(L-R) Justin Welyczko, Jonathan Shaffer, and Jeff Gressler listen intently as City Attorney Jennifer Chrisman explains Resolution No. 39.

by Dave Warner

The Little Falls Common Council met Tuesday night for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, which had been delayed one week because of last week’s election day conflict.

The first item on the agenda that needed passage was Resolution No. 37, where the Little Falls City School District and the City of Little Falls wished to enter into an agreement to provide two police officers to act as School Safety Officers. One at Benton Hall Academy, and the other at the Middle/High School.

The resolution authorized the Little Falls Police Chief to execute a contract between the City of Little Falls and the Little Falls City School District retroactively for the period of September 2019 – June 2024.

According to Mayor Blask, the program is working out “really well. I know that they appreciate it.”

The resolution passed unanimously.

The second resolution of the night was one for the contract for the shared services of the City of Little Falls Engineer between the City of Little Falls and the Village of Dolgeville. The Mayors of the City of Little Falls and the Village of Dolgeville had negotiated the terms of the renewal of the contract, and this resolution authorized the Mayor to execute that contract for shared services for a period of two years from the date of execution.

“A year ago we tried this program where they would pay a portion of his (the City Engineer’s) salary. The year is up. They were paying $20,000 and they’re going to up that to $25,000 based on a number of factors,” said Blask.

Both mayors felt that the agreement has worked out well in the first year test period. “I know that they are very happy to get a talented engineer for only $25,000 a year. Speaking for the City, we’re very happy with the work that Chet’s (Szymanski) is doing for us,” he said.

The resolution passed unanimously.

The final resolution of the evening was one where the Town of Manheim Planning Board had notified the City of Little Falls that they were conducting a site plan review in connection with an application made by SunEast Development, LLC for a special use permit to install a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic energy system involving 155 acres of a 199 acre parcel located at 449 Burrell Rd, Manheim.

The Town was notifying the City of Little Falls that they intended to serve as Lead Agency for the project and that they had identified the City as an involved agency given the proximity of the subject parcel to the City of Little Falls and Town of Manheim border as well as an easement held by the City of Little Falls that runs through the subject parcel and project site.

The resolution stated “Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the given subject parcel lies wholly within the Town of Manheim, the City of Little Falls does not object to the Town of Manheim being the lead agency for the coordinated SEQR review of the application; and it is further resolved, that the City of Little Falls hereby directs the City of Little Falls Attorney to request a complete copy of the plans submitted to the Town of Manheim ZBA and Planning Board of said project to be reviewed by the City Engineer and City Attorney.”

City Attorney Jennifer Chrisman stated that the resolution is strictly an administrative step. Alderman Jonathan Shaffer said, “At this point, until we get the plans, we don’t know how close it is to anything that we value.”

Chrisman said that once the plans were received, the dialog would continue.

The resolution passed unanimously.

In the Mayor’s final comments, he wanted to give a recap on where we were with the flooding. “The fire department, police, and DPW were very quick to act. They were down on Southern Ave with their pumps. There was a lot going on down there, trying to make sure that some homes could be saved. Those guys did just such a fantastic job,” said Blask.

“The work that Chet (the City Engineer) has done those days and since has been pretty impressive.”

“We’re really in the reimbursement phase where Herkimer County as a whole has to show at least $29.6 million dollars in damage. We have 30 days to show that. That number is going to be met pretty easily. Our biggest damage outside of the City was up on Dairy Hill Road where we have an exposed water main pipe. It’s in really rough shape,” stated Blask.

A special meeting of the Herkimer County Legislature held a vote where they unanimously said that they’d be the responsible agency to pay for the repairs to the water main, which has an estimated repair cost of $750,000.

Blask said, “The County is going to contract it and then pay for it and put it on their ledger so that it keeps us out of it as much as we can be. It’s really a solid result.”