Tonawanda, New York
September 1, 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
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR
A letter from the State of New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs dated August 14, 2009, inviting the Mayor to attend the New York National Guard Leadership Table Top Vigilant Guards Exercise which takes place on September 2, 2009.
A letter from Senator Antoine M. Thompson dated August 15, 2009, regarding the 2009-2010 Capital Funds Disbursement.
A letter from Time Warner Cable dated August 17, 2009, regarding a new interactive technology known as Switched Digital Video.
A letter from County Executive Chris Collins dated August 14, 2009, informing the City that funding under the Community Development Block Grant Federal Stimulus Component was funded for $100,000 for the Water Works Asbestos Removal in the City of Tonawanda.
A letter to the New York State Department of Transportation dated August 25, 2009, regarding the agreement they have with the City for the maintenance of the Twin City Memorial Highway which includes snow removal.
COMMUNICATION FROM CITY OFFICIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE
The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:
July Activity Report of the Fire Department
August minutes of the Civil Service Commission
August Executive Minutes of the City Clerk
August minutes of the Traffic & Safety Advisory Board
Referred to the Committee of the Whole
A letter from Art on the Riverwalk thanking the City for allowing them to hold their annual art show in Niawanda Park.
Referred to the Committee of the Whole
MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS
168. By the Council seconded by the Council
Whereas, following the presentation of “Vigilant Guard” given by Captain Thomas Wolfe of the City of Tonawanda Fire Department, Deputy Chief Brian Rousseau of NYS Fire Prevention and Control, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Cooper of the New York Division of National Guard, and Erie County Fire Commissioner Gregory Skibitsky, be it further
Resolved, that the Common Council of the City of Tonawanda hereby authorizes the Vigilant Guard Exercise to occur at the Spaulding Fiber site, which will take place on November 1st through November 6th, 2009, and be it further
Resolved, that Mayor Ronald Pilozzi is hereby authorized and directed to execute a written agreement on behalf of the City with the appropriate governmental agencies detailing the terms and conditions of the exercise, subject to the approval of the City Attorney, Ronald C. Trabucco.
Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, David, Zeisz
Resolution declared adopted
COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AFTER RESOLUTIONS
Laurie Schultz, 325 Morgan Street, City Hall Employee – For the past couple of months, we’ve been coming here, talking about security issues in this building specifically. Tonight I just want to share with you a little bit of our what I’ve looking through in our Charter. I’m not sure if anyone’s really had a chance to look at it themselves, but I would encourage the Councilmembers specifically to take a look at it to see if there are some things in there that might be a little bit confusing or maybe needs some more clarity I guess. As I said, the last meeting, talked about legislative and executive power. You as the Council have the legislative power, the Mayor is the Chief Executive of the City and he executes the laws. What I found in looking through the Charter, there are some areas, different chapters and it just kept popping up to me, “authority to legislate for public safety”, “authority to legislate for public welfare”. Chapter 38, “Offenses & Miscellaneous Provisions”, “authority to legislate for public peace, health, safety and welfare”, “Buildings & Regulations”, I mean I could keep going on and on here, “Environment, Streets, Sidewalks & other Public Places”, talks about animals, I mean authority for public peace, health safety and welfare with animals, for “Vegetation”, it just keeps going on and on here. I guess the one that really stands out in my mind is the very last one is Article II, “Administration and Enforcement”, and it says, “create a hazard to health, safety or general welfare, authority to legislate”. I don’t understand. I understand that it is the Mayor’s job for the everyday operations of the City. I understand that entails the different departments that are operational in the City. When I think of the public building, and I guess my question to you is, is City Hall a public building? I think we’d all agree that, yes, it is a public building, so there again, I don’t quite understand why you do not have the power to legislate public safety and welfare in this building as well. You mention Canal Fest. On July 7th at the Common Council meeting, I could quote the Mayor here in regards to talking about the differences between North Tonawanda and Tonawanda the problems they have as compared to the problems we have. He starts by saying, “you can say it’s the rides, we don’t know, but I do know that it’s up to that Chief”, meaning Police Chief Young, “right there, myself, and the people sitting up here which obviously are the Council, for public safety and we’ll react to that, if need be.” So again, I hope you can understand my confusion because we should all be in this together and I don’t quite understand, if you do have the power to legislate like I was looking through our City Charter, why would you not have the power also for the public welfare of this building, that’s my question to you. Perhaps maybe it’s something that maybe Mr. Trabucco would like to address tonight at this meeting, maybe to me personally at sometime, but I really would like to encourage you to also look at this Charter and really see what your authority is. Again, I just see some confusion there. Also, I would like to bring up, on behalf of Marilyn Kuzmierski, who works down in our Building Department, she does not have a panic button. We do have panic buttons, they have been installed by the Mayor and she does not have one and she is also part of this building. We do have bills that we received today in regards to the installation of these buttons, $140.00 for the operation and then switches were $154.00 which is approximately $294.00. Again, at the Council meeting Council President Zeisz did say that he would not, “one thing I can tell you is I have no intention of spending any money to correct a situation that could be corrected by changing the time”. Now, we’re told tonight there is probably another budget that this money will be coming out of so, again, I guess I would just like to see a more united front up in front of me here, especially in regards to security, in public places. And again, City Hall is a public place and this is what we’ve been trying, for a couple of months now, to say, it’s public security, it needs to be secure. Thank you.
COMMENTS FROM THE COUNCILMEMBERS AFTER RESOLUTIONS
Councilmember Perkins – I have nothing else. Thank you.
Councilmember Waterhouse – Nothing at this time.
Councilmember Davis – I’d just like to agree that Marilyn should have a panic button. I think most of us know from dealing with Mr. Rank that there are some things that he does direct residents to do that they might not agree with or might cause them to have a hard time, so it might be a good idea to have a panic button from Marilyn down there just in case one of these irate residents do come in. I’d like to thank Chief Young, last Council meeting, she caught a “Freudian” slip of mine, where I spoke about a bike rally down at Niawanda Park and I was mistaken at the time. I went to the bike rally up in Wilson New York for John Cote and anybody who knows who that is, he is the young man that died over in Iraq and I honestly did not know I said it until she had said something to me and I’d like to thank her. But I think it just goes to show you that there’s been one thing in the paper, that there are people that are hell-bent on analyzing and over analyzing everything that you say and have nothing better to do with their time and I think it’s sad because there are far more important things that we should be sitting up here talking about in the City than people slipping up and saying something, but on that note, I did attend the bike rally down in Niawanda Park and I would say that the weather was less than optimal, maybe if it had been a car rally it would have been better, but a lot of rain, but seemed to be a decent amount of people that showed up and I’d like to thank the people that did show up and that did support the Viet Nam Veterans Association here in Tonawanda. I know they had food set up and they were standing out (inaudible), so I’d just like to thank everybody that supported that cause here in the City.
Councilmember Kossow – For the ladies, we’ll talk again with our City Attorney, but if I’m advised that we do have that authority, I would be glad to sponsor that resolution to change the hours. I’m not a lawyer, that is what we have Ron there for, so I defer to him and if he does say we have that authority, I don’t have a problem sponsoring that resolution but until I have that, it’s the Mayor’s responsibility until I direction otherwise. Also I want to thank everyone for waiting as we had our presentation. I’d like to thank Firefighter Wolfe on his presentation, all the other military personnel that were here this evening. This event that they’ve been talking about is I think, as I stated before, it should be an event that involves maybe not just Tonawanda. This whole Western New York region as a whole, I think that the training would be a direct benefit for our police and fire departments and also other departments that could be involved in the exercise. My whole hope is that we can also get some financial benefit, some remediation, additional remediation over at Spaulding Fibre. I hope we can get something out of that exercise. I think it will be an inconvenience for few days but I think the benefits out-weight the inconvenience so that’s why I supported this resolution this evening.
Mayor Pilozzi – First of all, I’d like to extend my congratulations to Director Mike Shaw of the American Legion for their 16th time they became the national champs of American Legions. That’s a competition that they hold every year at their national convention and they did us proud again, #1 in the nation, so thanks and congratulations go out to them. A big thank you goes out to firefighters Amy and Tim Newman. They were highly involved with Explorer Post 15, along with other members of our professional and volunteer firefighters. They’re planting the seeds for future volunteers and professional firefighters in this community, and as we all know, lately it’s been very, very difficult to get people to volunteer for that particular job in our City. Through their efforts hopefully, and again, they’ve planted the seeds for future volunteers and professional firefighters. Although Sunday the 23rd was rather wet event for the Gathering of the Iron, it was a great event except for that weather. I believe plans have already been made for next year’s event and I know most of those guys and I can attest to Vietnam being very wet, it wasn’t good for that particular day, but in talking to those folks they made a couple bucks on that little red motorcycle they auctioned off and it was something that got them over the hump apparently. Lastly, I’d just like to wish everybody a great holiday weekend. Please be certain that you don’t drink and drive, be safe about it, and also don’t text and drive. I know probably most of the people in this audience don’t text and drive but I saw a video on my computer that really sent chills up my spine, so have a great holiday weekend. Oh, by the way, Jeff Schultz sitting in the back, is the guy, he’s our electrician here in the City, he installed the panic buttons I believe and Marilyn will be getting a panic button.
Council President Zeisz – I have nothing further. Have a great night and drive home safely. God bless you.
169. By Councilmember Davis seconded by Councilmember Waterhouse
Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until, September 15, 2009.
Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz
Resolution declared adopted
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