St. Armand has new supervisor

Davina Winemiller previously worked as clerk, historian

Then-newly appointed St. Armand town Supervisor Davina Winemiller sits in the town hall office in May. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

BLOOMINGDALE — The St. Armand Town Council appointed a new supervisor on Thursday night.

Davina Winemiller, a 25-year resident of the town, is replacing Dean Montroy as supervisor. Winemiller was appointed unanimously by the four-person council: Donald Amell, Jennifer L. Fuller, Karl Law and D. Joseph Bates.

“The good thing is, because of my history and work with the town, I feel uniquely qualified,” Winemiller said.

She served as town clerk and water and sewer clerk from 2012 to 2016. In 2013, Winemiller was hired as town historian, a position she kept after leaving the town to work at Adirondack Correctional Facility in Ray Brook in 2016.

Winemiller said she’s worked closely with the engineering firm AES and the Essex County Planning Department over the course of state Department of Conservation-mandated water and sewer planning and upgrades.

“One thing I really want folks to know is that all the problems the town of St. Armand is facing have been decades in the making,” Winemiller said. “I feel very strongly that the DEC is not our enemy — it is our ally.”

The town’s new wastewater treatment plant has been plagued with problems. Issues have been compounded by the fact that the contractors that built the plant in 2015 have since gone out of business. She said she’s going to work with the county, AES and the state to secure every cent of grant money out there to repair and upgrade the town’s infrastructure, and upgrade the wastewater plant.

“I don’t want to point fingers at anyone,” Winemiller said. “The people that work for the town of St. Armand really, truly care, but we need help.”

She said the first step is continuing to apply for a grant to fund a survey identifying where stormwater is infiltrating the town’s sewer lines, and then build storm drains. These drains would then minimally filter the stormwater and return it to a creek or stream. This would stop stormwater from being sent to the wastewater plant and being needlessly treated, wasting town resources.

“I am working diligently to reduce our sewer usage rates,” Winemiller said.

She said she will present the town council with a plan to reduce usage rates.

Montroy, supervisor since January 2018, first announced he was stepping down about a year into the job, in January 2019. He said there were many factors that went into his decision to resign, but mainly that the position is a lot more than a full-time job.

“It’s more of a full-time headache,” Montroy said.

He said he has complete confidence in Winemiller — that she has the knowledge and energy to succeed in the position. Montroy swore her in at noon on Friday.