State of the City Address

Posted by MJ

ELockport has the full copy of Mayor Tucker's 2012 State of the City Address in PDF form and both the Buffalo News and LUSJ reported on it.

The good news:

  1. The city is in a relatively good financial state with a high bond rating.
  2. The new privatized garbage and refuse system is saving money and working well
  3. Tourism is up.
  4. Online bill payment coming soon
The bad news:
  1. All 5 union contracts are up and pension and healthcare cost are steeply rising.
  2. Taxes still relatively high
  3. No real residential or overall income growth.
  4. Housing stock becoming more and more outdated every passing year.
  5. Parks and Highway still starved to provide sufficient infrastructure maintenance
This could be expanded and feel free to add your thoughts. There is no doubt in my mind that the city is much better of than it was when I purchased here 7 years ago (so is our house ;). So much so that I am even a bit surprised. Still lacking is the overall vision, plan, and tools to create real growth in the city especially in residential investment.

As nice as the Tourism Task Force is, more important would be a Residential Investment Task Force. Residential dollars are here year round, they create semi-permanent investment in rehabilitating housing stock which increases the overall valuation of the city. Their investment also makes the city look better to the eyes of the tourist.

The city has done a great job putting out the budgetary fires. This can only last so long and will only be made more fire-proof by attracting long term investment in the city.


Ice Rink Revival

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that the Ice Rink Complex in the old Jubilee on Chestnut St is gaining momentum again.

It’s been dormant for several years, but city officials were voicing optimism last week that the Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center may become a reality as soon as this year.
“Recent developments have given us reason to believe that this project will become a reality very soon, and I am committed to making it happen,” Mayor Michael W. Tucker said in last week’s State of the City address.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., hired in early December to mastermind the construction and financing of the arena, has submitted a construction estimate of $10 million to $14 million.
More importantly, Ottaviano said, Ciminelli has a plan to sell federal income tax credits to investors whose payments would comprise 38 percent of the construction cost.
Foundation grants also may be announced soon to assist with the funding of the twin-rink complex, to be built in the former Jubilee supermarket on Chestnut Street. Bank loans also are part of the financing plan.
“We’re within $3 million to $4 million of closing this entire deal,” Ottaviano said. “Now that’s a very significant number, but it’s a lot closer than we were before.” The rather large range in the construction budget reflects some decisions not yet made that could add or subtract costs.

Among them, Ottaviano said, are the exact size and exterior appearance of the building and whether parking should be expanding onto the former Dussault Foundry site at the foot of Washburn Street....
 A good idea that fills a local and regional need while reusing an unused building in DT. The bad idea is using the old Dussault Foundry site for parking. Why pave over downtown's only view over the escarpment for a parking lot? Why park people (potential customers) farther away from Main St and businesses ensuring they will never go there? Using the existing two lots at Locust and Washburn would put overflow parking within two blocks while getting foot traffic walking past store fronts. Other wise best of luck to the project.


City Bends to LPD Bait and Switch

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that the city has agreed to settle the LPD grievance over LFD dispatching duties. Regardless of how much, it is not a bad pay for the LPD considering we were sold on "no extra cost" by the police chief.

Considering there is no retroactive pay, I feel that the LPD may not have been too confident in an arbitration outcome themselves. I fail to see how we could have lost the arbitration. Did Chief Eggert not have the authority to negotiate during his sales pitch?

From an old Buffalo News Article (01-24-2010)

“Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert urged the Common Council last week to turn Fire Department dispatching duties over to the Police Department.
For you to hand it to us now would be extremely simple. We could do it tomorrow,” Eggert said Wednesday. “I’m kind of hoping you give it to us. It’s easy. . . . We could do it for no cost.”



Posted by MJ

D'Vine Wine Bar is opening today in the UCC (former store front of Metropolitan and Indian Grill). They have a (very) basic website that has an all important menu and what appears to be a frequently used Facebook page. With 75 wines by the glass, 10 craft beers on tap and some unique menu offerings they should do well. It is a perfect business for a city which should be known as the epicenter of the Niagara Wine Trail.

Speaking of which, The Niagara region (Ontario and NY) is quite often listed as one of the top wine regions in the world. One would think a city wanting to cultivate a tourism market would latch onto that. Wouldn't they?