The NT council has opened countless council meetings throughout the years with a religious prayer, and always of the Christian vein.
Last Tuesday, something different happened.
“Let us not bow our heads, but raise them high with eyes and minds open, striving to avoid personal bias and instead embrace rational, fact-based governance in all matters,” said NT resident Donald Wittcop Jr. (above) in the council chambers on Oct. 6th.
All things considered, it was a refreshing change advocating for logic and equality instead of entreating a higher power to somehow compel the city’s common council to do [...]
The NT common council addressed a variety of nuts-and-bolts city issues at Tuesday’s workshop session.
The city’s botanical gardens (“The Jewel of the 3rd Ward”) received particular attention as two volunteers asked the board to consider letting the group have its own funding line in the Parks Department budget.
The move would facilitate buying flowers to landscape the 12-acre site, they said. That money comes in part from $50 reservations to rent the Gazebo. (Reservations have been down this year to only four, but the previous years saw 10.)
Sentiment on the council and from department heads seemed to suggest its was problematic to earmark [...]
“The Mayor and Council did not adopt structurally balanced budgets, properly monitor the City’s financial operations or take appropriate actions to maintain the City’s fiscal stability.”
That’s the verdict rendered by New York State’s Office of the Comptroller after reviewing North Tonawanda’s finances from Jan. 1, 2017, through April 27, 2020.
But there’s more …
“The general and sewer funds experienced operating deficits from 2017 through 2019.”
“Despite the City’s deteriorating financial condition, officials did not establish a fund balance policy, multiyear financial plan or capital plan.”
“The Mayor’s and City [...]
“I’ve got a proclamation that we are not a sundown town,” said NT councilman Robert Pecoraro during the closing comments of last week’s workshop meeting.
Lately, talk of NT’s history of racial exclusion and intimidation has been generating much discussion on social media.
“There is no empirical evidence that we were ever a sundown city,” said Pecoraro. “And I’m TIRED (raises voice) of people saying that North Tonawanda was once a sundown city. It is NOT TRUE (raises voice) and I want to make sure everybody understands that.”
However, since there’s never been an involved public discussion of NT’s former status as a sundown town [...]
North Tonawanda’s City Attorney said on Tuesday he’s looking into the legality of a vendor who’s set up in Gratwick Park and selling political merchandise there.
According to two instances in the N.T. City Charter, political advertising is prohibited on public property.
The decision to issue the permit allowing the trailer in Gratwick Park was made by City Clerk Matthew Parish and Mayor Arthur Pappas.
The city council does not authorize these permits. However, when Alderman at Large Austin Tylec asked the members of the Republican majority if they thought it was appropriate for a vendor to be selling political merchandise for [...]
“We hope it gives people some more flexibility,” said North Tonawanda Legislator Rich Andres during Tuesday’s virtual meeting regarding the tax-deadline extension.
However, Andres wants to make things clear.
“This is an extension. It is not a waiver of any tax liability. We hope it gives people the ability to plan accordingly. Give them flexibility and some extra time in which to make time go a little bit smoother for those folks in desperate need.”
The county tax deadline is usually March 15.
A resolution was also passed calling on the federal government to provide the county with more PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and get it out [...]
Friday afternoon, Niagara County Legislature chairwoman Rebecca Wydysh delivered a COVID-19 update that started with a direct appeal to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Wydysh: “The governor mentioned that he’s going to sign an executive order that would require upstate areas such as ours to send unused ventilators down to the downstate area because they have an immediate need for those ventilators as their numbers are so high and they are seeing those surges and peaks that we know are coming for us in the future.”
“Very concerning to me. I implore the governor on behalf of this legislature and our residents to really come up with a plan to [...]
It was one of the last statements Tuesday night regarding the number of options facing the future of public swim in North Tonawanda, but Alderman-at-Large Bob Pecoraro’s suggestion it be put to voters in November might be the only way to settle it.
Faced with losing $83,000 a year on the 70-days-a-year facility and a mounting list of looming big-ticket repairs, the NT city council has a host of choices regarding the public swimming pool that opened in 1948.
They include: closing the pool for an immediate and permanent cost savings. The downside is losing a valuable summer activity for currently about 200 kids and others a day as well as a cultural and [...]