Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

February 16, 2010

 

A Regular Meeting of the Common Council

 

Present:  Council President Zeisz

Present Councilmembers:  Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole

 

Pledge of Allegiance led by Council President Zeisz

 

Prayer led by Council President Zeisz

 

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR

 

A letter to Dave Wolgast, 17 Scott Street, dated February 10, 2010 appointing him to the Youth Board term to expire December 31, 2014.

 

A letter from Superintendent of Schools, Whitney K. Vantine, Ed. D. dated February 2, 2010, regarding various issues with the School District.

 

A letter from the Office of Real Property Services dated February 1, 2010, regarding 2009 Annual Aid Certification for the City of Tonawanda.

 

A letter from Time Warner Cable dated January 29, 2010, apprising the City of developments affecting Time Warner Cable subscribers in Tonawanda.

 

A letter to the Honorable Robin Schimminger, dated February 9, 2010, regarding Saturday Night concerts at Gateway Park.

 

A letter to the Honorable Robin Schimminger dated February 8, 2010, requesting assistance in continuing to move forward with the Spaulding Fibre redevelopment project.

 

A letter to Christopher B. Thomas, 65 Hackett Drive, reappointing him to the Tonawanda Housing Authority, term to expire February 11, 2015.

 

A letter to Joyce Cassata, 439 Delaware Street, reappointing her to the Board for the Visual and Performing Arts, term to expire December 31, 2012.

 

A letter to Matthew Palladino, 458 Morgan Street, dated February 8, 2010 appointing him to the Youth Board as a student rep., term to expire June, 2010.

 

A letter to Brian McCarthy, 392 Morgan Street, dated February 8, 2010 appointing him to the Youth Board as a student rep., term to expire June, 2010.

 

A letter to Samantha Dayton, 302 Canton Street, dated February 8, 2010 appointing her to the Youth Board as a student rep., term to expire June, 2010.

 

A letter to Elizabeth Olka, 150 Delaware Street, Apt. 4, appointing her to the Youth Board, term to expire December 31, 2014.

 

A letter from Sam Iraci dated February 16, 2010, submitting a public disclosure regarding the proposed service contract with Computel Consultants.

            Ordered filed

 

COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            January minutes of the Board of Appeals

            January monthly report of the Building Inspector

January monthly report of the City Clerk

January 28, 2010, minutes of the Civil Service Commission

            January minutes of the Plumbing Board

February 10, 2010, minutes of the Civil Service Commission

            February minutes of the Community Development Agency

                Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                    Ordered filed

 

A letter from David McCormick, 613 Niagara Street, dated February 9, 2010, regarding Niawanda Park.

            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

 

41.       By Councilmember Boyle                                       seconded by Councilmember Gilbert

                        Resolved, that the bills be allowed as audited and the City Clerk be authorized to draw warrants on the Treasurer for the various amounts.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

42.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Whereas, the State of New York provides financial aid for municipal waste reduction and municipal recycling projects; and

            Whereas, the City of Tonawanda herein called the MUNICIPALITY, has examined and duly considered the applicable laws of the State of New York and the MUNICIPALITY deems it to be in the public interest and benefit to file an application under these laws; and

            Whereas, it is necessary that a Contract by and between the People of the State of New York, herein called the STATE, and the MUNICIPALITY be executed for such STATE Aid; now, therefore be it

            Resolved, by the City of Tonawanda Common Council, that the filing of an application in the form required by the State of New York in conformity with the applicable laws of the State of New York including all understanding and assurances contained in said application is hereby authorized, and further be it

            Resolved, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi is directed and authorized as the official representative of the MUNICIPALITY to act in connection with the application and to provide such additional information as may be required and to sign the resulting contract if said application is approved by the STATE; and be it further

            Resolved, that the MUNICIPALITY agrees that it will fund its portion of the cost of said Municipal Waste Reduction and/or Recycling Project, and be it further

            Resolved, that the MUNICIPALITY or MUNICIPALITIES set forth their respective responsibilities by attached joint resolution relative to a joint Municipal Waste Reduction and/or Recycling Project.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

43.       By Councilmember Gilbert                                      seconded by Council President Zeisz

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

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

44.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

Whereas, in order to manage City expenditures and reduce costs, the City continues to explore initiatives to minimize energy consumption in City buildings and City equipment, and

Whereas, at the present time the City is pursuing the development of a proposal responding to Request For Proposal 10 issued by the New York State Energy and Research Authority (NYSERDA), due February 17, 2010, and anticipates this proposal would propose funding for capital improvements that would reduce energy consumption based on a equipment retrofitting made as a result of a visual audit of City buildings; propose funding to install LED lighting for approximately thirty City owned, metered street lights located in Gateway Harbor to serve as a demonstration project that LED street lighting will reduce consumption without sacrificing light quality and to identify and fund required capital improvements to utilize solar panels to be located safely on City property, and

Whereas, the City has received a communication from Computel Consultants (Computel), Earlville, New York, (attached with a client and referral list) offering utility billing analysis services, solely on a contingent basis, to identify and actually secure refunds for possible telecommunications, cable, gas and electric over billing, and

Whereas, services provided by Computel would only be compensated for if, and only if, Computel identifies and secures refund payments by utilities providing services to the City, and those payments are received by the City, but all future savings realized by the city as a result of correcting billing or rates accrue exclusively to the benefit of the City, now therefore be it

Resolved, the City of Tonawanda Common Council authorizes the Mayor to submit the above referenced proposal to NYSERDA, and be it further

Resolved, the Common Council authorizes the Mayor to execute any agreements necessary to retain the utility billing analysis services provided by Computel, with possible payment for those services made exclusively on a contingent basis and to submit a response to NYSERDA RFP 10 on behalf of the City.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

           

45.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that resolution #38 that was passed at the Common Council meeting on February 2, 2010, is hereby rescinded.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

46.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that an amendment be made to the Tonawanda City Code, Section 62-196, Schedule XVIII, entitled ďNo standing during certain hoursĒ rescinding ďno standing on the east side of Delaware Street from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m./Monday through Friday from Harriet Street to Broad Street.Ē

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

           

47.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the Certificates of Insurance and bonds for Richard Lyons (Hastings & Son, Inc.), Bernie K. Patcyk (Hastings & Son, Inc.) and David Kubiniec (Kubiniec Plumbing) be filed and a license be issued to said plumbers to do business in the City of Tonawanda.

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

48.       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 survey and design of the Niagara River Bank Stabilization project be made to Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., at a cost not to exceed $42,140.00.

 

Fiscal Impact:             2009 Capital Budget $42,140.00

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

           

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Karen Kisloski, 164 Highland Avenue Ė Prior to buying our home on Highland Avenue last year, we lived on Dexter Street for eight years.   We love the area and community we live in.  My husband, three children and I were saddened of the decision to close Highland School.  Where will our children go to school and most importantly, what will happen to the playground that our children go to?  The neighborhood children love that playground.  Where do they go now if it closes?  In 2008 Highland playground was the most attended playground of the eight playgrounds, and 2009 was one of the top three attended.  My question is, why not consider a community center for this building? Combine the Recreation Departmentís two offices and the Senior Center building, to one centralized building.  Until you, the Common Council and Mayor explore all possibilities of this becoming a reality, will you please consider this option.  We the taxpayers own this building and what happens with it.  Iím just asking that you consider this option.  Thank you. 

 

COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Councilmember Poole Ė Nothing at this time, thank you.

 

Councilmember Slisz Ė Nothing, thank you.

 

Councilmember Gilbert Ė Iíd just like to say I invite everybody to stop by the Tonawanda Football Clinic this Saturday for their chowder sale.  Itís very good and itís relatively cheap. 

 

Councilmember Boyle Ė Thereís a few things that, I mean, just from talking to Chuck and everybody thinking that the City has closed the door on looking at Highland School, I donít think this Council has closed the door on anything yet.  I mean, from what I understand is, it was out on Facebook, saying that this Council has closed the door on stuff.  This is our fourth meeting, our fourth meeting, this Council, itís a brand new Council.  What we did is we took this, we stepped into this, okay?   Weíre still getting our feet wet and the School Board saying that this Council has closed the door on taking over Highland School, thatís wrong, thatís wrong.  Do it face to face.  If they want to say something, come in here, look at this Council and say, ďyou guys are doing thisĒ, or ďyouíre doing thatĒ.  I mean, you can probably ask anybody up here.   Lindaís come to us on this thing too.  Itís like, do we turn around and say, ďoh, yup, yup, weíll take it, weíll do it right nowĒ.  Thereís a lot of stuff that has to be looked at.  Itís not, you know, the doorís not closed.  Iím just speaking for myself but I mean, by somebody just putting it out there that we closed the door on this thing, thatís wrong, thatís really wrong.  Itís like, well, itís our fault that the budget is $17,000,000 and no, I mean, itís a brand new Council.  The way I look at it is, if somebody can come to me and say, we can take Highland School and itís not going to cost us one penny, sell it to me.  The Mayor knows it, the Mayor and I have locked horns before. Iíve been on the Council for six years.  If somebody comes to me and says, A,B,C, okay, and itís going to be D and Dís not going to cost us anything, then yeah, letís really look at it. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi Ė If I could kind of pick up on what Councilman Boyle has mentioned, like anything else, we have to get a pretty solid business case for Highland School for the City to acquire anything from the Board of Education.  Can that be done?  Iím sure it can be, but we have to look at maintenance cost, you have to look at what additional costs youíre picking up from the Cityís point of view.  Since Iíve been Mayor, my drive and my passion has been to keep taxes at or below 2.5% a year which is a nominal amount of money.  Given normal price increases, weíve been successful at that.  If something like that could put us over that, Iíd have to have a real good, hard look at that.  But can we close the chapter on Highland School?  I donít think anybody has actually closed the chapter on Highland School as a potential place for the City to acquire, but again, it has to be a solid business case.  We have to make sure that we can afford it, and if you look at the condition that the Board of Education is in right now, if we went to a centralized elementary school experience, youíre going to have not only Highland, but Riverview, Mullen and perhaps Fletcher, closed.  So, the old idea of the City of Tonawanda having a neighborhood school obviously, is out of the picture.  So we have to deal with these vacant properties in one way, shape, or form.  Again, if we have a solid business case, we should consider it.  If we donít, we should let the Board of Education know that weíre not interested.  Iím not sure if weíve reached that point yet, I donít think we have, because to be honest with you, I havenít taken a walk through Highland School since the last day it was opened, I was invited there for that.  But that closing is always a sad thing, I can understand where you are coming from, but we have to be very, very careful on how we go forward, not only on Highland but the rest of the schools that may become available.  On a different note, recently Police Chief Young has announced that our Police Department has been fully trained in a new automated system.  I believe itís called, ďA Child Is MissingĒ.  It initially deals with children, but in fact it can deal with people with Alzheimerís, it can deal with any kind of kidnapping, that sort of thing.  Itís an automated system that can get 1,000 phone calls out in a minute and covers a wide area of our City.  To her credit, Chief Young has made the initiative and weíre one of the first ones in Western New York, if not the first one in Western New York, that has that service.  Itís a public safety thing, it was highly sought after and one that, again, we were first.  It looks like the New York State Troopers and Lancaster came in second here.  But I have one concern and that is the same concern I had with cell phones.  If you have a cell phone and you need to contact a public emergency organization, believe it or not, that cell phone goes some place in Buffalo.  Iíve already seen it where somebody along our park actually needed help.  My brother-in-law observed somebody having a heart attack and the person in Buffalo sent the Town of Tonawanda Police looking for something in our City, even though the person said itís the City of Tonawanda, at the foot of Hinds Street in Niawanda Park.  He was very explicit.  So hereís the deal.  If you know of anybody, or maybe your own particular case, if you have a cell phone or an unlisted number, please make sure you get a hold of www.achildismissing.org and just give them your phone number.  Youíll be on a permanent listing.  Now I talked to the Chief just prior to this meeting and weíre gonna try to find out if thereís a phone number that would make it easier for perhaps seniors that donít have computers, but to me, itís a great, great tool, to have in the tool box for public safety and Tonawanda is on the cutting edge of it, but there are some glitches to it and I just want to make sure everybody is aware of the glitches.               

 

Council President Zeisz Ė I just have a couple of comments relative to Highland and the school district.  Iíve been here a long time and Iíve seen us eliminate a lot of employees, eliminate departments, consolidate departments.  You get to the point where somebodyís got to do the work and thereís only so many people left and where Iím going with this is the fact that, and I donít know if this is exact but I know Iím pretty close, $1,000 in assessment turns out to be about $39.17 in taxes.  You put that on $100,000 house, itís $3,917.00.  The reality is, the tax situation is at a point where we only have a couple options.  Find more ways to bring money in through development, or make some really hard choices about what we have in the City and what we can provide.  That being said, I told the Superintendent, and Iím not speaking for the Council, Iím speaking for myself, and I told the Board President, I donít want Highland School.  You got maintenance costs, utility costs and we have no idea about any possible capital expenditures that would have to be made in that building, thatís an old building and Iím not talking about the remodeled portion.  Those costs are before we put anyone into the building to work there.  And I think our job should be to streamline and get rid of as many City properties, and get them on the tax rolls as possible.  That should be our goal.  In a perfect world, we would take Highland School; it would be a community center.  That would be great.  I grew up on Highland, but itís not a perfect world, and the reality is our community can only afford so much and weíre getting to the point where some of these things are really getting difficult to afford.  Not only that, we have a hard enough time getting the work done that has to be done right now, without adding more on top of it.  So, yes, this is a new Council and the other four individuals, they have an opinion and they have the right to vote any way they so desire, but Iíve already put it out there, the Mayor was at the meeting, and I said, I donít want this school.  And it has nothing to do with what the school could be or whatever.  It still costs more money and whether we can get that in return, that may or may not be true, but itís my opinion and I have a job to do here and that job encompasses trying to figure out ways to avoid the taxes getting even higher than they already are and thatís my two cents.  I thank everyone for coming, have a great night, drive home safely, and God Bless you. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

49.       By Councilmember Boyle                                       seconded by Councilmember Slisz

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until, March 2, 2010.  

 

Ayes: Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

 

Return to CITY OF TONAWANDA web page