12/29/2010

New Years Eve @ UCC

Posted by MJ



The LUSJ reported on the upcoming 2nd New Year’s Eve Rockin’ The Locks celebration at Ulrich City Center dowtown. It looks to be a relatively mild night. Let's all hope the rain stays out of the forecast for a wonderful event.

I hope every one is having a great holiday. See you next year!

12/17/2010

Lockport School District News

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that several people are trying to revive the quest for a new Lockport City School District Althletic Complex.

The proposed sports complex at Lockport High School might become a topic of conversation again.

Almost two years to the day it was defeated, a group of speakers asked the Board of Education Wednesday night to reconsider the $6 million project. Originally part of the high school capital project as its second proposition, the complex was voted down 1,797 to 1,296 by district residents in a December 2008 vote. The first proposition was approved 1,708 to 1,442 and is the $23.5 million construction work currently being done on the school.

Greg Bronson, Lockport varsity football head coach, high school teacher and parent, said athletics push students to high levels of achievement. Such a facility would be able to generate revenue, Bronson said, an important factor considering the financial situation school districts face this year. Playing in a complex could draw people to the district, he added...
Old discussion on topic here.
The Buffalo News reported on forewarnings of another tough budget year for the district:
Lockport School Board members raised serious concerns about the upcoming budget season Wednesday, as several residents called on the board to revisit constructing a new athletic complex.

The possibility of a 2 percent cap on property tax levies — similar to one advocated by Gov.-elect Andrew M. Cuomo— could result in severe cuts to school district budgets next year, Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone said.

Lockport’s levy would be capped at about $600,000, which would mean a $1.5 million cut in expenditures.

Board member Edward Sandell said he expects the board will face at least a $5 million budget gap next year...

12/15/2010

Council Agenda 12-15-10

Posted by MJ
12/15/2010

Ward Meeting - Dec 16th @ City Hall

Posted by MJ

LUSJ reported that Genewick is hosintg a 5th ward meeting at City Hall this Thursday, December 16th at 6:30.

The city’s planned new garbage and recycling system will be the main topic when Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick hosts a meeting for his 5th Ward constituents at 6:30 p. m. Thursday in City Hall.

The scheduled guest speaker is Niagara County environmental coordinator Dawn M. Timm, who has played a key role in crafting the new proposal.

12/09/2010

160 East Ave

Posted by MJ

LUSJ reported that local surgeons are looking to turn the long vacant building at 160 East Ave into an ambulatory center though it faces several hurdles.

A public hearing will be held Friday on a local medical outfit’s request for tax breaks to develop offices and an ambulatory surgery center on East Avenue.

The hearing, at 3:45 p.m. Friday at Lockport City Hall, is for Great Lakes Surgical Associates, whose shareholders include Lockport general surgeons Dr. Jeffrey Schratz and Dr. Robert Hodge.

The outfit is seeking an agreement with Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for sales and mortgage tax exemption, and 10 years of property tax exemption, on redeveloped property at 160 East Ave. A vote on the PILOT request could be held next week.

The surgeons have proposed renovating the existing building to house their practice, currently at Elizabeth Drive, and provide extra space for a four-unit ambulatory surgery center for eye, ears-nose-throat, gastroenterology and orthopedic specialists....
One of the hurdles is findnig a way to play nice with Eastern Niagara Hospital, who's approval would be needed:
Lougen acknowledged Great Lakes Surgical Associates’ bid to build an ambulatory surgery center may face resistance from Eastern Niagara Hospital Systems, since realistically ambulatory centers compete with hospitals for surgical business. NCIDA board Chairman Henry Sloma, a health care management expert, noted the state will be looking for the hospital’s support of Great Lakes’ application for a certificate of need.

“I expect that may be difficult,” Lougen said. “We would not look to take business from the hospital, we would hope to enhance services (for) the hospital,” by helping attract medical specialists to the area.
Hopefully they can find a working agreement to bring some more professionals downtown and bring new life into a vacant building.

12/09/2010

Walmart Movement...?

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported the possibility now that General Growth Properties has emerged form bankruptcy protection:

Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman said Wednesday that he believes there will be action on the construction of a Walmart supercenter on the Lockport Mall site “fairly soon.”
General Growth Properties, owner of the mall, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. That means its transactions no longer must be approved by a federal Bankruptcy Court judge, which was one of the hurdles the project needed to overcome...

12/09/2010

The Garbage Path

Posted by MJ

12/09/10

The Buffalo News reported on the feedback from the prospective bidders.

Three garbage haulers warned the city Wednesday that it needs to become more specific about what it wants in a privatized garbage and recycling program if wants a good price...
12/07/10

Some items to note from the 69 page Refuse and Recycling RFP:

Page 27:
A maximum of one bulk item per customer per month (i.e. refrigerant free white goods).

Page 27:
The Contractor shall include an annual Spring Clean‐up Program that the City will elect to participate in each year. This service shall take place during the month of April and provide for the curbside collection and disposal of large and bulky items not ordinarily collected, without limitation, including items that would not/could not fit within the designated refuse totes. If the City exercises the option to host such an annual event, the City will publicize the collection dates for each area of the City.

Page 28:
Location for Service: For regular service, all containers shall be placed by the residential Customer at the curb of the residence on the day of scheduled collection by 6:00am unless otherwise agreed between the City and the Contractor. Each refuse cart must face the street (with lift bar facing the street) with additionally tagged item(s) adjacent to the refuse tote.

Page 31:
The City recognizes the costs associated with providing weekly curbside recycling collection; therefore the city will entertain proposals for both weekly curbside and twice monthly curbside recycling collection.

Page 36:
The Contractor shall be responsible for the uninterrupted collection of recyclables at the curbside of Multiple Unit, Commercial or Industrial parcels that have special “Commercial Contracts” for City Multi‐unit (4 and greater) and Commercial accounts that are not located on “Commercial Streets”.

Page 37:
All proposers are required to submit a proposal that provides program subscribers with an additional option to dispose of additional materials that are too large to fit in a refuse container, but less than 50 lbs in total weight. The City anticipates that the new refuse tote program may occasionally require users to exceed their maximum disposal limit, therefore affording program users a convenient option to dispose of additional refuse. Each additional item or bag will require each user to purchase an additional tag to cover the disposal costs associated with the additional items they wish to dispose

Appendix A was some interesting maps of residential ve non-residential. Appendix D has a nice break down of occupied city parcels and all buildings with 4 or greater residential units. I'll post both images in a separate general info post.

12/06/10

Click here to see more...

12/08/2010

Miracle on Main St

Posted by MJ

This Friday is the Miracle on Main St event at the Palace Theater from 6-9pm.

Proceeds will benefit Lockport Main St Inc and The Palace Theater. Come in for a one-stop sampling of over 30 local businesses during this Christmas Season.

12/08/2010

NiagaraBuzz

Posted by MJ

I noticed the NiagaraBuzz.biz website. It appears to be a nice way to keep up with what is going on with smaller businesses in Lockport, Medina, etc like SweetSixteen Cafe which had a ginger bread house building event last week and a teddy bear tea event this week. Hopefully it will continue to grow.

12/07/2010

Quck note - Just Energy Sales

Posted by Black Phillip

It looks like Just Energy is canvassing Lockport.  A few things you should know...
A: Never show your bills to someone who comes to your house. 
B: Never sign a contract without having the time to look into it fully.  If someone needs you to sign something "right now", then there's a reason they don't want you to do any research into what you are signing.

C: Make sure to check out the company's reputation before you do sign any long-term contracts.

I'll just leave these links here...

The Power of Persuasion - High pressure energy sales



Deceptive "Just Energy" Salespeople Cruising Brooklyn

12/02/2010

Dog Licensing

Posted by MJ


The LUSJ reported on the discussion of the city's proposed system of taking over dog licensing from the state after the state decided to get "out of the business".

Two things to note:
...The Council held a public hearing on the proposed law Wednesday. No one spoke for or against it and no written communications about the law were received prior to the hearing, City Clerk Richard Mullaney said...
Where were we supposed to preview this law to decide if we needed to come comment on it? And...
...The City of Lockport is prepared to increase dog licensing fees as it takes over program management duties from New York State...

...If the Common Council adopts a proposed dog control law, the annual licensing fee would rise to $15 per spayed/neutered dog from $7.50; and $25 per unaltered dog from $15.50...

...The components, a part-time dog control officer’s pay and the contract fee paid to Niagara County SPCA to shelter seized dogs, add up to more than $47,000. Licensing receipts presently don’t come anywhere near that, Mullaney said, meaning property taxpayers generally are subsidizing dog owners...

Property tax payers are supporting the dog owners who do not license and take care of thier dogs. Why punish those that properly license and take care of their dogs? Similar to ATV registration fees that were supposed to go to trails etc and then never did. Is there any wonder why people choose to ignore the laws thus reducing the income from them and the need for more dog control?

I'd happily pay the increased licensing fee if something like a city off-leash area was provided. For now I'll have to unhappily pay it. I'm sure many others would pay it too if it was the prerequisite for using the off-leash area etc.

Pay for the dog control by charging/ticketing those who deserve it, not by charging more to those who don't. Otherwise it is just another backwards municipal system that promotes its own abuse.

Update 12/17/10 - Buffalo News reported on the enacting of the law.

12/02/2010

Concert Contracts Approved

Posted by MJ


The Buffalo News and LUSJ reported.
The city will strike two new contracts to keep the Molson Canal Concert Series downtown next summer.
On split votes of 5-1 and 4-2 Wednesday, the Common Council OK’d Mayor Michael Tucker’s signature on separate deals with Ulrich City Centre and Canal Concert Series Inc. to maintain arrangements in place for the popular outdoor free concert series.
Fourth Ward Alderman Andy Chapman voted “no” to both contracts. Second Ward Alderman Jack Smith voted “no” to the city contracting with Canal Concert Series Inc., the not-for-profit outfit that recruits concert acts and stages the shows at City Centre.
Terms of the city’s deal with Canal Concert Series are not satisfactory, Smith said. Lockport is paying a portion of the costs tied to concert staging, while the series’ former host, the City of North Tonawanda, received benefits for being the host: CCS paid the city $1,000 cash for every concert it hosted and also paid a portion of North Tonawanda police officers’ overtime tab for providing security.
“I read the (North Tonawanda) contract,” Smith said. “We could do better with Canal Concert Series.”
The city’s cost to help stage the nine-concert 2010 series was just short of $124,500, according to Tucker. That included the cost of renting a professional stage, and assigning several police officers and paramedics to City Centre, every Friday night during the season
It is interesting to see our costs relative to the cost structure during the N. Tonawanda period. I don't recall if costs were an issue in the series leaving N. Tonawanda.

While I see no problem in discussing the costs of the series, I'm always let down when there is no reporting on discussions on how to further sell Lockport during the concerts. Main St Inc already represents the city with a both at each show. I'm more concerned about infrastructure improvements, housing incentives, etc that wouls not just benefit existing residents but that would also attract new ones.

11/30/2010

Councuil Agenda 12-01-10

Posted by MJ

The council agenda for this Wednesday is here:

11/29/2010

Diva's and Pallister House

Posted by MJ


We noticed on the way home last night two new additions on Main St. Diva's Have "All that Chocolate" and Pallister House Flower's and Gifts are now located at 39 East Ave next to the library. Looking throught the windows it appears Paliister purchased the counter etc from Wilhelm and Ashe Home Store in the UCC during their closing process. Is this a second location of the Pallister in Newfane or did they just move here? These two buisnesses are a nice addition to Main St considering the loss of both Wilhelm and Ashe stores. The buildling has also recently recieved a new stone facade which looks great.


While a chain store here or there may draw people to a Main St through their noteriety and advertising, it's small businesses like these that will make it thrive.

I kind hope that the recently opened Oogie Games in the Lockport Plaza will find its way downtown in the future. It would appear to have great potential for shared customers with the likes of the Daily Grind etc.

11/29/2010

Flintkote Injury Claim

Posted by MJ

11/29/10

The LUSJ has reported that the claim has been filed. Next up: CPS visits to question family about endangering the welfare of their 11yr old child by not properly supervising them. Actually, both scenarios are rediculus.

7/4/10

The Buffalo News reported today on a Notice of Claim against Niagara County for an injury that allegedly happened on the old Flintkote Site on Mill St.

"Notice of claim will be filed against Niagara County this week on behalf of an 11-year-old girl who fell from a decrepit building at the former Flintkote plant and broke her jaw.

Denis Bastible of the Cellino & Barnes law firm said he will file the mandatory preliminary to a lawsuit by Katie Sargent, of Chapel Street, who was hurt June 10 at the hazardous waste site, which the county has owned since 1999..."

I feel bad for the kid having to deal with the experience and the injuries. But I don't care if there is a hole in a fence or a sign has some weeds in front of it. 11 years is old enough to realize the risk you are taking and that you are not supposed to be there in the first place. If a kid is not old enough to making these decisions then why are they allowed out on their own?

If one can file a suit against the county in this instance, would counter suits by the county against parents for not properly raising their children to stay out of locations they do to belong at and not raising them to properly access risk be reasonable?

In either case no. A child learned a lesson the hard way (like most of us probably did growing up).

11/24/2010

Blog B-Day #2

Posted by MJ


Well I missed it two weeks ago but Nov 12th was the 2nd anniversary of this blog (1st).

Views have gone from around 50k during the first year to almost 120k during the second. A big part of that is still the ever popular Molson Concert Series threads. The Our Lady Peace concert set a single day view record of 2,272 views the day of the show. The 2010 concert series thread as a whole has over 17,000 views at this time. The most viewed non-concert related thread was the recent Budget 2011 Part 1 post with over 1,000.

I just want to say thank you to everyone who participates be it by a name or anonymously and the 99.9% good behavior rate you bring to the discussions. I personally know more than a few in the city government that browse here from time to time as one of their sources of resident feedback. I'd also like to thank the couple that have posted here, as inviting to trolls as it may be.

I look forward to the next year as we continue to discuss ways to make the place we live better and enjoy all it has to offer. I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.

11/24/2010

Discover Buffalo Niagara

Posted by MJ


The 2011 Discover Buffalo Niagara Calender is now out (FB). For those of you that enjoy all of the events around our part of WNY this calender offers over 400 of them by date. This is the 11th year of publication.

And as a side-note plug, I created this year's cover and Lockport resident Olivia is on the cover.

11/23/2010

Fleeing Civic Debt

Posted by MJ

I have recently come across an article that once once again says something that I have "thought" for a long time but have never been able to explain well.

...Why is this happening? One big reason cities tend to fall into decline is that they accumulate huge unfunded liabilities, and those liabilities attach to the territory, not the people. This lets one generation of residents rack up huge future bills, then skip town to leave the next generation or those not lucky enough to get out with the bill. It’s the equivalent of being able run up a huge balance on the civic credit card, then pawn the bill off on someone else.
Imagine if you will if your house worked this way. Your mortgage, your credit card debt, etc. all happened to be chargeable not to you, but to whomever was living in your house. If you simply stopped paying and moved elsewhere, you’d be relieved of all those debts. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly how municipal debt and unfunded liabilities work. It is a huge incentive for politicians and residents to vote for immediate gratification with the bill – infrastructure costs, pensions, redevelopment costs, or what have you – pushed out 25-30 years. Then these people or their children simply move to a greenfield and start the process over again.
I suspect this, perhaps more than any other force, is what drives urban and suburban abandonment in favor of newer towns...
It is a pertinent subject as we come off the most recent budget process and hear the voices explain that newer places "just do it better". It's always easy to do better when you grow off of somewhere with the liabilities and have yet to reach the peak of your own.

It's also good insight into why an older city will never demolish and parking lot pave its way to success. The numbers are against the city competing against cheap green fields and lower newer cost structures. For cities that have survived or turned around it has come from embracing their urban infrastructure and walkability potential. Unfortunately places like Lockport still contain outdated zoning codes that do the opposite. They promote development of a second rate ‘burb instead of a first class city/village.

UPDATE:

This also reminded me of a favorite quote of mine: "In America we don't solve our problems, we just move away from them."

11/23/2010

Road Design

Posted by MJ

Interesting insight into a Traffic Engineer and his thoughts on current road standards.

...In retrospect I understand that this was utter insanity. Wider, faster, treeless roads not only ruin our public places, they kill people. Taking highway standards and applying them to urban and suburban streets, and even county roads, costs us thousands of lives every year. There is no earthly reason why an engineer would ever design a fourteen foot lane for a city block, yet we do it continuously. Why?
The answer is utterly shameful: Because that is the standard.
In the engineering profession's version of defensive medicine, we can't recommend standards that are not in the manual. We can't use logic to vary from a standard that gives us 60 mph design speeds on roads with intersections every 200 feet. We can't question why two cars would need to travel at high speed in opposite directions on a city block, let alone why we would want them to. We can yield to public pressure and post a speed limit -- itself a hazard -- but we can't recommend a road section that is not in the highway manual.


When the public and politicians tell engineers that their top priorities are safety and then cost, the engineer's brain hears something completely different. The engineer hears, "Once you set a design speed and handle the projected volume of traffic, safety is the top priority. Do what it takes to make the road safe, but do it as cheaply as you can." This is why engineers return projects with asinine "safety" features, like pedestrian bridges and tunnels that nobody will ever use, and costs that are astronomical....
Rather important lessons to rememeber especially when it comes to the city and future road projects. If you make it easier and more comfortable for people to go fast, they will. No matter how many speed limit signs you may try to put up. Mutliple wide lanes, no cars parked on the streets, trees removed etc all cause dirvers to feel more comfortable going faster and cause them to pay less attention.

11/18/2010

2011 Budget Passed

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and LUSJ reported.

"The 2011 budget the Common Council passed Wednesday includes a property tax reduction that may evaporate for many homeowners once the cost of the city’s new privatized garbage and recycling program is figured in..."
----
The $21.4 million general fund budget spends almost $1.8 million less than this year, but that’s primarily because the Council detached the estimated $1.3 million cost of the new garbage program and placed it in a separate budget. The tax rate of $15.24 per $1,000 of assessed valuation is down 69 cents, or 4.34 percent, but that’s because garbage isn’t included.
Now we can follow the garbage privatization process unfold...




11/17/2010

Chapman's 2012 Suggestions

Posted by MJ

11/29/10

The Buffalo News reported that the ideas were dicussed on the 17th.

11/17/2010

I noticed this in the LUSJ article last week:

...After the public hearing, five of six aldermen said they’re prepared to vote “yes” to adopting the 2011 budget as it stands. Fourth Ward Alderman Andy Chapman’s yea is tentative, he said. He’s made a list of 12 reform/downsizing type items he wants the Council to commit to exploring in 2011. If the rest of the aldermen promise to look, he’ll vote for the budget as-is, he said...
I inquired about it and Andy quickly got back to me with it. Here are some of his thoughts on items that should be looked into in anticipation of the 2012 budget process.


The full document is here.

11/16/2010

Council Agenda 11-17-10

Posted by MJ

Here is the council agenda for this week:

11/16/2010

Your change in tax rate...

Posted by MJ

.for 2011 single family residence is conservatively estimated to be:

The garbage fee is an estimate and will dependent on tote size.

11/09/2010

Budget 2011-Part 2 "Presentation"

Posted by MJ

11/11/10

The Buffalo News and the LUSJ both reported on the "quiet" budget public comment session last night at city hall.

...The vote is due at next Wednesday’s meeting of the Council. Genewick, Council President Richelle J. Pasceri, Alderwoman Flora M. McKenzie and Alderman Joseph C. Kibler said they support the budget. Alderman Jack L. Smith Jr. said he would vote no, while Alderman Andrew D. Chapman said he wants to try to interest his colleagues in further cuts.
But Chapman said the Council already has achieved a lot. “If we hadn’t done anything [with the original budget], it would have been a 19 percent increase,” he said. “When we started this process, we were facing long odds,” Mayor Michael W. Tucker told the audience at the hearing. “We always hear, ‘Do things differently. Reduce the cost of government.’ That’s what we’re doing.”

The $21.4 million spending plan is nearly $1.8 million lower than this year’s, but $1.3 million of that reduction came because the garbage program has been deleted from the regular budget and is now a separate fund....
...Mullaney said that 24 jobs have been dropped from the budget and that privatizing the garbage service accounts for only 11 of those. The other jobs were vacated by retirements in the last month, he said, and only one or two are being filled...
The articles mention that only three people spoke and non were set against the garbage plan. Be sure to get your spring cleaning done early! ;)

 

11/10/10

Another LUSJ article on the garbage transfer comparing it to the attempt back in 1991 to do the same.
...A glance back at the US&J headlines 19 years ago shows striking similarities between then and now. In the midst of another budget crisis, another Common Council is wrestling with the same bear of a problem: How to maintain expected services without gouging taxpayers. Trash collection is in the mix in both crisis periods primarily because of demand for recycling, but also because big-ticket items are naturally open to scrutiny in fiscal tough times...
Getting employee's out of the city system is crucial when their overall costs are taken into account. Seen here is the looming public pension crisis for a number of NYS municipalities.
...There isn’t a moment to waste in pushing for changes to alter what is otherwise a collision course with dire consequences. Taxpayers cannot afford to continue supporting public employee health insurance into retirements, bolstering a model designed during a time in which this area had high-paying manufacturing jobs and public jobs tended to be lower paying with rich benefits. Manufacturing jobs have been lost and public employee salaries are higher now than aver-age private sector ones. What’s left is the legacy of a rich benefits package without the tax base to support it...



A Buffalo news article mentioning Erie County's current tactic of not using surplus' to cover re-occuring expenses.
...The moral of the story became: Don’t pay everyday, recurring expenses with nonrecurring income. Reserve money is considered nonrecurring one-shot money. When you spend it, it’s gone. Today’s county government money managers, including those at the control board, agree with the strategy to pay everyday expenses only with recurring income— income from sales taxes and property taxes, primarily...
This is not being proposed this year but it was done last year and had to be accounted for in this year's budget.

As a reminder. The public comment session is tonight at city hall.

11/9/10

The Buffalo News and   LUSJ has reported on the current budget status heading into tomorrow's public comment session at city hall.

The Common Council’s tentative 2011 city budget calls for a 69-cent tax rate cut.
Once trash collection is privatized and a flat pickup fee is levied, however, many property taxpayers will see a year-over-year increase in city living costs.
The garbage pickup fee is presently estimated to be $124 per “unit,” meaning per single-family home, apartment, business or other type property occupant, even tax-exempt users.
Average residential property assessment is $79,000. If the 2011 budget is approved, the average tax bill will fall to $1,247, down about $12 from this year’s bill, but when the $124 is added onto the 2011 bill, the average property owner’s cost of living here will rise $112.
Only when assessed property value is $179,000 does the owner “break even” on the city’s removal of refuse collection costs from the budget, according to calculations by 4th Ward Alderman Andy Chapman. Only where property is assessed for more than $179,000 will the owner see a true cut in city living costs...
Here is the current preliminary budget spreadsheet as of today (11/9)

Smith proposed to lay off five police officers by shifting dispatching duties to the Niagara County’s Sheriff’s Office.
“You can’t arbitrarily make that decision in a week [before the budget vote],” Tucker said. “Not only are you affecting the five people who are losing their jobs, you’re affecting this community.”
“We’ll be looking at public safety in the next year,” Council President Richelle J. Pasceri said. “Our population base is dwindling. Our tax base is dwindling. These numbers are too big to lay on taxpayers’ shoulders year after year.”
A reminder that we can only cut ourselves so much before we have nothing let to offer. The end vision should be creating a place that will draw new people to build income/taxible value.

The trash has partially come out, incrimental raises are paid for and we are borrowing for the new pumper. How are we feeling?

Previsous Budget 2011 discussion is here: Budget 2011-Part 1 "Requests"

11/02/2010

Look Up Your Polling Place

Posted by MJ

Last minute, I know. But here is the county web page to look up the proper polling place based on your address.

You can also see a sample ballot.

11/01/2010

Council Agenda 11-03-10

Posted by MJ

Here is the agenda for this Wednesday's meeting:



Looks like several public comment sessions will be set:

Nov 10th: 2011 Budget
Nov 17th: Salaries of Officers
Dec  1st:   Dog Licensing

11/01/2010

Budget 2011-Part 1 "Requests"

Posted by MJ

November 1st

Forbes and the National Affairs have interesting articles on national pension deficits and public sector unions respectivlely

The Buffalo News reported on LPD and LFD interactions with the common council.

Passuite said he expects four retirements and is asking for $197,736 in sick and vacation buyouts. "Each of these gentlemen has more than 400 sick days," the fire chief said.


Again: get rid of this allowance to buildup rediculous amounts of sick/vacation time. Pay out yearly to avoid these large one-time payments.

LFD food for thought:
As far as I understand it currently the (4) 12 man platoons (A,B,C,D) cover 12 hour shifts on a 6 day cycle. One week half have a 36 hour week and the next they have a 44 hour week. 48 man total requirement for up to 12 men available at a time.

Idea:
Group the platoons into two (AB and CD) half of platoon would man the station in 12 hour shifts and half would be on call the whole day for events that required additional man power. The following 6-day shift the roles would reverse. Ths would enable up to 12 men being paid to be able to respond to a necessary event at any time while only requiring 32 members total (33% reduction). This is dependent on the number of calls. I would enjoy being on call every other day if I could sleep at home, relax at home,  work on the house, interact with the kids etc if the number of call ins were reasonable. Do statistics show that it is possible to stay home a whole day without being called in?

Let me know if my math is wrong...


October 28th

Aldreman are asking for the ability to "reduce their pay" and the garbage system may be phased in.

Although a nice gesture, I don't see the need for the accounting/law complication of the "set my pay rate". I'd rather see what they are looking to give up donated to park upgrades, replacing our trees etc. The types of positive funding that quickly gets lost in budget cutting.

October 27th

The Buffalo News and LUSJ reported on the budgetary effects of the early retirement buyouts.

Why does the city still allow employees to build up this much unused sick time and holiday pay? It's rare to see a modern day operation that let's someone carry more than 1 week over to the next year and does not buy out the remaining annually.

Reminder:  Budget documents are here. I'll be adding some more today.

October 22nd:

The LUSJ reported on the Building Dept and the lack of resources that have led to a lapse in the "rental housing blitz"
The city’s street-by-street rental housing inspection effort has slowed considerably this year, Chief Building Inspector Jason Dool said this week.
In discussion with Common Council members about his department’s 2011 budget request, Dool disclosed that it has been several months since his three-man team last blitzed a street to arrange inside-outside inspection of all rental properties on it.
Increased numbers of complaint investigations and permit inspections have kept the team tied up, he said. Departure of two staff memebrs since mid-2009 — a full-time housing inspector and veteran chief inspector Jim McCann — leaves the team running to keep up, Dool said.
This is the type of funding that we must make sure is not overally cut. The lack of power to complete the job will only lead to slipping housing values and hold back investment. It is good to see that they have been busy with building permits as they are a barometer of investment. We are one of them.


October 19th:

The Buffalo News reported on the warning against using the fund balance again to help balance the budget.

City Clerk and Budget Director Richard P. Mullaney warned aldermen Monday that the city’s fund balance can’t be used to prevent a tax increase, layoffs or both in the 2011 city budget, because there isn’t enough money available...



...A tax increase can be avoided through “cost avoidance,” Mullaney said. But 82 percent of the general fund budget consists of salaries and employee benefits. That’s where the layoff prospect comes in...
It should be a rather obvious point. I'd envision the fund being used for last-minute or mid-year hold backs from the state etc. Being used to just balance the budget from the start would only seem to delay the painful decisions.

I'm rather surprised by the percentage of taxes that goes to labor (82%). It does appear to be around that of major cities (from a quick web search). Of the 18% that's left, where does it go?

October 14th:

The Buffalo News and the LUSJ are reporting on the doom and gloom of the 2011 budget kickoff.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Wednesday that layoffs are possible in the 2011 city budget, while Common Council President Richelle J. Pasceri called her colleagues “cowardly” if they’re not open to a tax increase....


This will be our existance for the foreseeable future: budget after budget of nail biting and gap closing. Hopefully someone in the city gov't will initiate the effort on planning how to turn the slow decline around and increase our chances at future growth. Not just small pieces of it but a complete cohesive plan that we can all rally around. Without it, we're all looking at annual tax increases as the years pass by....

10/29/2010

Voutour Fear

Posted by MJ

Voutour was kind enough to remind us to be especially careful of sexual preditor strangers on Halloween even though statistics show no difference in sex crimes on Halloween than any other time of year:

...A study published last year examining nine years of crime statistics in 30 states showed no spike in sex crimes against children on or around Halloween.
A group of university professors and a Washington state prosecutor researched the issue in response to the flurry of Halloween-specific restrictions on sex offenders.
Like the "urban myths" warning of tainted candy and razorblades in apples, the authors suggest, the trend toward Halloween policies targeting sex offenders "combats a nonexistent problem."
"Halloween appears to be just another autumn day where rates of sex crimes against children are concerned," they wrote:
Focusing on registered sex offenders, while well-intentioned, might distract police from other more probable threats to children, said Mark Chaffin, a University of Oklahoma professor of pediatrics and the study's lead author.
For example, children ages 5 to 14 are four times more likely to be killed in vehicle-pedestrian crashes on Halloween than on any other day of the year, the authors pointed out...
Some more food for thought:

Gov't statistics show that a vast majority of the offenses are commited by people the victim knows (~95%), that the recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders is less than 5% and that first contact is almost never near places where children congregate (schools, playgrounds, etc).
A 2007 report by the Minnesota Department of Corrections tracked 224 sex offenders released from prison between 1999 and 2002 who committed new sex crimes prior to 2006. The first contact between victim and offender never happened near a school, daycare center or other place where children congregate. The report concluded, “Not one of the 224 sex offenses would likely have been deterred by a residency restrictions law.” The study warned that these laws isolate offenders in rural areas with little social and treatment support, with poor transportation access and with few job opportunities. The resulting increase in homelessness makes them harder to track and supervise. “Rather than lowering sexual recidivism,” the report said, “housing restrictions may work against this goal by fostering conditions that exacerbate sex offenders’ reintegration into society.”
Enjoy your Halloween with your children. Be careful crossing the street. Leave your "scary" imagination for the ghosts.

10/27/2010

Ward Meeting - Nov 6th @ Library

Posted by MJ


Jack Smith will be holding a Ward Meeting on Saturday November 6th from 10 am untill 12 pm in the meeting room. Representatives from Housing Visions will be there so bring all those burning questions and get them answered right from the source.

10/27/2010

2011 Budget Prelim Documents

Posted by MJ

October 10/27/10

Here are the overall revenue and expense documents for previous years and 2011 initial projections, complete with tasty pie charts.



October 10/20/10

Here are some of the preliminary documents distributed to the common council, press, etc.

First up is the comparison of city employee numbers broken down by department in 1980, 1990, and 2009.

1980 - 2009 Lockport Employee Comparison

I'm rather surprised that employment numbers have already been reduced by 30% over the past 30 years. I've heard this before and it is interesting to see where the changes were.

Here are several of the budget request documents filed with the city clerk by each department:

Animial Control Budget Request
Assessor's Office Budget Request
Building Department Budget Request
Civil Service Budget Request
Clerk Budget Request
Community Beautification Budget Request
Community Development Budget Request
Dog Control Office Budget Request
Engineering Building Maintenance Budget Request
Fire Department Budget Request
Highway and Parks Budget Request
Police Department Budget Request
Waste Water Treatment Plant Budget Request

Hopefully these documents can give us some perspective when discussing the 2011 budget.

10/26/2010

Night Terrors

Posted by LoneWolf



Greetings~

Those of you that may have seen the Orange colored flyers last year  .. or maybe seen the "splash" in the LS&J  for haunted yards..

You WILL see these things again this year .. if you haven't already seen them in some area businesses..

Night Terrors IS returning  for antother fright filled Halloween night on Washburn Street ...

We currently have close to 20 actors involved with a combined experince of OVER 20 years doing haunted houses... all of our actors  are voulenteer.. and we enjoy what we do for Halloween..


We are planning on being bigger than last year.


Admission is FREE ..   but donations are welcomed.. they will go to either charity ( Lymphoma society) or to help to build next years haunt .. depending on what comes in.


Attached is the Flyer that you all will see floating around the city at various areas....

Hope to see ya.. If you enjoy Haunted  stuff.

~Jeff

-UPDATE: 10/26/10
To the top - originally posted 9/9/10

10/22/2010

City Holloween Events

Posted by MJ


The LUSJ reported on Holloween events for the upcoming week:

• Pumpkin decorating contest: 405 pumpkins were delivered, one to each third-grade student in Lockport City schools, earlier this week for decorating. Today they’re being taken to 24 businesses that will display them and accept people’s votes for “best decorated.”...
• Downtown trick-or-treating: Main Street Inc. is joining forces with the city Youth and Recreation Department to throw a Halloween bash for kids in the City Hall parking lot from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29. Pizza will be served and goody bags handed out to all party-goers; games will be organized; costumes are encouraged...
• Halloween decorating contest: Co-sponsored by the US&J, this one’s open to all home and business owners in the city and the town...
• Also downtown: Tours of the Haunted Palace will be ongoing Oct. 27 through 29; tours of the Lockport Haunted Caves are ongoing through Oct. 30. For wee ones who don’t like to be scared, Lockport Family YMCA’s “Happy House” will be open Oct. 27 through 30...

• Shredd & Ragan’s “10-town tour” Thursday afternoon at the Palace Theater.

10/22/2010

Sweet Sixteen Cafe

Posted by MJ

9/22/10
I noticed the sign in the window for Sweet Sixteen Cafe at 16 W. Main St between Chet's and Grimble's. Ellen noticed me peering through the window and was nice enough to let me inside and fill me in on what was going on. Opening in one week will be an updated cafe with "home made" baked goods and hot beverages. The type of place that Lockport is sorely missing. I look forward to the short walk there and the possibility of sitting out back along the canal next summer.

UPDATE 10-10-22 - Grand Opening Tonight.

Buffalo News Article
LUSJ Article

10/20/2010

New Study on Locks

Posted by MJ


The Buffalo News reported on a new study pertaining to the full restoration of the northern Flight of Five.
Restoring the 19th century Erie Canal locks to working order would bring in enough tourists to make an annual $17 million economic impact on Niagara County, a new study says.
The study by Camoin Associates of Saratoga Springs was commissioned in hopes its results could be used to convince someone to give the City of Lockport the roughly $7 million needed for the restoration of the Flight of Five, as the original stairstep set of five locks are called.
One key target audience is the New York Power Authority. Its president and chief executive officer, Richard M. Kessel, toured the locks May 20 and was asked for $6 million by Mayor Michael W. Tucker.
Kessel said Friday he hadn’t seen the Camoin study yet, but he said, “I think it’s a great project. It is certainly under serious consideration as part of a Niagara County package we’re putting together.”...
The numbers are substantial even if assumed to be only half. A 19th century engineering marvel is worthy of full stewardship. Seeing that it is located right in the middle of our city opens even more opportunity to create a special place for not just the visitors, but those of us who actually live here. We need a plan so their inertia can feed off each other in our aim to create somehwere special to live and visit. The infrastructure is here.

It's always a pleasent surprise seeing all the different license plates parked on the Pine St bridge during the summer.

10/19/2010

NCCC gets the Rainbow Mall

Posted by MJ

It looks like NCCC Culinary Institute will be at the Old Rainbow Mall as Cordish has so graciously given up his long term lease. I wish them the best as that concrete bunker is formidable but the redo of Falls St. is quite beautiful and should be a good foundation to build off of.  I'm also a little amused to the whole over reaction to the donation of the mall lease by Cordish. It's been vacant for a decade though I guess he is losing the tax write off and that is worth something.

"Cordish has offered to “donate” Rainbow Square’s lease on the city-owned mall “in an effort to see this proposed culinary institute project move forward,” said Corporation Counsel Craig H. Johnson."

As for Canal St here in Lockport, are the other three parties still interested? Will we see them move forward now that the door is open on the opportunity?

And can we please secure ourself as the epicenter of the wine loop? If the "Niagara Wine Trail" sign at the Niagara Falls Blvd exit on the 290 is not offensive enough, having a signature store in the Falls will surely up it.

10/19/2010

Council Agenda 10-20-10

Posted by MJ

This week's council agenda is posted over at eLockport:



10/15/2010

This Decrepit Victorian

Posted by MJ

I came across this interesting blog about an old victorian renovation down in Richmond, Virginia.


First interesting thought is that even farther down south cities have been hit by the same disinvestment as those up here in the north east although our "grass is greener" mentality tends to hide that at times.
 
It spans from 2003 until present and follows a path that one would follow (or has followed) in rejuvinating an old house from a former double back into a single in a not-so-nice neighborhood. A process that many here would like to see happen more around Lockport.
 
It highlights the:
Joy of discovering old walled in features
The unjoyful finding out of structural issues in the walls
removing that addtional wall separating the stairway
crime nearby
contractors that "don't work in that part of town"
Nearby blight
Removing those old asphalt siding shingles
Good and bad infill
Rehabilitation Tax Credits
etc
 
Although scary at first and a pain in the ass when doing it, an old house offers the opprtunity to live in a place while redoing it one section at a time as money permits. It is a wonderful feeling to walk through a room knowing that you did the work and are making a place better than you found it.
 
What incentives do we need to make more of these happen (Residential PILOTs?) and how do we help people accomplish the work (Building Dept classes/cheat sheets?)?

10/11/2010

DT Hours

Posted by MJ

Buffalo News reported that Lockport Main Street is in process of organizing Halloween and Christmas promotional plans for downtown businesses. All the promotion events so far have been a nice addition to DT. Hopefully the business community is seeing some type of return on it.

I feel the biggest promotional plan (and toughest to develop) for DT businesses would be some basic set evening business hours. Even today the stereotype of "nothing is open downtown" is still reinforced. I know personally that if I want to do something after dinner my gut choice is head to the town (or farther) where almost any store/eatery located in a plaza, etc will be open until at least 9pm. Going for a walk down Main St from time to time confirms the opposite for DT.

I realize that there is a cost difficulty in the extra staffing but there should also be some difficulty in not being open in the evening when people who work all day are looking to spend their money. I've heard accounts places that have stayed open later on certain nights only to find no additional benefits. One could see it as proof that it doesn't work. I see it as proof that it doesn't work without a group effort and established times making it worth taking the chance (drive).

There needs to be a feeling of "Lockport is open" if we want people to be comfortable venturing DT and finding businesses open when they get there. Be it by car or walking from the nearby neighborhoods that we look to turn around.

10/08/2010

The Plan?

Posted by MJ

To follow up on an earlier post, another quote. This one from the Detroit News:

...There’s a lesson here, as much for local and state politicians as for business leaders facing difficult circumstances and a problematic future: Success depends on the courage of leaders to acknowledge failure, sometimes decades of it, and then chart a credible path away from it — wherever it leads.

This is also somewhat relevant to the current Housing Visions debate. Where is the plan as we continue to drift forward? Where would Housing Visions fit in? Our last "Master Plan" was done in 1998 and never ennacted officially. It appears to have partially shaped the Main St rebuild and parts of UCC (or was it just luck?) but beyond that?

We tread with no vision to inspire and follow. No official path of what we want to become to inspire others to join in. It's budget season. Let's hope when its over we can start moving forward on laying out our future.

10/07/2010

Housing Visions $ Figures

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that at last night's council meeting the PILOT was approved for the Housing Visions Lockport Canal Homes project.

The Lockport Canal Homes housing development will be property-tax exempt for 20 years, according to an agreement approved by the Common Council on Wednesday.



The not-for-profit developer, Syracuse-based Housing Visions, plans to renovate or rebuild houses on 11 lots along Genesee, Locust and Pine streets, if financing for the $9 million product can be lined up.


The agency sought tax-exempt status for the properties to strengthen its application for a homeless housing assistance grant; other grants and funding sources are being pursued now as well, said Housing Visions’ director of development, Ben Lockwood.


According to the agreement, the agency will make annual payments to the city in lieu of taxes, either 5 percent of gross rents collected or $9,000 per year, whichever is more......
People were pining for the numbers "behind the scenes" and I thankfully have them:

LCH Development Budget

LCH Operating Budget

LCH Tax Analysis

Jack Smith has a tentatvie ward meeting lined up for Saturday Nov 6th at the Public Library from 10am to 12pm. HV has been invited to this meeting and confirmation is being awaited. Chew over the numbers and bring your questions.

UPDATE: 10-08-10
Buffalo News Article

Old posts on current HV plan:
HV Before Zoning Board Tonight
Housing Visions Rd 2

10/05/2010

Council Agenda 10-06-10

Posted by MJ

This week's council agenda is posted over at eLockport.

9/30/2010

Where to Put the Effort?

Posted by MJ

A post over at Urbanophile hits a thought I've brought up here several times.

 ...That’s the situation too many places find themselves in. They can’t afford to be cities, and so are really in the process of an extended civic going out of business sale. As with a company that has been issued a going concern warning by its auditor and is about to be delisted from the stock exchange, people smell the whiff of death about it, so it doesn’t attract many customers or investors. Which is to say that people aren’t moving there – they are moving out if anything – and businesses are staying away. Who wants to stake their personal or financial future on a place that might not have a future of its own?
This is something merely balancing this year’s budget isn’t going to fix. What’s really needed is to restore investor confidence. That’s going to take more than balanced budgets. Just as most companies don’t fail because their costs are too high, but rather because of the forces of creative destruction, excess leverage, poor product positioning, quality and customer service issues, a bad strategic concept, etc., most cities don’t fail because their budget’s too big, but because they are no longer relevant to the marketplace. They are selling an inferior version of a product that customers no longer want to buy. For too many struggling cities, especially former industrial towns, even if their current service levels could be delivered for a budget of zero that wouldn’t save them.
The real issue with many cities is that their leaders spend too much time grappling with short term issues, particularly budgets in the present day, and not nearly enough time thinking about where the trend line is taking them and what they need to do to drive a materially better outcome in the future...
A lot of politicians run on "budgets". While important to watch over (or even "save" during some down times) there needs to be a bigger vision of what we want to become and what we are going to do to get there. A place where people want and feel safe to invest their money and creative efforts.

9/30/2010

Zoning Appeals

Posted by MJ

Zoning variance issues come up here from time to time so I thought I would quickly (?) explain how judgments are made following to NYS law. There are two types with different criteria for each.



1) Area Variance - the board must balance the benefit to the applicant with the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the community. They shall consider

- whether the benefit can be achieved by other means feasible to the applicant
- undesirable change in neighborhood character or to nearby properties
- whether the request is substantial
- whether the request will have adverse physical or environmental effects
- whether alleged difficulty is self-created


2) Use Variance - To allow a use not otherwise allowed in zoning an applicant must demonstrate hardship. Such demonstration includes all of the following for each permitted use:

- cannot realize a reasonable return - substantial as shown by competent financial evidence
- alleged hardship is unique and does not apply to substantial portion of the neighborhood
- requested variance will not alter essential character of the neighborhood
- alleged hardship has not been self-created.

For both cases the board shall grant the minimum variance necessary and may impose reasonable conditions.

9/29/2010

Season's

Posted by MJ

Is it still open?

All signage is gone from the Main St and Parking lot windows though product is still inside. My guess is that she had to close up shop with possibly Ulrich taking over the stock and fixtures inside. Has anyone heard anything?  We did miss Wilhelm and Ashe Home after the original owners moved south and although we hoped for the best, "Season's" did not feel quite the same. Just What the Doctor Ordered has closed, Wilhelm and Ashe Floristry has not returned after the fire and now Season's appears to be gone. Luckily Gould's Flowers still remains. Hopefully someone takes over this location. An actual retail location (an upscale one at that) in this development was nice to have.

Also, some interior build out is happening in the two "buildings" next to Hunt Real Estate along Walnut St. I wonder if tenant(s) are lined up.

9/28/2010

Planning Board - Oct 2010

Posted by MJ

Planning Board Agenda for Oct 4th 2010:

9/25/2010

Mill St Update - Just Leave

Posted by MJ

LUSJ reported on the ongoing state confrontations at the Mill St demo site.

...Off to the side, Krzyzanowski’s wife, Diana, sat on a concrete barrier, watching a government agent parked across the street watch her and Scott. The Newfane native sighed she’s ready to go home — to Texas.

“(Scott’s) got three investors ready to put in a small plaza here, but not until that building’s gone. We don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to do that,” she said. “To hell with it, let’s go home.”

Diana had just finished telling Tucker it was suggested to her that a union contractor dropped a dime to the Labor Department on the Krzyzanowskis, perhaps after spreading asbestos around the property. Tucker nodded, indicating the same suspicion was conveyed to him...
I don't blame them. Just go back home to Texas and leave the frustration of NYS behind.

Why can't the state work with these type of people who take on a brownfield challenge in a depressed area? Why do they have to be the "tough guy"? Why not come, explain and then offer up a grant or something to help the process along. The owners already demonstrated starting to take it down and the way its going, the state will end up paying for the abatement and removal anyways somewhere down the road.

Last post on subject: Mill St.

9/24/2010

Fire Truck Specs - Min Change

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that the council approved the Fire Truck Bid Spec with 2 desenting votes. The LFD appearently did the bare minimum to "clean" the specifications.

"Over the objections of two aldermen, the Common Council on Wednesday OK’d a revised call for proposals on a custom-built fire pumper truck.
The bid specification, which virtually repeats a spec previously tossed out by the city attorney, was published last week.

Fourth Ward Alderman Andy Chapman tried getting the Council to pull it back for further revisions this week, claiming the new spec is still too similar to the old one that got tossed because it skirted rules of fair competition for the city’s business.

The new spec “is not changed enough. There needs to be additional sanitization,” Chapman said.

With Fire Chief Tom Passuite and 13 firefighters standing around the seated councilmen, Chapman aired his suspicion that the revised spec is still largely the work of a truck manufacturer’s representative that bid on the previous spec. He said he compared the old and new computer files and found them “exactly the same ... except for 109 words.”..."

Below is a document that was handed out at the meeting showing the specifications similarity to the manufacturer's web site specs for their equipment, the minimum number of changes that were done to the last spec and higlighting FEMA's rules : (click on link below pic for PDF file) . Draw your own conclusions.



I feel the document deserved to be questioned. I can also see why people would get frustrated when the way "something has always been done" gets questioned. But why not do it right the first, second or third time? It may only be one fire truck purchase that people want to get over with but if it highlights culture of the city departments some friction may be called for.

Last blog post on topic: Pumper Saga Continues

9/22/2010

City of Lockport - Ward Map

Posted by MJ


(Image - City of Lockport Ward Map (as of 09/22/2010))
I've updated the Ward Map, only about 9 months late. Current aldermen are:
City Common Council Page

1st Richelle J. Pasceri 755 Market St. 716.439.9423

2nd Jack L. Smith, Jr. 77 Waterman St. 716.434.8003

3rd Flora M. McKenzie 199 West Ave. 716.433.7781

4th Andrew D. Chapman 532 Pine St. 716.433.2006   andy(a)lockportalderman.com

5th Kenneth M. Genewick 38 Harrison Ave. 716.439.5907

At Large Joseph C. Kibler 16 Cleveland Place 716.434.8673


Originally posted 12-17-2008
UPDATE 12-19-2008: - Color photos of map imbedded. Merged color scans are to come. A thank you to Mayor Tucker for supplying this to me.
UPDATE 09-22-10: Current council member info updated

9/16/2010

Canal St - NCCC

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and The LUSJ reported on Ulrich's latest (first?) public solicitation of NCCC for its culinary institute to be placed on Canal St.:

Developer David L. Ulrich on Wednesday continued making his pitch for Niagara County Community College to locate its planned culinary arts institute on Canal Street.
The college's current plans -- described as a $13.2 million hospitality and tourism school -- call for the project to be located in part of the former Rainbow Centre mall in Niagara Falls.
Ulrich, touting the prospects of the Lockport site, called his plans a "combination of two good ideas" -- the college's school and Lockport's refurbished block overlooking the Erie Canal locks.

NCCC will not say no, but will also say nothing else:

...The school doesn’t want to burn any bridges with a developer, or the City of Lockport, by saying “no” — especially since it has had such difficulty acquiring a site in Niagara Falls — but the culinary institute has always been conceived as a school with retail components planned specifically to feed off the Falls tourist market, he said.
“That (Ulrich) is offering us an alternative is a real compliment to the idea of a culinary institute; when he says he can build us a first-class campus and save X amount of money, I don’t doubt him, he’s got a good reputation,” Klyczek said, “but going to Lockport would require a major reworking of the plan. ... (Canal Street) is a nice property; the parking ramp concept is interesting; but in our development team’s opinion, it’s not within the framework of what we’ve been pursuing.”...
An unfunded school knee-deep in discussions for another location and being lured with an unfunded ramp.

Current thoughts:
1) why does NCCC need all the buildings? The smaller two should be for other uses to create a mix on the block. Use the largest building and the Old City Hall as NCCC bait....for now.
2) Even better: get all three current buildings in the hands of those that currently want to buy them and build a new building on the large waste-of-space gazebo area. It looks to be a bigger area than the old Harison building. Everyone would get a piece, we would not need to wait to start things happening and the street would end up with a nice mix of year round uses.

Older ideas on the area here: LCC - Canal - Gooding St Area



View LCC - Canal St - Gooding St area in a larger map

9/16/2010

Gag Order

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and  The LUSJ reported that the Tucker-Chapman fued is moving on to another level:

On Mayor Michael Tucker’s orders, Common Council members are not allowed to approach city department heads about municipal or constituent business unless they’ve talked to him first.



Tucker abruptly informed the councilmen Wednesday during their pre-business meeting work session. A memo articulating Tucker’s policy regarding Council exchanges with the mayor’s subordinates will be out later this week, he said.


Looks like the long-simmering battle of wills between Tucker and Fourth Ward Alderman Andy Chapman just turned to a rolling boil.


Asked what’s prompting a formal City Hall communication policy, Tucker pointed a finger at Chapman. The freshman alderman’s “constant bugging” of department heads — and his apparent aim to “circumvent” mayoral authority over the departments — have to stop, he said....
There's middle ground somewhere. Will they find it?

9/14/2010

Council Agenda 09-15-10

Posted by MJ

Not much on the agenda for tomorrow's council meeting:



9/13/2010

Mill St Drama

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported some drama at the old mill that was suddenly purchased and fast tracked for demolition.

The state Labor Department has blocked a businessman from doing further demolition work on a decades-old Lowertown eyesore until results of an asbestos test come back.
The businessman, Dunkirk native Scott Krzyzanowski, who now lives in Texas, accused a Labor Department inspector of insulting him, perhaps believing he was an illegal alien.
Labor Department spokesman Joe Morrissey identified the inspector as Ed Krasinski. Morrissey said he “strongly denies” making any rude comments.
It's never a dull day when people are involved....

9/10/2010

Parking for Santa

Posted by MJ

It appears that the deal is sealed for the Santa House at Day Rd Park in the Town. The contract has been signed by both parties.

What one (me) could have imagined as a nice little touch in a small urban neighborhood park will now be lost in the expanse of a large semi-rural park. At least the all important "parking problem" is solved. Hopefully the 75,000 sqft of available parking will make the visit to the 250 sqft Santa House memorable and a huge success. ;)



What wonderful thing can we create with the foundation in Altro Park?

Old stories here:
Unhappy Santa
Lockport Santa House

9/09/2010

Davison Road Campus

Posted by LoneWolf

Just curious and a point of note~

The Davison Road Campus ( where social services WAS at one point) is up for sale... I'll provide a pic for proof tomorrow while i'm out and about doing papers in the area.

I have been trying to find out what USED to be there ... with little sucess.. if any one knows  .. any info would be greatly appreciated....

Auction listing  : http://tinyurl.com/2b2d9kl

Look under the "Comming soon" area. It's listed under Niagara County Davison Complex. ( In blue area near bottom of the site). It appears to be an "Online Auction".

Any info would be appreciated.

~Jeff


View Larger Map

added map -MJ

9/07/2010

Mill St.

Posted by MJ

LUSJ reported about the purchase of the industrial ruins at 89 Mill St. by Scott Krzyzanowski.

An out-of-town investor is moving to demolish an abandoned factory that’s been a blight on the Mill-Clinton streets neighborhood for decades.
Scott Krzyzanowski of Dayton, Texas, quietly acquired 89 Mill St. last month, with the thought it looked like a good “long-term investment” in a community he sees as being on the upswing.
Krzyzanowski and his wife, Diana, natives of Dunkirk, N.Y., and Newfane respectively, have made a few investments in Western New York in recent years....
This is one of the last properties I would have bet on to be turned around at this time. The short term demolition is a big score on its own. The desire to build on the property holds further potential. The limits on the potential depend on what is eventually built.

...Of 89 Mill, a 1.6 acre parcel accessible from four streets — Mill, Clinton, Olcott and Chapel — Krzyzanowski says it could be an ideal location for a strip plaza. He’s been out introducing himself in the neighborhood and asking residents what they’d like to see on the corner. They’re telling him a convenience store/gas station, a car wash and/or a laundry center would be great ...
The term "strip plaza" scares me a bit because of the type of development the term is synonymous with. The neighborhood would be much better off with some structures built up near the street mimicking the existing street frontages. Hopefully something of a little higher quality is possible to promote further investment in the area.

Give the neighborhood this (up to the sidewalk, transparent storefronts, built for the neighborhood):


The exact architecture need not be the same. Simple can also be beautiful if done right.

Do not give them this: (asphalt between sidewalk/st, built for those driving thru:)


Maybe this can be the next LCC?

9/03/2010

Budget 2011

Posted by MJ

The process is beginning but is expected to be late this year. The Buffalo News reported:

It happens almost every year in Albany, but a late budget is rare in Lockport.

However, that’s the case this year. Mayor Michael W. Tucker says the city won’t even attempt to comply with the City Charter, which says the annual budget must be adopted at the first Common Council meeting in October. This year, that would be Oct. 6...
The reasons being:
• How many employees are going to take the early retirement incentive that the Council approved Monday? The period for eligible workers to decide to retire lasts until Oct. 30. The city will have to pay the state for extra pension credits for each retiree, but most of the retirees won’t be replaced.

• What will be the cost of a privatized system of garbage collection, including a full curbside recycling plan? Requests for proposals are expected to be issued in mid-September; the results of the bidding won’t be known until mid-October, if not later. The final garbage plan may include a user fee.

“We have a lot of variables. We want to have a real budget,” Tucker said. “This is an unprecedented time. The incentive is unprecedented, privatizing garbage is unprecedented, recycling is unprecedented.”
It is nice to see the system set up so voters can quickly let there feelings be heard after (every other) budget.
He was referring to the purpose behind the Charter’s requirement of the budget’s adoption in the first week of October: to make sure the voters know what the coming year’s budget and tax rate are before they go to the polls in November.

There have been times when unhappy voters have taken immediate revenge on the City Hall incumbents. However, city officeholders are elected in odd-numbered years, so this year no city officials are on the ballot.

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