LAKEWOOD - Lakewood officials want to know how more than $100,000 in the Busti-Lakewood Recreation Center's fund balance will be used.
On Monday, the Lakewood Village Board voted unanimous to not appropriate $7,500 for the 2013 recreation center budget. The board agreed to withhold funding for the recreation center until they have more information on how its $108,000 fund balance will be used.
The board had tabled the resolution at its previous two meetings while waiting for information on how much the town of Busti will be paying toward the recreation center. The town is funding $15,000 toward the recreation center in 2013.
On Nov. 19 at a Busti Town Board meeting, Diane Peterson, Busti-Lakewood Recreation Center director, read a prepared statement about Lakewood officials not appropriating money. She said the Busti-Lakewood Community Center has been a joint venture between the town and village since its beginning in the '70s, with Busti being the lead agency.
Last year, how much money the village and town paid toward the recreation center started the debate on if one municipality is paying more for shared services. In October 2011, the Village Board tabled funding the commission $15,000 before agreeing to appropriate $7,500. The board agreed one reason to lower the amount of funding was the recreation center had a surplus of more than $80,000. The board agreed if all the money isn't being used each year, maybe the amount appropriated should be decreased. According to the most recent annual update document filed with the state Comptroller's Office, the recreation center now has a fund balance of $108,340, Lakewood officials said.
Peterson said some years have seen a surplus of monies that have gone directly into the fund balance, which is earmarked solely for building repairs or replacement. David Wordelmann, Lakewood mayor, said in a prepared statement Monday, that surplus money isn't earmarked solely for building repairs or replacement.
''In reviewing the contract that was in place form 2004 to 2011, nowhere does it mention any process for handling surplus funds or the establishment of a fund balance or the earmarking of such a fund balance for building repairs and maintenance,'' Wordelmann said.
In Peterson's statement she said, ''The village of Lakewood trustees have been relentless to the town of Busti about paying their fair share of the police department. They should use their own example and pay their fair share of the recreation budget.''
Wordelmann answered Peterson by saying she has no right to publicly admonish the Village Board for not meeting with her and should not be making comments about the ongoing police contract talks.
''Her accusations and scare tactic that the Village Board is taking the lead in closing of the recreation center is preposterous and flat out untrue,'' Wordelmann said.
In Peterson's statement she said the following are things that might happen should the Village Board choose to not support their portion of the Busti-Lakewood Recreation Center: All users would see an increase in fees; all groups using the community center would have to pay to use it, including Southwestern Central School District sports teams, Lakewood Women's Club, Amy King run event organizers and other benefits; and programs vital for area youth and seniors could be cut.
Wordelmann said the decisions on how the recreation center will be used is the responsibility of elected officials from both communities.
''I don't believe that it is proper for a paid employee to make idle threats over what she believes are future consequences that could happen when she is in no position to follow through on them,'' he said.
In other business, the board unanimously voted down the special-use permit for a used-car lot submitted by Lawrence Spacciapolli. Spacciapolli operates Larry Spacc auto dealers. The third-generation family business, which has been in operation since 1956, has auto sales lots in Dunkirk and Westfield.
Spacciapolli's proposal was to establish a used-car lot at 373 E. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, on the corner of Fairdale Avenue. For the past two meetings, the board had discussed whether to approve the special-use permit. Each board member has heard several residents voice concern about the proposal for a car lot at that location, which is the spot of the former Carnahans Clothing Company.
On Monday, board members said they didn't feel the location was the proper place for a new used-car lot in the village. They said a better location would possibly be where other car dealers are located in the village, further west on Fairmount Avenue.
''It is not the right place for a car dealership,'' said Gale Denn, village trustee.
Village trustee said they would like Spacciapolli to have a used-car lot in Lakewood because he is a respectable businessman.
''We would like to see you be part of the village,'' said Joseph Troche, village trustee.