Common Council Notes

September 27, 2013 Updated Mar 22, 2011 at 5:26 PM EDT

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Common Council Notes

September 27, 2013 Updated Mar 22, 2011 at 5:26 PM EDT

David A. Franczyk, Council President
David A. Rivera, President Pro Tempore
Richard A. Fontana, Majority Leader

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: James Jackson, Leg. Assistant (716) 851-5106

MEETING SUMMARY
for
MARCH 22, 2011

FUNDING FOR ARTS AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Delaware District Council Member Michael J. LoCurto expressing its gratitude to the Fund for the Arts for raising $430,000 to help support City of Buffalo arts and cultural organizations and requesting that the City administration work with the Common Council by coordinating with the Fund for the Arts and individual arts and cultural organizations, to dedicate funds to assist these organizations. Arts and cultural organizations provide an invaluable service to the City of Buffalo community and make the City a more enjoyable place to live and work. Historically, Erie County officials have earmarked public dollars generated through property and sales taxes to fund numerous arts and cultural organizations located throughout the City of Buffalo and Erie County. The Erie County Executive’s proposed 2011 budget did allocate funding for 10 large but none of the smaller arts and cultural organizations. Although a majority of Erie County Legislators voted to amend the budget by restoring funding to the smaller arts and cultural organizations, the County Executive vetoed these changes and the Legislature was unable to override the County Executive’s vetoes. Fortunately, the Fund for the Arts was able to raise and allocate $430,000 to the smaller arts and cultural organizations; however the Council maintains that the City of Buffalo must also do its part to ensure these arts and cultural organizations continue and thrive.

HOME RULE MESSAGE—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Masten District Council Member Demone Smith supporting New York State (“NYS”) Senate Bill #S02353 which would allow the City of Buffalo to adjudicate traffic infractions, which are presently adjudicated by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles. Passage of the bill would benefit the City of Buffalo by permitting all traffic related violations to be adjudicated in a single, convenient location; that would allow the City to participate in and receive traffic infraction revenue; and would place the City on equal footing with other cities and towns in NYS who have the authority to adjudicate traffic infractions.

COUNCIL MEMBER APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS, PANELS AND COMMISSIONS—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Council Members Darius G. Pridgen and Bonnie E. Russell stating the Council’s intent to review the available tools, resources and personnel support that it has on hand to assist Council Members in their vetting of candidates for appointment to boards and commissions. The resolution is in response to the lack of a written policy or procedure for the Council to follow when selecting candidates for appointment. By adopting this resolution the Council has expressed its intent to appoint members with the appropriate skill sets and qualifications to facilitate a productive work effort and attainment of the City’s goals and objectives.

SUPPORT ELMWOOD VILLAGE ASSOCIATION MAIN STREET GRANT APPLICATION—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by North District Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr. supporting the Elmwood Village Association’s (“EVA”) Main Street Grant application which will help to enhance the vibrancy of the area of Elmwood Avenue between Forest and West Delevan Avenues. The New York Main Street Grant Program is administered by the New York State (“NYS”) Office of Community Renewal who provides financial resources and technical assistance to communities to strengthen the economic vitality of traditional commercial districts and neighborhoods. The program provides funds from the NYS Housing Trust Fund Corporation to not-for-profit organizations, such as the EVA, who are committed to revitalizing mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts. The EVA’s request of $500,000 will assist with improvements to the residential and commercial space on Elmwood Avenue between Forest and West Delavan Avenues.

WAIVER OF FEES FOR SOUTH BUFFALO BLOCK CLUB COALITION—The Council approved a resolution sponsored by South District Council Member Michael P. Kearns granting a waiver of room usage fees in the Tosh Collins Community Center levied on the South Buffalo Block Club Coalition for an event to be conducted March 29, 2011. The South Buffalo Block Club Coalition is a public group whose members donate their time and personal resources for the good of the South District community. The Council maintains that the Tosh Collins Community Center room usage fees should be waived so that the South Buffalo Block Club Coalition may continue to serve and advocate for the community.

OPPOSE MOVING CAMPUS WEST SCHOOL—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Council Members Joseph Golombek, Jr. and Darius G. Pridgen opposing the closing of Campus West School on the campus of Buffalo State College (“BSC”). Campus West School is situated on the grounds of BSC and is one of the gems of the Buffalo Public School (“BPS”) System. At Campus West, City of Buffalo students have the rare opportunity to participate in activities on a college campus. Having the school located on a college campus has given many of the students the confidence to pursue a college education. BPS Superintendent James Williams has stated that Campus West’s lease with BSC, which expires in June 2011, will not be renewed and that the decision to close the school will not be reconsidered. Parents, students and teachers have strongly opposed the closing of Campus West and consider it to be an educational asset for children to attend school on the BSC Campus. If a new lease agreement cannot be worked out between the BPS and BSC there are other buildings within the vicinity of the existing school that should be explored in order to keep the program intact. The Council is requesting Superintendent Williams, his negotiating team, and representatives of BSC to immediately reopen negotiations for a new lease for Campus West School at Buffalo State College. The Council is also requesting of the Superintendent and the Buffalo Board of Education that they explore options for keeping the students in the Campus West program in one building in close proximity to the BSC campus in the event a lease with the college cannot be renewed or extended.
STIMULUS FUND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Lovejoy District Council Member Richard A. Fontana requesting the City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning (“OSP”) to file a report detailing how funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) Recovery Act was utilized. In May 2009, President Barack Obama and the United State Congress awarded $4,311,494 in additional HUD Recovery Act funds to the City of Buffalo. The City directed these funds to home rehabilitation, infrastructure improvements, energy efficiency upgrades at community centers, and job training for residents. The Council’s vision for the job training component was to train City residents to obtain certifications in home repair and construction and add capacity to the City’s home rehabilitation and weatherization projects. The Council requested that the report include a detailed expense report, a summary of the outcomes associated with those expenditures, and a list of the residents who were trained as a result of the program.

MINORITY AND WOMEN WORKFORCE PARTICIPATION WITHIN THE JOINT SCHOOLS CONSTRUCTION BOARD PROJECT—The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Council Members Richard A. Fontana and Darius G. Pridgen showing its support for the Joint Schools Construction Board’s (“JSCB”) Inclusion Committee on its review of the stated goals and objectives as it pertains to workforce participation and business utilization. Over the past decade, New York State and the City of Buffalo have invested over $1 billion renovating Buffalo’s aging schools. This billion dollar investment was coupled with business and workforce goals to ensure local residents could find employment and business opportunities. Goals for minority and women workforce participation were set at 23 percent and seven percent respectively. Historically within the fields of professional services these goals have not been met and in some cases businesses associated with the JSCB project haven’t provided proper reporting figures to the project program monitors. The JSCB Inclusion Committee has long held meetings to address these issues and in some cases invited companies in to discuss their lackluster performance and explore avenues to reach the stated goals. The Council maintains that it is essential that minority and women workforce participation be a part of the JSCB project.

SALE OF CITY OWNED PROPERTY—The Council approved the sale of the following City owned properties:
· Fillmore District
o 190 Fulton Street was sold to 4628 Group Inc. for $33,000
o 35 Schmarbeck Street was sold to Ms. Rachel Glurich for $1,400
o 55 Van Rensselaer Street was sold to Mrs. Thu Quach for $1,800
· Lovejoy District
o 1422 Bailey Avenue was sold to Ms. Leighann Lodowski for $2,000
· Niagara District
o 88 Seventeenth Street was sold to 88 Seventeenth LLC for $3,000

APPOINTMENTS
· The Council appointed the following individual to the Joint Commission to Examine Police Reorganization:
o Thomas Smeeding
· Upon the request of the Mayor, the Council accepted the appointment of the following individual to the City of Buffalo Planning Board:
o Martha Lamparelli
· The Council approved the appointment of the following individuals to positions within the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works at a step above the base salary:
o Robert Thompson was appointed to the position of Dispatcher
o Joseph Muscarella was appointed to the position of Truck Driver
· The Council accepted the appointment of the following individual to the position of GIS Specialist within the City of Buffalo Department of Management Information Systems at the base salary:
o Christopher Conlee
· The Council accepted the appointment of the following individuals to the position of Street Worker within the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works at the base salary:
o Luis Rivera
· The Council accepted the appointment of the following individuals to seasonal positions within various City of Buffalo Departments at the base salary:
o Joel Moore was appointed to the position of Law Clerk within the Department of Law
o Joseph Sullivan and Keith Riley were appointed to the position of Laborer II within the Department of Public Works

LICENSE AND PERMIT APPROVALS—Upon the recommendation of the Department Permit & Inspection Services, the Council approved the following license and permit applications:
· Delaware District
o Permit for a Sit-Down Restaurant and 2 Sidewalk Cafés
§ D. Crowe, owner of property located at 1406 Hertel Avenue
o Permit for an L-Shaped Ground Sign
§ W. Zografos, agent of property located at 2068 Main Street
o Sidewalk Café License
§ Guttuso’s North End Trattoria located at 1460 Hertel Avenue
· Ellicott District
o Permit for a Takeout Restaurant and Sidewalk Café
§ W. Mackiewicz, owner of property located at 191 Allen Street
· Fillmore District
o Food Store License
§ Broadway Mart & Deli located at 1358 Broadway
· Lovejoy District
o Food Store License
§ Ferry Express Mart located at 2239 Bailey Avenue
· Masten District
o Permit for an L-Shaped Ground Sign
§ W. Zografos, agent of property located at 2021 Main Street
· Niagara District
o Permit for a Sidewalk Café
§ D. Sutton, agent of property located at 448 Elmwood Avenue
o Food Store License
§ Best Brother’s Market located at 235 Massachusetts Avenue
o Used Car Dealer License
§ A Better Car located at 64 Bird Avenue
· North District
o Lodging House License
§ Nancy Singh, owner of property located at 443 Forest Avenue
· South District
o Used Car Dealer License
§ Park Avenue Car Corp. located at 1906 South Park Avenue

The Council denied the following license application:
· Ellicott District
o Lodging House License
§ James Harris, owner of property located at 409 Franklin Street

CLAIMS, CONTRACTS, CHANGE ORDERS & AGREEMENTS
· The Council approved the following contract change orders submitted by the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works (“DPW”):
o The contract with Mark Cerrone, Inc. for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park Humboldt Basin Improvements Project was increased by $11,025, for temporary fencing around the perimeter of the project. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $132,224 and with this change the contract will increase to $143,429.
o The contract with Wendel Duchscherer for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park Splash Pad Improvements Phase II Project was increased by $42,350 for unanticipated scheduling delays in awarding equipment supply contracts, additional design coordination with the equipment supply contract with Titan Development, additional coordination meetings with DPW staff, site design plan revisions to incorporate an existing perimeter wall into the final construction documents, and the preparation of a weekly project progress report through construction completion. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $61,820 and with this and prior changes the contract will increase to $492,350.
o The contract with Erdman Anthony and Associates, Inc. for the Large Valve Replacement Project – Phase 2 was increased by $54,688 for additional services related to construction administration and inspection and record drawings required of the project engineer. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $88,180 and with this and prior changes the contract will increase to $367,868.
o The contract with Nussbaumer and Clarke, Inc. for the Low Lift Pump Rehabilitation Project at the Colonel Ward Filtration Plant was increased by $141,500 for necessary services related to construction inspection. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $400,000 and with this change the contract will increase to $541,500.
· Upon the request of the Mayor, the Council:
o Authorized a one-year extension of the City of Buffalo’s lease agreements with the Buffalo Bisons for the stadium located in downtown Buffalo. The current lease agreement expires March 31, 2011 and the one-year extension includes the same terms and provisions as the current lease agreement.
· Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works (“DPW”), the Council:
o Authorized DPW to issue a mere license to the owners of the property located at 346 Connecticut Street to install a five story fire escape on the Normal Avenue side of the property. The fire escape will extend five feet into the City right of way, measure 13 feet in length and will leave nine feet of unobstructed height over City sidewalks. Authorized DPW to hire a consultant to prepare plans and specifications and provide construction assistance for the Nevilly Court Complex Construction Project which is located in South Buffalo.
o Authorized DPW to reduce the retention held on the contract with Visone Construction, Inc. for the Distribution Improvements – Various Locations #2 Project. The contract retention was reduced from 5 percent to 1 percent.
· Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning (“OSP”), the Council:
o Authorized an agreement extending the Land Disposition Agreement (“LDA”) between the City of Buffalo and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (“ECHDC”) for the transfer and conveyance of the property commonly known as the Webster Block. The extended agreement will give HSBC Bank USA until June 30, 2011 to inform the Mayor and the Common Council of the City of Buffalo of its selection of the property for the construction of a new facility. The new facility will assist HSBC Bank USA with some of its professional office functions. All the terms and conditions set forth in the original LDA approved by the Council on August 5, 2010 will remain the same.
o Authorized 214 Northland Avenue to be added to the list of properties eligible to be homesteaded. The property at 214 Northland Avenue was acquired by the City of Buffalo through In-Rem #44 in November of 2010 and is located within the boundaries of the approved Hamlin Park Comprehensive Code Enforcement Area and a Historic Preservation District. Habitat for Humanity of Buffalo, Inc. intends to renovate the house on this property for sale to a qualified buyer.
· The Council approved the reports of bids from the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works for the following project:
o The Police Garage Carwash Replacement Project. Of the bids that were received, Belanger, Inc. was the lowest with a bid of $155,500.
o The Seneca Babcock Community Center Lower Roof Reconstruction Project. Of the bids that were received, Jos. A. Sanders & Sons was the lowest with a bid of $87,816.

For any questions, concerns, or further information regarding the above, please contact your District Council Member, the Common Council Legislative Staff Office, or the respective City Department.
To view replays of a Common Council Meeting please visit the City of Buffalo Government Television website at www.city-buffalo.com/Home/Government_TV.
To view the final Common Council Meeting agenda and/or supporting communications, please visit the City of Buffalo website at www.city-buffalo.com and select the Common Council link.
BUFFALO COMMON COUNCIL
David A. FranczykCouncil PresidentFillmore District1315 City Hall851-4138 David A. RiveraPresident Pro TemporeNiagara District1504 City Hall851-5125 Richard A. FontanaMajority LeaderLovejoy District1414 City Hall851-5151
Michael J. LoCurtoDelaware District1405 City Hall851-5155 Darius G. PridgenEllicott District1408 City Hall851-4980 Demone A. SmithMasten District1316-A City Hall851-5145
Joseph Golombek, Jr.North District1502 City Hall851-5116 Michael P. KearnsSouth District1401 City Hall851-5169 Bonnie E. RussellUniversity District1508 City Hall851-5165
Common Council Legislative Staff Office1413 City Hall851-5105