Council Chambers

Tonawanda, New York

November 10, 2009


A Regular Meeting of the Common Council


Present:  Council President Zeisz

Present Councilmembers:  Perkins, Kossow, Davis

Excused:  Councilmember Waterhouse


Pledge of Allegiance led by Council President Zeisz


Prayer led by Council President Zeisz



Presented by Mayor Pilozzi


Bid Opening:  Catch Basin/Sewer Jet Cleaner

                        October 28, 2009

                        9:15 A.M.


    Foster Equipment

    1 Keuka Business Park

    Suite 103

    Penn Yan, NY   14527                                                     Total Bid Price: $174,985.00

                        Bid Bond and Non-Collusive Bidding Certificate accompanied bid.


    Joe Johnson Equipment

    62 LaGrange Avenue

    Rochester, NY   146`3                                                      Total Bid Price:  $211,602.50

                        Bid Bond and Non-Collusive Bidding Certificate accompanied bid.


    Tracy Read Equipment

    6803 Manlius Center Road

     East Syracuse, NY   13057                                      Total Bid Price:  $185,666.00

                        No Bid Bond accompanied bid

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                        Ordered filed




Proclamation proclaiming November 1, 2009, Tonawanda Church of Christ Day in the City of Tonawanda.


A memo from the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning dated November 4, 2009, regarding the 2010 Community Project Applications.


A letter from the New York State DEC, dated October 19, 2009, regarding 310 Wheeler Street, Tonawanda, New York.


A letter from Time Warner Cable, dated October 30, 2009, telling the Mayor that there are no changes planned at this time that will affect subscribers.


A memo from the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, dated October 15, 2009, regarding their Quarterly Report from 4/1/09 – 9/30/09.


The Tonawanda New York Community Air Quality Study and Evaluation of the Tonawanda Coke Facility, dated November 2009, from the Environmental Protection Agency.


A thank you to Chief Young and Chief Stuart, and their respective departments, dated November 9, 2009, for their involvement in the 2009 Vigilant Guard Urban Search and Rescue Exercise.

            Ordered filed




The following monthly reports were received by the City Clerk:

            April minutes of the Planning & Zoning Board

            May minutes of the Planning & Zoning Board

            June minutes of the Planning & Zoning Board

            July minutes of the Planning & Zoning Board

            August minutes of the Planning & Zoning Board

            September monthly report of the Fire Department

October minutes of the Board of Appeals

            October monthly report of the Building Inspector

October monthly report of the City Clerk

October minutes of the Civil Service Commission

            October minutes of the Traffic & Safety Board

                        Referred to the Committee of the Whole

                            Ordered filed


A Fact Sheet from the ECIDA, dated October 2009, regarding the cleanup activities continuing at the Spaulding Composites Site.


A letter from “The Ride for Roswell”, dated October 14, 2009, thanking the City for the support they have shown “The Ride for Roswell” event.


A letter from Nancy Pohzehl, dated November 9, 2009, asking to be reappointed to the position of Bingo Inspector.

            Referred to the Committee of the Whole

              Ordered filed




Robert Derner, 286 Niagara Shore Drive – I’d just like to know if you could explain why the bid to Joe Johnson, the high bid, is being accepted over the other ones.  I’m sure there must be a reason and I’d like to hear it.   


Council President Zeisz – We actually just had the Superintendent of Public Works in our work session before the meeting and he was also here with the City mechanic to discuss that very situation.  The one bid did not come with a Bid Bond and didn’t satisfy the specs of the request, so that was eliminated, and the determination was made to go with the equipment from Joe Johnson for a couple of reasons.  One, it is a piece of equipment that is the same as our unit that we already have here in the City and from a performance standpoint, the decision was made that this was a better piece of equipment.  I guess there were issues brought up relative to the performance of the other products.  Where is the City Attorney?  Sam, send the City Attorney up.  Did you want to make any comment on, the question is, why we decided to go with the higher bidder? 


City Attorney Ron Trabucco – According to our Superintendent of the Department of Public Works one of the bidders didn’t post the required bond. 


Council President Zeisz – I brought that up.


City Attorney, Ron Trabucco -The other bidder, who was lower actually I guess by about $43,000, the reason we didn’t accept that bid, due to the fact that there is some history with similar trucks where they’ve had some difficulties, but more importantly, the bid had approximately twenty-two items that were not in compliance with the actual specs, so that actually, he didn’t bid the truck that we asked for.  It’s as simple as that.


Council President Zeisz - Hopefully that answers your question. 




209.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the 2009 General Fund Budget be amended to account for Police Department Salary expenditures.


Revenue 001-0001-3398                   NYS Stop DWI                    add $11,500

Expenditure 001-3120-0476                Police Dept. Training               subtract $9,000

Expenditure 001-3125-0476                Police DWI Training               subtract $5,000

Expenditure 001-3120-0100                Police Dept. Salaries               add $25,500


Net Budget Effect:  -0-


Ayes: Perkins, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted


210.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, that the 2009 General Fund Budget be amended to account for NYS Legislative Member Item Grant #TM07867 for Fire Department Capital Improvements.


Revenue 001-0001-3410            NYS Fire Dept. Equip. Grant                 add $8,500

Expenditure 001-3410-0203    NYS Fire Dept. Equip. Grant                 add $8,500


Net Budget Effect:  -0-


Ayes: Perkins, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted


211.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            WHEREAS, mutual aid assistance and understanding are often utilized among various levels of government to provide assistance and coordinated responses to emergency incidents in an efficient and cost effective manner; and,

WHEREAS, formal memoranda of understandings are used to formalize mutual aid, terms and conditions and operating procedures among these levels of government; and,

WHEREAS, it is in the interest of the City of Tonawanda and its citizens to formally enter such a Local Emergency Management Mutual Aid Assistance Memorandum of Understanding with the Erie County Office of Disaster Preparedness, the Erie County Disaster Coordinators Association and the Erie County Disaster Preparedness Board; and,

WHEREAS, for the City of Tonawanda to elect to participate in the Local Emergency Management Mutual Aid Assistance Program and Memorandum of Understanding on file in the office of the City Clerk, it is necessary for the City to formally adopt a resolution authorizing and stating the City’s Disaster Coordinator, Emergency Services Coordinator, Emergency Manager and Office Staff elects to participate in this program and MOU consistent with the provisions of the agreement which are on file in the Office of the City Clerk, now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, the City of Tonawanda Common Council hereby authorizes the Mayor to execute the above referenced Mutual Aid Memorandum of Agreement, which is on file in the Office of the City Clerk.


Ayes: Perkins, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted



212.     By the Council                                                              seconded by the Council

            Resolved, at the recommendation of the Superintendent of Public Works, Neal Myers, the bid for a Catch Basin/Sewer Jet Cleaner shall be awarded to Joe Johnson Equipment at a bid price of $211,602.50.


Ayes: Perkins, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted


213.     By Council President Zeisz                                     seconded by Councilmember Perkins

            Resolved, that in recognition and compliance with the “New York State Open meetings law”, 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 Article 7 vs. the City of Tonawanda.


Ayes: Perkins, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted




Robert Derner, 286 Niagara Shore Drive – This morning I read in the paper, the Village of Williamsville, the Mayor of the Village of Williamsville wants to hold a forum to discuss the dissolution of the Village and I was wondering if there’s any opposition to doing the same thing in the City of Tonawanda and could this be beneficial to the taxpayers. 


Council President Zeisz - To tell you the truth, I can’t answer the question whether or not there’s any opposition because it’s never really been discussed by any of us. 


Robert Derner - Would you be, would anybody be opposed to it if it could show the pros and cons of the benefits to the City taxpayers. 


Council President Zeisz – I’m not opposed to looking at anything.  The problem is, is we don’t have any tangible evidence to even go by to say that this would be good for the taxpayers or not.   


Robert Derner – That’s what a forum would show. 


Council President Zeisz – Well, how would it show that? 


Robert Derner – If people could have a voice and the people that are for it or against it could come to a place like this and voice their opinions and everybody could, you could get a pulse from the public and you could see just whether this could be feasible to be put up for a vote or not. 


Council President Zeisz – Well I understand that but it wouldn’t give us any factual information, it’s all speculative…


Robert Derner – …well one thing leads to another and after that, we could maybe look at doing a hiring a study to see if it would be.  What if it would show, like it did in the Village of Limestone, that your taxes, in their case, it went down 47%.  What if it showed in the City of Tonawanda your taxes could be dropped, say 20%.  It would be worthwhile looking at wouldn’t it?  


Councilmember Perkins – Mr. Derner, the only probably big difference would be is usually a Village is located within a Township and I’m going to guess that like Limestone was in a Town and the Village of Williamsville is within the Town of Amherst, so they’re looking at dissolving themselves back into the Town of Amherst.  We have no takers.  We have to find a taker.  If you’re doing what you’re proposing, you’ve got to find a community.  They’re already part of a Town.  We’re not part of anything else. 


Robert Derner - I noticed in Limestone, the Town that they were in had no say in whether they dissolved but what I’m saying is, the last time I looked, we’re surrounded by the Town of Tonawanda and they are bigger, they have a larger population, they’re bigger in area and we’re just a tiny little principality surrounded by the Town.


Councilmember Perkins - But they’re actually a part, I think Williamsville is actually a part of the Town of Amherst and we’re not part of anything else. 


Robert Derner – What would be the harm in trying to find out if it can be done? 


Councilmember Perkins - I’m not saying that there’s any harm in it, I’m just saying it’s a little easier for them because they’re already a part of something else and we’re not.


Robert Derner – I know but this would be a lot easier to look at this to see if it could be done rather than saying, “well our expenses are too high, we’re gonna layoff a whole mess of people and the City’s gonna cut their expenses that way instead of raising taxes all the time”.  Wouldn’t it be worthwhile just to look at it and see if maybe something like this could work?  If it doesn’t, so what.  You haven’t lost anything, that’s all I’m saying. 


Council President Zeisz – Well, just a comment to what Mr. Derner brought up.  As long as I’ve sat here, I’m always willing to listen to anything that’s brought up, but I do have to say this because I feel totally remiss if I didn’t.  Yes, Mr. Derner, you are older than me and you’ve lived here your whole life.  This is my home and as long as I have anything to say about it, it will stay the City of Tonawanda, and I think that you’d find that the majority of people that wear the “T” on their chest want it to stay the City of Tonawanda.  I don’t want to be another community’s “stepchild” that gets leftovers, gets ignored.  You know when you talk about consolidating the village, the village doesn’t have a paid fire department; they don’t have a paid police department.  It’s easier for them to be incorporated into the bigger town that they’re a part of.  For an example, Kenmore is a part of the Town of Tonawanda.  It would be a lot easier for them to just be taken up by the Town than for our City.  Now if it would come to pass that that was what the residents of the City would want, then that would be their choice.  I didn’t agree with the Charter change but it didn’t really matter what I thought because I only had one vote just like everyone else in the City and like I said, I’m willing to look at anything but just so that you know where I’m coming from, I’m just laying it out there, I don’t agree. 


Robert Derner – That’s fine.  The only thing is that whether you dissolve the City or not, the only thing you’re changing is four letters, “c-i-t-y”.  It doesn’t make any difference if the City is dissolved, Niagara Street is gonna be there, Elmwood Park is gonna be there, Riverview is gonna be there, Gastown is gonna be there, nothing is gonna change except the word “City”.  Tonawanda will probably stay but as far as being beholding to the word “City” to me doesn’t make any difference as long as the area is still here.  We’re not blowing it up and going someplace…


Council President Zeisz - …and I’m not disagreeing with that point about the City.  My issue is, I’m concerned about a bigger entity controlling our destiny.  That’s what I’m concerned about. 


Robert Derner – We would be part of that bigger entity.  That’s just my view, okay.  I understand. 




Councilmember Davis – I’d just like to thank Mr. Stryker for his thirty plus years of service to the City of Tonawanda.  I’d also like to congratulate Bill Poole and Chuck Gilbert for winning their elections.  I noticed Steve Sommers is sitting in the audience and I’d like to applaud them for not only the campaign they ran but for actually coming out to run.  I think running for politics, you know, it takes time away from, and in Mr. Sommer’s case, from his personal business and his family.  You know, sitting up here isn’t an easy job, the decisions we make aren’t easy and I know none of us who sit up here do it for the money so again, I’d like to applaud Mr. Sommers for running.  Vigilant Guard, unless Ron tells me otherwise, I haven’t received any complaints from any residents, seemed to be a good event accept for, I think it was the City of Yonkers emergency vehicle getting bogged down in mud and holding up traffic. Other than that, it was nice to see something other than Canal Fest shed some light on our community in a very positive way.  EPA’s release, their results as far as Tonawanda Coke facility goes, and they’ve given them until March of 2010 to get a hold of a new state-of-the-art laser optic machine that’s gonna measure the benzene and the ammonia that they’re emitting from their smoke stacks and also give them time to erect the platforms that are gonna hold that machine in place so it can be hoisted above the larger smoke stacks.  I’d like to applaud the EPA for their efforts, the Clean Air Coalition as well and hopefully some time in the Spring, we’ll hear some results from that.  I’d like to send my thoughts and prayers out to Richard Slisz and his family and the family of the three other teenagers that were killed two nights before election night.  Carl already talked about Veteran’s Day.  I thought he said it quite well.  The only thing I would add is that you add the families of the victims at Ft. Hood to your thoughts and prayers tomorrow.  And lastly, I’d like to ask Council President who his favorite baseball team was? 


Council President Zeisz - The Red Sox and the Yankees still stink. 


Councilmember Davis - And the Mayor?


Mayor Pilozzi - The Dodgers for me. 


Councilmember Davis - And Jim? 


Councilmember Kossow - The Mets.


Councilmember Davis – I’d like to congratulate my 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankees.      


Councilmember Perkins – Councilmember Davis?  Did you forget someone? 


Councilmember Davis – You’re a baseball fan? 


Councilmember Perkins – Oh, absolutely.


Councilmember Davis - What’s your favorite team?


Councilmember Perkins – The New York Yankees. 


Councilmember Davis – Outstanding.  I believe somewhere in the long Davis family tree that the Davis and Steinbrunner families crossed paths at some point or another so I’m like one-tenth of like a trillion percent owner of the Yankees, so I like to take pride in my team and I’m sorry for the losers. 


Councilmember Kossow – Well somebody’s got to be a Met fan. I’d also like to congratulate everyone that won on Election Day, the Mayor, Bill Poole and all the other Council races. It was a good turnout and we’re going to have all new faces.  Well, we don’t know about the second ward yet so we’ll have to wait another week for the results of that one.  I’d also like to send out my condolences to the Slisz family and Richard in losing his granddaughter and all those families.  It seems that more and more we see all these tragedies where these young kids get killed in these accidents.  It’s so sad.  You just never know when your kid goes out, you just keep your fingers crossed that they get home okay.  So again, my thoughts and prayers go out to Richard and his family.  That’s all I have.  Thank you Mr. President.   


Councilmember Perkins – I would also like to send my condolences to the Slisz family on their loss.  It is very, very sad.  I would like to thank Mr. Stryker for his several years of contributions to the City of Tonawanda.  It’s people like him that make this community such a great place to live in.  If you have to opportunity, thank a Veteran tomorrow.  And Mr. Derner, I’ve had the opportunity, unlike maybe you and Council President Zeisz, to live in other communities such as Buffalo and Williamsville and I’m telling you, if you go to the grocery store with you curlers in, someone’s gonna know you in the City of Tonawanda.  You can’t go to the grocery store with your curlers. That’s one reason why I like to live here, everybody knows you, everybody knows about you.  It’s surprising how many people know everybody on their street, pay attention to what’s going on on their street, you’re not anonymous and even when you think you’re being anonymous, you’re not.  So, welcome to the City of Tonawanda.  Thank you Mr. President.   


 Mayor Pilozzi – Last week we saw a training exercise held in our City that was really an exercise that covered the whole world.  We had representatives from Britain, Denmark, South Africa, Poland, Mexico, Canada, and Italy here as observers.  Actually, there were eight hundred observers in all and three thousand people got trained in urban search and rescue.  It put Tonawanda on the map for a week.  The whole event went off without a hitch, and my many thanks go out to our first responders, especially our police and fire departments, for an excellent job they did.  There were three minor accidents during this whole event and one of them was a sprained ankle, I think a cut arm, can’t remember the third, but if you saw what these folks did and the training they went through, you will share the same thought I had and that is very simply, down the road somebody’s life is going to be saved by the training they received right here in Tonawanda.  So it was a great event, it went off without a hitch, and they’re gone now, now it’s clean up time and I’d like to thank everybody for their efforts and also the residents in that area for being patient.  Councilman Davis mentioned the EPA and their requirement for March 2010, a benzene and ammonia study.  That study has as it’s core a new piece of equipment that apparently has to come all the way from Europe.  I believe it’s down in Texas right now.  There’s only one in the whole world I believe.  At any rate, that’s good news, I believe wholeheartedly that the EPA and the New York State DEC has done a fine job working with the Citizens Committee and for that effort, they should be thanked.  Unfortunately, I also received late today word that the Seaway Landfill record of decision is not so good.  Apparently, the federal government, basically the Corps of Engineers, said they’re going to remove 13,646 yards of contaminated nuclear material and leave behind 62,767 yards.  So for $30,000,000 they’re sending out a bone.  We’re still fighting WWII here and the reason for that contamination being there is the Manhattan Project.  We all know what that was for.  It was for the first atom bomb but we’re still fighting that war and it’s in our backyard.  So if you have the inclination to do it, please write your Congressman, your Senator, and make sure that they’re aware of the fact that you’re not happy with that record of decision and if you think about it, the stimulus money is going to be gone another year from now and nobody’s going to have the money to do this so it’s very concerning to me and hopefully to you.  Condolences, obviously to the Slisz family.  That was a terrible, terrible tragedy along with the three other young ladies that got killed.  It just goes to show you, you just never know.  I have four kids and I think about them everyday, driving habits, mistakes, maybe not them, maybe somebody else, you just never know and in this case, it hit home and the Slisz family, unfortunately, were the ones to bear it, the pain of that accident.  And lastly, as we all know, tomorrow is Veterans Day, there’re many, many stories that could be told about Veterans past and present.  I think the young men and women that serve today are going way above and beyond.  I know when I served in Viet Nam it was a one year hitch.  These young people are going back three and four times and it’s just amazing to me the sacrifices being expended for our freedom and I think Council President Zeisz put it very well. I believe that’s all I have, thank you very much. 


Council President Zeisz – Something that didn’t take place in the City but it was very nice.  On Saturday, Senator Thompson started up a Veteran’s Day Parade in the City of Buffalo for the first time in over forty years and it was very nice.  There was a lot of groups there from different branches of the service, and they had groups of kids, all the way down to the one military charter school and it was very nice and hopefully, next year more people will take part in that parade.  It was special for me too because my father-in-law was a Grand Marshall for the Second World War group of people, so it was very nice from that standpoint.  For the people that normally come to Council meetings you can probably understand sometimes why I don’t say a lot at the end of the meeting because everyone’s already said a lot of what I would end up saying, so just to be brief, my condolences to Dick and his entire family for their loss, and also all the families of the victims at Ft. Hood.  Tom Stryker, I would say over the years, we’ve had a couple go-a-rounds from my standpoint, from his standpoint as a member of the Civil Service, but as far as a gentleman and a friend and just a great guy, that’s Tom, and the nice thing about Tom is that we were able to share our opinions with one another, maybe not agree, but we’ve always had a good relationship and a lot of times you don’t get that from people that you don’t always agree with, and it was well deserved to recognize someone who’s put in so much of his life into the community.  I think that’s about it.  I thank everyone for taking the time to come tonight, have a great night, drive home safely, and God Bless you. 



214.     By Councilmember Perkins                         seconded by Councilmember Kossow

            Resolved, that this Common Council adjourn until, November 17, 2009.  


Ayes: Perkins, Kossow, Davis, Zeisz

Nays: None

Resolution declared adopted






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