(WKBW release) The following is a summary of the City of Buffalo Common Council meeting for May 15.
HOME RULE MESSAGES
• ACTS TO AMEND THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW – The Council adopted resolutions sponsored by Council President and Lovejoy District Council Member Richard A. Fontana supporting the following:
o New York State (“NYS”) Senate Bill #S.5409-A and NYS Assembly Bill A.9121, which would reform the state’s Controlled Substance Registry by providing a real time reporting system that doctors and pharmacists would be required to participate in and check prior to prescribing or dispensing controlled substances. Passage of these bills would also give doctors access to a patient’s history of admittance to substance abuse centers so that they can actively review the patient’s history of substance abuse.
o NYS Senate Bill #S.5720-A and NYS Assembly Bill A.8320, which would connect practitioners and pharmacists to a greater source of centralized information to avoid over-prescribing, and help identify and treat patients who seek to abuse prescription drugs. In addition, this legislation would furnish objective and highly-relevant data to healthcare professionals, while shining a spotlight on those who enable and profit from drug abuse.
o NYS Senate Bill #S.6179 and NYS Assembly Bill A.9097, which would require that patients receive information about the potential risks of addiction to certain kinds of drugs as well as the local resources available to them if they feel they are becoming addicted.
o NYS Senate Bill #S.6181 and NYS Assembly Bill A.9093, which would require the NYS Department of Health to develop a set of guidelines to help doctors transition patients from substances with a high risk of addiction to pain management solutions with a lower risk of addiction.
• ACT TO AMEND EDUCATION LAW – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Council President and Lovejoy District Council Member Richard A. Fontana supporting the following:
o NYS Senate Bill #S.6180 and NYS Assembly Bill A.9102, which would require medical professionals to continue to receive training and education on the dangers of opiate abuse and addiction as well as strategies to migrate patients from highly addictive pain management solutions to lower risk pain management solutions.
STRENGTHEN EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES BOARD—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Fillmore District Council Member David A. Franczyk requesting that representatives from the City Emergency Services Board (“EMSB”), the Commissioners of the City of Buffalo Departments of Fire and Permits and Inspections, the Director of the Erie County Health Department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Rural Metro Ambulance Services, and other interested parties appear before the Council to address whether to strengthen the powers of the EMSB, how this might be accomplished, and how to otherwise improve the overall quality of ambulance services in the City of Buffalo. Among other duties and responsibilities, the EMSB performs the critical function of recommending which ambulance company should be selected to provide service to the City. The City’s current contract for ambulance services is with Rural Metro and is set to expire on July 1, 2012. The protocol for ambulances to respond to calls is approximately eight minutes, however there have been numerous reports of “Level Zero” situations when no ambulances are available or response times are 30 minutes or more. The Council maintains that it is essential that the City’s next ambulance service contract ensure sufficient levels of ambulance personnel, vehicles and resources at all times to ensure quick and effective responses to emergency calls.
REQUIREMENT OF CITY ORDINANCES IN RENTAL AND LEASE AGREEMENTS – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Majority Leader and Masten District Council Member Demone A. Smith mandating that City of Buffalo quality of life ordinances and penalties for their violation be included as part of all rental and lease agreements. The City’s quality of life ordinances place restrictions on things such as loud music, horn blowing, placement of garbage totes, upholstered furniture on porches, barbecue grills on porches, gambling, public drinking and other irresponsible behaviors that may negatively affect a community. Often such restrictions, although contained within the City Code, are not explicitly stated in the rental and lease agreements signed by tenants. By including this information in all rental and lease agreements, it is the Council’s intent to bring about a greater understanding by tenants of their responsibilities and thus decrease incidents of quality of life infractions.
DRUG AND GUN-FREE ZONE – THE BELLE CENTER – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen supporting the designation of a “Drug and Gun-Free Zone” in the vicinity of The Belle Center to assist in their on-going efforts to provide a safe and drug-free environment. The Belle Center is a non-profit, multicultural community center located at 104 Maryland St. whose mission is to offer innovative educational, social and community building services for children, youth senior citizens and families to improve lives, create opportunities and foster self-sufficiency. In order to accomplish this mission, it is critical to provide an environment in which the 350-plus youth and families attending the Center’s programs on a daily basis can feel safe. The Belle Center has requested the City’s assistance with this by asking that the Belle Center area be officially designated as a “Drug and Gun Free-Zone.” Signage to this effect would be installed around the north, south, east and west boundaries of The Belle Center (Hudson Street to the north, Maryland Street on the south, Seventh Street on the east, and Busti Avenue on the west) in an effort to improve security at the facility for those who use the Center’s services.
14TH ANNUAL ALLEN WEST FESTIVAL—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Fillmore District Council Member David A. Franczyk supporting the request of the Allentown Association, Inc. to conduct the 14th Annual Allen West Festival. The purpose of the festival is to promote arts and crafts and support those talented individuals who create such work. The event will take place the weekend of June 9th and 10th 2012, between the hours of 10:00 am and 6:00 pm and streets will be closed to general traffic between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm. The event will be conducted in the area bounded by North Street and Symphony Circle on the north, Elmwood Avenue (west side) on the east, Virginia Street on the south, and Orton Place and Cottage Street on the west.
AMEND CHICKEN LICENSE LEGISLATION – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen directing the City of Buffalo Department of Law to draft an amendment to Section 341-11.1 of the City Code to include a provision that mandates that applicants for chicken licenses reside at the property for which they are applying for said license. Since July of 2009, the City has allowed the keeping of domesticated chicken hens in residential districts subject to certain restrictions, however there is currently no requirement that applicants reside at the property for which they are applying for a chicken licenses. The Council maintains that amending this ordinance will clarify the law and result in increased accountability for those who seek to obtain chicken licenses in the City.
500 BLOCK OF MAIN STREET ABSENTEE BUILDING OWNERS – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen requesting that the City of Buffalo Department of Permits & Inspections more aggressively enforce City building codes at the following properties:
• Texas Red Hots located at 5-7 Genesee Street
• Spa Lofts, LLC located at 9 Genesee Street; and
• Rose Nails located at 535 Main Street
On July 26, 2011, the Common Council passed a resolution titled “Revitalization of the 500 Block of Main Street,” in which all building owners in the 500 Block of Main Street with unoccupied buildings were requested to appear before the Council at a future time and date, and more aggressive enforcement was requested in the 500 Block of Main Street for City code violations. Although productive meetings have been on-going with area buildings owners, the three properties referenced continue to cause serious structural concerns to neighboring buildings. The Council is committed to the revitalization of Main Street and code violations at these properties must be addressed for the area to become a thriving and safe community for residents, businesses and visitors.
AMEND CITY CHARTER CHAPTER 194 – FOOD STORES – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen requesting that the City of Buffalo Department of Law draft an amendment to Chapter 194 of the City Code. Council Members frequently receive complaints relating to nuisances and/or illegal activities occurring at deli stores, but currently Chapter 194 offers little guidance on what policies and procedures are to be used by Council Members in reviewing, and approving or denying, food stores licenses. The Council maintains that an amendment to Chapter 194 is needed to clarify the role of Council Members in the process as well as the ability of a Council Member to conduct hearings with food store licensees in response to complaints and other evidence of possible food store license violations.
OUTER HARBOR DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by North District Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr. supporting the Mayor’s desire for the City of Buffalo to take an active role in the development of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor and that Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (“NFTA”) land be transferred to the City of Buffalo. The NFTA, a New York State authority who’s membership is appointed by the Governor and is unelected, is currently exploring options for divesting themselves of ownership and control of several key Buffalo Outer Harbor properties. Due to underutilization of Outer Harbor properties over the years, many people are now calling for these properties to be transferred by the NFTA to the Erie County Harbor Development Corporation (“ECHDC”), another state agency whose leadership is appointed by the governor and does not to answer to the people of this community at the polls. The Council maintains that while there is undoubtedly a role for both ECHDC and the State of New York to play in the development of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor and other waterfront lands, we must not lose sight of the fact that the City itself has a critical role to play as well.
ST. ANN’S CHURCH – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen requesting that the City of Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspection Services, the Buffalo Catholic Diocese and the owner of St. Ann’s Church and Shrine provide the Council with a report on the status of the church building. Saint Ann’s Church and Shrine was initially built in 1858 for $7,000 and as the parish grew underwent a $135,000 Church expansion and $107,000 school building expansion. The Council maintains that Saint Ann’s is richly engrained in Buffalo’s history and that this historic gem must be saved.
BANNERS TO BE HUNG IN THE CITY OF BUFFALO
• The Council approved a resolution giving permission to the Pride Center of Western New York, Inc. to hang flags on light poles along Elmwood Avenue between Forest Avenue and West Chippewa Street. The flags will celebrate Buffalo’s Annual Pride Festival and Parade and will be displayed from May 28, 2012 through June 28, 2012.
• The Council approved a resolution sponsored by North District Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr. giving permission to Buffalo Citybration to hang a banner on Elmwood Avenue at Lancaster Avenue. The banner will celebrate Buffalo Citybration’s 7th Annual Celebration of Buffalo and will be displayed from May 21, 2012 through June 25, 2012.
• The Council approved a resolution sponsored by Niagara District Council Member David A. Rivera giving permission to the Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation to hang banners along the streets that surround the church located at 146 West Utica Street. The banners will celebrate the church’s centennial anniversary and will be displayed from the end of May until the anniversary celebration in September.
WAIVER OF FEES
• The Council approved a resolution sponsored by Council President and Lovejoy District Council Member Richard A. Fontana waiving any and all room rental fees for use of the Machnica Community Center by the Weiss Street Block Club.
• The Council approved the appointment of the following individual to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (“BMHA”) Board of Commissioners:
o Donna Brown
• The Council appointed the following individual as a Marriage Officer in the City of Buffalo, which will commence May 25, 2012 and expire June 8, 2012:
o Philip Celniker
• The Council approved the appointment of the following individuals to positions within various City of Buffalo Departments at a step above the base salary:
o Department of Public Works
• Bonita Brown
o Department of Police
• David S. Stabler
• Marcia Scott
• Patrick A. Roberts
• Michael J. Strobele
• Margaret M. Serafini
• Joseph W. Glendinning
• Shawn D. Adams
• Raymond M. Krug
• Kevin R. Paul
• Earl E. Perrin
• Jeffrey Rinaldo
• Anthony J. McHugh
• Michael J. Alberti
• Michael A. Delong
• Ivan A. Watkins
• David M. Cieply
• Michael W. Watkins
• Robert P. Sheridan
• Sean P. Phillips
• Melinda Jones (Zak)
• Aaron V. Young
• Thomas R. Whelan
• George P. McLean
• Darren P. Labedz
• Shawn M. Dowell
• Thomas J. Moran
• Rickey V. Lark
• Louis A. Kelly
• The Council accepted the appointment of the following individuals to positions within various City of Buffalo Departments at the base salary:
o Department of Public Works
Laborer II – Seasonal
• Chester Nicometi
Bridge Operating Engineer – Seasonal
• Robert Kreutinger
LICENSE AND PERMIT APPROVALS—Upon the recommendation of the Department of Permit & Inspection Services, the Council approved the following license and permit applications:
• Ellicott District
o Restricted Use Permit- Downtown Entertainment District
Pure, located at 67 West Chippewa St. (a.k.a. 75 West Chippewa St.)
• Sunday, May 27, 2012 (8pm to 12am)
• Saturday, June 2, 2012 (10pm to 4am)
• Friday, June 29, 2012 (10pm to 4am)
• Fillmore District
o Permit to Alter Use- 1st Floor Tavern, 2nd Floor Two Apartments
L. Nelson, owner of the property located at 19 Wadsworth Street
• South District
o Permit for Renovations to a 1 Story Metal Building
M. DiPasquale, agent of the property located at 175 Fuhrmann Boulevard
CLAIMS, CONTRACTS, CHANGE ORDERS & AGREEMENTS
• Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning (“OSP”), the Council:
o Authorized a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (“PILOT”) agreement between the City of Buffalo, County of Erie, and DePaul Properties, Inc., for the redevelopment of former Buffalo Public School 60 located at 238 Ontario Street, into affordable rental housing. DePaul Properties, Inc. is proposing to rehabilitate 60 units that will provide housing opportunities for low to very low income households. The total project is estimated to cost $21 million.
o Authorized the Mayor of the City of Buffalo to enter into a Consortium Agreement with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for the “Making Sustainability Work in Buffalo Niagara: Sustainable Communities Grant Consortium” initiative. The money will fund a three-year planning effort to prepare a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (“RSPD”) for Erie and Niagara Counties that addresses economic development, transportation, work force development, housing and other elements.
o Authorized an easement agreement, along with a Utility Rider, between the Buffalo Board of Education and Niagara Mohawk for necessary electrical upgrades to School Number 61 located at 439 Leroy Avenue.
• Upon the request of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (“BMHA”), the Council:
o Authorized a wage increase with benefit concessions for the exempt position of Executive Director to the salary of $125,000. The wage increase and benefit concessions are identical to thsoe negotiated for union employees represented by Local 264, White Collar, Blue Collar and Managerial Units.
• Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works (“DPW”), the Council approved the following contract change orders:
o The contract with Nussbaumer & Clarke, Inc., for the City Hall/City Court Fire Detection/Alarm Systems Project, was increased by $43,200 to include design and construction oversight on the smoke and heat detection system that were not included in the original project but are needed to bring the entire system up to full compliance. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $135,000 and with this change the contract will increase to $178,200.
o The contract with Foit Albert Associates, for the Ellicott Street Phase 1 Project, was increased by $252,696 for additional services necessary to complete the project. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $527,884 and with this change the contract will increase to $780,580.
o The contract with RobsonWoese, Inc., for the Historical Society Electrical Branch Wiring Renovation Project, was increased by $15,500 for additional services necessary to complete the project. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $77,000 and with this change the contract will increase to $92,500.
• Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works (“DPW”), the Council:
o Authorized DPW to accept a donation from The Buffalo Sabres/Mr. Terry Pegula consisting of contractor’s services, contractor’s labor, sod, landscaping amenities and related improvements at City-owned unfinished lots at the Central Wharf area near Canal Side on Buffalo’s waterfront. The sod and all related improvements will become property of the City of Buffalo and The Sabres/Mr. Pegula will pay the contractor for all installation, material and labor (living wage) costs. The value of the donation is expected to be approximately $120,000.
o Authorized DPW to hire URS Corporation, based on a previous request for quotation (“RFQ”), to provide architectural and engineering services for the North Buffalo Ice Rink Modifications Project.
o Authorized DPW to accept funds in the amount of $3,320,483 from the New York State Consolidated Local Streets and Highway Improvements Program (“CHIPS”).
o Authorized a reduction in the retention of the contract with Frey Electric Construction Co., for the Backup Power for High Service Pumps Project. The retention of the contract will be reduced from five percent to one percent in order to allow for completion of the project.
• Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works, the Council approved the following reports of bids:
o Of the bids that were received for the City-Wide Mill & Overlay – 2012 Phase I Project, Destro & Brothers Concrete Co., Inc. was the lowest, with a bid of $3,434,961.
o Of the bids that were received for the Kleinhans Music Hall Masonry Wall Reconstruction Project, Morris Masonry Restoration was the lowest, with a bid of $32,400.
o Of the bids that were received for the Richmond Avenue Streetlights Replacement Project – Phase I, South Buffalo Electric, Inc. was the lowest, with a bid of $95,650.
o Of the bids that were received for the Water Main Replacement at Various Locations in South Buffalo – Seneca Street Area – Phase I Project, Sicar Management & Construction, Inc. was the lowest, with a bid of $1,405,036.
o Of the emergency bids that were received for the Fire Engine 34 Emergency Asbestos Abatement & Encapsulation Project, Stohl Remediation Services was the lowest, with a bid of $9,950.