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Albion DPW, sewer workers may expand service to other municipalities

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2015 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The Village Board sees a talented group of village employees who could use their skills to help nearby municipalities and also bring in needed revenue for the village.

Albion’s sewer employees already are contracted to run Holley’s sewer plant. That agreement started last September. Albion has since been approached by other communities for sewer, water and infrastructure work.

A deal with the Village of Elba for Albion to manage that sewer plant, for $24,000 a year, seems the most promising. Village Board members, following a recommendation from Sewer Plant Chief Operator Rick Albright, voted to move on working out a deal with Elba, which has 260 sewer customers.

“We’re a marketing a service,” said Mayor Dean London.

Albright and Dale Brooks, the DPW superintendent, told the board they were willing to manage their staffs to serve other communities, and bring in money for the village.

The village departments need to be careful not to overextend themselves, and need to ensure there are backup employees to step in leadership roles, Village Attorney John Gavenda advised.

“I don’t think we should spread ourselves too thin,” said Village Trustee Pete Sidari.

Trustee Gary Katsanis echoed similar concerns during a Village Board meeting last week.

Albright and Brooks assured the board the village has the staff and expertise and take care of village needs, and do some work for other municipalities.

Brooks has created a price list for services by village employees for other municipalities.

Elba is interested in Albion providing secondary service on waterlines. Albion also wants to talk with towns about village employees maintaining water lines outside the village.

The Village Board wants to first iron out an agreement with Elba, which would like village staff to start work in May at the sewer plant, Albright said.

The Village Board has been discussing the issue for several months. Albright urged the board to reach a decision.

London agreed the village needed resolution. The board will pursue the deal with Elba first and then consider other work with municipalities, weighing the revenue versus demands on village staff.

“We’ve been going back and forth,” London said. “Either we make a plan to go forward or we’re done with it.”

Part of the plan for extending services outside the village should include more cross-training of employees so they can work with sewer, water and DPW, he said.