Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

May 5, 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


Public Hearing

Capital Improvement Program


Council President Zeisz – Just so you have a little bit of information before I take comments and questions, ever since the Charter was redone in 1997, this has been the time of the year when we’ve done the Capital Plan and for anyone who has not been at the most recent meetings, we are changing the process to align with the City budget approval process, so we’ll do this again later in the summer.  It’s probably more just because we have to.  It’s going to be the same plan, but I think what’s going to work a lot better is that the two are aligned now so that when the budget is made for 2010, it’s going to take into account items in the 2010 Capital Plan.  Whereas in the past, I think maybe more of the Capital Plan was a “wish list” on our part of things that we hoped to get done, all things being right.  We’ve already started to take action on the 2009 Capital Plan. There was bonding that took place at our last meeting in the amount of $1,250,000 to address issues.  So I’ll take any comments, questions people have regarding the plan for 2009-2013 and obviously, bear in mind that 2010 – 2013 could easily change, but 2009 is pretty much what we’re going with. 


Richard Slisz  (did not use microphone) Who has a copy of the plan?


Council President Zeisz – Just give us a couple of minutes. I apologize. I was unaware that that didn’t happen.  Just give us a couple minutes. They’re going to make some copies.  What I’ll do while they’re making copies, in the 2009 plan, there’s projected expense of $7,715,000 and that’s offset with revenues of $7,715,000.  To give you an idea of the revenues, we bonded as I said, over $1,000,000.  From the General Fund we’re going to take about $236,000.   New York State Department of Transportation is $300,000 for our CHIPS funding.  The Erie County Consortium is going to be about $188,000 and that’s Community Development Block Grant funding.  RESTORE NY is $2,350,000.  Erie County, we’re getting $200,000 for the water plant.  Environmental Restoration there’s $2,750,000 for Spaulding.  Another from the Department of HUD $400,000 for Spaulding.  Department of State $25,000 for hazardous waste and recycling and those are all on the revenue line.  On the expense side, we have paving, and this is not exact, only because a lot of it is contingent on our ability to get these streets done because a lot of the work is done in-house.  We have Ellicott Creek being repaved and the only question on Ellicott Creek is the section from Young Street to the entrance to the TCM because Erie County Water is putting a new line across that section of the road, so that’s still up in the air.  Young Street from Morgan to Glenwood, State Street from Delaware to Young, removing the hump on State Street, Franklin Street from Erie to Main, Gibson Street from Fletcher to Niagara, Mosher from Hackett to Colonial, and then we also have in there East Niagara from Fillmore to Stark, and then Johnson Street and quite a bit of that is Community Development Block Grant funding, and Moyle is still up in the air as far as whether or not that will get done, and then we have money in there to possibly do another street dependent upon how it all goes.  We have sidewalk monies.  We have $240,000 for a new sewer truck.  It’s replacing a vehicle that’s from 1984.  We have a couple other trucks, and then like I said, there’s quite a bit of money in there for Spaulding, over $5,500,000 for Spaulding, and that’s offset with revenues outside of the City taxes. Then we have design money in there, $60,000 for the riprap which is the sheet pile up out on the River, over on the Canal, and we have $45,000 for a new pool filter, $50,000 for a stump grinder, and I’m sure everybody would know why we need a stump grinder.  Our grinder is from 1962.  There’s $56,000 for the Library, and that was a grant, the City kicked in $15,000 of that.  We also have $50,000 for the Niagara Street culvert which is down on the other end of Niagara Street by the docks on the end, so all toll, it’s $7,715,000. 


Richard Slisz, 269 Niagara Shore Drive – I noticed here in your total on the revenues $200,000 for Erie County.  Tell me, why are they giving us $200,000?


Council President Zeisz - It’s a total of, and correct me if I’m wrong Sam or Ron, it’s a total of $300,000 towards the water plant and that goes to the demolition of the water plant. 


Richard Slisz - So what’s #5 water treatment engineering environmental remediation $300,000, is that coming out of the $200,000 in addition to that another $100,000?


Council President Zeisz - It’s $200,000 from them, the total is $300,000. We’re putting in $105,000.


Richard Slisz - To do what?


Council President Zeisz – Well, there’s design, asbestos abatement, clean up and demo. 


Richard Slisz - And that’s the first step of what? 


Council President Zeisz – Well hopefully selling the property. 


Richard Slisz – Selling, demolishing?


Council President Zeisz – Well, I mean getting rid of the building so we can sell the property for development. 


Richard Slisz – Any thought of demolishing the building? 


Council President Zeisz – Yes, it is for demolition.  We want to get rid of the building.   


Richard Slisz – What about purchase?  We had two people who wanted to purchase the building as is. 


Council President Zeisz - The last agreement that was in place, we rescinded the resolution, I’d say two months ago and we’re moving on from that one.


Richard Slisz – What happened there?


Council President Zeisz – There was parts to the agreement that were not fulfilled so we just moved on.


Richard Slisz – One more question.  How much does it cost to demolish the building?


Council President Zeisz – I don’t have an exact number.  Mr. Iraci, do you have demolition numbers on the building itself? 


Administrative Assistant, Sam Iraci – We haven’t formally bid it out but we had a professional demolition company walk through there so we have a fairly comfortable idea because there’s salvage material in there too that will help with this cost.  We haven’t formally bid it out but we had a professional demolition contractor walk through the building and that’s how we arrived at this price. 


Council President Zeisz – That’s how we came to this number, adding that with design with asbestos abatement. 


Richard Slisz – To what number?


Council President Zeisz – To get to the $300,000. 


Richard Slisz - $300,000?  That’s not including demolition. 


Administrative Assistant Sam Iraci – Yes.


Richard Slisz - $300,000 to do environmental work and demolition?


Administrative Assistant Sam Iraci - It’s about $4.00 or $5.00 a square foot.


Richard Slisz – I want to ask one question, because after I moved here, we found that the contractor who too down the buildings throughout the whole compound, threw everything into the basement.  Bricks, machinery, the old water treatment plant that they had over here, not the water treatment but the paper plant, all the (inaudible) were in the basement.  Are they going to do the same thing here and bury it?  Like they did twenty years ago.    


Council President Zeisz – That’s not where I want this to go, no.  When they leave, I want the building gone with them. 


Richard Slisz - You want everything out of the basement. 


Council President Zeisz – Well, actually, most of the basement is equipment. 


Mayor Pilozzi - There’s a pipe gallery down there and there’s plenty of cement.


Richard Slisz - And there’s turbines down there too.  What else is down there?   


Mayor Pilozzi – That’s about it.


Brandy Kinmartin - …rats… 


Richard Slisz - …besides rats and the investors will be taking out and not buried like in other parts like they did once before? 


Council President Zeisz – No, that won’t happen. 


Mayor Pilozzi – Not on our watch.


Council President Zeisz – For anyone that didn’t get a Capital Plan, we’d be more than happy to make sure you do get one but it clearly spells out the plan for the next five years and where we’d like to see things go.  Like I said, beyond 2009, it is still a plan, I mean there might be things that have to change for different reasons.   


Kelly (inaudible), 669 Fletcher Street – I was just wondering if like all this steel and stuff that he said is in the basement, like if that’s going to be recycled or anything. 


Council President Zeisz - That will all be part of the bid process and when the person puts their bid out, they’re going to lower their bid based on how much steel they’re going to take away, the salvage value of it. 


Public Hearing Closed




A letter from Time Warner Cable dated April 27, 2009, keeping the City apprised of developments affecting Time Warner Cable subscribers in the City.


A letter from the Office of the State Comptroller dated April 22, 2009, stating that the City of Tonawanda has met the statutory requirement for this fiscal year and have notified the Director of the Budget accordingly.


A letter from the Director of the Empire Zone, dated April 21, 2009, expressing their support of the “Restore New York – Round 3” application.


A letter from the NYSDEC dated April 20, 2009, regarding a Common Tern cooperative agreement between the City of Tonawanda and the NYSDEC.


A letter to business owners in the City of Tonawanda downtown area, dated May 4, 2009, announcing a program offered by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning which will provide a dollar for dollar match up to $10,000 to businesses located downtown for exterior improvements to their commercial property or properties.


A letter from the New York State Canal Corporation dated April 28, 2009, listing the hours of operation for Canal Corporation locks and lift bridges for the 2009 season.


A letter to Restore NY dated April 30, 2009, regarding the Restore NY Communities Initiative – Round 3 Grant Application for Spaulding Fibre

            Ordered filed





The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            March Activity Report of the Fire Department

April minutes of the Traffic and Safety Board

            April minutes of the Board of Appeals

            April monthly report of the City Clerk

April Executive Minutes of the City Clerk

            April minutes of the Civil Service Commission

            General Fund and Sewer Fund Budget Revenues and Expenditures for the

                   City of Tonawanda as of 4/30/09

                        Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                            Ordered filed


William C. Hylton (7/7/08), Erie T. McGinnis (9/3/08), Michael A. Messana (9/3/08), Ryan A. Rank (9/3/08) and Matthew R. Shepler (9/3/08) were added to the Fire Rolls at National Hose Co. #1.  Mohammed F. Numan (12/1/08) was added to the Fire Rolls at Delaware Hose Co. #2 and John Carney was elected as an honorary member of the Niagara Hose Co. #3 on 4/6/09.


A Notice of Public Hearing for the Board of Appeals being held on May 18, 2009, to erect a six foot high stockade fence in the side yard of 442 Adam Street.


A letter from Bud Hulpiau, dated May 5, 2009, regarding laws governing the number of dogs per residence.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                        Ordered filed  




Council President Zeisz – Resolution #1 which is a bond authorization for $105,000 has been eliminated from the agenda.  That was going to be our share of that $300,000 and what we have done is, we looked at some expenses that we already have in the City and we decided to move $105,000 from other lines to pay for our share of this directly from the general fund as opposed to taking a bond out for it.  We just felt it was a more prudent approach to save whatever we could save on the interest cost and the administrative cost of a bond, so that’s been eliminated. 








98.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Whereas, currently the City’s liability insurance coverage is through NYMIR and

            Whereas, our insurance consultant Brian Baty has reviewed our current coverage and has determined that Houston Casualty will provide appropriate coverage for the benefit of the City with a significant cost savings, now therefore be it

            Resolved, that Houston Casualty shall be named as the liability carrier for the City of Tonawanda, effective May 3, 2009, and be it further

            Resolved, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi is hereby authorized and directed to execute any and all documents necessary to effectuate this change.


Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted


99.       By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi is authorized to execute a Lease Agreement between the City of Tonawanda and James R. Chilton d/b/a/Waterbikes Adventures, LLC for the purposes of display and rental of hydro-bikes and electric crafts along the Canal and Ellicott Creek.


Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted


100.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

                        Resolved, that Barbara F. Kloch, 213 Main Street, Robert W. Hill, 59 Linwood Avenue and Elizabeth Brady, 81 Elmwood Park W., be appointed Commissioner of Deeds for the City of Tonawanda, term to expire December 31, 2010.


Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted


101.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

                        Whereas, a $25.00 Special Events application fee and application were received by the City Clerk for the “Ride for Missing Children” and

                        Whereas, the application was reviewed and commented on by all appropriate department heads to insure the safety and well being of our residents, now, therefore be it

                        Resolved, that permission be granted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to hold the “Ride for Missing Children” on Friday, May 8, 2009, from 9:00 A.M. until the finish of the race and be it further

                        Resolved, that a Certificate of Insurance naming the City as additional insured be given to the City Clerk no later than May 6, 2009.


Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted


102.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the Mayor be authorized and directed to sign a contract agreement with Pyrotechnico for the 2009 and 2010 July 4th T-NT Fireworks Display for the amount of $19,000.  Half of the funds will be provided by the City of North Tonawanda.


Councilmember Kossow – Is the display going to be at the same location as last year?


Council President Zeisz – Yes.


Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted

103.     By the Council                                                  seconded by the Council

            WHEREAS, the City has initiated plans to undertake a construction project on Johnson Street including milling, asphalt overlay, and sidewalk replacement; and

            WHEREAS, the Erie County Water Authority intends to replace the existing water main presently located on Johnson Street during the construction project by the City; and

            WHEREAS, the City and the Erie County Water Authority desire to enter into a cooperative agreement to coordinate and facilitate the construction project and the water main project on Johnson Street in order to achieve cost containment and efficiency;

            NOW, THEREFORE

            BE IT RESOLVED that Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi is hereby authorized and directed to execute the proposed Cooperative Agreement between the City and the Erie County Water Authority regarding the Johnson Street construction project, a copy of which is on file with the City Clerk.


Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted




Robert Derner, 286 Niagara Shore Drive – I’d like to ask the Mayor what kind of progress we’re having on getting those three City contracts on the City website.


Mayor Pilozzi – We’re not, as I mentioned last time. 


Robert Derner – On March 3rd you said you’d give me a copy and on March 17th at the Council meeting, you said it will be done, and now you’re saying it won’t be done? 


Mayor Pilozzi – Did you get my letter? 


Robert Derner - No.


Mayor Pilozzi - You didn’t get my letter.


Robert Derner – Oh, I got a letter from you a while back, but not recently.  I just don’t understand what the reason is you won’t put it on the website. 


Mayor Pilozzi – It’s very simple.  It’s very long and if we put all contracts on, where does that all end? 


Robert Derner – Well it ends with the people that pay the bills.


Mayor Pilozzi – Mr. Derner, if you want that contract, I’ll pay for it and you can come and get it in the Clerk’s Office, all right?


Robert Derner – Okay. 


Mayor Pilozzi – Good.  What’s your next question? 


Robert Derner - The next question is, I want to thank the Council for having that fence blocked off at the water treatment plant. 


Mayor Pilozzi – They didn’t do that.  I did it today.


Robert Derner – What I want to know is that’s a good sign, it’s a band-aid to fix a problem, but at some point that snow fence is not going to be a permanent solution to it.  What I want to know is, what are the plans to demolish that building and how long is that situation going to exist over there?




Mayor Pilozzi – If we could knock it down yesterday, that would have been done.  As we’ve already mentioned tonight, we have plans in place to spend City money, taxpayer money to do the necessary pre-work to making sure that we can get that thing knocked down.  Now hopefully, that’s going to happen this year.  I can’t guarantee that. 


Robert Derner – Is that snow fence going to remain in place for a year or two? 


Mayor Pilozzi - As long as we need to keep it up to keep the kids out the best we can.  What’s the alternative?  The alternative is to knock that thing down as quick as we can.  Why would we want to keep that fence up there a year or two?  


Robert Derner – Well I know, but it’s only a temporary snow fence.  It looks like hell.  I sold people houses over there based on a contract that Niawanda had with the City and the City said that they would do everything possible to enhance the appearance of the Water Department and what the City did was abandon the Water Department, let it deteriorate and lower the value of the homes there and increase the taxes and assessments on these houses.  So I’m a little bit concerned that when I talk to people that I’ve sold houses to, it doesn’t make a good impression that I told them the truth and I only went by what the City agreed to do and now you’re telling me you don’t know when you’re going to take that building down and I’m just asking what plans you’ve made or whether you put fencing up that goes for a long time, what permanent solution are you going to have if it takes a long time to correct it.


Mayor Pilozzi - I don’t know.  My job right now is to get that thing down and that’s what I consider my job plus making sure we do the best we can on a temporary basis to make that a safe area so kids do not get into that place. 


Robert Derner - It should have been done before this.


Richard Slisz – The snow fence is a farce.  Do you know that one kid gets through that fence and falls down the 12’ hole which is 30’ long, which a swimming pool, he won’t get out of there.  There’s no way he can get out, there’s no ladders, no way to get out.  Now if we’re looking at a lawsuit, right now you mandate a person who has a pool with water, without water, have a 4’ to 5’ fence.  Would you allow him to put a snow fence around his pool?  The answer should be no.  I think we need a more permanent solution because it’s going to be six months maybe a year, you need to put up a wire fence around that pool, not at the bottom of the hill where they can sneak through and go to the top and fall in and hurt themselves.  We’re looking for another lawsuit and it protects me as a taxpayer, protects you as a Councilman, we don’t need another lawsuit.  We need something more permanent that we have. A snow fence is not the answer.  I will have Channel 4 here in a couple days looking at that fence and they’ll give you their answer to what it means. 


Brandy Kinmartin, 127 Grove Street – We have an 8’ fence around our pool, we have an in-ground pool, and the kids still get up over it and into it.   


Richard Slisz - At least you’re abiding by the law.


Brandy Kinmartin - Give them a chance to tear the damn thing down. 


Richard Slisz - They’ve had six years to tear it down.


Brandy Kinmartin – And they’ve tried to do other things with it. 


Richard Slisz – Well they didn’t.




Councilmember Perkins – I have nothing further, thank you.


Councilmember Waterhouse – Thank you, nothing at this time.


Councilmember Davis – Recently, there was an announcement from Senator Schumer that a $1,000,000 from the federal stimulus money was going to go toward additional testing over at the landfill so now that that money has been freed up, it would be nice to see if the Army Corps comes out with their plan of attack as far as the next round of testing that will occur there at the landfill.  So hopefully it will be here shortly.  Lastly, myself and the Mayor attended the Tonawanda American Little League 50th Anniversary festivities on Saturday.  I was a member of the T.A.L.L. for 13 years and that organization was run by class people back then and it’s still run by class people now.  So, my hats off to them for the 50 years they’ve been providing baseball games and things for our youth to do here in the City and the follow day I participated in the alumni game which I’m a little bit more rusty than I thought I was, but all in all, had a great time and I’d like to thank Don Carney and everybody else over there for what they do for our youth. 


Councilman Kossow – I have nothing this evening, thank you.


Mayor Pilozzi – I just want to assure everybody that what we’re trying to do with that Water Plant is, in fact, to get rid of it as quickly as we can.  If we need to do something else with the fence, to authorize something on a temporary basis to surround it, I guess, the Council and I have to get together on that one but our job as I see it is to get that thing down as quickly as possible and do some temporary fixes to make sure kids don’t get in there easily.  That’s number one.  Number two, I, as Councilman Davis mentioned, spent most of my Saturday at the Little League diamond, it was just a great event.  We got to honor some folks, Doc Warthling, Al Knab, guys that were very instrumental in making little league happen in the City of Tonawanda.  Come to find out, there are 383 kids that are not going to be sitting in front of the computer every night. There are 383 kids that are going to get involved with team sports.  There are 383 kids that are going to learn some team spirit and hopefully bring that through their life because nobody can go through life as an individual.  You have to form teams and get the job done, so it was just a great event.  Sunday I sponsored a home run derby, the kids had a lot of fun with that.  I got up and there was a pitching machine there and I took the first pitch and I thought I sneezed because the ball went right by me.  I did get one or two out of the infield.  I was kind of lucky I guess.  Last thing, again, as Councilman Davis mentioned, there’s  $1,000,000 in funding from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act, what we commonly known as the stimulus package, that’s going to take a look at what the Corps of Engineers call “No Action Required” and do a little bit more investigation before we accept that.  Many people that live along that Hackett Drive area and Wadsworth area are living right next to a landfill that has nuclear waste in it.  So that $1,000,000 hopefully will go a long ways to reassuring people that there is no migration and I think (inaudible) as does Councilman Davis, and the rest of the people on the Council, to making sure that we protect the safety, health, and welfare of our residents. 


Robert Derner – There’s something I forgot, if I could, please.  Over at the Water Department, there is approximately 50 bags, plastic bags with some materials in them.  I don’t know if it’s chlorine or if it’s some other material, but I think you should take a look at it to see that it’s not anything that could be a danger to the people living there or if it’s chlorine and a fire started, it could wipe everybody out. 


Mayor Pilozzi – Those bags, to my knowledge Mr. Derner, have, I can’t remember the exact name of it, but it’s basically little pieces of coal they use for filtration.  We did look at that.


Council President Zeisz – Thank you for coming this evening.  Everyone drive home safely and God bless.




104.     By Councilmember Davis                            seconded by Councilmember Waterhouse

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until May 19, 2009.  


Ayes: Perkins, Waterhouse, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted



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