Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

June 17, 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 to Christopher Slauson, 186 E. Niagara Street, dated June 10, 2008, congratulating him on his efforts in raising awareness on behalf of people with disabilities.

 

A letter from the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas, dated June 5, 2008, regarding their 11th Annual Charity Clambake.

 

A letter to Kyle Zack, 29 Elmwood Park W. dated June 5, 2008, commending him and his family for raising funds to benefit Alexís Lemonade Stand Foundation.

 

A letter to the Office of Fire Prevention and Control, dated June 5, 2008, regarding Community Projects Appropriations #TM04470 (Fire Department Communications System and Related Equipment, $6,000).

 

A letter to the Office of Fire Prevention and Control, dated June 5, 2008, regarding Community Projects Appropriations #TM07275 (Fire Department Capital Improvements, $2,500)

 

A letter from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, dated May 28, 2008, regarding electric upgrades at Gateway Harbor.

 

A letter from the National Park Service dated May 27, 2008, regarding the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan.

 

A letter to the Chief Administrative Judge of the NYS Unified Court System dated June 9, 2008, regarding Erie County Security.

 

A letter to Firefighters Joseph Briggs and Patrick McNulty dated June 9, 2008, thanking them for a job well done when they recently saved the life of a heart attack victim.

 

A letter from the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers dated June 9, 2008, regarding additional sampling of the Tonawanda Landfill Vicinity Property.

 

A proclamation proclaiming June 22nd Ė June 28th, 2008, as Amateur Radio Week.

 

A letter from Timothy E. Smith, dated June 5, 2008, regarding the terms of the Stipulation of Settlement for those who retired from the City pre 5/6/97, and their respective spouses.

 

A letter to the Honorable Robin Schimminger dated June 3, 2008, regarding the pending Town of Tonawanda Empire Zone Boundary Revision Amendment.

 

A proclamation proclaiming June 17, 2008, Kyle Zack, Crystal Schneider and Zachary Schneider Day in the City of Tonawanda.

 

A proclamation proclaiming June 17, 2008, Jeremy Lepsch Day in the City of Tonawanda.

A letter from the NYS Department of Transportation dated June 13, 2008, announcing the release of the working draft 2008 New York State Rail Plan.

            Ordered filed

 

COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            May report of the Building Inspector

            May report of the City Clerk

            May minutes of the Plumbing Board

            May minutes of the Planning & Zoning Board

            City of Tonawanda Budget Control Report & Revenue Control Report

                        as of June 17, 2008

              Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                        Ordered filed

 

A letter to the City Clerk from Bethany Marie Peacock, 5, Main Street offering to do volunteer work for the City of Tonawanda. 

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

 

A Notice of Public Hearing to take place on June 30, 2008, asking for a variance at 38 Minerva  Street, which would allow the existing garage at that address to be demolished and a new private garage be built 4.5 feet from the rear lot line.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

 

A letter from the Niagara River Greenway Commission, dated June 12, 2008, regarding the third annual Paddles Up Niagara.

 

A letter dated June 6, 2008 to Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony Caruana from Council President Zeisz and Councilmember Davis regarding discounted golf course rates for City residents.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                        Ordered filed

 

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

135.     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

 

136.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the Common Council authorize and direct Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi to sign the contract signature pages needed to complete an application contract for a Legislative Member Item initiation Project Grant sponsored through Senator Mary Lou Rathís office, intended to provide $8,500.00 in funding for repairs to the Niagara Hose Volunteer Fire Co. #3 building located at 74 Wheeler Street.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

137.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the six full-time employees of the Tonawanda Housing Authority are hereby granted the following salary adjustment:  2% increase retro-active to April 1, 2007; 2% increase retro-active to April 1, 2008; 3% increase effective April 1, 2009 and a 3% increase April 1, 2010, and be it further

            Resolved, that these increases are subject to the approval of the local legislative body and the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, as governed by Public Housing Law.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

138.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Whereas, additional duties are to be placed on Tonawanda Housing Authority employee Denise Winters with the modernization program and the fact that a conversion to a new tenant computer program will necessitate overtime and reclassifying Denise Winters, now, therefore be it

Resolved, as of April 1, 2008, Denise Winters be reclassified as an Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper Typist with an annual stipend of $2,080.00, this increase will take the place of overtime pay and will be paid in 26 equal installments, and further be it

Resolved, that this resolution is subject to the approval of the local municipality legislative branch and the NYSDHCR.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

139.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that permission be granted to the residents of Wheeler Street, between Schuler and Moyle Streets to hold a block party on Saturday, August 30, 2008, from 10:00 A.M. to midnight, and further be it

            Resolved, that ingress and egress be provided for local traffic and emergency vehicles.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

140.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Be It Resolved, by the Common Council for the City of Tonawanda that proposed Local Law No.1 of the year 2008, entitled:

 

            A Local Law to amend ARTICLE V. FINANCE, DIVISION 2. BUDGETS

AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM, Section 5.022 entitled ďCommon Council Action on BudgetsĒ, subdivision (c) of the Charter of the City of Tonawanda which provides for the adoption of the budget by the second regularly scheduled meeting in September of the fiscal year currently ending.

            Be and it is hereby introduced before the Common Council of the City of Tonawanda, New York; and be it further

            Resolved, that copies of the aforesaid proposed Local Law be laid upon the desk of each member of the Common Council by the City Clerk in accordance with the NYS Municipal Home Rule Law, a copy of which is hereto attached and made a part hereof.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

141.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

             Be It Resolved, by the Common Council for the City of Tonawanda that proposed Local Law No. 2 of the year 2008, entitled:

 

            A Local Law to amend ARTICLE V. FINANCE, DIVISION 2. BUDGETS AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM, Section 5.023 entitled ďCapital ProgramĒ, subdivision (a) of the Charter of the City of Tonawanda which provides for the mayor to prepare and submit to the Common Council a five-year capital program, or revision or extension thereof, on or before the first regularly scheduled meeting in April of the current fiscal year.

            Be and it is hereby introduced before the Common Council of the City of Tonawanda, New York; and be it further

            Resolved, that copies of the aforesaid proposed Local Law be laid upon the desk of each member of the Common Council by the City Clerk in accordance with the NYS Municipal Home Rule Law, a copy of which is hereto attached and made a part hereof.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

142.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that permission be granted to the residents of Glenwood Avenue, between Young Street and Killewald Avenue, to hold a block party on Saturday, July 5, 2008, from 10:00 A.M. to midnight and further be it

            Resolved, that ingress and egress be provided for local traffic and emergency vehicles.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

143.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that permission be granted to the residents of Utica Street between Delaware and Amsterdam Streets, to hold a block party on Saturday, July 19, 2008, from 11:00 A.M. to midnight and further be it

            Resolved, that ingress and egress be provided for local traffic and emergency vehicles.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

144.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the Certificate of Insurance and bond from Waterworks Plumbing & Backflow, Inc. (Joel Tucciarone) be filed and a license be issued for said plumber to do business in the City of Tonawanda.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

145.     By Council President Zeisz                                     seconded by Councilmember Davis

            Resolved, that in recognition and compliance with the ďNew York State Open Meetings LawĒ, 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 a particular person & negotiations.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Ed Gebera, 157 Brookside Terrace W. Ė You got a letter from the Army Crops of Engineers dated June 9th.  Are they going to do more sampling at the landfill? Quite a bit more?

 

Council President Zeisz Ė We canít answer that question. Basically, what happened was, we sent correspondence concerned about how the testing would be conducted and we could show you the letter, really the response was just a bunch ofÖ..they didnít give us a straight answer is basically what Iím saying. 

 

Ed Gebera Ė They are going to do some more sampling though. 

 

Council President Zeisz Ė Theyíre doing more.  We are just concerned with how they do the testing. 

 

Nancy Paschen, 5 Main Street Ė I know that you do not print this up.  I know that the Gateway Commission prints it up, but I would like to say that there was a mistake in it and I donít think it was a very nice thing calling the firemen fishermen.  It says here the Fishermenís Parade, not Firemenís Parade.  And also I know itís funded by New York Assemblyman Robin Schimminger but I still think itís a waste of taxpayers money, they have all this printed, doesnít anybody read it to be sure itís right?  This is a bunch of money wasted. 

 

Council President Zeisz - I donít know.  Youíd have to ask them.

 

Nancy Paschen - It says right on the front page, ďTNT Downtown Old Fashioned Kick-offĒ 10am-6pm, ďFishermanís ParadeĒ 2pm right at the bottom or that.

 

Council President Zeisz Ė Yes, I see it. 

 

Nancy Paschen - Doesnít anybody proof anything in the City, except for the City Clerkís Office.  Seriously though, it is an insult to the firemen really, I mean if the firemen got mad enough they probably would throw you in the creek. 

 

Cheryl Lepsch, 65 Harriet Street Ė I just have a question.  I know that you were talking in early session about the grass being high and fines.  I have, for 18 years been complaining about a couple areas in Tonawanda, contacted the signs that are on there where they have the lease, the property is up for lease, Iíve contacted the Building Inspector.  Thereís a couple areas, obviously if youíre going to come to my house, youíre going to drive down Young Street if you donít drive down Delaware and if I have company coming in from out of town the last thing I want them to see is grass thatís knee high, next to Athenas on either side, with garbage strewn all over the place.  The next area, and Iíve brought this up to the Council in the past and Iíve never really gotten a proper answer, whether itís they didnít know in the past or not, but I guess Iím going to investigate more because I want to know.  Where we have our water treatment thing at the corner of Ellicott Creek/State Street, that area there where thereís tracks, seems to get cut all the time.  Now if you go across the street, right at the corner of Glenwood and Young Streets, you have the fields on the right hand side, if youíre going towards Harriet, you have fields of trees that are going over into Young Street.  Thereís an open panel box thatís been sitting there forever empty.  Nobody will tell me whether or not itís the railroadís or the Cityís property.  My question is, why is the City doing one side of the street and not the opposite side of the street?  If it is the railroadís property and theyíre supposed to take care of it, it needs to get cleaned up.  I will obviously go to the meeting if thatís what I need to do to get them to do what theyíre supposed to do.  So if somebody could just let me know who it belongs to and whoís supposed to take care of it. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Iíll check for sure Ms. Lepsch, but Iím pretty sure, weíve gone through this before, Iím pretty sure thatís the railroad property.  Youíre talking right where the overpass is. 

 

Cheryl Lespch Ė Yes, before the overpass, right before the car place, right before that. 

 

Councilmember Perkins Ė Ms. Lepsch, Iíve actually tried to call CSX before and theyíre a lot of fun, you end up calling Florida and they tend to ignore you. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Just so you know too, what weíll do is the Mayor can send correspondence to CSX and see if we can get some kind of a response, any kind of a response. 

 

Councilmember Davis Ė If we sent them a $10,000 bill I am sure we would get a response. 

 

Chuck Heylmun, 66 Syracuse Street Ė I apologize for missing the last few meetings.  We were pretty tied up hiring new personnel.  One thing I donít totally understand, the State of New York and backed by you gentlemen and ladies, wants to put a 4% cap on school taxes, even though itís voted on annually by the public.  Iíd be interested in a 4% cap on the City budget.  How could I initiate that? 

 

Council President Zeisz - I donít know.  Youíd have to ask the City Attorney that question because to tell you the truth, I canít answer it for you.

 

Chuck Heylmun Ė Thereís no need for a cap on school budget, the voters vote on it, they donítí like it, they turn it down, itís very simple. 

 

Council President Zeisz - But in fairness, most times people arenít going to vote down a school budget because the contingency budget is worse.

 

Chuck Heylmun Ė Because what?

 

Council President Zeisz Ė Because the contingency budget is worse.         

 

Chuck Heylmun Ė We have a contingency too.

 

Council President Zeisz Ė Right which costs more than the actual budget theyíre voting on in many cases. 

 

Chuck Heylmun Ė I think about 120%, Iím not sure of the exact figure, a little bit more.

 

Council President Zeisz - In a lot of cases people are disinclined to vote against the budget. 

 

Chuck Heylmun Ė Weíve passed the budget as long as Iíve been with the board by about 60+%.  The public apparently is not unhappy.  The people that probably are most against it are old folks like me, even though I support it, that say, why am I paying for school taxes because I donít have kids in school.  The turnout is dismal, it really is but we donít need that, itís built in and Iíd like to see something like that with the City budget.  Do you support that? 

 

Council President Zeisz - I donít have an issue with it but I think thatís something that goes right up to the top of the State. 

 

Mark Zahm, 33 Grove Place Ė Regarding assessments, it was brought to my attention that a multi-family, like a duplex or an upper/lower home, that is assessed at a lower rate than a single family.  Do you know if thatís true? 

 

Council President Zeisz - The City Clerk is telling me that that is true, just from what we hear from the Assessor, itís not like we know this to be a fact. 

 

Mark Zahm - Because I was under the impression that that was something from Albany but then talking with the people in the Town of Tonawanda that have, a friend of mine has an upper/lower plan, heís assessed at a higher rate, the idea being itís income bearing, and therefore, youíre going to pay for it because itís going to increase the demand on services, this sort of a thing, so it has to be covered.  If it is the situation that multiple families are assessed at a lower rate then in the first place, I would like to know who in the City authorized that and Iíd be curious to know what were the land holdings of that individual because somethingís kind of stinky there.  In all these years, itís been putting the burden on single-family homeowners which isnít fair, itís un-American we all know because everything must be equal in America and that is not equal.  So if that could be investigated and find out whatís going on there, I think it would be a good thing to straighten that out, it would be all American.  

 

COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Councilmember Waterhouse Ė First of all, Iíd like to congratulate Jeremy on your proclamation. That was a wonderful thing that you did.  Second of all, Iíd like to notify everybody that Iíll be absent from the next meeting.  Unfortunately, I have to go to Vegas on business, so I wonít be here.  Not Council business, no, for work. 

 

Councilmember Kossow Ė First off, Iíd like to congratulate the Zacks and the Schneiders. Theyíre neighbors of mine. On the lemonade stand, there was activity all day.  They did a tremendous job with it, a well-deserved proclamation.  Also Iíd like to congratulate Jeremy on his proclamation and also thank him for all his services for his country as well. Next, with regards to the upcoming concert schedules, this is the first time weíre actually going to be getting something as a result of the concerts, as opposed to just spending money for expenses of additional police enforcement.  At least there is a number of organizations that will be benefiting from the concerts by having the sales on the Tonawanda side so hopefully maybe even Canal Fest can take a tip from this so we can get a little more on our side.  And lastly, I just want to bring up one other thing, and weíve all read about it, weíre all suffering with regard to the gas prices. I think the Council and the Mayor have to really sit down with the different department heads, the ones that use the most gas in the City, Police, Fire, DPW, Parks, and see how we can alter their schedules or their day-to-day operations to reduce the consumption of gas.  Itís just that everybodyís hurting whether youíve got just a short commute or youíre driving a half hour every day.  Before it used to be $50 even at BJís, now itís up to $75.  I go fill up my van, it doesnít even fill up my van so everybodyís hurting so hopefully we can address something at the City level to address that.  

 

Councilmember Davis Ė Iíd also like to applaud Jeremy and thank him for his services to the country.  Sump pump testing, Iíve called up Dennis Weiss at the DEC yesterday and today, I have not received a response back from him on the status of the results of sump pump testing that occurred back in the Spring. As soon as I hear those, Iíll share with the rest of the Council and everybody else.  I would just like to wish Dr. Peters and her husband Bob the best of luck with their new position and also Whitney Vantine who is going to be the new Superintendent of the City schools.  If you were like me and suffered any kind of damage from the weather yesterday, your vehicle, make sure you file a claim, you might have to call my friends at the weather service in order to get the report from that day in order for your claim to be paid but it should be covered under your comprehensive if youíve got comprehensive insurance.  I will say as a person on a five-person Executive Committee in charge of handing out a scholarship to a previous Riverview School student who is graduating and Iíd just like to say that the committee announced that Ryan Wade will be receiving that scholarship.  A caring, bright intelligent young man and I wish him all the best as he goes to UB to study engineering and hopefully will stay here in the area.  And lastly, two weekends ago Tonawanda Dance Arts put on their dance recital which every year, itís phenomenal.  Iíd like to thank the students and the parents for all their hard work in putting together something of that magnitude and also wish them well this weekend, theyíre in a dance competition at Maryvale on Saturday which unfortunately means I wonít be able to attend the Firemenís Day Parade, but for the Firemenís it should be a nice day.    

 

Mayor Pilozzi Ė Thank you Mr. President.  A couple of things, itís already been mentioned several times, but the Firemenís Day Parade, when I was a kid it used to be people 3, 4 deep at every corner, every street.  These people put their life on the line, they keep our costs down and I think the least we can do is at least show up for parade.  Please consider lining the streets and itís going to be in conjunction with some nice things along Main Street, business section too.  Also, a Fishing Derby, if you have children, the Fishing Derby is on Saturday, so thereís a lot of things going on in Tonawanda.  I think Common Council President Zeisz has already mentioned the golf issues, started with a letter from my office on the 30th, it followed up with a letter from him and Councilmember Davis.  I think we have a chance of getting something from the Town of Tonawanda, we havenít had a pass, I doubt weíll be treated as residents but the chance is weíll get something at a decreased cost for our residents.  Weíll see how that goes.  One nice piece of news today, I had a meeting with a Mr. Peter Trippi from the Department of Health, he is, for lack of a better word, the Vector Control Officer for Erie County. At any rate, there was a 63% decline in the number of rat sightings from 2006 to 2007.  Now that goes by zip code so part of that is the Town of Tonawanda also, plus we didnít start our program until August so my thinking is, itís going to go down even more as those numbers come in for this year. So it was, I think, a good piece of work to go with the totes, itís working well, itís getting the desired results so hopefully again, it will be even better next year.  Again, my congratulation to Jeremy Lepsch, the youngsters here from Elmwood Park, it renewed my faith in the youth of this country, it truly does.  And Iím willing to bet theyíll get $2,000 next year.  To think this young lady started this whole program out because she contracted cancer at the early age of four and by the time she passed away in the year 2000, they collected over a million dollars for that foundation for childhood cancer research.   Thatís amazing and I wish them nothing but the best and canít wait to see him next year.    Thank you Mr. President.

 

Council President Zeisz Ė Thank you Mayor Pilozzi.  The only thing I wanted to say was Iíve sat in this seat for a lot of years and the one really great thing about Council meetings, outside of all the City stuff, is just having the opportunity to recognize people like Jeremy, like Zack and the other kids that were here tonight.  Thereís a lot of great things that happen in our small community and this is really like one of the nice things we get to do even though however small it might be, just to recognize the people that live in our City is a really great thing and it really makes it all worthwhile to sit up here and be proud of the community that we live in. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi - I failed to mentioned that Jeremyís mother, CherylÖ

 

Councilmember Davis Ė Yes, she is the pajama lady.

 

Mayor Pilozzi - Öshe heads up ďJammies for G.I.ísĒ, I failed to mention that, so if anybody has some jammies that they want to send, put them in the washer and dryer and send them to her.  I am sure she will be glad to take them.  That is to be congratulated too.  Thank you.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

146.     By Councilmember                                                            seconded by Councilmember

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until July 1, 2008.  

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

 

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