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Lewis lawmakers consider merging trails and reforestation departments

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County Legislators will consider a merger of two county departments, creating a new one to oversee what would then become the former reforestation department and recreational trails department.

Recreational trails coordinator Jacqueline L. Mahoney will be named the head of the new Parks and Recreation Department, it was discussed at last week’s economic development committee meeting.

Her degree in forestry and extensive experience in timber management will help with a smooth transition of the departments, said Legislature Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan.

As the departments have worked together in the past, “the phrase ‘they will form a good marriage’ makes sense,” he said.

The reforestation department has operated without a department head since the retirement of Rodney Buckingham earlier this year.

In order to assist with the demands of a larger department, Eric J. Virkler, director of the county Department of Economic Development and Planning, said part of the newly hired planner’s duties will be to help the department with writing grant applications.

The merger requires the passing of a local law. A public hearing on the matter is expected to be scheduled for the Dec. 3 meeting.

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