Common Council Items of Interest

For those of you who can’t make it to the weekly Common Council meeting,
following is the briefing. From this week’s meeting as provided by the
council:

The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen requesting of the City of Buffalo’s Departments of Law, Police, and Permits & Inspections work collaboratively with the Common Council to create a Reference, in a “Frequently Asked Questions” (“FAQ”) format, which the public, Council Members, and potentially all elected and appointed officials, could consult concerning appointments to City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces. Elected and appointed officials, citizens, and candidates interested in serving on City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces frequently question what qualifications, if any, are required for appointment to such positions. Although some City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces do have clear and well-established qualification requirements and appointment procedures codified in Federal or State law, the City Charter & Code, or as part of a previously adopted or approved Common Council Resolution, the existence of such guidance is frequently not generally known nor easily obtained for those that are untrained. In some instances, the elected or appointed officials charged with appointing individuals are under significant pressure to make appointments in a timely manner, however there may be little if any guidance relating to the potential candidate’s qualifications. The Council maintains that the FAQ Reference for appointment to City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces would ensure that prospective appointees are qualified, prepared, and willing to take on the responsibilities associated with serving on the respective bodies.
 
The Council approved a resolution sponsored by South District Council Member Michael P. Kearns requesting of the City of Buffalo Planning Board, that they work closely with the Department of Management Information Systems (“MIS”) to identify properties that have received a landmark, landmark site or historic district designation, and to catalog them in a centralized location on the City’s website. The Council is also requesting of the City of Buffalo Department of Assessment and Taxation that they also work closely with the City Preservation Board and MIS to have any landmark, landmark site or historic district designation included with all publically available assessment information. A property with a landmark, landmark site or historical designation carries with it a degree of owner responsibility to ensure that any alterations to the property are appropriate to the historical, aesthetical, architectural, archaeological, educational, economical, or cultural heritage of the City of Buffalo, New York State, or the United States of America. However, when these properties are transferred, new owners are may be unaware of their property’s unique designations and may be at risk of performing property alterations that could have a detrimental effect on City efforts to retain and preserve historically significant properties. Currently, a listing of the properties that have received landmark, landmark site or historic district designation is not easily accessible by the public, nor is such information stored on one central location on the City of Buffalo website, nor included with a property’s assessment information. The Council maintains that it is essential to inform new property owners of their properties historic designation in order to preserve properties that are of major significance to the history and culture of the City of Buffalo.
 
ALLOWING CITY RESIDENTS TO DONATE TO ARTS AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS–The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by North District Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr. requesting of the City of Buffalo Arts Commission and the Departments of Assessment and Taxation, Audit and Control, Administration, Finance, Policy & Urban Affairs, and Management Information Systems (“MIS”) that they report back to the Common Council on the advisability and feasibility of accepting donations for art and cultural organizations from bill-payers when paying City billing. Due to the nation’s economic downturn, many arts and cultural organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain their operations prompting a growing need for organizations to explore alternative forms of fundraising. The City of Buffalo is fortunate to have a vibrant arts and cultural community that adds to the quality of life in the area, makes communities more livable, and contributes to the economic health and well-being of neighborhoods. The Council maintains that art and cultural organizations must be viewed as regional assets who are required to have comprehensive plans for long range funding. The Council maintains that by designating a section on City bills where individuals can include a donation for arts and cultural organizations, citizens will be given an ability to determine the value that they place on supporting thriving art and cultural organizations within their community. This initiative will also provide a venue for assisting art and cultural organizations in sustaining their operations in this dire economy. Currently, the City’s billing and payment process would facilitate implementing this new initiative with little, if any, costs to the City.
 
The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen developing and enacting a general policy for Common Council appointments to Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces. Citizen participation in the planning and operations of city-government is critical to ensuring that elected and appointed officials identify and pursue policies which best reflect the needs and visions of the residents and businesses of the City. In order for the City of Buffalo to best utilize the resources which exist in its communities, it is imperative that the existence and mission of City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces be well publicized. One strategy that can be achieved at a minimal cost to the City would be consistent utilization of the current available City resources to convey information about these bodies. The Council maintains that a general policy that sets a standard for the conveyance of information concerning City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces will allow the community to be aware of their roles and opportunities residents have to serve on said bodies; greatly increasing the number, diversity, and quality of interested applicants. The enacted policy should include ways to communicate the stated purpose or mission of City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces, as well as their upcoming meeting dates, times and locations, current membership rosters, the number of current openings, and the time commitment expected of appointees.
 
The Council adopted a resolution strongly opposing the decision of the Buffalo Board of Education (“BBOE”) to rescind the residency requirement for teachers of the Buffalo Public Schools (“BPS”) system and requesting that the BBOE immediately revisit and reverse their decision regarding this action which threatens to negatively impact the quality of education offered in schools as well as the economic vitality of the City of Buffalo and BPS system. For the last nine years, school teachers in the BPS system have been required by the BBOE to live in the City of Buffalo; however on March 23, 2011, the BBOE voted by a narrow 5-4 margin to rescind their teacher residency requirement. The BPS and the BBOE depend upon the City for substantial annual funding, and as the tax base dwindles due to residents moving to the suburbs and other areas, so does the funding which the City has available for education. When teachers employed by the BPS move out of the City and into the surrounding suburbs, the money that they formerly spent throughout the City, which is ultimately used to fund the BPS, BBOE and other City services, usually moves with them and is no longer available to the City. Similarly, a large percentage of the disposabl
e income formerly spent at City of Buffalo businesses will most likely be redirected to suburban businesses instead. The Council maintains that the decision of the BBOE to rescind the residency requirement for BPS teachers will exacerbate the economic problems of the City of Buffalo, the BBOE and the BPS, particularly in light of the fact that all three entities likely face further decreases in state and federal funding in future years. The Council is directing the City of Buffalo Department of Law to file an injunction against the BBOE as relates to the rescinding of the BPS teacher residency requirements.
 
The Council approved a resolution sponsored by Delaware District Council Member Michael J. LoCurto granting a waiver of any permit fees for the Sakura Walk which is slated to be held in Delaware Park on May 1, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.  This community wide event is intended to benefit the people of Japan who were hurt by a recent catastrophic tsunami event. The recent tragedy in Japan has left thousands of people homeless and without basic necessities, and has immeasurably changed their lives.  Sakura Sato, a Buffalo State College student, has worked diligently and tirelessly to organize this walk with other Japanese Nationals who hope to raise funds for the America Red Cross Japan Relief Fund.
 
The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Fillmore District Council Member David A. Franczyk giving permission to the Despensata Corporation to hang approximately 85 banners on light poles along Broadway, Fillmore Avenue, Peckham and Paderewski Streets, as well as the side streets surrounding the perimeter of the Broadway Market and Corpus Christi Church on Gibson, Lombard, Clark and Sears Streets. The banners will promote and celebrate the Easter shopping season and Dyngus Day activities in the neighborhood and will be hung on April 11, 2011.
 
The Council approved a Capital Budget Amendment that designated $450,000 to Infrastructure Improvements in the South Common Council District. The funds were initially designated for the Nevilly Court Field Turf Project and will now be used to repave and improve the infrastructure on Marilla Street, Zollars Avenue, Ashton Place, and South Park Ring Road.
 
SALE OF CITY OWNED PROPERTY–The Council approved the sale of the following City owned properties:

Fillmore District
The sale of 20, 35, 37, & 41 Vandalia Street to Community Steel Corporation was rescinded and the deposit forfeited

Masten District
817 Glenwood Avenue was sold to Mrs. Cassandra Burns-Watson for $2,000

Niagara District
414 Auburn Avenue was sold to Ms. Maribel Irizarry for $2,500
 
APPOINTMENTS

The Council appointed the following individuals to the City of Buffalo Joint Commission to Examine Police

Reorganization:
Edwin Martinez, Jr.
Thomas Gleed

The Council appointed the following individuals to positions within District Common Council Offices:
Nelson Rivera was appointed to the position of Legislative Aide within the Ellicott District Common Council Office
Karen Privateer was appointed to the position of Legislative Assistant within the University District Common Council Office

The Council appointed the following individual as a Marriage Officer within the City of Buffalo:
Frank LoTempio III

The Council approved the Mayor’s appointment of the following individual to the City of Buffalo Planning Board:
Martha Lamparelli

The Council approved the appointment of the following individuals to positions within various City of Buffalo

Departments at a step above the base salary:

Department of Audit and Control
Francis Cahill was appointed to the position of Supervising Accountant
John Rusnak was appointed to the position of Supervising Auditor
Richard Whitcomb was appointed to the position of Principal Accountant

Department of Public Works
Robert Thompson was appointed to the position of Dispatcher

Department of Administration, Finance and Urban Affairs
Kristie Sokolowski was appointed to the position of Laborer II

The Council accepted the appointment of the following individuals to positions within various City of Buffalo

Departments at the base salary:

Department of Public Works
John McMahon was appointed to the position of Principle Engineer
Christopher Frankhauser was appointed to the position of Motor Equipment Mechanic
James Witek was appointed to the position of Heavy Equipment Operator
Perry Pope was appointed to the position of Street Worker

Department of Audit and Control
Karla Cino was appointed to the position of Data Control Clerk

Department of Fire
Talisha Colston was appointed to the position of Account Clerk Typist

The Council accepted the appointment of the following individual to seasonal positions within various City of Buffalo Departments at the base salary:

Department Assessment and Taxation:
Clerk
Hannah Shaw
Jay LoTempio

Department of Public Works:
Laborer II
Aaron Gatti
 
LICENSE AND PERMIT APPROVALS–Upon the recommendation of the Department Permit & Inspection Services, the Council approved the following license and permit applications:

Delaware District
Sidewalk Café License
Guttuso’s North End Trattoria located at 1456 Hertel Avenue

Permit for a Sit Down Restaurant and 2 Sidewalk Cafés
D. Crowe, owner of property located at 1406 Hertel Avenue

Ellicott District
Sidewalk Café License
Purple Monkey Tropical Pub located at 234 Delaware Avenue

Permit to Alter Existing Lobby for Wine Bar and Café w/ Outdoor Patio
D. Sutton, agent of property located at 618 Delaware Avenue

Permit for a Heli-Pad
J. Mahoney, agent of property located at 100 High Street

Fillmore District
Scrap Processor, Used Car Dealer, and Wholesale Junk Dealer Licenses
Bison City Truck Parts located at 489 Walden Avenue

Niagara District
Used Car Dealer License
Buffalo Motor Works LLC located at 202 Rhode Island Street

South District
Permit for a Restaurant
A. Ali, owner of the property located at 2162 Seneca Street

University District
Food Store License
Pretromark Inc. located at 3444 Bailey Avenue
 
CLAIMS, CONTRACTS, CHANGE ORDERS & AGREEMENTS

The Council approved the following contract change orders submitted by the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works (“DPW”):

The contract with Nussbaumer & Clarke, Inc. for the Athletic Field Irrigation System Design – Various Districts Project was increased by $8,150 for costs related to additional onsite construction monitoring services and general work. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $35,850 and with this and prior changes, the contract will increase to $60,927.

The contract for the Centennial Pool Alterations Project was increased by $36,870 for additional construction management costs due to unforeseen project delays. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $2,263,660 and with this and prior changes, the contract will increase to $2,371,924.

The contract with Bison Elevator for the City Court Elevator Upgrade Project was increased by $11,125 for additional insurance and a performance bond required by the City of Buffalo Department of Law. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $165,622 and with this change the contract will increase to $176,747.

The contract for the Ferry Street Lift Bridge Emergency Repair Project was increased by $119,348 for unanticipated
structural and electrical issues. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $229,596 and with this change the contract will increase to $348,945.

Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Audit and Control, the Council:

Authorized an interfund cash loan in the maximum amount of $1 million to the Department of Public Works for the Buffalo Riverfest Park Project. Interfund cash loans serve as a cash advance for City of Buffalo Department programs pending Federal and State cost reimbursements.

Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Parking, the Council:

Authorized the Department of Parking to take over the use of a 2006 Chevrolet Suburban for use by its Division of Parking Enforcement as an enforcement vehicle. Currently, the vehicle remains unclaimed by its original owner therefore making it eligible for conversion to official use.

Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Human Resources, the Council:

Authorized the Department of Human Resources to enter into a contract with Great Lakes Physician Services for the administration of Injured on Duty (“IOD”) medical claims incurred by City of Buffalo Police and Firefighters. Great Lakes Physician Services will evaluate all employees listed as IOD and will provide timely access to medical providers, recommend light work duties, provide guidance associated with Independent Medical Exam’s (“IME’s”) and/or surveillance, and provide weekly informational meetings with representatives of the City of Buffalo Departments of Fire and Police in conjunction with reviewing new and existing IOD cases.

Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works (“DPW”), the Council:

Authorized DPW to issue a mere license to the owners of the property located at 201 Mackinaw Street to install a wooden deck on the Vincennes Street side of the property. The wooden deck will measure 35 feet in length and project approximately three feet from the building’s face into the City right of way. The mere license is subject to standard City terms and conditions.

Authorized DPW to enter into an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) and the New York State Department of Transportation (“NYSDOT”) for the design, construction, and inspection services associated with the Bridge Joint Replacement Project. The purpose of the project is to replace bridge joints at four bridges located within the City of Buffalo.

Authorized DPW to commence emergency bridge repair to the Seneca Street Bridge near Smith Street. The expansion joint on the bridge has completely failed and the damaged joint needs to be removed and replaced with a new joint system. The City of Buffalo Engineer estimates that this work will cost $40,000.

Authorized DPW to trade in 22 vehicles and related equipment in conjunction with the lease and purchase of various types of light and heavy duty vehicles and equipment. The vehicles to be traded in are outdated, have outlived their usefulness and are no longer of value or use to the City.

Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Administration, Finance, Policy and Urban Affairs, the Council:

Authorized the Department Administration, Finance, Policy and Urban Affairs to accept surplus office equipment donated to the City of Buffalo by the United States Court House. The office equipment will be given to the City free of charge and in good condition and will be inventoried and dispersed based on the needs of various City departments and divisions. The Council also directed the department to furnish a report of all equipment accepted and dispersed by the City.

Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Police (“BPD”), the Council:

Authorized BPD to receive a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban from United States Customs to replace a 2000 unmarked Ford. The 2000 Ford is currently outdated, requires extensive repairs, and has outlived its usefulness. The 2003 Suburban will by BPD for its undercover Customs and Border Protection operations and is of no cost to the City.

The Council approved the reports of bids from the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works for the following project:

The Supply of Water Meters & Appurtenances Project. Of the bids that were received, Neptune Technology Group Inc. was the lowest with a bid of $399,058.

The 2010 Tree Trimming City Wide Project. Of the bids that were received, Schneck’s Tree Removal, Inc. was the lowest with a bid of $142,120.

Photo:  HISTORICAL SOCIETY GETS A NEW STREET NAME- Jana Eisenberg, Communications Manager for the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society testified at a public hearing held during the regular meeting of the Common Council (4/5/2011),  as a prerequisite for receiving a change in street name from 25 Nottingham Court to 1 Museum Court.
 

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2 comments
BuffaloBeaux
BuffaloBeaux

I see a sidewalk license was approved for the north end trattoria on hertel, is it re-opening? Also, I was excited to walk by the long vacant plate-ohs location on forest ave today and see the tell-tale paper up in the windows and a "coming soon: Mango'z" up!

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