Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

August 26, 2008

 

A Regular Meeting of the Common Council

 

Present:  Council President Zeisz

Present Councilmembers:  Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis

Excused:  Perkins

 

Pledge of Allegiance led by Council President Zeisz

 

Prayer led by Council President Zeisz

 

Mayor’s Public Hearing

Local Law #3 for the year 2008

 

“A Local Law providing for Flood Damage Prevention as authorized by the New York State Constitution, Article IX, Section 2, and Environmental Conservation Law, Article 36”

 

BUDGET HEARING

2009 GENERAL FUND BUDGET

 

Nancy Paschen, 5 Main Street – According to the budget, on the second page you’ve got items and projects and amounts that you might want to decide on. Have you decided for the DPW, Recreation and so on? 

 

Council President Zeisz - Those were items that were part of the budget that have been removed from the budget to potentially be bonded in the future.  So right now, they’re not anywhere. 

 

Nancy Paschen - You’re not gonna vote of this, right.  I mean, Recreation, you got down, well he has, stake bed truck, and then a few lines down you got, DPW stake bed truck.  Why can’t you just buy one truck and then have both departments use it and save a little bit of money. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Well, like I said, none of these items, these are requested items that are not part of the budget, they’re not part of anything right now.  They were part of the budget but the Mayor has decided to pull them out for future consideration.

 

Nancy Paschen – Well my guess is if you’ve got $5,000 and Recreation wants that truck and well let’s say, something else…what’s a pug? 

 

Council President Zeisz – It’s larger than a golf cart and it kind of looks like a circle with wheels.  It’s a vehicle to move around the City for doing different jobs. 

 

Nancy Paschen – Well don’t you have all these other vehicles that she uses, I mean that they use that I see all of these orange shirts driving around in.  (inaudible) Do we really need all of these vehicles?

 

Council President Zeisz - That’s why I’m saying, technically they’re nothing, they don’t exist right now so if you have questions about the actual budget, I’ll…

 

Nancy Paschen - …okay, I have questions.   Vending machines, what did you do, get rid of the vending machine because you’re not gonna make no money in 2009 on the vending machine?  In 2007 you made $36.00?  Now 2008, 2009, you’re not gonna make anything?  What happened to all the pop and stuff that you guys drink?

 

City Treasurer Joe Hogenkamp – Here’s what I think happened Nancy.  The whole vending machine thing is, I think we’ve got a pop machine and a potato chip machine, and I’m sure we’ve been getting money, a few bucks this year, but what’s happening is, in some of these lines what I noticed in working with the Mayor in the process of, and I’m going to answer this $36 question in about 12 minutes, but what I learned was, you’ve got people in my office that have changed as far as whose entering the information in the computer and I think a lot of that vending machine money is getting buried in clerk’s fees.  I know we probably got a few bucks this year. 

 

Nancy Paschen – Every few bucks helps especially on a tight budget. 

 

Joe Hogenkamp – I can take $36 out of this budget and nobody would even notice it. 

 

Nancy Paschen – I know you take a lot out of this budget and nobody knows.  How come we wanna pay $1,000 this year?

 

Joe Hogenkamp - Well I think, like I said, what’s happening is, the more that we centralize collection of the money in that area that we refurbished a couple years ago, it used to be three separate offices, now it’s one big office.  There’s more money being collected up front for a bunch of different things that end up getting credited to clerk’s fees.  You might see a line here in this departmental income is dropping a little bit, treasurer’s fees, a lot of things are getting credited to clerk’s fees which that’s fine, because things are changing, and we’re collecting the same amount of money for the same things but it’s just in here it’s being put in different lines.  So when I look at this clerk’s fees thing, when we look at, when we put $26,000 in there, the most of what goes into that when I’m sitting with the Mayor and we’re going through these numbers is tracking where we’re at year to date 2008.  I can only give you so many columns here without making it too small, but the fact that we’re putting $26,000 in here for ‘09 is more of a reflection on where we’re at right now and we know we’re going to get $26,000 in ’08 and I think what’s happening, like I said is, a lot more money, we’re changing things up in that office where the front end is taking money for a lot more things than they used to and they’re getting credit for that and the other lines are dropping a bit but in the big picture, $5,000 or $10,000 being switched between two lines is not a priority as far as where we’re going for the long haul. 

 

Nancy Paschen – Take the City Assessor, now you’ve got down here $43,000 for 2009.  I assume that’s the rest of the money you’re spending for the reassessment.

 

Joe Hogenkamp – That line, a couple things on that line, we are, I think there’s a resolution tonight, the company that did our update, we’re going to keep them on, on an annual basis so that we don’t have to do a reval every 15 years, we’re going to try to do one every year, so part of that is paying for that service, and the other part is, we know that now that we’ve been through the assessment project, there’s going to be legal challenges because they’re people out there that aren’t satisfied with what our Board of Assessment Review came in with so the next step is State Supreme Court for people who aren’t satisfied with that.  Under a certain section of Real Property Tax Law, we have to account for monies to be prepared to defend those for that kind of litigation, that’s what makes up that money. 

 

Nancy Paschen – Now we’ll take the City Clerk’s Office.  You’re gonna spend another $20,000 for computers, more or less? 

 

Joe Hogenkamp – No.

 

Nancy Paschen – Under equipment and that’s the main thing, it says computers, another $20,000.

 

Joe Hogenkamp - In the Municipal Building line on page 5, the computer equipment, we have Kevin Rank who is designated here as the computer services guy, the network guy, so he has responsibilities to maintain the network, replace computers, replace printers, change the server, we changed our server out last year and that was a big expense, or actually I think we did it this year.  So that is money that is really across the board, City-wide, City Hall, it’s not really something that Jan takes responsibility for even though it’s under the budget that she puts in.  That’s more something for money for Kevin Rank that we’re annually investing into our network and our computers here at City Hall. 

Nancy Paschen - Is that for the computers in the Police cars too? 

 

Joe Hogenkamp - No, that comes out of her department.          

 

Nancy Paschen – On page 5, you have hand supplies, hand tools and paints, and lumber.  Why can’t you all combine it into one instead of sending somebody this week to go get a piece of wood, the next week the Fire Department sends someone to get a piece of wood, why can’t you combine it? 

 

Joe Hogenkamp – We go back and forth, I’ve been here since 1980 and we go back and forth on that one.  There were times when I first started where we combined a lot of lines, we said to our electrical guy, you’re going buy all the light bulbs for everybody, we said to Jan, you’re going to buy all the paper for everybody, we said to the Fire Chief, you’re going to be responsible for all the fire extinguishers, and that was fine, but a lot of that over the years, it swings like a pendulum because what happens is when she’s buying all the paper for everybody, guess what?  Guess how much I care about wasted paper because it’s not coming out of my budget, so we tried to centralize things, and it makes sense to centralize things but at some level, the Departments have to be made accountable for what’s in their budget and if they’re not accountable because they’re hitting something that’s is somebody else’s budget, then we have problems.

 

Nancy Paschen - Do they have all the receipts? 

 

Joe Hogenkamp – Yes, absolutely, everything’s documented, I mean, it’s all filed away.  We don’t pay bills without the proper documentation. 

 

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR

 

A letter to Katie Foels, 296 Main Street, Apt T4, dated August 21, 2008, appointing her to the City of Tonawanda Youth Board, term to expire December 31, 2013.

 

A letter from the NYSDEC Division of Solid & Hazardous Materials, Region 9, dated August 14, 2008, regarding a report on the residential sump water testing program which the Department undertook in the vicinity of the Town of Tonawanda landfill.

 

A letter from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency dated August 15, 2008, regarding the Erie County Industrial Development Agency 2008 Five West Enterprises, Inc. project.

 

A letter to the General Manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority dated August 18, 2008, regarding the City of Tonawanda/Buffalo Sewer Authority Meeting.

 

A letter from the Niagara Region Planning Services Department dated July 10, 2008, regarding the nomination of the International Joint Commission (IJC) for a Stockholm Water Prize.

 

A letter from a Senior Wildlife Biologist of the NYSDEC, Division of Fish and Wildlife dated August 22, 2008, asking for permission from the City to erect a wire grid around the Tonawanda Water Intake to protect the Common Tern colony that lives on the intake.

 

A letter from Marilyn Foit, 42 Klinger Avenue, stamped August 25, 2008, suggesting that property taxes could be reduced if we only picked up large trash once a month rather than once a week.

Ordered filed

 

COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            June minutes of the Plumbing Board

July minutes of the Plumbing Board

July minutes of the Traffic and Safety Advisory Board

            August minutes of the Plumbing Board

            August minutes of the Traffic and Safety Advisory Board

    Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                     Ordered filed

 

A letter from Dan D’Angelo, President of the Niawanda Plaza, Inc., dated August 18, 2008, regarding clean up of debris on the Niawanda Plaza site.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                        Ordered filed

           

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC ON RESOLUTIONS

 

Mark Zahm, 33 Grove Place – On page #5, hiring JD Brearley Consultants LLC, I’m just a little concerned with that.  When they first came on board I was sent a memo outlining statistics for my house and asking for changes, additions, whatever and I filled it out, sent it in, the one item that I had to add to it was that T-111 was used on the exterior of my house up to 1/3 of the house is covered with it.  At the informal meeting with either Mike or Joe or whoever they sent, he pointed out to me that that was the worse thing you could use on a house, not for exterior use, that was a stupid thing to do.  Here I am with this material.  When I went to the formal hearing, for the third time that issue was brought up that all this material that was used on the house was rotting, the paint doesn’t hold anymore, and to date when I go on their website, they have yet to correct that information and I’m thinking, it’s one item to put in there, it’s decidedly a negative. They’ve got the vinyl siding, they have the aluminum but they don’t have this and of course, I don’t know about you people, but I know wouldn’t come up and say they want to buy my house, ‘oh great, T-111 look it’s rotting, I’ll definitely pay the price”.  They’re going to say, forget it buddy, get it fixed if you want to sell the place but the assessor sees it different and that’s not the issue I want to bring up now.  How competent are these people that on three occasions this information was brought up and they can’t correct their own information, and we’re going to pay them all this money, and what are they really going to do year after year, how many changes do they really have to check into to justify that money?  It’s just a concern that I have because I’m tired of money being wasted.  I work too hard for it.  If you want the money, I’m more than happy to give it for those things that really qualify for it, but I don’t see it.  They were pleasant people, don’t get me wrong. In that political aspect it is a wonderful idea in theory but bottom line it didn’t work from my perspective.   So, that’s the issue right now.

 

Council President Zeisz - Well, based on our experience with the process, feedback we got, information from the Office of Real Property Services, our City Assessor, I think the overall feeling was that they did a really good job, overall in the City, and from a Council’s standpoint and the Mayor’s standpoint, we felt it very important that we put a program in place to maintain 100% for the community because it does more, it’s really more beneficial to everyone than it may seem on the surface because it’s all about what’s fair. If you have situations where if you go extended periods, either you have people paying too much or people not paying enough.  Hopefully, by continuing to maintain ourselves at 100%, we’ll have equity throughout the community as far as people what they’re paying in their taxes.  Now, is it a perfect system?  Nothing is, but we’re obviously working to make it the best we possibly can for the community.  Based on the information we have that’s why we wanted to retain them. 

 

Patricia Iuvino, representing her mother Florence Gaff, owner of 222 Young Street – Florence has owned the apartment building for nearly 50 years and has lived there for nearly sixty years and she’s never had any trouble renting her apartments but this month alone three of her tenants have told her that they’re moving because there is no place for them to park.  My mother is 85 years old, she’s widowed, this is her livelihood and she’s losing tenants.  I support the petition for alternate overnight parking on Scott Street and in the City of Tonawanda, if that’s necessary.  Other cities have that and it seems to be a solution that works for them, I don’t see why the City can’t accommodate this problem in this way. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Well, anything that would be done, would be done City wide.  It would not be done on one street. 

 

Patricia Iuvino - Okay, that’s reasonable.

 

Council President Zeisz – At least for my lifetime and longer for others, the City has never had overnight parking and I can’t say that we’re not going to at some point in the future, but right at this point in time we do not have any overnight parking.

 

Patricia Iuvino - Well it seems to work for other communities and it allows for the snow plowing and the street cleaning, and it also allows residents who are taxpaying citizens who don’t have a place to park their vehicles, it allows them a place to park their vehicles. 

 

Council President Zeisz – Right, and I understand that.  I only know of one other community that has overnight parking year round and that’s Buffalo.  None of the surrounding communities have overnight parking. 

 

Patricia Iuvino - I also wanted to bring up another possible solution.  It’s my understanding that the extension, Scott Street was City owned and that that has been sold to a private individual and reclaiming of that City owned property, you know, might be a solution here that would allow the citizens, or at least the tenants to park.

 

Council President Zeisz - The City Attorney can correct me if I’m wrong, but the City did not own that property. There is a City right of way along Young Street. 

 

Patricia Iuvino – That easeway between the fence and the….

 

Council President Zeisz - …that’s the City right of way, yes.  But as far as the property that’s owned beyond the fence, that’s always been private. 

 

Patricia Iuvino - I understand that.  People always parked there before, there was always parking and when the fence went up, there was no longer parking so then people parked on the easeway. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Well I think people were parking there probably during the time when either the ownership of the building was in transition or the owner allowed it. 

 

Patricia Iuvino - There’s no parking at all there on Young Street. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Well the City right of way, that’s State law, that’s not something that even if the City wanted to change, we could change.  That’s State law. 

 

Patricia Iuvino - I see vehicles parked on Young Street, past Scott, or past Simson, they’re all parked up there, under the viaduct, you know, but anyone that parks across the street from the apartment buildings gets ticketed and residents that live there, can’t park there any longer.  So it doesn’t seem to be an across the board enforcement.

 

Council President Zeisz – The last few times I’ve checked, I’ve not seen cars parked on Young Street on the right of way, even going down the street.   

 

Patricia Iuvino – I just saw them today, there were at least six or seven of them. 

 

Council President Zeisz – At what point are they parked? 

 

Patricia Iuvino – They’re under the viaduct, around the collision shop, Junkyard Bar.

 

Council President Zeisz – We can talk to the Police about it, we can check into it but the last couple times I’ve gone down I haven’t seen anybody parked on the right of way.  That doesn’t mean there’s not people parking, but they’re not parking on the City right of way. 

 

Patricia Iuvino - It doesn’t seem fair or reasonable to expect anyone to move into an apartment building that has a vehicle that they need for transportation to work and then not have a place to park it.  She’s going to have a very difficult time renting and to give them the DPW lot at the foot of the Fremont Street Bridge, I understand it’s really not a safe journey from there to the apartment house or to the residents that live on Young.  So that’s another issue that the residents have. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Okay, thank you for your comments.  We also had, you know just for a point of information, we had similar situations in Niagara Street right out here with individuals that had apartments and things like that and the same thing happened there.  There is public parking available but as far as anything that I would say is close to the places, there isn’t. 

 

Kathy Marranka, Young Street – I have just a few things to say.  Number one, this City is going on 200 years old and it’s about time you change.  Things need to be different.  If that means alternate parking, then that’s what you need to do.  I told the Mayor on Friday there are four women you are putting in severe danger parking down at the end of that street.  They have to cross the bridge, two bars, there is no surveillance, no lighting.  There is a stairwell that goes down along the canal that anybody could be sitting in, hiding, watching these girls, night after night and nobody seems to care.  If it was your daughter or your daughter would you want it?  I told the Mayor if anything happens to my girls you will never sleep another night of your life because I will haunt you.  We were also told that that extension from Young Street is an extension, City property.  We were told that years ago when we wanted to park there, we could not park there because it was an extension of Young Street.  Now once again we’re told it wasn’t.  Now it is a State law, before it was a City law that we could not park where we park for forty years.  What is it?  Every time we come to a meeting it is a different story.

 

Council President Zeisz – What I said was, anybody that was here could correct me if I am wrong, I don’t know that it was ever owned by the City.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t.  I just said I’m not aware of it ever being owned by the City.

 

Kathy Marranka - We were told that for years, and in that case, then he bought City property, if this is the case.  Am I correct?

 

Gary Waterhouse – Are you talking behind the fence?

 

Council President Zeisz – It was Columbus McKinnon before.

 

Kathy Marranka – Exactly.

 

Council President Zeisz – So it wasn’t City property.

 

Kathy Marranka – We lived there when Columbus McKinnon parked there and we parked along with them.  It was an extension of Scott Street.

 

Council President Zeisz – Maybe the City Attorney knows something.

 

City Attorney Trabucco – I will check into that.

 

Council President Zeisz – Either way, it is private now. 

 

Kathy Marranka – I don’t see what the harm would be, as long as we don’t park on his six inches of property, why we could not continue to park there.  I mean why after forty years, is it something you just found on the books after forty years that says now we can’t?  I don’t understand.  After forty years you walked around blind and let us do it.

 

Council President Zeisz – I certainly don’t drive around the City checking to see if people are park illegally or not illegally.

 

Kathy Marranka – Well you should because I am going to tell you another one.  On Killewald there are three cars every morning parked along the grass between the curb and the sidewalk.  Three every morning.  There is also one on Delaware Avenue in full view, a big maroon truck sitting on the grass between the sidewalk and the curb.

 

Council President Zeisz – Like I said, an issue was brought to our attention and we are not in a position to violate State or City law or Federal law. 

 

Kathy Marranka – O.K., who do I get in touch with.  Who can I call from the State?

 

Council President Zeisz – The law exists for every community there is.

 

Kathy Marranka – You can’t say that because as she brought up, right along Junkyard Bar you can go by there at any given time, I don’t know what time you go by there but the cars are parked between, like you said, the so called curb and a sidewalk or whatever, you have no sidewalk down there, they are all parked there so they can cross the street and go into the bar.  The junkyard, the bar and I don’t know who all else and what is that, a collision shop under the viaduct, their cars are parked all across the sidewalk underneath that viaduct, you couldn’t walk across if you needed to.  I don’t see any of them getting ticketed.  Fair is fair, that is what I was told. 

 

Council President Zeisz – That is something that the Mayor, I am sure, is going to address with the Police Chief.   That was an issue before, the collision shop and I know they have gotten tickets.  I can’t say how frequently, but they have gotten tickets for parking across the sidewalk. 

 

Kathy Marranka – But I am really concerned about this business down at the DPW with these women walking.  What if we all got pistol permit?  Taught them how to use a gun, just in case.  Because Mr. Waterhouse seems to think I can get up at 3:00 A.M. to go and get my daughter across the street.  That is what he told me.  “Yup, I guess you will” he says.

 

Council President Zeisz – I am not even going to comment to that. 

 

Jim Borsellino, 7 Scott Street – I have the same problem.  As soon as my daughter gets home I have to get up and get out of my bed and go get her.  It is not safe for people to walk that bridge.  I am thinking about getting a pistol permit myself.  It is not safe for me to walk there and I am going to have to protect myself somehow.  I don’t know what to do and I am not getting any help from the Council for my daughter or myself and it is very (part inaudible).

 

Robert Derner, 286 Niagara Shore Drive – Regarding the hiring of Brearley for another five years.  First of all, what was their track record before you hired them to do the reassessment in Tonawanda? 

 

Council President Zeisz – I can’t say off the top of my head, I do have the information on them that we had as far as what they had done before, references from before.  I do have that information I just can’t give it to you off the top of my head.  I can certainly give you what I have.

 

Robert Derner – On this hiring them for the next five years, was there any bidding for that or did you just give them the job because they did the reassessment.

 

Council President Zeisz – Professional Services don’t have to be bid out.

 

Robert Derner – Before they did the original reassessment did the City do a financial or economic impact study before they took on this 100% assessment?

 

Council President Zeisz – An impact study of what?

 

Robert Derner – Of what the financial results would be to the taxpayers if they went from 88% to…

 

Council President Zeisz – No, we were 69%.

 

Robert Derner – There was no study done at all?

 

Council President Zeisz – No there wasn’t.  But it was also strongly suggested by the State Office of Real Property that we do a reassessment because we were so low.

 

Robert Derner – I don’t think so but we will talk later about the intent.

 

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

183.     By Councilmember Kossow                                   seconded by Councilmember Waterhouse

            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: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

184.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that Section 62-199 Schedule XXI:  Time limit parking in public parking lot  No. 11,  shall be added to read as follows:

 

                Parking Lot:  Department of Public Works  Parking Lot

 

                Time Limit:   6:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M.

 

                Hours/Days designated Parking Exception:  Designated parking exception:  parking permitted approximately 320’ west of the intersection of Fillmore and Fremont Streets in an area approximately 20’ X  72’ bordering the southwest side of the parking lot of the Department of Public Works building complex, parallel to Young Street along Ellicott Creek.   The designated overnight parking area shall be marked by City parking signs.

 

                Location:  Southwest side of the parking lot of the Department of Public Works building complex located at 150 Fillmore Avenue.

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

185.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the City of Tonawanda Common Council approves terms and conditions for a new five (5) year collective bargaining agreement between the City of Tonawanda and CSEA, Local 1000, for a term from January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2011, and be it further

            Resolved, that the Mayor is authorized to sign all documents necessary to execute a new collective bargaining agreement between the City and CSEA incorporating language in the contract that expired December 31, 2006, along with those items tentatively agreed to between the parties.  After all proper signatures are attained; a copy of said contract will be on file in the Office of the City Clerk.

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

186.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the City of Tonawanda Common Council approves negotiated terms for a new five (5) year collective bargaining agreement between the City of Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda Police Benevolent Association, for the term January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2011, and be it further

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Resolved, the Mayor is authorized to sign all documents necessary to execute a new collective bargaining agreement between the City and the PBA incorporating language and terms in the contract that expired December 31, 2006, along with those terms tentatively agreed to between the parties.  After all proper signatures are attained; a copy of said contract will be on file in the Office of the City Clerk.

           

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

187.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

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

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

188.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

            Whereas, the New York State Deferred Compensation Board (the “Board”), pursuant to Section 5 of the New York State Finance Law (“Section 5”) and the Regulations of the New York State Deferred Compensation Board (the “Regulations”), has promulgated the Plan Document of the Deferred Compensation Plan for Employees of the City of Tonawanda Deferred Compensation Plan (IRS Section 457) and offers the Model Plan for adoption by local employers:

            Whereas, the City of Tonawanda, pursuant to Section 5 and the Regulations, has adopted and currently administers the Model Plan known as the Deferred Compensation Plan for Employees of the City of Tonawanda;

            Whereas, effective December 7, 2007, the Board amended the Model Plan to adopt provisions

 

  • Expanding the eligibility for unforeseeable emergency withdrawals

  • Permitting law enforcement officers, firefighters, members of a rescue squad or ambulance crew who have retired for service or disability to request a plan distribution of up to $3,000 annually to pay for health insurance or qualified long-term care premiums for themselves, their spouse or dependents.

  • Permitting a beneficiary who is not the spouse of the deceased Participant to transfer their Plan account directly to an IRA.

  • Permitting a Participant who is eligible for a distribution to rollover all or a portion of their Plan account to a Roth IRA

 

Whereas, the Board has offered for adoption the amended and restated Model Plan to each Model Plan sponsored by a local employer in accordance with the Regulations; and

Whereas, upon due deliberation, the City of Tonawanda has concluded that it is prudent and appropriate to amend the Deferred Compensation Plan for Employees of the City of Tonawanda by adopting the amended Model Plan, now, therefore be it

Resolved, that the City of Tonawanda hereby amends the Deferred Compensation Plan for Employees of the City of Tonawanda by adopting the amended Model Plan effective December 7, 2007, in the form that is on file in the Office of the City Clerk.

           

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

189.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

            Whereas, Local Law No. 3 for the year 2008 for the City of Tonawanda, entitled “A Local Law providing for Flood Damage Prevention as authorized by the New York State Constitution, Article IX, Section 2, and Environmental Conservation Law, Article 36” was enacted by a resolution of this body on August 12, 2008; and        

Whereas, Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi has this evening held a Public Hearing concerning said legislation; now, therefore be it

            Resolved, that should the Mayor approve said legislation as is required by law, the City Clerk is directed to notify the New York State Secretary of State of its enactment and approval.

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

190.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

             WHEREAS, the City recently completed a reassessment of properties located in the City of Tonawanda in accordance with the Assessment Equity Program; and

            WHEREAS, the City recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of New York Office of Real Property Services regarding a six-year plan for re-inspection, re-appraisal and maintaining assessments at 100% on an annual basis with the first year being the 2008 assessment roll; and

            WHEREAS, the City has previously hired J D Brearley Consultants, LLC, professional consultants, in connection with the Assessment Equity Program; and

            WHEREAS, the City now again desires to enter into a contract with J D Brearley Consultants, LLC as a professional consultant to provide services to assist the City in annually re-assessing City properties through 2013; and

WHEREAS, J D Brearley Consultants, LLC has submitted a proposed Annual Maintenance Contract which provides for said services, now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi is hereby authorized and directed to execute the Annual Maintenance Contract For Professional Services between the City of Tonawanda and J D Brearley Consultants, LLC which Contract shall run from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2013 at an annual cost of $26,500.00.  A copy of the agreement is on file in the City Clerk’s Office.

 

Councilmember Kossow – This Council and the Mayor is committed to the reassessment process.  In doing so I felt it was critical that we maintain 100% assessment going forward.  That is why I will be supporting this resolution.

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

191.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

             Resolved, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi is hereby authorized to enter into an agreement with National Grid to provide and install two additional streetlights in the City of Tonawanda and be it further

            Resolved, that one be located at the Broad Street playground and one be located at the Fillmore Street playground and be it further

            Resolved, that the location of said streetlights be determined by the City Engineer and National Grid.

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

192.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

             Whereas, the New York State Archives has awarded funding under the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund to implement records management improvement projects and be it further

Resolved, that the Mayor of the City of Tonawanda is hereby authorized and directed to enter into an agreement with New York State Archives to sign the award agreement to conduct a Geographic Imaging System (GIS) Needs Assessment in the City.

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

193.     By Councilmember Kossow                                   seconded by Council President Zeisz

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

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

194.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

 

A BOND RESOLUTION, DATED AUGUST 26, 2008, OF THE CITY OF TONAWANDA, ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK (THE “CITY”), AUTHORIZING THE DEMOLITION AND/OR REPAIR OF DERELICT BUILDINGS LOCATED AT THE FORMER SPAULDING FIBRE SITE IN THE CITY OF TONAWANDA, IN A MAXIMUM AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $3,500,000, AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF SERIAL BONDS IN AN AGGREGATE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $3,500,000 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 specific purpose (hereinafter referred to as “purpose”) to be financed pursuant to this resolution is the demolition and/or repair of derelict buildings located at the former Spaulding Fibre Site in the City of Tonawanda, including preliminary costs and costs incidental thereto.  The maximum cost of said purpose will not exceed $3,500,000.

 

SECTION 2.  The Common Council plans to finance the maximum estimated cost of said purpose by the issuance of serial bonds in an amount not to exceed $3,500,000 of said City, hereby authorized to be issued therefore pursuant to the Local Finance Law, and the levy and collection of taxes from the parcels of land within the City to pay the principal of said bonds and the interest thereon as the same shall become due and payable.  Any federal, state, county and/or local funds received or to be received shall be applied towards the cost of said object or purpose or redemption of said bonds issued therefore.

 

SECTION 3.  It is hereby determined that said 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 5 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 said bonds.

 

SECTION 5.  It is hereby determined the proposed maturity of the obligations authorized by this resolution will NOT be in excess of five years.

 

SECTION 6.  The faith and credit of said 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.  There shall annually be levied on all the taxable real property of said 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 said 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 said bonds, and the renewals of said 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.            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 said 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 said City and hereby designated as the official newspaper of said City for such publication.

 

SECTION 14.            This Resolution is effective immediately.

 

Councilmember Davis – The purpose of this bond is pretty much to make sure that the City has a steady funding source during the demolition of Spaulding Fibre as we get the money in from the State from the Restore New York grant.  I think the last thing we want is to see demolition put off because the money is paid quarterly by the State to the contractor so like I said once the demolition is started we just want to make sure that demolition keeps going until we have exhausted all of the State funds.

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Council President Zeisz – I would like to point out that we will be meeting next Tuesday, the 2nd, not the 4th.

 

Nancy Paschen, 5 Main Street - I have a suggestion.  The Governor has ordered a lot of State cuts in programs and he says in his article that’s stated August 17th in your editorial that local governments will have to do their share.  They must cut spending too.  Not just simply claim that they have been forced into raising their own taxes in the State as some of them have trouble trying to trim their budgets.  I feel that this budget you have here tonight, some of the things have to be looked at more carefully.  Try and take it easy on the taxpayers this year.  Money is tight all over.  Thank you.

 

Mark Dennis Zahm, 33 Grove Place, City of Tonawanda, County of Erie, State of New York – Approximately 2 ½ months ago I made the inquiry as to the rule being used by the Assessor when dealing with multi-family dwelling vs. single family dwellings, when multi-family dwellings get a lower assessment.  I would like to know who instituted that rule and what were his land holdings when that was done.  Did you find anything on that?

 

Council President Zeisz – I wish the City Assessor was here so I could answer that.  I remember I told you that multi-dwellings are assessed at a lower level than single dwellings.

 

Mark Dennis Zahm – Right.  Would that have been a regulation that would have gone before the Council, presented to the public and voted on?

 

Council President Zeisz – No, it wasn’t.  If my recollection is correct, that is through State Real Property Tax that multi-dwellings are assessed at a lower level. 

 

Mark Dennis Zahm – You are permitted to do that but not necessarily the law.  Because in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda my brother has a double in the Town and he is decidedly assessed higher than any of his neighbors for having that.  In Kenmore I have talked to various realtors and they all have said the same thing “that is crazy, are you making a joke?”, I said no, in the City of Tonawanda and they all said “oh yah, the City of Tonawanda”.  It seems to be a local thing.

 

City Treasurer Hogenkamp – He may be talking about a two-tier tax table in the Town.  His brother has commercial property and they are on a different plain. 

 

Council President Zeisz – We don’t have a two-tier tax table.  North Tonawanda also has a two-tier table.

 

City Treasurer Hogenkamp - Your brother owns commercial property in the Town.  The Town has two tables.  They have a commercial table and a residential table.  The reason your brother may be being hit harder in the Town is because he is on the commercial playing field.  There is a higher grade for commercial properties per thousand then there is for residential.  With the City it is just one table for everybody.  Everybody pays the same rate per thousand and that may be why your brother is getting hit harder than the Town because he is on a commercial tax table.

 

Council President Zeisz – It doesn’t necessarily mean his assessment is higher.

 

Mark Dennis Zahm – But in his case, the assessment is higher.  But in the City here, the assessments are lower.  I can see where you would consider it a commercial situation, making money by having renters come in.  For example, the Smurf house across from me, they painted it, not me, it is constantly rented and they own their own single family so they are obviously making good money with this and their assessment is $20,000 less than mine.  It makes no sense is what I am saying. 

 

Council President Zeisz – I will get the definitive answer.  I was under the impression it was State law.

 

Mark Dennis Zahm – When I did make the inquiry the Assessor did say to me that they were harder to sell therefore they have a lower assessment which is strictly “bizzaro” reasoning.  Maybe it was a flippant comment, I don’t know.  My concern being, the Mayor is in a position where he is trying to come together and get the money to run the City, how do you say out of one side of your mouth, “look people we are going to get you a cut, we are going to give you a lower assessment”, which I know isn’t the tax rate, but they pay a lower tax and then out of the other side they are saying “sorry folks, we are on hard times and will have to raise your taxes”.  So I am subsidizing people for making money.  If you take it to its logical conclusion, if TOPS has a bad quarter are you going to raise my taxes to support them in their tough times?  The City says they want it to be fair and I want it to be fair too.  I really do.  I am not happy with what is going on with Grove Place, trust me.  But when they turn a deaf ear to you the artist in me comes out and you are all welcome to come and see the latest changes.  Fair and equitable, that is all I am asking for.  I think you will find that you have more money coming in even though the assessment has nothing to do with the tax rate so I have been told. 

 

Jim Borsellino – I have a comment on the parking off of Niagara Street. The police are right there, there’s nobody down by Fillmore Avenue, you’ve got nothing down there, you’re by yourself, you can’t compare the two. 

 

Council President Zeisz - I wasn’t comparing it in that sense, just in the sense that there is not parking available for some of the residents. 

 

Robert Derner, 286 Niagara Shore Drive – I think I’ll give you this so you can follow along with what I have to say.  Before you said that the City of Tonawanda tax rates, taxes were low or the assessment was low.  I did a survey of seventeen communities all around Tonawanda and Western New York and I found out that there’s four of them that are assessed at 100%.  That would be Buffalo, Clarence, Williamsville School District and Evans and every one of them is lower, everyone one of them has a combined tax rate of 26.77 for Buffalo and Clarence, and Clarence now is down before they went down $1.08 in this morning’s paper and Amherst which is #7 on the list is down $1.17 from their $38 per thousand and they are assessed at 92%.  Tonawanda, out of seventeen communities, the highest one is West Seneca and the Sloan Cheektowaga School District is the highest.  They pay the highest taxes.  The second highest is Niagara Falls, third highest is our neighbors North Tonawanda, and the fourth highest is Tonawanda, whether it’s at 100% or at…

Council President Zeisz - …except that that rates not right that you have in here because that’s not the rate being used on the budget. 

 

Robert Derner - The rate being used is what I got from, Joe gave it to me, he went into the Assessor…

 

Council President Zeisz - …from the old budget…

 

Robert Derner - ….no, no, no, no, the rate is the new rate for the school is 17.53 and your new rate now is…

 

Council President Zeisz - …15.47.

 

Robert Derner - …15.47.  That boils down to $33 a thousand and it doesn’t count the County.  So it’s going to be close to $40 per thousand. 

 

Councilmember Davis – Mr. Derner.  We have no control over what the school tax rate is.

 

Robert Derner – I know.  Let me explain something to you because it ties in together.  I went to the Union Free School District, okay, and I asked them how they (inaudible).  They have 8,000 students and they have a Superintendent and three Assistants for 8,000 students.  I went a couple weeks ago I went to Tonawanda Board of Education meeting where they adopted their budget.  It was 17.53 and they have a Superintendent, three Assistants and they have 2,000 students, give or take a few.  So what I’m saying is that there’s something wrong when you combine all of them together, the City of Tonawanda, this Superintendent, or Assistant Superintendent I should say, sat down and these were his words, “we’re in good shape, thanks to the City of Tonawanda Assessor, Pat Bacon, we’ve got two million dollars more in tax base”.  Now I don’t know of any new great big project in the City and I don’t know of any new businesses coming in here but that two million dollars came out of the backs of all the taxpayers in the City.  So if that’s the mindset then that’s why we have taxes the way we do and that’s why taxes on that sheet there show, the assessment on that sheet there, show why we have such high taxes in the City being  #4 out of 17. 

 

Council President Zeisz - We’re not #4 though Mr. Derner

 

Robert Derner - Yes we are. 

 

Council President Zeisz – Their numbers aren’t right. 

 

Robert Derner – What numbers are wrong?

 

Council President Zeisz – You’ve got us at 22.17, it’s 15.47.

 

Robert Derner – That’s correct.  You’ve got, that’s 54.63, if you take a look over here, this is the new rate at 100%, $40 per thousand, homes exactly what is was at the old rate 54.63.  I hope I have that on the sheet, do I have that on the sheet?  Right here.  $40 a thousand.

 

Council President Zeisz – Yes, but that doesn’t put us fourth.  There’s a lot of communities that are higher than us. 

 

Robert Derner – The other communities are lower.  I listed the highest ones as number one, the lowest ones come after us.   All I’m saying is if the mindset of the School Board is what is in this community, there has to be some changes because you can’t just say we’ve got two million dollars more in tax base and put it on the backs of all the taxpayers with no new business or housing coming in, so there has to be cuts.  These other communities can be lower than us, maybe we should find out what they’re doing so that we can be in line with them, not be in the upper 25%.

 

Councilmember Davis – Mr. Derner, again, you’re talking about the School Board. You’re talking about School taxes.  You’re complaining about the extra $2 million dollars that the school system got, you need to complain to the….  

 

Robert Derner - …no…

 

Councilmember Davis - …that was the whole premise of your argument up here was talking about different school systems, districts, superintendents and assistants that they have and the fact that the City of Tonawanda School District said that they had two extra million dollars thanks to the City Assessor.

 

Robert Derner - No, they said they had two million dollars more in tax base because of the assessments provided by the City.  That two million dollars also is two million dollars more in tax base for the City budget too. 

 

Councilmember Kossow - Mr. Derner, what we did as a City, we reduced our tax base from 22.17 to 15.47 and I think Rick is trying to get to the point that maybe the school district should drop their per thousand...

 

Robert Derner - …oh, sure they should but also the City.  The other four communities that are at 100% all had a combined rate not over $29 per thousand.  Tonawanda’s combined rate if almost $40 a thousand.  That’s what’s wrong, we pay too much taxes here. 

 

Councilmember Davis - But in every community your School tax dollars make up 60-70% of your tax bill.  We lowered our tax rate by $7 per thousand. 

 

Robert Derner - But you raise the assessments.

 

Councilmember Davis - But we’re lowering the tax rate.  Mr. Derner, let me explain something.  I can tell the single mother of three or the family of five that makes minimum wage that has been over paying their taxes for fifteen years, sorry we’re not going to do anything, you’re going to keep overpaying for your taxes and we’re going to keep spending money to subsidize the other people that were underpaying. 

 

Robert Derner – Hold on.  You said you went and took after eighteen years you didn’t raise the assessment here.  Then in one year, you raise the rate and some people got a 250% tax rate increase.  Now I got a fella that’s one of my neighbors, he’s in a wheelchair and he’s sitting out there waiting for the bus to come take him to rehab.  He comes up to me and says, my taxes are going down and the Mayor says that they could lower the tax rate.  And I said to him, or that he lowered the taxes, and I said, no, what he said was he lowered the tax rate which is true, but what he didn’t understand was that the assessment went up.  So instead of paying $5300 for taxes he’s now going to pay $8600.  This guy is on a fixed income, he’s in a wheelchair, he can’t work, the only income he’s got is from his pension and from social security and now he gets a jump in one year from $5300 to $8600 in one year.  That’s why I asked, did you every take a financial of economic impact statement before you did this reassessment. 

 

Councilmember Davis - In order to do a financial impact statement, we would have had to go through the whole process anyway to figure out what everybody had, so we went ahead and paid for the service anyway, that everyone sitting up here was committed to.  So if you’re going to go through the process, pay for the process, and like I said to find out what everybody has, what their house has, what their assessment is to do the background, the sales of all the homes in the area, you pretty much do a reassessment anyways. 

 

Robert Derner – Let me tell you something.  Just to show you how big this was. Riveredge alone last year had a total assessment of around $9,500,000.  This year, with the reassessment, it’s up to almost $24,000,000.  That’s a big jump, that’s a gigantic jump and so something should have been done to look at the situation and not just go and say, let’s reassess the whole City. 

 

Council President Zeisz - First of all, Mr. Derner, we can go back and forth forever.  Approximately 60% of the City went down in assessment, secondly, there’s homes in Riveredge that the asking price for the sale is higher than we’ve assessed them at.  So if people are asking more than we’ve assessed them at, something’s going on. 

 

Robert Derner – You can’t even sell a house at Riveredge anymore because of high taxes.  When you reassessed them as high as you put them, the value of the houses went down.  Riveredge before this reassessment took place brought in the highest taxes in this community of any small pocket in the City.  Now, it’s like a pariah.  Nobody will buy there, nobody, when people come in to look at a house and ask how much is it, the second words out of their mouth is what are the taxes.  You tell them the taxes and they say it’s crazy.  To give you an example, if you had a $400,000 house in Clarence and a $400,000 house in Tonawanda, and Clarence has one of the best school systems around, you would pay $5,200 more in taxes in Tonawanda than you would in Clarence.  If you had $100,000 house the difference would be $1,300 difference.  So there’s a big difference. 

 

Council President Zeisz - How many $400,000 houses are there in the City of Tonawanda vs. Clarence?  The average home in the City of Tonawanda is under $100,000. 

 

Robert Derner - You’re right.  I used that as an example to show you the difference in how you tax here and how you assess here. 

 

Council President Zeisz - I understand the difference, but the realities are, the majority of homes in this community are in the $70,000 to a little over the $100,000 range.  Unlike Clarence where the majority of the homes are much higher. 

 

Robert Derner - Yes, and they can sell their house because they don’t pay as much taxes either. 

 

Councilmember Davis - Well, Mr. Derner, you know why they don’t pay as much taxes, is because Clarence subsidizes the Erie County tax dollars that you spend to use the Erie County Sheriff services to patrol the streets in Clarence and we have to use our own City Police…

 

Robert Derner - …only because of the Sheriff’s department… 

 

Council President Zeisz - …and County plowing, we do not have County roads, we have no sheriff patrol, there are services where you cannot compare cities to towns. 

 

Robert Derner - All I know is out of  seventeen communities, thirteen have lower taxes than we do. 

 

COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Councilmember Davis – Linda Foels is standing back there very patiently.  I’d like to thank her for an issue brought to her attention a few weeks ago that she took care of for me.  Most of you read the paper that the sump pump testing came back from residents homes adjacent to the landfill.  The DEC indicates that there is nothing unusual with it.  I have a science background but that is unfortunately not my scientific background so I am sending the results off to a colleague of mine who has a chemistry background that’s going to further look at the results and let me know what the DEC is saying.  The other day, members of CANIT sat down with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the future testing at the landfill that they are proposing to do and pretty much, we’ve been dealing with this problem as a City for the last twenty-seven years and it’s gonna probably take another three to five years until we get a firm grasp on the direction the Army Corps of Engineers is going to take after testing, after risk assessment, feasibility, public hearings, remedial investigations, proposed plans, and record decision, and then if it comes out that the area is too contaminated to stay there, then we have to worry about getting funding to clean it up, so this is an ongoing problem that just seems to continue to fester and it’s going to continue to go on.  Lastly, speak to the residents on Young Street, the DPW parking lot is not the best case scenario; however, I’ll be proposing a resolution in the very near future that will lift the overnight parking ban on City streets during the summer months. I know it’s not all year round, there isn’t support currently for lifting the ban all year round but I believe there is support to lift the ban during the summer months which would provide some sort of relief, not only for you guys but for families that live here in the City that might not have enough room in the driveway for that extra vehicle and they would be allowed to park in the street. 

 

Councilmember Kossow – First off, unfortunately the last three remaining concerts, Saturday Night Concerts had to be cancelled because of the situation with the underage drinking, so hopefully the situation will be resolved so next year we can bring the concerts back.  I recently went to one of the concerts in Lockport and it’s just basically a parking lot.  The atmosphere is so much nicer here in the Tonawanda, North Tonawanda area, I think we have a lot to offer and it brings a lot of people to both the City of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda.  Hopefully we can get that corrected and attend concerts once again on Saturday nights next year.  Secondly, with regard to the sidewalks, we have the budget that has to be adopted before the second meeting of next month so we have a lot to do to try and get as much out of the budget as possible but with regards to the sidewalks, I’m committed in putting that back into the budget because I think, not only my district but in the Second Ward there’s a lot of sidewalks that have to be addressed and $40,000 is not going to make a dent into it.  I think we have to at least take and address the most critical blocks that need to be replaced.  I’m committed to putting that $40,000 back in. 

 

Councilmember Waterhouse – When Ms. Marranka was up at the mic and she was talking about the misinformation that she gets, I’d just like to make a comment in regards to that.  The part of the City property when we were talking about the property behind Young, that was explained to me also that part of that was City owned property that this gentlemen did purchase about 2-1/2 to 3 years ago that was put up for bid and he got it for around $1,000.  So she may have got that from me because that’s what I was told. 

 

Kathy Marranka - No, no, no.  We heard that long before you.

 

Councilmember Waterhouse - That’s what I was told too, that a section of it, not the whole property, but a section of it was sold off a few years ago.  Regards to our conversation on the phone, Ms. Marranka, I understand your concern for your daughter, believe me, I do, my daughter moved to Anchorage Alaska and there’s not a day goes I don’t’ worry about her.  That I understand.  When we were on the phone and you made that comment about going to pick up your daughter, believe me, I feel for you.  The problem, I had no idea what to say to comfort you, I was dumbfounded, so I acknowledged your statement, believe me I did not mean any disrespect or anything like that, as a parent believe me, I understand your concern and I feel horrible that I can’t come up with a better solution for this, believe me.  So I’m so sorry if you took that disrespectfully…

 

Kathy Marranka - …to do this for six inches of property to an entire City, to an entire City he’s doing this to because we’re hurting, this whole City’s going to hurt. 

 

Councilmember Waterhouse – Right…

 

Kathy Marranka - …because if I can’t do it, no one else in the City can do it…

 

Council President Zeisz - …Mrs. Marranka, everyone had an opportunity to speak, it’s the Council’s…  

 

Kathy Marranka - …I know I’m just saying that it is such a sad thing that this one man can do all this, that’s all. 

 

Councilmember Waterhouse – But for our conversation, I’m so sorry if you took that as disrespectful or flippant, believe me, that’s not what I meant, I didn’t know what else to say to make you feel any better.  I apologize. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – I too was at the meeting recently with folks from DEC, City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda, Corps of Engineers and it certainly, the image I tried to portray at that meeting was a dog chasing his tail because it’s been chasing it’s tail for a long, long time.  We’re not getting our just due.  It is a good indication and it’s good news for the residents of the City of Tonawanda, especially along Hackett Drive, that they found nothing in the sumps that would indicate contamination.  There was a walk-over test done and that was found to be negative, they did a radon test at Riverview School that was negative, but the fact of the matter is, there’s radioactive material in the backyards of our residents and to be able to close that landfill according to DEC regulations is somehow, someway, that material has to be moved and the people are just dragging their feet on that one, in particular the Corps of Engineers. I agree with Councilman Davis on that particular issue.  Another issue I don’t agree with Councilman Davis on is that statement I read in the Tonawanda News, unless it was reported incorrectly, was, and I’ll quote, “4th Ward Councilman Rick Davis said Friday, it’s approximately two years since the City’s done any substantial sidewalk replacement.  For the Mayor to just yank that out of the budget, I believe is irresponsible and is going to put us even further behind”.  I’d like to remind Councilman Davis that on Fletcher Street we spent $25,250 and Prospect Street $32,076 in 2006.  And Virginia Street at $21,360 and Main Street $82,155, that’s strictly sidewalks, so to say that we haven’t done any substantial sidewalks in two years is irresponsible, you’re right.  And as far as the $40,000 goes, that’s in the capital budget, I never yanked it out of the budget totally, in my way of thinking, it should be a lot more than $40,000.   I am hoping to talk about it in the budgetary discussion with the Common Council.

 

Council President Zeisz – I have nothing further this evening.  Have a good night and drive home safely.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

195.     By Councilmember Waterhouse                  seconded by Councilmember Davis

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until September 2, 2008.  

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

 

 

 

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