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Johnny Acres, long time superintendent of the Town of Oneida’s Water and Wastewater Department, has retired and, for the time being at least, will not be replaced.

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That was the comment made by Mayor Jack E. Lay toward the end of Thursday’s meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
Acres had served in that capacity for the past 24 years, and will be recognized for his service to the town at a later date, Mayor Lay added.

Lay also stated that no other changes in the operation of the water department has been contemplated, and the day-to-day duties of personnel will continue as usual.

During a brief discussion with members of the board, the mayor went on to say that the three existing managers of the water plant, wastewater plant and “road crew” would be in charge of their respective functions, and would report directly to him (the mayor).

Vice Mayor David Lowe asked who the “go-to” man would be, and Mayor Lay replied that Danny Douglas would be “the lead person, simply because he’s out every day.”

As far as plans to replace Acres, the mayor said “we’ll take a look at it” at some point in the future.

Ironically, the issue of whether or not the Oneida Water & Wastewater Board would be dissolved was not on the meeting’s agenda, nor did the subject come up for discussion during the comment period as the meeting wound down.

In a page one story in the February 7 edition of the Independent Herald, Mayor Lay was quoted as saying that issue would be on the agenda for the upcoming meeting, but called reports that the water board had already been dissolved premature.

The town’s water board last met on Jan. 21, during which Acres is said to have informed board members that the Mayor and Board of Alderman had decided to dissolve the water board, and also announced his decision to resign his position effective Jan. 29.

In response, Mayor Lay said he had informed Acres that the water board would probably be phased out over the next six-to-eight months, but that it would not be official until approved by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen later this month.

In other business Thursday, the board:

• Approved on second and final reading an ordinance (#810) designed to stiffen requirements for developing site plans for commercial, professional and multi-family developments in the Town of Oneida;

• Heard the monthly activity report presented by Fire Chief Mike Stringer, who also reviewed the 2012 year-end report of the department;

• Approved paying the bills for the previous two months (since no meeting was held in January), and heard the mayor’s explanation of higher maintenance costs ($15,000) due to the need to get mowing equipment ready for the spring and summer season; and,

• Agreed to return to a 7 p.m. meeting time next month due to the time change occurring in March.

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Paul Roy was the Independent Herald's founder, and longtime publisher and editor. He passed away in 2015 following a battle with lung cancer.