Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

February 3, 2009

 

A Regular Meeting of the Common Council

 

Present:  Council President Zeisz

Present Councilmembers:  Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis

 

Pledge of Allegiance led by Council President Zeisz

 

Prayer led by Council President Zeisz

 

Mayor’s State of the City Address

 

Council President Zeisz, members of the City of Tonawanda Common Council, colleagues in city government, and residents of the City, thank you for attending this 2009 State of the City message, my fourth as Mayor. As required in Section 2.027 of the City Charter, “the Mayor shall communicate to the Common Council at its first meeting in February of each year a general statement of the affairs of the city in relation to its finances, government and improvements, with such recommendations as the Mayor may deem proper”. This message is intended to not only satisfy basic Charter requirements, but to provide a level of detail that exceeds these basic requirements, in part because current economic and financial conditions warrant such detail. Although City of Tonawanda finances are sound and stable, we must recognize the City is operating in a significant, synchronized economic recession affecting global, national, state and local economies alike. While City finances are in relatively good condition, the City is obviously not immune from an economic environment that has seen our country lose two million jobs, the federal government inject over one trillion dollars to unfreeze credit markets, with more stimulus on the way, and New York State government faced with a $15.4 B deficit over two fiscal years. The fundamental challenge for us as elected and appointed officials remains the same, although the degree of difficulty has increased; provide vital public services at the least cost to the taxpayers. This task is especially difficult today. This message is intended to give the public and City officials a detailed statement of the current affairs of City government and steps that have, and will be taken, to minimize the negative economic and fiscal forces impacting the city of Tonawanda and to improve the business climate in our City.

Let me begin by discussing the current financial condition of City government. The City began fiscal year 2008 with an unrestricted general fund balance of approximately $1.8M. Additionally $250,000 was appropriated for use in the 2008 and 2009 operating budgets from the general fund balance, and $200,000 was reserved in a dedicated Tax Stabilization account. An additional $1.6M was reserved for self-insured workers compensation and liability insurance claims. Stated as a percentage, this $1.8M general fund balance represents 9.8% of the City’s 2009 general operating budget, comfortably within the State Comptroller recommended range that prudently balances adequate reserves for unforeseen fiscal developments and an excessive balance that would tend to indicate higher than needed taxation rates and levies. Under the New York State Constitution, the city is permitted to levy property taxes at 2% of the City’s most recent five year average of it’s full value tax roll. At the present time, this five-year average is $544,830,534. Applying the 2% maximum taxation levy to this average yields a constitutional taxing limit of $10,896,611. Although the City’s 2009 fiscal year property tax levy is $9,234,882, $1,886,611 of this amount is excluded in calculating the city’s taxing limit because these funds are revenue based, rather than ad valorem property tax based. This means the city is taxing at a rate of $3,547,828 or 32.56% below its legal limit. Cities taxing at or near their constitutional limits is one important indicator of severe financial distress. Fortunately, the City of Tonawanda is not in this operating condition.

Major revenue sources to support the 2009 operating budget are not unreasonably dependent on any one type of revenue, especially sources beyond the direct control of the City. This fact is another positive indicator because its represents a degree of diversification and insulation for the City should any one source of revenue decline in value. For example, budgeted 2009 sales tax revenue of $4,200,000 represents 22.86% of city revenue; state aid totals $3,074,189 or 16.73% of 2009 revenue. City property taxes of $ 9,234,882 are 50.26% of all budget revenue. Although we all recognize the importance of holding the line on City property taxes, previously mentioned revenue figures mean the City is not overly or dangerously dependent on revenue decisions made by others, beyond the influence of City Officials.

Current City indebtedness for capital improvements and major purchases is approximately $11M. The New York State Constitutional limit for such debt is 7% of the previously referenced 5 year full value tax roll, or $38.1M. Therefore, the City has exhausted about 28.87% of its constitutional limit, an amount the State Comptroller and credit rating agencies would find both reasonable and manageable. This conclusion is confirmed by the fact the City has maintained its current bond rating of Baa1, the highest investment grade B rating offered by Moody’s Investment Service and a credit rating that finds the City in the higher percentile of small cities in New York State. In fiscal year 2009 the City budgeted $1,097,299 to service outstanding debt obligations for existing capital expenditures. Stated as a percentage of the 2009 operating budget, debt service appropriations represent 5.97% of the budget, another indicator the City’s operating budget is manageable, exhibiting favorable numbers the State Comptroller and credit rating agencies like to see.

The Water Fund began fiscal year 2008 with a deficit of $73,000. It is anticipated this deficit will be reduced by approximately $50,000 or 66% in 2009. This fiscal year the City will receive over $200,000 from the Erie County Water Authority, revenue from the $.49 surcharge per thousand gallons of water used. These funds will be used for debt service of water related capital costs incurred prior to the City’s agreement with the Erie County Water Authority.

The 2008 Sewer Fund fiscal year began with a deficit of approximately $213,000. To address this negative fund balance, the City instituted a 5% rate increase from $3.20 to $3.36 per thousand gallons of water. An additional 5% increase was adopted for fiscal year 2009, increasing the rate from $3.36 to $3.53. Annual appropriations for treatment services to the Town of Tonawanda are approximately $1,000,000, a total expense, an increase of about $200,000 or over 20% relative to 2005 rates. These costs help illustrate the urgency of reducing the existing I&I problem currently found in the City infrastructure in order to reduce treatment costs services provided by the Town. Additional discussion on this important issue follows in a later section of this message.    

The City must carefully monitor, manage and whenever possible control, vital and significant revenue and expense sources to maintain the fiscal integrity of the City and its most important planning and management tool, the annual budget. No issue is more important than doing what is necessary to hold the line on raising City property taxes and while providing vital public services. To accomplish this fundamental goal, the City must closely administer whenever possible major expense centers first, work to preserve outside revenue streams and be aggressive in growing the tax base by executing successful economic development projects and initiatives.  Understanding existing conditions and developments, and developing contingency plans for these developments is a basic step in this regard.  For example, given the fact we are in a severe economic downturn, we must anticipate a decrease in sales tax revenue. Relative to State AIM funding, the Governor is proposing the 12.75% increase the city was slated to receive in the 2008-2009 state budget will not materialize. One half of this increase will not be provided in this year’s state budget and the other half will not be budgeted in the 2009-2010 state budget. The good news is no additional cuts in AIM funding have been proposed and are not anticipated. Due to the recession and the loss in value in the State Retirement Fund portfolio, the City has been advised to anticipate an increase in 2010 pension costs of about 33% or approximately $300,000. 

Positive developments in managing City expenditures include the fact the city has reached voluntary, multi-year collective bargaining agreements with its four unions. Financial terms contained in these agreements are fair and reasonable; they provide a decent living wage for hard working City employees at a fair cost to the taxpayers. The City is aggressively working with representatives of an existing retiree group being provided medical insurance benefits mandated by a Settlement of Stipulation agreement under State Supreme Court jurisdiction, costing the City approximately $450,000 per year, that would provide comparable medical benefits for those retirees, but at a reduced cost to the taxpayers. With the cooperation of all the City’s labor unions, the City has launched a labor-management committee that will meet on a monthly basis, to identify, research, work on and execute initiatives associated with terms and conditions of employment, that have real opportunity of providing contractual benefits at a reduced cost and sharing the savings to induce additional savings in the future.

City departments and personnel accomplished a great deal over the past fiscal year. Controlling the growth in City tax rates by doing more with less is an important component in managing the growth of City appropriations, the resulting cost of living and doing business in the City. Although time does not permit an extensive discussions of this work activity, this Council and the public deserves at least a summary accounting of the work activity and accomplishments of City employees and City departments.

City Treasurer Joe Hogenkamp needs to be recognized for the great work he performs on behalf the City of Tonawanda.  Joe is a tireless administrator, managing vital City operations that range from managing the annual budget to oversight on employee benefit costs. A majority of successes enjoyed by the City can be directly tied to Joe’s efforts.

The City of Tonawanda Police Department, under the leadership of Police Chief Cindy Young, responded to 16,015 complaints and made 760 arrests during fiscal year 2008. To maintain state departmental accreditation, Police Department personnel completed 2,786 hours of training. Auxiliary Police provided the City 461 hours of needed service. All Police Officers have completed required National Incident Management Systems training courses, meaning the City is now eligible for Federal Emergency Management Administration funding in the event of a declared emergency.

Under the management of Fire Chief Chuck Stuart, the City of Tonawanda Fire Department answered 2206 calls for assistance, including 1446 calls for EMS service and 108 fire alarms. Injuries incurred by Fire Department personnel decreased by 46%, and injuries to civilians by over 400% relative to calendar year 2007. Paid Fire Department personnel used only 115 sick days.  66% of these connected to three employees incurring long-term illness or injury. The balance of the Department used 46 sick days for the entire year, an average of only 2 days per employee. A great deal of work has been accomplished in establishing electronic Preplan data files.  These files contain essential information about individual building and structure characteristics, information that is vital for dispatchers and personnel before properties are entered, reducing the chance for serious injury, minimizing property damage and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness in the response. This information should enhance the City’s next ISO survey and rating, helping to minimize increase in fire insurance premiums of residential and commercial policyholders in the City.

City Engineer Jason LaMonaco managed significant work activity in the City’s Engineering Department during 2008. Design and bid specification work for the Spaulding Fibre site under the Restore NY program and for the Main pump Station were completed. Demolition and construction activity for both projects moved forward. Main Street beautification, Virginia Street reconstruction, Benton Street construction and sidewalk replacement work were successfully managed and completed.  Phase II asbestos and lead based paint assessment and survey work for the former Water Pumping and Treatment plants were completed. Planning work on rezoning the central business district, waterfront and Spaulding Fibre site in conjunction with Wendel Duchscherer were all initiated and are ongoing. Boundary survey and wetland delineation work for Veterans Park was completed. There are many more projects that could be listed but for time limitations.

The Department of Public Works and Superintendent Neal Myers routinely completed vital street plowing and cleaning, solid waste collection and sewer maintenance services. Eight City streets totaling 1.3 miles were resurfaced in 2008. Since 1995, over 33.8 miles of streets have been resurfaced. 

The Department of Recreation and Director of Recreation Linda Foels managed a 22.5% increase in attendance in the City’s community playground program, an increase of 50% in our tennis program and successfully offered three new youth programs; “Introduction to Art”, the return of “Night Gyms” and a Holiday Fun Night. Repairs and capital improvements were made to the roof on Shelter # 2 at Vets Park; lavatory improvements in Niawanda and Eastern Parks; improvements at Kohler Pool and 150 trees and stumps were removed and 121 new trees planted.

Building Inspector Kevin Rank managed the issuance of 589 building permits with an estimated construction value of $6M, and 207 plumbing permits and 599 contractor licenses were processed. 2008 revenue generated by this office totaled $111,355. 713 complaints were investigated and managed.

 

City Assessor Pat Bacon and her staff successfully managed the completion of the 2008 City Tax Roll revaluation project. Approximately 900 properties were reviewed and the annual assessment grievance date process was efficiently managed. The Assessor’s Office also successfully administered applications for Senior, Enhanced STAR, Basic STAR, Disability, Veterans, and Not-For–Profit, Business and the new Cold War Veterans exemptions.  

City Clerk Jan Bodie and her staff processed paperwork for fees, licenses and permits that generated over $164,000 in revenue for the City. Daily work activity includes processing insurance claims, accident reports, collection of taxes and service charges and compiling information for the Star Program.

As stated earlier, the City’s fundamental mission, as planned and executed through the development and management of the City’s budget, is to protect the public, to provide quality public services at the most reasonable cost, and to provide leadership in making the City a good place to live and an positive environment to invest and do business. Although global, national and state affairs qualify the City’s ability to independently achieving these goals.  City efforts and policy can still strongly influence progress in moving closer to these same goals. These efforts must include operating an efficient and honest City Government, by minimizing the need to raise City taxes by maximizing outside revenue sources and by expanding the City’s tax base with sound economic development activity and effort. Growing the tax base requires working closely with other public sector officials and agencies, with the business community and by identifying, securing and managing outside funding sources to make projects happen. These efforts rarely occur over one or two fiscal or calendar years, but over several years depending on the complexity of the project, market conditions and many other factors. Therefore, the city’s economic development efforts need to be addressed looking back to 2008 and looking forward to 2009 and beyond.

Without question, the most significant project the City worked on in 2008 was preparing the 47-acre former Spaulding Fibre site for redevelopment and reinvestment. A great deal of progress has already been made, in large part because of the process being used. A close, effective working relationship has been established and followed, as evidenced in the Spaulding Fibre Working Group that meets at least bi-weekly. I must recognize those individuals and agencies that have worked so hard on this project, on behalf of the City. Mr. Ken Swanekamp, Director of Business Assistance for Erie County, Ms. Jo Nasoff from the ECIDA, Greg Sutton from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, 4th Ward Councilmember Rick Davis, Jean Harmon representing County Legislator Michele Ianello, Terry Wegler representing Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, Paul Kranz from Erie County government, and of course City Engineer Jason LoManaco have all worked hard on this project. Council president Zeisz and all members of the entire City of Tonawanda Common Council, U. S. Senators Clinton and Schumer, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, State Senators Rath and Thompson, consultants Wendel Duchscherer and Bernie Rotella all helped secure over $21.6M to finance environmental and demolition activity work. In 2008, demolition design specifications were prepared, bid and awarded for Area #1, continuing previous demolition activity. Environmental assessment work was completed and submitted for review. In 2009 work under the Environmental Restoration Program will include site investigation, remedial alternative and selection will be undertaken. Efforts to assess and examine a new zoning ordinance for the site began. The City investigated and met with representatives of the EDIDA to potentially include this site as a Foreign Free Trade Zone. Much of this work will continue into 2009. Some activity, like demolition work, will be completed in 2009. A good amount of time discussing this project is made because it is so significant for the future of our City, because it has so much potential to build our tax base, create jobs, support existing businesses in the City and because it is a rare for any community our size to have such a large parcel available for redevelopment. It’s discussed at length for another equally important reason. It is a model to show how you get things done, a model to be used and reused on future projects in Tonawanda. A model to duplicate, exactly, for future projects. A can-do attitude that shows the community, if we work together, we can make significant projects happen, so that expectations change to: we did this before and we can do it again.

In 2008, Gerspach Properties, LLC/R & P Pools, Inc., doing business as the more commonly known name of Leisure Living, purchased 574 and 532 Main Street. In addition to the purchase price for the warehouse space at 574, the company is investing in excess of $1M to complete renovation work consisting of roofing, sprinkler system, electrical signage and general renovations. Approximately $300,000 is being spent on non-manufacturing equipment. The vacant office space building located at 532 Main Street was also purchased, with investment of additional $1M in build out improvements and $300,000 in furniture, fixtures and equipment being planned. Over 65 employees are employed and an additional 40 full time temporary employees in the summer months. These developments wouldn’t have occurred if the City, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and Town of Tonawanda Empire Zone had not actively worked together to include these properties in the Empire Zone and to qualify for incentives under the IDA.

Awnings Plus and Five West Enterprises relocated to the former Skill Buick property at 363 Delaware Street in 2008. Between these two companies, over 100 employees are now working in a property located in the City. The outstanding visibility and traffic counts offered by this City location has translated into additional business for owner Dan Gagliardo, and the fact a successful business is occupying this site stabilizes the City’s tax base at this individual location and this neighborhood. The City has worked with these businesses on the successful relocation and has participated in discussions that could lead to additional investment at this location.

The City was successful in developing and securing over $594,000 in funding from the Erie County Community Development Block Grant Program in 2008. Funded projects included: $96,706 for housing programs; $67,500 for Benton Street improvements and $90,000 for Virginia Street reconstruction and sewer line capital improvements; $135,000 for Main Street beautification work, $90,000 for Main Street Gateway and $115,000 for Main Street paving work. 

Significant work in 2009 on a number of other economic development and capital improvement projects will build on efforts started in 2008, or at an earlier date. These include: development of Request For Proposals language that frame, and provide acceptable City development guidelines and requirements, for residential development of Vets Park, including planning for associated capital improvements needed for the project.

Work will continue with Public Power Coalition (PPC) communities to secure financial incentives and assistance from the New York Power Authority relative to NYPA’s re-licensing application. Efforts to redevelop the former water pumping and treatment plant properties will move forward with the development of demolition and environmental remediation specifications to secure firm contractor prices. Effects to secure financing to execute these bids will also continue.

2009 economic development activity should include re-energizing the City’s Tonawanda Community Development Corporation (TCDC), the City’s local development Corporation to assist in City development activity. In this regard I want to thank Council President Zeisz and former Mayor Alice Roth for agreeing to serve on the TCDC board. Their expertise and commitment to the City will be a great asset for the work activity of the Corporation in the years to come.

Additional planning and economic development project activity in 2009 will include work to examine and update central business district and waterfront zoning ordinances; finalizing the Young Street/Gateway planning grant and document; executing and implementing components of the shared service agreement with the School District and beginning sewer infiltration and inflow study work, to mention a few.

In closing, like any community in New York State the City of Tonawanda faces serious challenges. The same is true for most cities in the United States. However, the state of the City of Tonawanda is relative sound and positioned to make significant strides in 2009 and beyond. We must concentrate our efforts on managing the people’s business in areas that we can most directly influence. Managing City tax dollars, controlling City tax rates, growing the City’s tax base and successfully implanting economic development projects are at the top of that list. The key is for all of us to work together on behalf of the people of Tonawanda.

Thank you for permitting me this opportunity. I look forward to working with my colleagues in City government, the public and the business community in the months and years to come. 

 

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR

 

A letter from Jean Harmon dated January 15, 2009, requesting a banner be hung across Main Street announcing the 2009 T-NT Business Expo promoting local businesses.

 

A letter from New York State Canal Corporation, dated January 16, 2009, announcing the 4th Annual Canal Clean Sweep coming April 18th and 19th, asking us to organize a cleanup activity in our community and to solicit volunteers.

 

A letter from Harter Secrest & Emery LLP dated January 20, 2009, regarding Regional Air Contamination Issues – Benzene Discussion.

 

A letter from the NYSDEC dated January 22, 2009, regarding the Spaulding Fibre project.

 

A letter to Woodbridge Contracting Group, from Mayor Pilozzi and Council President Zeisz, dated January 29, 2009, regarding the Redevelopment of the Water Plant Site at 111 North Shore Drive.

 

A letter to the Hon. Charles Schumer, the Hon. Kirsten Gillibrand, the Hon. Antoine Thompson, the Hon. Michael Ranzenhofer and the Hon. Robin Schimminger, dated January 29, 2009, regarding Member Items Requests for 2009.

 

A letter from National Grid dated January 27, 2009, providing the Mayor with further information about the overpayments of local Gross Receipts Tax that they made to the City of Tonawanda over the course of the last three years.

            Ordered filed

 

COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            January minutes of the Civil Service Commission

            January minutes of the Community Development Agency

January minutes of the Traffic and Safety Advisory Board

            Revenue and Expenditure Report for the General Fund and the Sewer

                        Fund for the City of Tonawanda as of December 31, 2008

              Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                 Ordered filed

 

A letter from City Attorney Ronald C. Trabucco, to Mayor Pilozzi and the Common Council, dated January 21, 2009, regarding a Title Search for City Hall Property at 200 Niagara Street.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

 

A Fact Sheet from the NYSDEC announcing a Public Hearing to be held on Thursday, February 26, 2009, at 7:00 P.M. at Tonawanda City Hall, regarding the Spaulding Composites Site.

            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

 

16.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

                        Resolved, that the Mayor be authorized and directed to sign an agreement with Drescher & Malecki, LLP to perform the annual audit of City finances for the fiscal year ended 12/31/08 for a fee not to exceed $18,800.00.

 

                        Fiscal Impact:  $14,550 General Fund

                                                     4,250 City of Tonawanda PHA Account

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

17.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, at the recommendation of the City Engineer, Jason J. LaMonaco, P.E., that award of the sewer system evaluation survey be made to Stearns & Wheler, LLC, at a cost not to exceed $308,600.00

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

18.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Whereas, Article 11 of the Real Property Tax Law provides that the collection of delinquent real estate taxes may be enforced by a proceeding In Rem against the real property involved; and

            Whereas, many real estate tax delinquencies were brought to the attention of the Common Council by City Treasurer, Joseph M. Hogenkamp and by City Attorney Ronald C. Trabucco, prior to their being included in tax liens dated April 1, 2005; and

            Whereas, the Common Council passed a Resolution on September 18, 2007 authorizing and directing the City Treasurer and the City Attorney to commence In Rem proceedings against the properties which were delinquent in the payment of real estate taxes up and through April 1, 2005; and

            Whereas, such proceedings were, in fact, commenced and were entitled In Rem #10; and

            Whereas, the judgment of foreclosure was filed in the Erie County Clerk’s Office on November 19, 2008 regarding various parcels of property; and

            Whereas, said judgment of foreclosure provided for the advertisement of said properties for sale to the highest bidder at public auction; and

            Whereas, the City Treasurer and City Attorney determined said auction would be held on Thursday, January 22, 2009 and appropriate public notice was given as required by law and said auction was held as stated and the following bids were received on the following parcels:

 

            Property                                  Purchaser                                 Purchase Price

 

102 Broad Street              

Tonawanda, New York                    Reid Bracken                                   $51,000.00

 

95 William Street

Tonawanda, New York                    Dorothy Watson                      $17,500.00

22 Broughton Court

Tonawanda, New York                    Joseph Walter                          $14,000.00

 

64 Elm Street

Tonawanda, New York                    Joseph Durick                          $  1,200.00

 

44 Maple Street

Tonawanda, New York                    Brenda Randall             $  1,100.00

 

65 Elm Street                          

Tonawanda, New York                    Marlanna White                       $17,000.00

 

61 Elm Street              

Tonawanda, New York                    Marlanna White                       $20,000.00

 

779 Fletcher Street

Tonawanda, New York                    Michael Rogers             $55,000.00

 

and

            Whereas, the Common Council reserved the right to reject any and all bids;

and

            Whereas, the terms of sale provide that said auction would not be final until the adoption of a resolution of the Common Council approving the same; and

            Whereas, the terms of sale require that the City provide a Bargain and Sale Deed and other usual closing documents for the closing of the sale and further that the City shall not provide a current survey nor a current search and further that the ascertainment of the marketability of the subject property for the sale is the responsibility of the purchaser; and

            Whereas, the terms of sale further provide that any and all costs associated with the sale and the subsequent transfer to the purchaser shall be borne exclusively by the purchaser; now, therefore be it

Resolved, that the bids by

 

Reid Bracken in the amount of $51,000.00 regarding 102 Broad Street

 

Dorothy Watson in the amount of $17,500.00 regarding 95 William Street

 

Joseph Walter in the amount of $14,000.00 regarding 22 Broughton Court

 

Joseph Durick in the amount of $1,200.00 regarding 64 Elm Street

 

Brenda Randall in the amount of $1,100.00 regarding 44 Maple Street

 

Marlanna White in the amount of $17,000.00 regarding 65 Elm Street

 

Marlanna White in the amount of $20,000.00 regarding 61 Elm Street

 

Michael Rogers in the amount of $55,000.00 regarding 779 Fletcher Street

 

are hereby accepted and the sales are confirmed and the City Attorney, Ronald C. Trabucco, is hereby authorized and directed to prepare the necessary Deeds and accompanying documents and the Treasurer, Joseph M. Hogenkamp and/or the Mayor, Ronald J. Pilozzi are hereby authorized and directed to execute said documents to transfer the said properties to the successful bidders and the City Treasurer is also hereby authorized and directed to forward any surplus monies to the proper representatives of the County of Erie.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

19.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the certificate of insurance and bond be filed and a license be issued to David Kubiniec of Kubiniec Plumbing to do business in the City of Tonawanda.

           

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

20.       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 design of Water Treatment Plant and Wastewater Treatment Plant Site Abatement, Environmental Remediation, and Demolition be made to LiRo Engineers, Inc., at a cost not to exceed $10,350.00.

 

Funding/Fiscal Impact:  $10,350.00 from 2009 General Fund

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

21.       By Council President Zeisz                         seconded by Councilmember Waterhouse

            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: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Robert Derner, 286 Niagara Shore Drive – Did I hear correctly that you’re thinking now is of heading toward demolishing the water plant? 

 

Council President Zeisz – Yes.

 

Robert Derner – The other thing is, my favorite subject, revaluation.  A while back, you hired this firm to revalue the City of Tonawanda for the next five years and I want to know if what I heard is correct, that the State requires a City to reval once every six years, am I correct in that or not? 

 

Council President Zeisz – That they require it once every six years?

 

Robert Derner – Yes. 

 

Council President Zeisz – That’s not my understanding, unless you know something I don’t know.

 

Robert Derner – Well, I don’t know, that’s what I heard and I was wondering if you could find out and let me know about that because if that’s true, what would be the point of revaluing all the property, once a year for five years?   

 

Council President Zeisz - Well, now I don’t have the Assessor here to answer the questions, and maybe our City Treasurer knows the answer to this.  I don’t think the intent is to do every house, every year.  I think it was suppose to be a situation where, over a course of a three year period, we’d get to every house, and then again over the next three years.  That’s my understanding. So in a six-year period, every house would get looked at twice.  Now, granted there’s going to be situations where a house is sold that, of course, might move them up quicker to be looked at.  I don’t know exactly the formula for how that’s going to work, but it is not going to be every house, every year. 

 

COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Councilmember Perkins – I have nothing else, thank you.

 

Councilmember Waterhouse – Before I came to the chambers this evening, I was working on my snow blower and I kind of realized how tired I am of the snow already. But as we all know, we are going to get more snow, so just as a friendly reminder, if we could please try and keep our sidewalks as clear as possible.  I’ve had a couple of calls from some people and I noticed driving around the City, I’ve seen way too many people walking in the streets, whether the kids going to schools or the seniors down there, and I noticed some of our businesses that when they’re plowing, they seem to be blocking the sidewalks too.  So, just a reminder for the people please, if you have snow blowers and everything, you have elderly people next to you, please do the whole walkway for them.  It will make it a lot safer for everyone.   The other thing I had, I received a couple calls on how nice Main Street looked with the lights on and the fact that they’re keeping the lights on through the park.  So Mr. Mayor, I’d just like to say a lot of residents appreciate that.  Thank you very much. 

 

Councilmember Kossow – I have nothing further this evening, thank you.

 

Councilmember Davis – I’d just like to thank the Police Department for an issue that happened on my street this past Sunday, for their prompt response and resolving the situation.  Thank you Mr. President. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – First of all, I’d like to thank Joe Hogenkamp and Ron Trabucco for the work they did on the In Rem stuff.  That brought a pretty good hunk of change back to the City, it’s money that wasn’t being paid, delinquent taxes if you will, and they did a good job with that.  I want to thank them for that.  And just so everybody knows, if you know anybody that might want to take advantage of the HEAP program.  HEAP program is Home Energy Assistance, basically to help with heating bills or electric bills.  On Thursday of this week and the 11th, Wednesday of the next week, there’s going to be some folks right here at the United Way of the Tonawandas, which is located at 34 Seymour Street.  Those folks are coming from the County.  I believe that they’re coming from the Department of Senior Services and Social Services, so maybe Michele (Iannello) had something to do with that.  I’m sure she did, and that’s a good opportunity for people to not have to travel a long distance to get that kind of help.  In addition, an organization called, “Food For All” is going to be again, at the United Way of the Tonawandas at 34 Seymour Street.  They started today between 3:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M., but on Monday, February 9th and also on Wednesday, February 18th, they’ll be there. There is some proof of income and things like that that are required.  Anybody wants any information on that, if you want to go to channel 1670, you’ll hear my voice again, that’s on the THS system and they’ll give all that information.  If you’d like to call the office, our secretary Judy Simon will help out because she has this information too.  But, in these hard economic times, it’s good when these programs are available, to take advantage of them, especially whether it’s you or maybe a relative, friend, neighbor, just want to let everybody know, and thank you for putting up with me so long today.  

 

Council President Zeisz – Thank you for everyone for coming tonight, have a great night, drive home safely and God bless you.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

22.       By Councilmember Kossow                                               seconded by Councilmember Perkins

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until February 17, 2009.  

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

 

 

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