for the job to find the most qualified candidate.

“Regardless of the candidacy … what our intention is to treat it just like the assessor’s office,” Wordelmann explained. “The assessor is a town of Busti employee that we pay for their services. Basically, it will save us a lot of money by doing it this way.”

The board of trustees acting as the board of fire commissioners approve David W. Erickson, of 1450 Winch Road, as a new member of the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department. The board also authorized Treasurer Andrea Windoft to make budget transfers due to overages in contractual accounts. The board moved $3,000 from part-time police salaries into police salaries – overtime and $825 from streets contractual into tree service.