Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

February 19, 2008

 

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

 

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR

 

A letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development dated February 6,2008, regarding the foreclosure issue.

 

A commemoration of the Grand Opening of Orange Farms Convenient Store located in the Hinds Street Plaza.

 

A letter from Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, dated February 7, 2008, regarding the Mayor’s recent letter requesting his assistance in securing state legislative funding to assist the City of Tonawanda.

 

A letter from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, dated February 4, 2008, regarding the Common Terns.

 

A letter from Erie County Legislator Michele M. Iannello, dated February 4, 2008, regarding sales tax sharing.

 

A Notice of Public Hearing regarding the Restore NY Program being held in Albany on February 27th.

 

A letter from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Solid and Hazardous Materials, dated February 11, 2008, regarding requests for comments on new regulations for cleanup of radioactively contaminated sites.

 

A letter to Civic Organizations dated February 14, 2008, regarding the Clean Sweep Program along the Erie Canal to be held on April 19, 20, 2008, in celebration of Earth Day 2008.

 

A letter from the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council dated February 13, 2008, regarding the SAFETEA-LU Transportation Enhancements Program.

            Ordered filed

 

COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            January minutes of the Board of Appeals

            January monthly report of the City Clerk

            January minutes of the Planning & Zoning Board

            January minutes of the Plumbing Board

February minutes of a Special Meeting of the Civil Service Commission

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                                    Ordered filed

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC ON RESOLUTIONS

 

Nancy Paschen, 5 Main Street – Chuck and I have a question on resolution #8.  He’s getting $47,000, nothing else?  Is he getting his job back?

 

Council President Zeisz – He is getting $47,000 and he is not getting his job back.

 

Chuck Heylmun, 66 Syracuse St. – Did we advertise for the Towing Contract?

 

Council President Zeisz – We put it out last year and no one came forward and in the time between last year and now, they’ve been negotiating this agreement. 

 

Chuck Heylmun, 66 Syracuse Street – A whole year?

 

Council President Zeisz – Well it hasn’t been a year, but it goes back to…

 

Chuck Heylmun - …you have been working on it.

 

Council President Zeisz – Right.  We did put it out and there were no takers, other than Walters.  And it’s not the first time that we’ve tried.  We’ve tried other times in the past over the years and we’ve never had any luck. 

 

Chuck Heylmun - It seems like a good, lucrative contract. 

 

Ed Gebera, 157 Brookside Terrace W. – On the second resolution, why can’t we have an impound yard?  You got a lot of room behind City Hall here, you’ve got the whole Spaulding Fibre, you can’t find a place for impound?

 

Council President Zeisz – Well, to address the areas that you’re bringing up Mr. Gebera, we don’t own Spaulding, so we couldn’t use that area even if we wanted to. 

 

Ed Gebera - Yeah but you do own over here, the waterworks.

 

Council President Zeisz – Right but we’re also trying to move ahead to tear it down and develop that piece of property, so that wouldn’t be a feasible option either.

 

Ed Gebera – You got over the hill where you’re dumping all the leaves. 

 

Councilmember Perkins - Mr. Gebera, I think you’re….

 

Ed Gebera - …you could pick out a half a dozen locations.

 

Councilmember Perkins – You’d have to have…

 

Ed Gebera - …I hate to see this guy doing what he’s doing, okay.  I’ll put it in plain English, okay.  He’s charging more than double everybody else.    You could call up some of the other guys and see what the hell they’re doing or ask them, “do you want to make a bid on this and do you have an impound area, or can you rent an impound area in the City of Tonawanda?”  You’re not gonna get nobody else unless you figure out something else.  This guy’s unbelievable, unbelievable.  And it’s the taxpayers you’re robbing of the City of Tonawanda when you get this guy.  Keep that in mind.

 

Council President Zeisz – I know what you’re saying and we’ve tried a lot of different avenues and we’ve never been successful.  I mean we’ve actually called places and we can’t get anybody that’s interested. 

 

Ed Gebera – You got folks right here in Tonawanda.  Maybe if you talk to somebody and get a better deal than this guy.  Somebody could rent some place, get an outside tow truck in and rent a spot. 

 

 

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

43.       By Councilmember Perkins                         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: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

44.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Whereas, the City of Tonawanda Police Department is in need of various towing services; and

            Whereas, Dan Walter & Son Towing, Inc., a privately owned and licensed towing service located in the City of Tonawanda, has provided towing services to the City for several years pursuant to previous contracts; and

            Whereas, the City desires to enter into a contract with Dan Walter & Son Towing, Inc., to continue towing services, now, therefore be it

            Resolved, that Cindy J. Young, Chief of Police, is hereby authorized and directed to execute a contract between the City of Tonawanda and Dan Walter & Son Towing, Inc., regarding towing service, and be it further

            Resolved, that a copy of said agreement is on file in the Office of the City Clerk.

 

Councilmember Perkins – I’d like to make a comment.  Mr. Gebera, I understand, we do probably have places where we could store these vehicles.  I understand, but on the other hand, we’ve have to find someone to pay to watch over those cars, we’d be responsible for those cars so there’s a large liability issue now, especially with the cost of a car and, Mr. Boyle when he was here.  I mean, he was right with you, he felt the same way and I think we all wish we could find a better solution.  But at this time we can try for 2009 to find a better solution.  We tried to advertise last year and we couldn’t get any bidders, other than Walters and actually Walters wouldn’t even bid on it last year, isn’t that what we talked about? 

 

Council President Zeisz - I could get that information for you Mr. Gebera, as far as where we specifically advertised.  We’ve done it multiple times over the years and there’s just a huge liability issue.  It really is, to have these vehicles and to maintain these vehicles and make sure they’re secured, make sure nothing happens to them.

 

Councilmember Perkins - And when the guy comes to get his car, someone’s got to be there to give it to him and have certified funds and that’s a lot of money passing through people’s hands.    

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

45.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi be authorized to sign an extension request and subsequent documentation with NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal for the Legislative Member Item Award of $2,500 for the Little League/Veteran’s Park Site Study.

           

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, at the recommendation of the City Engineer, Jason J. LaMonaco, P.E., that award of sanitary sewer flow monitor installation be made to TECSmith, Inc., at a cost of $2,500.00

                       

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

47.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

Whereas, on December 18, 2007 the Council adopted a salary and compensation schedule for City of Tonawanda non-union department heads, other management employees, full-time, part- time, temporary and seasonal positions as well as board and commission members for the years 2007 and 2008, and

Whereas, the adopted resolution contained errors pertaining to the positions of Civil Service Commission Chairman and Assistant Public Works Superintendent, and

Whereas, the Mayor’s Office is recommending that the errors be addressed, now, therefore be it

Resolved, that the Common Council approves the following corrections to the salary schedule for the positions of Civil Service Chairman and Assistant Public Works Superintendent for the years 2007 and 2008, and be it further

Resolved, that said wages become retroactive to January 1, 2007 and that said list of positions and their corresponding wages shall be incorporated into the Personnel Benefits and Policy Manual in Section 2 – Compensation, 2.01 – Salary Administration, Appendix D.

                                                                                    2007                2008

Classification                Job Title                              Wages              Wages

 

Group 2            Assistant Public Works Sup’t.            $58,383            $58,383         

           

Group 8                 Civil Service Commission Chr.             1,770/yr       1,815/yr

 

 

Council President Zeisz – On the question, just for everyone that’s in attendance tonight, there is no Assistant Public Works Superintendent.  That position is not actually filled. Just so that everybody’s clear on that.  This position isn’t filled right now and there’s no intent to fill it  It’s just it’s in the Civil Service listing as a position and that’s why we have to address the salary of that position.

                                               

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

48.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Whereas, the City of Tonawanda recognizes the importance of our Police Department to stay current with investigative techniques and tools and to seek funding that will have minimal impact on the City’s budget, now, therefore be it

            Resolved, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi be authorized to enter into an agreement with the Division of Criminal Justice of the State of New York to accept a BYRNE JAG grant for a video recording and statement initiative digital visual recording system, which will be administered by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. 

 

Program Cost: $11,933.00

                                                                                State Share:      10,740.00

                                                                                City Share:        1,193.00

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

49.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that a certificate of insurance and bond be filed and a license be issued to Numarco, Inc. (John T. Nuttle), to do plumbing business in the City of Tonawanda.

                       

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

50.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            WHEREAS, Brian MacDonald brought a lawsuit against the City of Tonawanda, et al, bearing Index Number 8985-06; and

            WHEREAS, the parties have now agreed to settle the claims and charges and resolve any and all existing disputes between them to avoid the costs of further litigation; now therefore be it

            RESOLVED, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi is hereby authorized and directed to enter into a Confidential Complete Settlement Agreement and General Release with Brian MacDonald regarding the Matter of MacDonald vs.The City of Tonawanda, et al, Index No. 8985-06 for the sum of $47,000.00, representing wages, benefits and interest; and be it further

            RESOLVED, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi, and/or his designated representative, is hereby authorized to make any and all changes to the Agreement that are necessary to effectuate the Agreement providing the total cost remains unchanged; and be it further

            RESOLVED, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi, and/or his designated representative, is hereby authorized and directed to sign any and all other documents necessary to finally conclude this matter.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Ed Gebera - Is he still in the Police Department?

 

Council President Zeisz - No.

 

Nancy Paschen, 5 Main Street – Mr. Gebera asked in resolution No. 2 about Walter’s Towing and like that, and you said you didn’t own Spaulding.  Why are we tearing it down if we don’t own it?  He told you to ship it up to Spaulding and you said we didn’t own Spaulding, why are we tearing it down?  The land, do we own the land?

 

Council President Zeisz – The project right now, there’s a lot of people involved in the project.  You have New York State involved in clean-up, within the facility, within the grounds.  We also have the Environment & Planning in Erie County involved with the City in removing the facility.  Spaulding doesn’t exist anymore, the company, they’re gone.  There will come a day when ownership will transfer to someone, but right at this time, it’s being held in a, this gets complicated. 

 

City Attorney Ron Trabucco – Yes, it’s a little complicated.  But what’s really going on legally so you know is that this Spaulding is technically part of our In-Rem tax foreclosure proceedings. That’s where it is.  So what we did is we made an application to the Supreme Court to get an order to allow us to do this remediation and it came to what we call a Temporary Incidence of Ownership.  So for all intents and purposes, we’re in possession and control of the property and nobody else can make any claim against the property while in our temporary control.  Upon completion of the remediation, whenever that may be, we then go back into court and ask that that Temporary Order of Incidence be terminated and then all the expenses associated with the clean-up are to be added to essentially our tax bill and we’ll make a determination at that point in time as to whether or not the City of Tonawanda wants to complete the foreclosure and take that property or whether or not somebody else might be interested in taking the property.  That’s years down the road, we may not even be here then. 

 

Chuck Heylmun – I think you made a misstatement Carl.  As far as I know, Spaulding Fibre is still running an operation in North Rochester and Dekalb. I’m not positive, but I think so.  I never did understand how you go bankrupt in just one location.    

 

Council President Zeisz – Well, what happens is, they incorporate within States.  That’s how you can dissolve operations within certain areas. 

 

Chuck Heylmun – Thank you very much.  Do you have enough money in sight to finish the project? 

 

Council President Zeisz – Well, what I would say at this point is, we’re hopeful there’s enough money to get the building down but there’s not enough money to clean up the rest of the site.  It would get it down to the concrete slab. 

 

Chuck Heylmun – Do you have any expectations that somebody’s going to want to do something there?  I know it’s premature.    

 

Council President Zeisz – I would say it’s premature at this point.

 

Chuck Heylmun – The last thing, I have a problem.  There’s a sidewalk that goes from Clinton to First Presbyterian Church and that property belongs to the City, with the exception of a few feet from our actual church.  That is apparently not maintained whatsoever.  At times it is downright dangerous for people that park over by the school there, to walk there.  I don’t know if the City realizes that that belongs to the City, that someday there’s going to be an accident and the City may be liable.  I just wanted to point that to your attention.  Whether there is something else I need to do to get something going on this or not, but that does not belong to First Pres.   I don’t know, on the other side, on St. Francis, if you have similar situation or not, I really don’t know, but now winter’s pretty near over, but that at times has been very dangerous. In fact, I’m sure somebody did fall, nothing happened with it.  I just wanted to bring that to your attention. If there’s somebody else I need to talk to, I’d be happy to. 

 

Council President Zeisz – Well, we’ll check into it.

 

Chuck Heylmun – Appreciate it.   

 

COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Councilmember Kossow – First I’d like to congratulate Jerry Frizzell and the Tonawanda Girl’s Bowling Team, and they’re going to the State’s, down in White Plains on March 1st and 2nd, so I’d like to wish them well.  As we speak, my daughter and the Varsity Girls Basketball Team are playing Cheektowaga, I will go out on a limb and guarantee a Warrior victory tonight. 

 

Councilmember Davis – I too would like to extend my congratulations to the Girl’s Bowling Team. Two Saturdays ago, me and my wife had the pleasure of bowling in a fund raiser for the Buffalo Dream Factory which is along the lines of Make-A-Wish. Upwards of $50,000 was raised at this fund raiser and it was a very worthy cause.  I’d too like to thank the Tonawanda Bowling Center for donating the lanes for this worthwhile cause.  We already discussed the meeting about the landfill. I’d just like to extend my thanks to Supervisor Caruana who, I don’t think it’s any mystery that this meeting went well, he was very open to suggestions and wanted to find resolutions to problems that some of us have been writing letters up here and complaining about over the last two years.  We’re finally seeing hopefully some positive progress on this.

 

Mayor Pilozzi – I too would like to express my gratitude to all those who had anything to do with last Friday’s meeting. That’s the one that Councilman Davis just mentioned.  There was representatives from NYS DEC, EnSol, who was the outside contractor handling all the activities up there, Town of Tonawanda representatives, their new Supervisor, Anthony Caruana, we had a good representation from our community, our City Engineer was there, Councilman Davis was there, Council President Zeisz was there, I was there, Don Witkowski was there, so there was a good mix on individuals.  I’m just going to go down the list real quickly one more time.  I did that in the back room. These are basically the list of “deliverables” if you will, from EnSol.  Again, EnSol is the organization that’s charged with the responsibility of handling all the activities at that site, under DEC direction and the Town of Tonawanda.  First of all, they have a phone number for any complaints from our residents, one of the problems I think we’ve had for a long, long time with the phone call system is that it sometimes doesn’t get through, the complaints aren’t registered.  But at minimum I think we’ve raised awareness of the need for that.  They promised that they were going to shut the operation down if the water truck is not on site or inoperable. That’s important because without that functioning, you have dust in the air and that dust always comes back towards Hackett Drive.  There’s a chemical agent that they plan to put on the roads that helps coagulate the mix between debris and the earth.  It’s called sodium carbonate and that hopefully will address some of the dust issues also.  There’s going to be a windsock erected.  There was one there and for whatever reason, it came down, blew down, was dismantled, I’m not sure. An educational letter, basically dealing with the fence that’s around any of the so-called radioactive hot spots,  we want to make sure that nobody goes in those areas and there’s going to be a letter, an educational letter written on that.  The east end has been graded and seeded.  I’m not sure what the percentage is there, but the east side of the area, that was the easiest accessible because of the question marks that the Corps of Engineers and the Federal government is leaving for us at the other end which is closest to our residents.  We’re going to educate the hauler of debris to make sure that tailgate noise is kept to a minimum whenever trucks unload, dump trucks unload, they have the tendency to drop that rear end quite fast and you’ve got that banging noise and there’s Cap Hoffman off in the back of the corner to attest to that.  A group letter to our congressional delegation trying to get the Corps of Engineers to “get off their duff” and address the issues that we’ve been trying to get addressed for longer than most of us have been sitting here.  These issues go back a long, long ways and hopefully a group letter from two of our congressional delegation will help that effort and there’s also going to be discussion on the future use and possible roadways back there.  Some of that is probably too early to talk about but the question did come up, what is the possible future use of that property.  So it was a great meeting, it was a meeting that everybody had the opportunity to bring their concerns to the table and it was discussed in a logical and open manner.  I thought it was a very, very good meeting.  Last thing I want to talk about real quickly is to thank our Police Department, namely Detective Toth and I believe it’s David Kraft, they did a tremendous job in taking care of the taggers, two of the taggers anyway, that have been vandalizing our property.  Three taggers? I only saw pictures on two, I’m sorry, but there’s three of them.  That’s good news, hopefully it will alleviate some of the destruction of property that we cannot condone in this City and certainly the business owners especially are going to hopefully have an easier time in dealing with keeping up their property, keeping it up to the point where they don’t have to worry about painting over somebody’s pictures. 

 

Council President Zeisz – The only thing I have is more probably out of character for me, but I really wanted to put something on the record because I’ve gotten extremely frustrated with the whole situation.  Friday’s meeting probably would have gotten more press had the Mayor been given ample opportunity to respond to any questions on the meeting and if I had been called at all on the meeting.  This has happened on numerous occasions over the past year and it’s really starting to get to the point where it’s really starting to aggravate me because I’m in a position where I have to speak for the Council and the Mayor has to speak for the City and we can’t do that if the news doesn’t come to us.  We don’t when they’re writing articles or what they’re writing them about.  So I just wanted to be on the record that if the Tonawanda News is going to be the official newspaper of the City, I think they should act like it.  I have nothing further, have a good night and drive home safely. 

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

 51.      By Councilmember Waterhouse                  seconded by Councilmember Kossow

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until March 4, 2008.  

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

 

 

 

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