Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

November 4, 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

 

Mayor’s Public Hearing

for Local Law No. 4 entitled 

A Local Law providing for the “Cold War Veterans’ Exemption”

 

Mayor Pilozzi – Pursuant to Local Law Section 458 (b) of the New York State Real Property Tax law regarding General Municipal Real Property taxes for Veteran’s during the Cold War, in other words non-combat.  I am a combat era Vet but I know that the Veteran’s that were in during the non-combat era kept this Country safe just as much as if there was a war.  So I stand with the Common Council to put this forward and at this point in time I will take any questions on the law itself.

 

Council President Zeisz – If there is anyone that has any questions just step up to the mic and state your name and address please.

 

Mayor Pilozzi – Just for a matter of the record I stopped by to see the Assessor today and there is a 15% cap on this particular law.  Which would mean for an example, if your house was assessed for $100,000 there is a 50% cap and a maximum of $12,000 so instead of getting $15,000 you would get $12,000.  Just so you know how it works.  At least that is what I was told by the Assessor.

 

Council President Zeisz – Basically just for anyone who is not sure, it basically covers periods after World War II, before Korea, and then the period before Viet Nam, and then the period from up to the Persian Gulf after Viet Nam.  I am guessing here, but I think it is about 26 years of time that we are actually talking about.  There were other periods, Granada, the Falcon Islands and Panama.  If anyone does have any questions please feel free to talk with the Assessor.  This has to be ready for the roll for next year so it would be for the next school tax, next September.

 

Mayor Pilozzi – The books close in March.

 

Member of the Audience – Are there any instructions written down and handed out as to exactly how they are going to go about this?

 

Mayor Pilozzi – Here is one of the problems we have, the combat wounded veterans, as the old guys know as to all of the ramifications as to what they are entitled to.  We don’t have a list here at City Hall of the Cold War Veterans so my assumption is that we are going to have to some how some way get notification out to everybody that pays taxes that this law now exists in the City of Tonawanda.

 

Member of the Audience – So after it is enforced what do we do, do we come down and see an individual.

 

Council President Zeisz – Yes, come down and see Pat Bacon our City Assessor.  That is what I would do.  When we get to next year, January or February, just come and see the Assessor and that way, if there is anything that needs to be done, which I am sure there will be, you will be able to do it.  You could even go see the Assessor tomorrow so you could plan ahead.  I do know that you will have to probably file by the 1st of March.  I am not exactly sure what the cutoffs are so it is just better to speak with the Assessor because she will able to tell you what to do.

Mayor Pilozzi – It is important that you file by the March deadline because if you don’t, if you are one day past it, you will have to wait another year.

 

Member of the Audience – Will this be made public to everybody before this happens?

 

Mayor Pilozzi – Between newspapers and …

 

Council President Zeisz – It is going to happen.

 

Mayor Pilozzi – Once it is passed tonight, it is law.

 

Council President Zeisz – We have actually done resolutions on this already.  The way the process works is we passed the resolution then the Mayor has a Public Hearing so it is actually going to go into effect.

 

Member of the Audience – Is there a need for a DD214 or what kind of proof will you need as a Veteran.

 

Mayor Pilozzi – I am just going to make an assumption here, the DD214 is the vehicle to get anything done for the Veterans so I am going to make the assumption that that probably is a necessary requirement.  We will try and get that information out to everybody as soon as possible so you can make arrangements and make sure that you apply.  Any other questions?  Any other questions?  If not I call this hearing closed.

 

 

Bid Opening:   Material Spreader

                        October 29, 2008

                        10:00 A.M.

 

  Valley Fab Equipment Company

  9776 Trevett Road

  P.O. Box 380

  Boston, New York    14025                                                          Bid Price:  $16,601.00

                                               

  Snowfighting Equipment and Consultants of Buffalo, Inc.

  P.O. Box 126, Southside Station

  Buffalo, New York    14220                                                         Bid Price:  $18,943.00

 

  Viking-Cives of Western New York

  8781 Alexander Road

  Batavia, New York     14020                                                        Bid Price:  $25,380.00

            Non-collusive bidding certificates accompanied all bids

                        Ordered filed

           

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR

 

A letter to the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority dated November 3, 2008, regarding the Public Power Coalition (PPC) and various issues they have with the New York Power Authority.

 

A letter from PETA, the largest animal rights organization in the world, dated November 3, 2008, asking the City to use safer more technologically advanced alternatives such as laser light shows rather than fireworks and by doing so protecting companion animals and wildlife.

 

A letter to the Army Corps of Engineers dated October 28, 2008, regarding FUSRAP Seaway Landfill, River Road, Town of Tonawanda, Comments on Proposed Corps Remediation Plan.

 

A letter to Mark Warren, 97 Elmwood Park West, dated October 28, 2008, appointing him Chairman of the City of Tonawanda Planning and Zoning Board.

 

A letter from County Clerk Kathleen C. Hochul, dated October 22, 2008, telling the Mayor that the City should expect to get approximately $91,007.87 as the City’s share of the estimated Mortgage Tax distribution from the County.

 

A letter to Police Officer David Ljiljanich, date November 4, 2008, congratulating him on recently being selected as Officer of the year by the Exchange Club of the Tonawandas.

            Ordered filed

 

COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            September Executive Minutes of the City Clerk

September minutes of the Tonawanda Housing Authority

October monthly report of the Building Inspector

            October Executive Minutes of the City Clerk

            October monthly report of the City Clerk

October minutes of the Traffic and Safety Advisory Board

                        Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                                    Ordered filed

 

A letter from City Engineer Jason J. LaMonaco dated October 23, 2008, to DEMCO, Inc., telling them to proceed with the Spaulding Fibre Demolition Project.

 

A letter from Department of the Army, Buffalo District, Corps of Engineers dated November 3, 2008, regarding the Record of Decision for the Mudflats Operable Unit of the Tonawanda Landfill Vicinity Property.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                Ordered filed

 

MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

225.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the Common Council authorizes the sale of unused and surplus City equipment of eleven items and the results of the online auction conducted by Auction International from October 8 – 21, 2008.  The results are as follows:

 

            1977 International 2050A Cab and Chassis                $    700.00

            1985 Ford 8000 Cab and Chassis                                  755.00

            1990 Ford F250 Truck                                           900.00

            1994 Ford Crown Vic Sedan                                                183.00

            1995 Ford Crown Vic Sedan                                                430.00

            1992 Lift-All                                                             1,355.00

            Jacobsen Turf Cat Mower                                     1,902.00

            Toro 72 Grounds Master Mower                                    235.00

            1988 Ford F700 Bucket Truck                           7,250.00

            Toro Groundsmaster Mower                                     1,400.00

            1982 American LaFrance Ladder Truck               8,096.00

 

Fiscal Impact:  +$22,000 

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

226.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that at the recommendation of the Superintendent of Public Works, the bid for a Material Spreader be awarded to Valley Fab Equipment Company for a cost of $16,601.00.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

227.     By Council President Zeisz                                                 seconded by Councilmember Davis

            Whereas, Local Law No. 4 for the year 2008 for the City of Tonawanda, entitled, “A Local Law providing for the ‘Cold War Veterans’ Exemption’ pursuant to Section 458-b of the New York State Real Property Tax Law regarding General Municipal real property taxes for veterans who served during the Cold War Period” was enacted by a resolution of this body on November 4, 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 New York Secretary of State of its enactment and approval. 

 

Ayes: Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Abstained: Perkins

Resolution declared adopted

 

228.     By Councilmember Kossow                                               seconded by Council President Zeisz

            Whereas, the title of this Resolution/Ordinance has been published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation, more specifically, The Tonawanda News, on October 24, 2008 in accordance with Section 2.047 of the City Charter, now, therefore be it

            Resolved, that Chapter 110 of the Code of the City of Tonawanda entitled “Taxation”, Article 3 “Real Property Taxation”, Division 4 “Exemptions”, Subdivision 1 “In General” Sec. 110-183 Increase In Veterans Alternative Exemption, which now reads as follows:

 

            The maximum exemption allowable in Real Property Tax Law Section

458-a(2)(a), (2)(b) and (2)(c) is increased to $18,000.00, $12,000.00 and $60,000.00, respectively, which is an increase in the home value cap to $120,000.00.

 

            Shall be amended to read as follows:

 

            The maximum exemption allowable in Real Property Tax Law Section

458-a (2)(a), (2)(b) and (2)(c) is increased to $21,000.00, $14,000.00 and $70,000.00, respectively, which is an increase in the home value cap to $140,000.00.

 

            and be it further

 

Resolved, that all other sections of said ordinance shall remain unchanged and in full force and effect; and be it further

            Resolved, that the above amendment shall take effect upon publication in an official newspaper of the City of Tonawanda.

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Zeisz

Nays: None

Abstained: Davis

Resolution declared adopted

 

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Nancy Paschen, 5 Main Street – I have a couple questions. Number one is, on Wednesday, October 29, 2008, there was an article in the paper saying “Vets Park Project Moves Along” which is very good, but there was a remark made that says the Vets Park project would attract a quality of families that the City would like to see. What are we?  I mean Mr. Davis, this quality that you have here right now is paying your wages. 

 

Councilmember Davis - Ms. Paschen, if you want to take out of context what I said, the quality of families that I was referring to are the ones that get involved in the community, like yourself, that get involved in the PTA and things like that.  I mean, I think that’s what we want, all of the members of our community to get involved, not only in the political process but also the school process and any other processes that might be involved in the City.  We want maximum participation of residents and when that happens, then the voice of the community is heard and we follow whatever it is that the community wants. 

 

Nancy Paschen – Okay, thank you Mr. Davis.  I have one other question.  On the desk out there in the hallway is “Property Tax Assessments. What You Should Know”.  How many of these flyers have gone to, like the City Library and stuff like that so that other people can see them, where the people vote, like the City Library, I mean, nobody hardly comes here except to pay their taxes, you know what I mean?  This has to be in by November 5th and they’re gonna talk on it ‘til February 12th.  Well, I mean, I came up here yesterday and got this statement.  I mean, what gives?  Everybody should know, not just a certain few.  And as far as the newspaper goes, I told you before, nobody reads the want ads, it should be on the front page of the paper what’s going on in the City, not on the back page. 

 

Bill Kinmartin, 37 Grove – A couple months ago, I came here and complained about the roof at Vets Park Shelter #2. It has been fixed and I want to thank those responsible, not Linda Foels, but the Council.  Thank you, I want to give credit where credit is due.   

 

Jim Borselino, 7 Scott Street – I want to ask about that parking, the plowing of the sidewalk and easement from Fremont Street to Scott where I have to walk every day.  I’m  60 years old and I don’t keep my balance, I’m not as young as I use to be and I can’t keep my balance and I walk that way every morning and at night.  Is that easement and the street bridge going to be plowed? That’s the way I walk home now, easement from Fremont to Scott, that’s where I walk, along that fence, and walk over that bridge.  Is that going to be cleared of snow every day when I walk there in the wintertime?   Because the City owns that easement.

 

Council President Zeisz - I’ll have to defer to the Mayor since he is in charge of the day to day.  I think this is an answer he’ll have to get from DPW. 

 

Jim Borselino – Thank you very much.  I’ve parked my vehicle there for the last couple of months, my balance isn’t what it used to be and one day I walked across the bridge when the garbage truck came and I had to hang on to keep from falling.  That shakes the whole bridge.  

 

Council President Zeisz – We’ll definitely look into it and I know Mr. Borselino that you’ve been coming to the meetings, so hopefully before the next meeting we won’t have any snow that we have to worry about. 

 

Kelly Gromlovits, “The Mulberry Tree”, 41 Main Street – I just want to know what the status is of the lights on the trees on Main Street.  We noticed that one side, they’ve all coming off and are they being replaced? 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – Yes.  They’re in the process of being replaced right now. As a matter of fact, North Tonawanda’s had to go through thirty strands of theirs because they got busted up between the wind and normal weather. 

 

Kelly Gromlovits - Are we getting a better brand than we got last time?

 

Mayor Pilozzi - I hope so.

 

Kory Schuler, 59 Main Street – Just a couple of quick things.  We were just wondering if someone could look into the parking signs on Broad Street, from Main back to about the Walgreens parking lot.  One of the parking signs disappeared, “Two-Hour Parking”, and the other one has been moved so the arrow is going in the wrong direction, and one of the businesses on the corner there has been telling the new businesses that have moved in that part of the street is actually their private parking.  Some of the businesses have had some questions about that but they weren’t able to make it tonight so I told them I would bring it up and see if someone could look into the missing “Two-Hour Parking” sign and maybe replace the other one back where it belongs.   And just one other quick point, a while back at one of the Council meetings, one of the visitors here talked about having some of the Department Heads come to Council meetings to maybe address questions from the public and we were wondering if that’s ever been given a thought.  I know there have been several issues, worries, that we’d like to maybe address some of the Department Heads in front of the Council, as well as the public.  There are just different events, different issues that have come up involving things like parks and recreation and the DPW and maybe it might be a good idea to have them answer in front of the public.  So I’m trying to put it out here and see if any thoughts have been given to that. 

 

Council President Zeisz - Well that’s a good point and just so you know, that goes through the Mayor because the Mayor would have to bring the Department Heads in.  I have to go to the Mayor to bring in Department Heads. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – Along those lines, if I could just say something real quick, we had started bringing in one Department Head a meeting and then somehow that fell through the cracks.  That’s my fault.  We’ll address that.

 

Resident, 76 Ellicott Creek Road – I live on the dead end of Ellicott Creek Road.  The street sign for Alexandria came up missing a few months ago and there’s a “Dead End” sign on the entrance of the dead end but a lot of times it’s either covered by trees or whatnot.  Is there a law where we can’t put a “Dead End” sign on both sides of the street because people cutting through use Alexandria to get back to Young Street.  They think it’s a straight cut and they always end up doing a turn around at the end of the street.  That is all I wanted to know is if you could double up with the “Dead End” sign.

 

Council President Zeisz – Yes, I’ll check into it.  I don’t see why that couldn’t be the case. 

 

COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS

 

Councilmember Perkins – Even though I had to abstain on resolution #3, I felt very privileged tonight that we could present these two resolutions to thank our veterans for service that they’ve given to our country.  To have a night like tonight where it is an election night and we’re here conducting town business and I just feel very privileged that I could do a little piece to make their lives a little bit easier. 

 

Councilmember Waterhouse – I would just like to agree with what Ms. Perkins said.  It was stated very nicely.  Thank you.

 

Council President Zeisz – Just for anyone who doesn’t know, the two individuals that abstained on different resolutions is because of their financial or involvement in those resolutions.  Mr. Davis served as did Ms. Perkins’ husband, so that’s why they had to abstain. 

 

Councilmember Kossow – To Kory’s point about the Department Heads, you failed to mention, usually Joe Hogenkamp is always here, our City Treasurer.  So  again, I think it’s a great idea to have at least one of the Department Heads and hopefully we can get that started again.  Carl, and the Mayor knows, all the Department Heads used to sit right here in the front row.

 

Council President Zeisz - Well, actually I just wanted to say something about that.  We actually do have the Department Heads in.  It’s just that like tonight, the Engineer was in the back before we came out here.  He came in at 6:00 P.M. and we met with him for 40 minutes before we came out on the floor.  And we’ve done that quite a few times with Department Heads, they’re just not actually out here during the meeting so, that’s something that the Mayor can look at.

 

Councilmember Kossow – This weekend there’s a benefit race for a young girl who passed away way too young.  It (Lindsay’s Legacy) starts on Saturday at 11:00 A.M. in Clinton Park, it’s a 5K Run Walk with a benefit afterwards.  If you get a chance come, hopefully it will stay nice out, I don’t know, it doesn’t look good.

 

Councilmember Davis – I’d just like to congratulate John White who this Monday is being honored as “Volunteer of the Year” by the Tonawanda Youth Board.  Anybody that knows John or gets the paper, his picture is in the paper all the time, he is actively involved in anything dealing with kids in this community and I know this community is better off because of his involvement so I’d like to thank him and congratulate him.  Anybody that got a paper this evening saw that PETA’s sticking it’s nose where it doesn’t belong. They decided to single us out of thousand of municipalities that fire off fireworks every year saying that they’re a detriment to animals and domesticated pets.  The only thing I have is that fireworks have been around for approximately 2,000 – 3,0000 years, the Chinese came out with them.  Where were they during all that time and on top of it, just to give you a little background into PETA, they also petitioned Ben & Jerry’s to do away with cow’s milk in their ice cream that they wanted them to use women’s breast milk in their ice cream.  Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’d eat any ice cream with human breast milk in it.  I think PETA needs to stick with the cosmetic and fur industries and kind of leave us alone with our fireworks so I’ll just say that and nothing more.  Like Carl mentioned, it’s no surprise that the Army Corps doesn’t want to do anything, but they’ve shown a history of three areas that are in question that affect us here in the City of Tonawanda of doing nothing but like I said, the two more important areas are the Seaway Landfill and the Tonawanda Landfill, so hopefully they’ll rise up and do the right thing with those two areas.  Hopefully everybody voted.  Regardless of what the outcome is today, it is going to be historic.  They’re either going to elect the first African American as a President or a female as our Vice President, so hopefully everyone here exercised their right to vote.  And lastly, I’d like to wish both past and present Veterans a Happy Veterans Day and like Carl said, anytime we get a chance to help out those that put on a uniform and have given their life and like the Mayor said, regardless if it’s during wartime or not, these people made the sacrifice and they should be commended.  Thank you Mr. President.

 

Council President Zeisz – I’m sure you obviously figured out, it’s no coincidence that we did this resolution with Veterans Day next week.  We just thought it would be a nice gesture to do it at this time to recognize the people that have served our country.  I don’t know if anybody went to the Bills game Sunday, but it was really nice, they had a nice presentation before the game started, they had individuals all the way from the Second World War, up through the Persian Gulf that came out on the field for the National Anthem. It was really great, and they got a great response.  And we thank those of you who are Veterans and have served whether it’s during combat or not.  And I thank everyone for coming, have a great night, make sure you vote, I know, I know, I thought maybe I’d give him a break, but I suppose I should let him talk. 

 

Mayor Pilozzi – Very quickly Council President Zeisz, I’d like to also congratulate John White.  John White is involved in so many projects in the City it is unbelievable.   Especially if it has to do with kids.  Kids are our most important element here in the City of Tonawanda because they are our future.  Congratulations to John.  Just to pick up on where Councilman Davis left off, I called PETA this morning and they’re in Virginia and believe it or not, they knew exactly who I was, by name and Pilozzi is not an easy name.  So, she surprised me there but I don’t think they realize the fact that New York State DEC is willing to sacrifice and owl for a common tern.  It’s crazy to me, but at any rate.  Lastly, thanks to all the Veterans, peacetime, wartime, in between, it makes no difference.  You leave your home, you give up your family, your loved ones, to go off and serve your Country, it’s just nice that we’re able to do this for everybody tonight and I’m proud to be an American, I’m proud to be a Veteran, and I’m proud also that this is going to be an historic election, no matter who is going to serve.  Thank you very much. 

  

 

  

ADJOURNMENT

 

229.     By Councilmember Perkins                                     seconded by Councilmember Davis

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until November 18, 2008.  

 

Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

 

 

 

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