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Memorial Day Declared A Success In Lakewood

LAKEWOOD — Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb expressed gratitude for the role that the village was able to play in Monday afternoon’s Memorial Day celebration, as organized by the Lake Erie chapter of the Blue Star Mothers, at a board of trustees meeting on Tuesday.

“Many thanks to the Blue Star Mothers for all that they do for our entire community,” Holcomb said. “I was honored as Mayor of Lakewood to open the celebration and the time of remembrance and to welcome everyone into our beautiful village. It was a fitting celebration of remembrance and I feel that we are very fortunate to have hosted it this year.”

While Lakewood was forced to cancel its annual Fourth of July festivities in light of COVID-19 restrictions, the board received information that the Lakewood YMCA still plans to host its Firecracker Run, with some modifications. The ‘virtual race’ will not require street closures or police presence, and will allow runners to participate on their own while social distancing. More information can be found by contacting Tom Anderson at the Lakewood YMCA.

After reviewing a pair of bids, the board agreed to renew its contract with Beichner Waste Services for junk pickup throughout the village. Beichner’s offer came in approximately $5,000 under Casella Waste Systems. The board discussed strategies to reduce the cost of the pickup services, which trustee Doug Schutte noted could be in increased demand as residents have spent the last several weeks at home and indoors.

“I’m just looking for ways to sort of control the ultimate cost of it if we can just cap it somewhere somehow,” Trustee Ted McCague said.

The board discussed ways to potentially reduce the hours required by workers, and payments related to tonnage of collected waste, but not eliminating the service.

“I think that this is a pretty well-received service that is being provided. We’d be hard-pressed to not continue it,” Schutte said.

In other business, the board discussed the use of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant funding to potentially place solar panels on municipal buildings. These panels could be used to reduce the utility payments of the village, and would be purchased using excess NYSERDA funds allocated for energy efficiency upgrades along Chautauqua Avenue. The funds could also be used for heating, air conditioning and ventalition upgrades of buildings, but the board did not believe those were necessary.

“The village could save some money, whether we put them on the (Department of Public Works) garage or village hall. Particularly if NYSERDA picks up the capital installation costs,” McCague said.

McCague mentioned that some estimates showed that the panels would result in a 30% reduction in electricity costs, depending on placement and weather conditions. The board approved a five-year DPW new hire pay scale, starting at $16 per hour and allowing for a $1 increase each year for the first five years, and also approved the hiring of Zach Johnson to the department.

Continuing previous discussions related to the financial impacts of COVID-19, the board looked at ways to manage encumbrance spending for departments in the future, due to expected shortfalls in sales tax revenue. The board agreed to revisit the issue of raises for non-union employees at the second meeting of September, when the financial impacts of the pandemic will be more clear.

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