City Click Kira Miller and Alderman Mark Ruffing, filling in for Mayor Mark Blask, take notes during the Common Council meeting.
by Dave Warner
The City of Little Falls Common Council had their final regular meeting for the year on Tuesday night.
After the approval of the previous meetings minutes, bills and monthly reports, Resolution #40 Adoption of the Master Plan was brought up. The City of Little Falls Planning Board had drafted the new master plan over the course of fourteen months and had held a public hearing, as well as several other public informational meetings about the plan.
The City had also declared itself the lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review Act in October and the plan had been referred to the County Planning Board and other interested agencies. That board recommended approval of the master plan.
According to Alderman Jeff Gressler “It’s a collective vision of where we want to go. It’s a visionary document, but the real trick is going to be going from the vision to the execution.”
Others mentioned that so many of the things that are stated as goals in the master plan are things they’ve been discussing in the City for decades.
A roll call vote was held and the resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution #41 was the appointment of Mike Bulger to the Board of Public Works. A roll call vote was held and the resolution passed unanimously, but not before Alderman Gressler made his feelings known.
“I don’t think personally that anybody should be on three boards. I don’t feel like that’s a good idea. I’ll probably stand alone on it and it’s nothing personal. Mike does a great job on the car show on Thursday nights,” stated Gressler.
Alderman Jonathan Shaffer stated “I would like to say that Mike has done some incredible work and shown to the people of this City that he’s dedicated and that he cares about the City. He comes to every meeting as it is and I couldn’t support him more.”
“Three boards is going to be a lot for his plate and he may find that he may have to jockey things around, but I think I trust him on three boards more than I would trust one person on one board if it were some other people,” said Shaffer.
Resolution #42 was for vacancies that have occurred during the term of a Commissioner of Deeds. Deborah Ackerman, Andrew Kenyon and Christopher Moser were appointed Commissioner of Deeds with terms expiring on December 31, 2020 in a unanimous role call vote.
New business discussion centered around River Road and responsibility for plowing that area. According to Alderman Peter Atutis “It’s a very strange situation there.”
All of River Road is not Manheim. Part of it is Little Falls, then Manheim and then back to Little Falls and back and forth discussions have gone on for years about what to do about the situation.
City Attorney Jennifer Chrisman stated “There was a discussion in the past about annexing part of Manheim to us. My understanding was that they were going to keep maintaining it (their portion.)”
According to Atutis, Manheim has installed barriers that have moved further up the road. Alderman Gressler stated “As you start down from the stop light and go down the hill there is a catch basin. There’s a lot of water and a lot of maintenance issues with it. I believe it was perceived as being a real big headache if we took that over.”
Chrisman said “At one point there was a discussion about who would plow which portions, but that kind of fell through.”
Alderman Shaffer stated that he was confused about the actual boundaries and asked for a more detailed map. “For us to be able to discuss it or bring it up as a topic, it would be nice to look at the meat of it and see what we’re actually talking about,” he said.
The discussion was handed off for Mike Bulger to bring up in his first Public Works meeting.
Under Old Business, Alderman Peter Atutis brought up the burned out house on Loomis Street and questioned why the Mohawk Valley Land Bank had not addressed it. Alderman Gressler stated that they had no control over that parcel.
“The land bank would have to be in a position to say that they’d take it immediately. I think it would need to be a coordinated effort,” stated Gressler.
“It’s hard for me to imagine that property does not have codes violations. How is it allowed to stand for ten years,” stated Atutis.
Chrisman stated that the owner “has been in and out of jail for years and that he was non-responsive to the codes violations and that leaves us in a position of how much do we want to spend to do it?”
Further discussion about the property continued with no resolution to the problem. “It’s a danger, kids get in there…it’s not just an eye-sore, it’s a hazard,” stated Atutis.
Mayor Mark Blask had passed on a message to Alderman Ruffing to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.