Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

February 2, 2010

 

A Regular Meeting of the Common Council

 

Present:  Council President Zeisz

Present Councilmembers:  Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz

Excused:  Poole

 

Pledge of Allegiance led by Council President Zeisz

 

Prayer led by Council President Zeisz

 

Mayor’s State of the City Address

(see attached)

 

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR

 

A letter to County Executive Chris Collins dated January 20, 2010, regarding the City of Tonawanda Round II Federal Stimulus Funding.

 

A letter to Jason LaMonaco, dated January 26, 2010, reappointing him to the position of City Engineer, term to expire December 31, 2013.

 

A letter to Judy A. Simon dated January 26, 2010, reappointing her to the position of Executive Secretary in the Mayor’s Office.

 

A letter from City of Tonawanda Superintendent of Schools Whitney K. Vantine, to Detective Tim Toth, Police Chief Cindy Young and Fire Chief Chuck Stuart, dated January 20, 2010, expressing his appreciation for their help after the tragic loss of one of their students.

 

A letter from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, received on January 25, 2010, regarding the increased demand of water resources.

 

A letter from City of Tonawanda Superintendent of Schools Whitney K. Vantine, dated January 26, 2010, regarding the recommendations that have been set forth by the community-based Task Force.

 

A letter from Empire State Development, dated January 25, 2010, regarding the Tonawanda-RESTORE III-Spaulding Fibre Demolition, Project #851

 

A letter from Canal Clean Sweep dated January 15, 2010, regarding the 5th Annual Canal Clean Sweep being held on April 16th and 17, 2010.

 

A memo to the Common Council dated January 29, 2010, regarding bids for demolition of the water plant and sewage treatment plant.

 

A letter from the director of Real Property Tax Services dated January 26, 2010, regarding the cost of preparation and spreading of City Tax for the year 2009.

            Ordered filed

 

COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

General Fund Expenditures and Revenue Control Reports for the

       City of Tonawanda as of December 31, 2009.

December Activity Report of the Fire Department

December minutes of the Traffic and Safety Advisory Board

                        Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                                    Ordered filed

A letter to Senator Thompson and Assemblyman Schimminger from Donald H. Holler, 259 Utica Street, asking for financial assistance to build a state-of-the-art skate plaza in the City of Tonawanda.

Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                        Ordered filed

           

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC ON RESOLUTIONS

 

There were no comments by the public on the resolutions. 

 

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

31.       By Councilmember Gilbert                                      seconded by Council President Zeisz

            Resolved, that the reading of the following resolution be waived. 

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

32.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

Whereas, the City of Tonawanda has been considering and advancing the abatement and demolition (Project) of the City’s former Water Pumping Plant (WPP), including the former sedimentation basins, and the former Waste Water Treatment Plant Buildings (WWTP), located at 111 Niagara Shore Drive and 140 Niagara Street, respectively, and

Whereas, the Project was determined to be a Type 1 Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and a Full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF), Parts 1 and 2, has been completed to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the Project, and

Whereas, the County of Erie Department of Environment and Planning conducted a Coordinated Review of the Involved Agencies and having received no objections, assumed Lead Agency designation for the Project in accordance with Article 8 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law and the rules and the regulations promulgated under Article 8 and set forth as Part 61 of Title 6 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations, collectively referred to as SEQRA relative to the Project, and

Whereas, the City has reviewed and considered the Project, including Parts 1 and 2 of the EAF, and the criteria required under SEQRA in order to determine whether the Project will have a significant adverse impact on the environment, now, therefore be it

Resolved, that based on the above referenced review and consideration, the City has determined that the proposed action and Project will not result in any large and important impacts and, therefore is one which will not have a significant impact on the environment for the reasons more particularly detailed in the Negative Declaration on file in the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, 10th Floor, 95 Franklin Street, City of Buffalo and the Office of the City Clerk of the City of Tonawanda, 200 Niagara Street, Tonawanda, New York , and in accordance with SEQRA, hereby adopts such Negative Declaration with regard to the Project.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

33.       By Councilmember Gilbert                                      seconded by Council President Zeisz

            Resolved, that the reading of the following resolution be waived.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

 

 

34.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

 

A BOND RESOLUTION, DATED FEBRUARY 2, 2010, OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF TONAWANDA, ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK (THE “CITY”), AUTHORIZING THE DEMOLITION & REMEDIATION OF CERTAIN CITY OWNED BUILDINGS, AT AN ESTIMATED MAXIMUM COST  OF $475,000, AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF SERIAL BONDS IN AN AGGREGATE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $475,000 OF THE CITY OF TONAWANDA, ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK, PURSUANT TO THE LOCAL FINANCE LAW TO FINANCE SAID PURPOSE, SAID AMOUNT TO BE OFFSET BY ANY FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY AND/OR LOCAL FUNDS RECEIVED, AND DELEGATING THE POWER TO ISSUE BOND ANTICIPATION NOTES IN ANTICIPATION OF THE SALE OF SUCH BONDS TO THE CITY TREASURER.

            BE IT RESOLVED, by the Common Council (by the favorable vote of not less than two-thirds of all the members of the Council) as follows:

 

SECTION 1.  The City is hereby authorized to undertake and finance a capital project consisting of the demolition and remediation of certain City owned buildings, including preliminary costs and costs incidental thereto (collectively, the “Purpose”).  The estimated maximum cost of said purpose is $475,000.

 

SECTION 2.  The Common Council plans to finance the estimated maximum cost of the Purpose by the issuance of serial bonds in an amount not to exceed $475,000 of the City, hereby authorized to be issued therefore pursuant to the Local Finance Law, offset by any federal, state, county and/or local funds received.

 

SECTION 3.  It is hereby determined that the Purpose is an object or purpose described in subdivision 12-a of paragraph (a) of Section 11.00 of the Local Finance Law, and that the period of probable usefulness of said purpose is ten years.

 

SECTION 4.  Current funds are not required to be provided prior to the issuance of the bonds authorized by this resolution or any notes issued in anticipation of the sale of such bonds.

 

SECTION 5.  It is hereby determined the proposed maturity of the obligations authorized by this resolution will be in excess of five years.

 

SECTION 6.  The faith and credit of the City are hereby irrevocably pledged for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds as the same respectively become due and payable.  An annual appropriation shall be made in each year sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on such bonds becoming due and payable in such year.  Unless paid from other sources, there shall annually be levied on all the taxable real property of the City a tax sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on such bonds as the same become due and payable.

 

SECTION 7.  Subject to the provisions of this resolution and of the Local Finance Law, pursuant to the provisions of Section 30.00 relative to the authorization of the issuance of bond anticipation notes or the renewals of such notes and of Section 21.00, Section 50.00, Sections 56.00 to 60.00, Section 62.00 and Section 63.00 of the Local Finance Law, the powers and duties of the Common Council pertaining or incidental to the sale and issuance of the obligations herein authorized including, but not limited to, authorizing bond anticipation notes and prescribing the terms, form and contents and as to the sale and issuance of the bonds herein authorized and of any bond anticipation notes issued in anticipation of such bonds, and the renewals of such notes, are hereby delegated to the City Treasurer, the chief fiscal officer of the City.

 

SECTION 8.  The temporary use of available funds of the City, not immediately required for the purpose or purposes for which the same were borrowed, raised or otherwise created, is hereby authorized pursuant to Section 165.10 of the Local Finance Law, for the purpose or purposes described in Section 1 of this resolution.  The City then reasonably expects to reimburse any such expenditures (to the extent made after the date hereof or within 60 days prior to the date hereof) with the proceeds of the bonds authorized by Section 2 of this resolution (or with the proceeds of any bond anticipation notes issued in anticipation of the sale of such bonds).  This resolution shall constitute the declaration of the City’s “official intent” to reimburse the expenditures authorized by Section 2 hereof with such bond or note proceeds, as required by United States Treasury Regulations Section 1.150-2.

 

SECTION 9.  The City Treasurer is further authorized to take such actions and execute such documents as may be necessary to ensure the continued status of the interest on the bonds authorized by this resolution, and any notes issued in anticipation thereof, as excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes pursuant to Section 103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) and to designate the bonds authorized by this resolution, and any notes issued in anticipation thereof as “qualified tax-exempt bonds” in accordance with Section 265(b)(3)(B)(i) of the Code.

 

SECTION 10.            The City Treasurer is further authorized to enter into a continuing disclosure agreement with the initial purchaser of the bonds or notes authorized by this resolution, containing provisions which are satisfactory to such purchaser in compliance with the provisions of Rule 15c2-12, promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

 

SECTION 11.            Erie County, in cooperation with the City, has complied in every respect with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations regarding environmental matters, including compliance with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”), comprising Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law and, in connection therewith, duly issued a negative declaration and/or other applicable documentation and, therefore, no further action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act is necessary.

 

SECTION 12.            The validity of said serial bonds or of any bond anticipation notes issued in anticipation of the sale of said serial bonds may be contested only if:

 

1.            (a)            such obligations are authorized for an object or purpose for which the City is not authorized to expend money, or

 

(b)         if the provisions of law which should be complied with at the date of publication of this resolution are not substantially complied with,

and an action, suit or proceeding contesting such validity is commenced within twenty days after the date of such publication; or

 

2.            such obligations are authorized in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of New York.

 

SECTION 13. The City Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to publish this resolution, or a summary thereof, together with a notice in substantially the form provided by Section 81.00 of said Local Finance Law, in a newspaper having a general circulation in the City and hereby designated as the official newspaper of the City for such publication.

 

SECTION 14.            This Resolution is effective immediately.

 

Council President Zeisz – Just for point of information, for anyone who may not be sure, we’re basically talking about three buildings.  It’s the main water plant which if you don’t know, is right back here by the RiverEdge development and there’s also two other older buildings, treatment plants that are coming down with that. 

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

35.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, at the recommendation of the City Engineer, Jason J. LaMonaco, P.E., that Mayor Pilozzi is hereby authorized to enter into an agreement with the NYSDOS for the Local Government Efficiency Grant to determine the feasibility of sending excess wet weather flow to the North Tonawanda Waste Water Treatment Plant for treatment.

 

Councilmember Boyle – Now is this going to help if they ever do, are we going to be able to tie in if Little League ever comes up, we’d be able to get some going over towards North Tonawanda?

 

Council President Zeisz - That’s the goal, yes.  

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

           

36.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, at the recommendation of the City Engineer, Jason J. LaMonaco, P.E., that award of the contract for groundwater sampling services for 153 Fillmore Avenue be made to Stearns & Wheler, LLC, at a cost not to exceed $12,700.00.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

37.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the following certificates of insurance and bonds for plumbers be filed and a licenses be issued for said plumbers to do business in the City of Tonawanda;

James Swanson (J.R. Swanson Plumbing Co., Inc.), Martin K. Hall (Marty Hall’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc.), Joel Tucciarone (Waterworks Plumbing & Backflow, Inc.) and David J. Morrison (H & M Plumbing & Mechanical Contracting, Inc.).

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

           

38.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that Article V, Section 62-196, Schedule XVIII of the Traffic and Vehicle Ordinance be amended to read as follows:

            Resolved, that the “No Standing” of vehicles on the east side of Delaware Street from Harriet Street to Broad Street is hereby rescinded.

 

Councilmember Boyle – Now this is going to take care of all Delaware Street so you can park on Delaware, both sides. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Yes, to the best of my knowledge, yes.  

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

           

39.       By Council President Zeisz                                     seconded by Councilmember Gilbert

            Resolved, that in recognition and compliance with the “New York State Open Meetings Law”, this Common Council will meet in Executive Session in the Common Council Chambers for the purpose of pending exempt City business, and further be it

            Resolved, that upon conclusion of the above stated business matters, the meeting shall again be open to the general public.  The reason for the Executive Session is to discuss union negotiations.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Jerry Hill, 135 Franklin Street – I was curious to know if there’s any action going forward to fix the bridge by Two Mile Creek on Niagara Street, going towards the Town? 

 

Council President Zeisz – Actually, in the 2010 Capital Budget, there is money in there for design of the culvert, so that will be the first step in that process. 

 

Councilmember Boyle – On the same aspect, back when I was on the Council a few years back, I guess we were a couple feet short of it being considered a bridge that the State would have to take care of? 

 

Council President Zeisz - That is correct.

 

Councilmember Boyle - Is there any way that we can finagle it so our great-grandkids or whatever wouldn’t have to go through this problem, make it a bridge or what?

 

Council President Zeisz - Well, maybe the Mayor would like to comment, but that is something that was talked about and I think there’s probably going to be more discussion but there was a downside to going that route. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – There was a downside to going that route and Sam, I can’t remember what the downside was, do you remember?  We had that discussion a number of months ago about that.  Cost was a very large factor but I’m not sure if that was the only factor. 

 

Administrative Assistant, Sam Iraci – Any transportation project is required to go through the Regional Planning Board which is the Greater Buffalo Regional Transportation Committee.  Projects have to find there way on to what’s called the “TIP”, Transportation Improvement Program, which is a five year planning document that the Federal Government requires.  The City presented, along actually with the recommendation of the State DOT that the culvert be converted to a bridge but because of money constraints, big cuts on the statewide level, there wasn’t enough money that they were approved for that conversion.  Also, there’s other issues.  Once you widen and expand it from a culvert to a bridge it takes an awful lot of time.  So we’re in a position now to, it looks like the State is willing to kind of administer the project, as the Council President indicated, the City’s putting planning money in the Capital Budget to get this done, now we’re moving forward to design and then eventually construction.    

 

Mayor Pilozzi – When you want to talk about money, when it comes to that particular culvert, I think was probably six or seven years ago we had one of those “styrofoam checks” from our Congresswoman, Louise Slaughter.  Somehow that total money did not get approved in the overall budget under the Bush administration, that went from $600,000 down to I believe it was $420,000 and then all of a sudden, we really didn’t have enough money to do the job.  So Sam, Jason LaMonaco, and myself went to downtown Buffalo and talked to the folks at the DOT and they seemed to be willing to take on the project as long as it wasn’t a bridge because they don’t have the money either.  So right now, it looks like we’re going to have a new culvert, but not a bridge, just so everybody knows. 

 

Michael Mercio, 186 William Street – I have heard over the last few meetings that you were discussing the possibility of charging $5.00 for parking down at Niawanda Park.  The more I think about it, I would like the Council and the President to really think about this.  You may be hurting the businesses you have on Niagara Street because you’re saying that you have 80% of the people from the outside that come in here and most likely most of these people do patronize these businesses and I’d hate the see these businesses hurt by this.  The other thing I look at is you’re not only going to push the people out of the parking down here, you’re going to force them to go into the side streets, like Bouck Street, Adam Street, and then you’re gonna have the residents complaining that now their streets are all bogged down with parking.  So it’s something I think you should consider before you think about charging to park down there in Niawanda Park.  And I agree with you too, President Zeisz, I do remember years ago that someone challenged the City that you cannot force, keep people out of the park down there because it did take State and Federal money to build that park. 

 

Councilmember Boyle – When I brought that up, if you look down there, probably 75% to 80% are people from outside.  If you go down on a Saturday and a Sunday, the garbage is just overflowing.  I’m just saying, if there’s someway to offset the cost of that, not $20, $30, $40 bucks, you know what I’m saying?  It was just something, as Carl says, it’s this big old hamster in the wheel that keeps getting brought up and it keeps going and keeps going. 

 

Michael Mercio - And you’ve got businesses down there, as far as I’m concerned, that rely on those people that come in out of town.  Yes, they can throw their garbage down there and they also throw their garbage out there and the ducks and seagulls come down there and you got a mess down there.         

 

Councilmember Boyle - But if you really think though that if they charge $2.00, $5.00 in parking, people aren’t gonna come to Niawanda Park….. 

 

Michael Mercio - ….I have a funny feeling you will be hurting those businesses, I really do, not a lot, but I do believe and I tell you, you’ll have those businesses down here complaining too.  You gotta remember, that’s revenue to the City and you don’t want to force that revenue out of here.  It’s something to really look at.  Maybe you can talk to the business owners and ask them what they think about it. 

 

COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Councilmember Slisz – Well, in listening to the Mayor’s message for the City for the coming year, I think some great things are going to happen and one of the things that I’ve been interested in for the last six to eight months is the demolition of the water works.  It is an eye sore.   It’s been vacant for six years.  The other two buildings we’ve been talking about, the waste treatment plant, that’s been vacant for sixteen years and I believe that demolition is the way to go.  When that property becomes shovel ready, it will probably attract a lot of developers that will probably want to build upscale apartments, maybe business offices and that will bring in a lot of revenue to this City and this is what we need.  We need to look at what we have available to bring in additional revenue for the City and I think we’re moving in the right direction.  In addition to the Little League development, I think that’s going to help the revenues too.  So I’m happy to hear that the Mayor and most of the Council are on board, it’s something that we need for this City, something we should be looking forward to.

 

Councilmember Gilbert – I’d like to thank the Mayor for his State of the City speech, it was a very good speech and I think that it’s a testament to the work that the City workers do and that they keep the budget the way it is.  I’d also like to thank Chief Stuart and his Fire Department for the great job they did on Amsterdam, keeping the lady’s home from burning up.  It could have been a big tragedy.  And I’d like to see us look at different ways to bring revenue in, even if it is charging to use the waterfront park just because I think the cost of the garbage is an enormous fee that we take on from the Town residents and City residents.   

 

Councilmember Boyle – Nothing at this time, thank you Mr. President. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – First of all, I’d like to send my thanks to everybody that had anything to do with the H1N1 immunization effort at Tonawanda High School.  They did a terrific job, it went very, very smooth and I went there and got my shot and was in and out pretty rapidly and they didn’t give me any hugs, I don’t know why, they had a hugging team there. I guess you had to be a little kid or something.  At any rate, they did a terrific job and I thank them for that.  This morning I had the opportunity for the first time to go downstairs to our conference room and our new legislator, Kevin Hardwick, was there, along with Mrs. Gregg who is sitting right here in the audience, and I thank them for being here. I look forward to working with Kevin and Sue in the future.  Neither one of them are strangers to Tonawanda, they both live in Tonawanda, and Sue sat on this Council for a number of years and so did Kevin, so we have some homegrown Tonawanda people representing us in the County Legislature.  Lastly, I’d like to thank my staff.  I hope I didn’t bore too many people with a very long State of the City.  I looked at that thing and said, “where can I cut this?” because it is quite long, but the fact of the matter is, I have to thank my staff and when I say staff, it’s Sam, and Judy, my secretary, and a real big piece of this was Joe Hogenkamp and obviously, the whole thing, doesn’t happen, the City of Tonawanda does not function, without it’s employees and it’s Department Heads, and they’ve done, in my estimation, a terrific job for the residents of the City.  We always have a little bump or two somewhere along the line, but for the most part, my thanks go out to all the Department Heads and the employees of this City.    

 

Council President Zeisz – For myself, I did want to thank the Mayor for taking the time to basically apprise the public and the Council on the City’s status.  One thing I would like to point out, there’s a few references in the State of the City where he talks about informing the Council.  Now obviously, we have four newly elected members, but for  myself and Mayor Pilozzi we have had a pretty close relationship and basically, he didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know or haven’t worked on with him, but I do thank him, I, of course, thank all the Department Heads in the City and the employees for their efforts on behalf of the City.  Just a couple things I wanted to touch on that were brought up.  Now we did the bond authorization for the water plant and the sewage treatment plants.  Along with that, I had a discussion the other day with the Mayor and also Sam Iraci, the assistant.  We’re gonna get moving right away on preparing the RFP so that we can get the land out, once it’s cleared up, we’ve got the RFP ready to fire off so that we can get, see what kind of interest there will be in developing that property.  Now, tied in with that, which is also tied in with the Spaulding project, is zoning of that property.  That’s a key component of that because if it changes, if the current zoning changes, it will allow more flexibility in development.  So that’s one thing.  Another thing that will probably be coming in the next couple of weeks is the Council will be meeting with developers who have submitted proposals to build homes on the Little League Drive property and that will probably happen in the next few weeks and we want to take that into consideration, along with looking at the school district’s task force recommendations so that we can make a prudent decision, but I think it was pretty clearly said before, and I feel pretty strongly about this, that our goal should be, develop and bring money in and to thin government wherever we possibly can, whether that’s buildings, whatever it takes for us to do that, we need to do that.  I don’t think we have to look very far, other than the State to see what can happen when we don’t.  Other than that, have a great night, drive home safely, and we’ll see you again.  God bless you. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

40.       By Councilmember Gilbert                                      seconded by Councilmember Boyle

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until, February 16, 2010.  

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

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