Chester Szymanski, Little Falls City Engineer briefs the council on the Urban Forestry Grant.

by Dave Warner

In a short twenty-minute session, the Little Falls Common Council was able to hear comments from the floor and pass four resolutions unanimously on Tuesday night.

Resolution #13 was regarding re-appointments on the Board of Property Maintenance, where Jack Regan, David Shepardson, Mike Bulger, Tom Celio, and Rob Richard were continued for terms that would expire 12/2022.

Resolution #14 also dealt with re-appointments, keeping Eugene Bannon, Brett Wehrum, Richard Zaklukiewicz, Robert Pawluk and Terry Barrett on the Golf Commission Board with terms that will expire 02/2024.

Resolution #15 was an addendum that was requested to be added to the contract regarding hours worked outside of the normal workday or call back time for the City Engineer, Chester Szymanski.

Mayor Blask stated, “When we did Chet’s contract a year and a half ago, we didn’t really account for the number of hours that he would work at the end of a normal workday. The City Attorney drew up an addendum to his contract that is beneficial to both sides.”

“There is now a mechanism in there where he can be compensated by taking some time off,” stated the Mayor.

Resolution #16 had to do with the NYS Urban Forestry Council Quick Start Grant Notice. It announces available funding for communities to hold a 2020 Arbor Day tree planting event and to establish a community-based forestry program. Communities can apply for up to $1,000 which is being provided by the USDA Forest Service.

According to City Engineer Szymanski, the DEC will help write the grant so that the City can obtain the funds. “It’s a very simple grant for $1,000. It will purchase a couple of trees for planting over near Benton Hall.”

Some discussion ensued from the floor about the Hotel Snyder and when it might be occupied again. The belief was that the cleaning has been completed, but that there were still some repairs to be made before residents can move back in.

Alderman Carpinetti started a discussion about seeking grants to help repair some of the sidewalks in the City. “It’s a safety issue,” he said.

Mayor Blask stated that it seems like, “If everybody needs it, it’s not a grant.” Carpinetti is going to continue investigating the issue.

In the final comments by the Mayor, he announced that he had received a letter from the City Treasurer, David Petkovsek, stating that he will be retiring at the end of May after 33 years of service. “He’s been a wonderful asset to Little Falls will all that’s going on down at the treasurer’s office.”

The Mayor expects to start looking for a replacement in about two weeks so that the new person can get in early and get some training before Petkovsek leaves. Because it is mid-term, the Mayor will appoint someone and that person will have to formally run for the office in 2021.

Blask stated that the City would also be putting in a submission for the HGTV Home Town Takeover contest based on a new website and video that was launched promoting the City. “That show is wildly popular on HGTV.”

You can view the new website and video by visiting www.thisislittlefalls.com.

The Mayor also announced that the City will be applying for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant. “It’s the largest one in New York State. It’s ten million dollars. Utica won it last year, Oneonta has won it, Rome, and Amsterdam. Applications are due in June and it’s a monster of a grant,” stated Blask. “There’s a lot of moving parts.”

Initial meetings have been held to figure out the application process to make sure that “we’re going in with our eyes open,” he said. “We want to put in our best product.”