Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

August 3, 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

 

Public Hearing

Building of a Pavilion

 

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR

 

A letter from Time Warner Cable dated August 1, 2010, writing to the City as party of their ongoing efforts to keep the City apprised of developments affecting Time Warner Cable subscribers in WNY.

 

A letter from the State Office of Real Property Tax Services, dated July 30, 2010,  certifying  that on July 20, 2010, the State Office of Real Property Tax Services established a final State equalization rate of 100.00 for the City of Tonawanda.

 

A letter from Police Chief John Ivancic, dated August 3, 2010, listing the overtime cost in the Police Department incurred from Canal Fest.

 

The proposed 2011 City of Tonawanda General, Water and Sewer Fund Budgets

 

A memo from the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning Division of Planning dated July 30, 2010, regarding the 2010 CDBG Community Project – Gibson Street Improvements.

            Ordered filed

 

COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            June Activity Report of the Fire Department

            July minutes of the Board of Appeals

            2010 General, Water and Sewer Fund Revenues and Expenditure Reports

                        as of July 31, 2010

                Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                        Ordered filed

 

A petition for the retention of the stop sign located on East Niagara Street at the corner of Douglas Street received July 30, 2010.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

 

A letter from City Attorney Ronald C. Trabucco, dated July 29, 2010, regarding Fillmore Avenue property.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                        Ordered filed

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC ON RESOLUTIONS

 

There were no comments on the resolutions.

 

 

 

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

218.     By Councilmember Poole                                       seconded by Councilmember Slisz

            Resolved, that the portion of Young Street between Main Street and Delaware Street be closed from approximately 7:30 A.M. on Friday August 13, 2010, through 10:00 P.M. on Sunday, August 15, 2010, for the purpose of an international barbeque competition arranged through the Tonawandas Gateway Harbor Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas, and be it further

            Resolved, that a portion of the City parking lot behind Walgreen’s be reserved and permission be granted for vendors and participants of the international barbeque to stay overnight and be it further

            Resolved, that a Certificate of Liability Insurance from the Tonawandas Gateway Harbor Corporation naming the City as additional insured be presented to the City Clerk no later than August 10, 2010.

 

Councilmember Slisz – I think this presents the opportunity to clean up those lots behind the buildings on Main Street.  We should clean them up because we are going to have a lot of people here from outside the area.  

 

Ayes:  Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays:  None

                                    Resolution declared adopted

           

219.     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 personnel of a particular person.

 

Ayes:  Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays:  None

                                    Resolution declared adopted

 

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Robert Derner, 286 Niagara Shore Drive – All I want to do is ask you that as long as there is money available from the Greenway Commission or from the Power Project, what is the City doing to access that money because other communities are putting together proposals.  North Tonawanda put one together for the Gratwick Riverside Park.  A very professional proposal. 

 

Council President Zeisz – How much money has North Tonawanda gotten from the Greenway so far?

 

Robert Derner – I don’t know, they haven’t gotten anything yet. 

 

Council Present Zeisz – That’s what I thought.

 

Robert Derner – The Riviera Theater is asking for $4,500,000.  All I am saying is you can’t get the money if you don’t ask for it.  There doesn’t seem to be any urgency on the part of the City to do anything.  If this deal with the Power Project passes us by and we don’t access it with what we have on our river-frontage we should be ashamed of ourselves.  All I am asking you to do is put something together and try to get it.  Thank you.

 

Debra Murray, 381 Niagara Street – I live in the big white house right by Old Man River and for years and currently I love sitting on my porch, that is why I bought the house.  The traffic situation at that corner is almost impossible.  I don’t know if we have more people at the River this year but I can’t tell you how many times I get off my porch and I go help some lady with a stroller or some old lady with a walker or someone with a wheel chair and I stop traffic.  I know they are supposed to stop at intersections but nobody does including police officers.  I see time and time again people will stand out there for five minutes and finally they will walk out in traffic.  I know we have never had a serious accident there but I think that TOPS puts those yellow cones that just say “Yield for Pedestrians”.

 

Councilmember Boyle – State law requires that you stop for pedestrians in walkways.

 

Debra Murray – I will take it out every night and put it on my front porch.  I will put it out in the morning.  Sometimes I go in the house because it is so chaotic there that I am constantly going, oh my God, oh my God.  I shouldn’t have to police that corner.  I called the Police constantly when there are three cars backed up in the “No Parking”.  One car, O.K., two cars O.K., I yell across the street, there is no parking there, you are in a crosswalk, “so what” they tell me or they tell me other things that I can’t repeat here.  I don’t think those cones are very expensive.  Even if one gets stolen every once in awhile.  TOPS cares about their pedestrians.  We should care about our pedestrians.  It is the busiest intersection without a light in the City of Tonawanda.  Something needs to be done there before there is a fatal accident. 

 

Councilmember Gilbert – One of the things we were looking at both that intersection and Mississippi Mudds, I think Council President Zeisz was looking at one way of lowering the speed limit and I thought of those cones too.  We are looking at that situation.

 

Debra Murray – It is not the speed limit.

 

Council President Zeisz – What I wanted to do was paint off crosswalks with those crosswalk signs too. 

 

Ken Horn, 278 Rogers Avenue – I want to know what Canal Fest cost the City.  Do we have those records?  And how much we have been reimbursed. 

 

Council President Zeisz – You just gave me the Police today and it is about $16,200.  Last year it was about $25,500 total.  Police is barely higher than last year when you take into account….

 

Ken Horn – …the Italian Fest is completely paid for by the Italian Fest Committee.  It does not cost the City of Buffalo one cent.  I still feel Canal Fest should not cost the City of Tonawanda one red cent and we are still doing it.  It is eight days long.  The first four days are slow, Parade Day isn’t slow.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  If the Italian Fest can do it for free why can’t we do it with no cost to the City of Tonawanda.  I still think we should make Young Street a park.  Don’t worry about putting the rides there.  The place that the rides should go is a big empty field across there.  Chief, is there any list of arrests in NT and Tonawanda?  Is there any way you could find out?  We seem to have a lot of problems over here with the younger generation.  I hate to say it that way you know I love the younger kids.  I will do anything for them but I can’t see importing young people to our community.  I would rather have our own young people here.   I know the Police are happy every day that they can get off during Canal Fest.  They can work double shifts.  Spaulding Fibre?  Is there really a chance of a railroad yard going in there?  Railroad depot or warehouse? 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – There has been some preliminary discussions with an organization, basically warehousing and transportation operation that is looking at a spur coming off behind Leisure Living.  They haven’t come back, so…

 

Ken Horn – …I understand on the Leisure Living site.  That is a very viable business.  They seem to be very happy over there…

 

Mayor Pilozzi –…CXS is willing to work with them and put a spur that will come right into the facility so….

 

Ken Horn – …so nothing at the Spaulding site.

 

Mayor Pilozzi – No, that has nothing to do with the Spaulding site.

 

Ken Horn – I was a little bit concerned.  You know, I grew up on the “hill” and I remember the trains at Spaulding Fibre when I was a kid.

 

Mayor Pilozzi – We were very specific that we are in the process of a new zoning ordinance that will enhance our ability to control that type of operation or anything you put in the neighborhood.

 

Ken Horn – Do you have any idea at what they are looking at to put at Spaulding, Mr. Mayor? 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – No.  We have had a lot of people come in.  There are a lot of people that want to promise you the world but…

 

Ken Horn – …I wish you luck on any decision you may make. 

 

Ed Gebera, 157 Brookside Terr. W. – Now that Canal Fest has been brought up did you just get the labor for just the Police Department?  What about the Parks Department?

 

Council President Zeisz – We don’t have all of the numbers together.  We just have Police which is $16,300.

 

Ed Gebera – You didn’t get the labor costs from Neal Myers? 

 

Council President Zeisz – No.  We need Parks, DPW, and Fire still.

 

Ed Gebera – Thank you.  That is all I wanted to know.

 

Debbie Darling, 263 Brookside Terrace – I would just like to address Mr. Horn’s comments about Canal Fest.  I do want to bring to light that comparing Canal Fest to the Italian Fest is comparing apples to oranges.  The Italian Festival is a profitable organization.  Canal Fest is a non-for-profit organization.  They are two different entities.  We have an organization of non-profits that give back to the community.  The money that is generated from Canal Fest goes to the Boy Scouts, the churches, the fire departments, it is all non-profit organizations.  If we were the Italian Festival and we were making a profit then we could bring in business and it would generate money.  We would love to pay the cities, both North Tonawanda and Tonawanda, the amount of money it costs to have this event.  Due to the fact that we cannot do that, but what will be paid back to the communities is $12,000 and possibly more to the City of Tonawanda.  There is no other festival in WNY that we know of that pays to have the privilege of having a festival in the community.  What we do for this community is a great thing and if it didn’t happen these organizations would not have the fund raising capability to fund their Camp Good Days and Special Times or whatever their organization spends their money on.  So without Canal Fest you are not just putting a damper on the City and showcasing what we have to offer but you are also penalizing those organizations that participate.  So, to compare the Italian Festival and Canal Fest is apples to oranges and I invite you to come to the Canal Fest meeting and address these things that the Council really doesn’t have the answers for.  Thank you.

 

Roberta Faith, 194 East Niagara Street – I would very much like to publicly thank Chief Ivancic for what he has been doing down in Gastown.  We have more Police presence down there and it is showing a difference and a lot of the neighbors are very happy about that and it is still a concern as to whether or not we are going to lose our stop sign which we do not believe we should. 

 

Council President Zeisz – I am not going to speak for the rest of the Council but I am not voting to take it out.

 

Councilmember Gilbert – We just discussed that and we did not think it was a good thing because that is the only stop sign going through...

 

Roberta Faith - …and it is such a thoroughfare going straight through from the boulevard, cars don’t stop. 

 

Councilmember Gilbert – I too would like to thank Chief Ivancic for that.  Just yesterday two tickets were handed out for not stopping at the stop sign.

 

Roberta Faith – I have seen them pulling them over and a few neighbors said that last weekend there were about forty tickets or something like that, I don’t know.  I really want to thank him for following through on what he said he was going to follow through on.  Just the Police presence we have down there since he took over has been awesome.  I really want to thank you publicly for the good job that you are doing. 

 

COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Councilmember Gilbert – Nothing at this time Mr. President.

 

Councilmember Boyle – It was funny because you were saying about all the non-for-profits not making the money and stuff like that, they would still have fundraising and you know they would still have fundraising.  Back when I was on the Council before we wanted to know how much money the Carousel Society made from this.  Both Larry and Randy said “no, we can’t show you those numbers”.  It would be very interesting to see what the two big players, Sweeney Hose and the Carousel Society, how much money they do make from that.  I think it would be totally mind-boggling how much.  You know, you are just sitting there smirking.  It would probably be an outrageous amount of money.  That is neither here nor there.  Canal Fest is done.  What I would like do though is get the Canal Fest people together along with the Police Department.  Also, along with the managers of HSBC, I just want to know how these businesses that are here 365 days a year, how are they doing?  Walgreens, that is where my wife works.  Do you know what these kids are doing in Walgreens?  They are going in there.  They are using the deodorant right there and putting it back on the shelf.  Somebody said why don’t they get private security. Why should they have to get private security?  Why should the businesses that are in the City of Tonawanda 365 days out of the year have to worry about getting private security for this one week where you have probably 85% to 95% of the people who come to this are not from the City of Tonawanda.  I would like to bring all of those businesses in to say how were your sales?  Did they go up?  They probably did but these non-for-profits, the boy scouts and girl scouts and stuff like that, they made money.  Maybe the businesses that are sitting there all year did not make money but that is only for eight days.  In your response about putting those cones up, I drive a coach bus for Rainbow and I go to different places and I brought something up to Carl, I was in Washington, D.C. and what they have are orange flags that say “stop”.  So, if somebody wants to cross the street they take the flag and it stops the traffic and they cross the street and there is this little hole you put it in on the other side.  But, knowing the City of Tonawanda some kids that would be walking around would steal it and walk away.  What I would like to see is these state laws “stop for pedestrians in crosswalks” not only there but down on Main Street also.  Because when you are driving and you see those things what is your first tendency?  Slow up.  We are going to be looking at that.  I just want to thank everybody that came out for this hearing.  I am sorry that we did not have numbers and figures but we did get a good input from everybody else.  Thank you Mr. President.

 

Councilmember Poole – I also would like to thank all of you that came out and seeing an increased presence at the Council Meetings and please go home and tell you friends to come to the Council Meetings.  Citizen participation is a really large thing and I won’t say anything more than hurray for what Debbie Darling says.  Thank you very much.

 

Councilmember Slisz – I would just like to remark that on February 11th this Council approved a $42,000 resolution to begin the process of surveying the design for erosion protection for Niawanda Park.  I think as soon as this report is returned to us and as soon as we get this pavilion behind us we ought to be making an application to the Greenway Commission to get some money to address the erosion problem.   I think the time has come and the money is there.  I read the article today too and with the $9,000,000 that is being spent, I think we should go after some of that.  The erosion is one of the biggest things that we have and it is an expensive proposition and I think that is what the Greenway was formed for and I am sure we will be successful once we start the application. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – First of all I would like to extend my appreciation to everyone that came out tonight.  I know a lot of them left but public input is always important for any project.  The issue of shoreline erosion is something that has already been pointed out by Councilmember Slisz.   We have taken some action on it already and we have $250,000 grant, at least we are waiting for some information from the Dormitory Authority of New York State through Senator Thompson’s Office.  That gives us about maybe 500’ worth of work.  We will go after as much as we can.  The fact also remains that this community got $863,000 from the Greenway experience.  I was glad to get that.  I was proud to get that.  Do we need to do more work?  Absolutely.  There is no question about it.  The shoreline erosion issues are something that I can tell you our City Engineer is on top of.  We will continue to work towards that end.  That is all I have.  Thank you very much. 

 

Council President Zeisz – I have talked enough tonight so have a great night, thank you very much for coming and I will see you at the next meeting and God bless.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

220.     By Councilmember Gilbert                          seconded by Councilmember Boyle

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until, August 17, 2010.  

 

Ayes:  Gilbert, Boyle, Slisz, Poole, Zeisz

Nays:  None

                                    Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

 

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