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.