City of Little Falls Common Council members are sworn in by Mayor Mark Blask in Tuesday nights regularly scheduled meeting.
by Dave Warner
The highlight of Tuesday evenings regularly scheduled Common Council meeting was the swearing-in ceremony held just before the new group got down to business. New members Tim Lyon, Brian Marhaver, and Dave Carpineti held their right hand up, along with returning members Jonathan Shaffer, Todd Dillon, Justin Welyczko, Mark Ruffing and Dan Carter.
In regular business, the group approved 12 resolutions. Mark Ruffing was elected the 2020 Common Council President, M&T Bank was designated the official bank, the Times/Telegram the official newspaper, and WKTV the official news station.
Resolution #3 resolved that the City Treasurer be and is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to pay bi-weekly all fixed salaries on the Common Council payroll with the exception of the Mayor and Aldermen, whose salaries shall be paid in equal monthly installments for the year 2020.
Resolution #4 designated G. Gerald Fiesinger Jr. to serve as the Special Prosecutor for the year and that the salary for said position would be fixed and approved at $4,000 for the year 2020.
Resolution #5 resolved that the Holy Family Parish Gymnasium on John Street be the designated and fixed polling place for Election Districts in the City of Little Falls.
Resolution #6 appointed Larry Ortlieb as the Dog Control Officer for the year 2020 with a salary of $3,000.
Resolution #7 resolved that the Mayor and City Clerk are authorized and directed to draw warrants on the City Treasurer for bonds and notes, as and when they become due to payable for the year 2020.
Resolution #8 appointed Jennifer L. Chrisman, Esq. to serve as City Attorney for a term of one year at a salary of $26,000.
Resolution #9 re-appointed Patricia Vail to the Board of Assesment.
Resolution #10 was the approval of a contract between the City of Little Falls and the East Canada Creek Fire District for fire protection to be provided by the City of Little Falls for three years, at a rate of $25,000 per year.
According to the Mayor, the contract is “for our Fire Department and Ambulance Service to provide service to the East Canada Fire District, much like we do to the Town of Little Falls.”
Resolution #11 was the contract between the City of Little Falls and the Little Falls Department of Public Works CSEA Local 1000, ASFSCME, AFL-CIO from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2022. In it, DPW workers would get a 1.5% pay raise and an increase in their clothing allowance.
“Those are the changes to the old contract,” said Blask. “We really want to thank them for their hard work. We’re lucky to have this DPW.” The Mayor went on to say that they had a fiduciary responsibility, but that they also had to think about the DPW folks who were out at 3 am fixing a water main break.
Resolution #12 was the City of Little Falls contract with the City of Little Falls Fire Department/Little Falls Paid Firefighters Local 2966 for the period from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2022.
The agreement allowed a 1.5% pay increase, as well as a clothing allowance for new hires up to $200. “In the past, the Academy would pay for their uniform. They’re not doing that anymore. So the firefighters asked that if we got a new hire could we pay for their uniform so they show up in the correct uniform on day one. We capped that at $200. We’ve hired three firefighters in four years, so the next time we hire one, we’ll send them to the Academy in a sparkly new uniform.”
The only other item that was added to the contract, was the title of Lieutenant so that there would be a chain of command in place with Chief, Assistant Chief, and then Lieutenant. It had no financial impact, but according to the Mayor, “they were concerned that other fire departments had this position. We just haven’t had that, so there is language in there that just shows this chain of command.”
“They explained it to us, it didn’t cost us anything, and we think it’s a good idea,” said Blask.
There wasn’t any new or old business, and there was one comment from the floor by Arlene Feldmeier, who brought up books from the National Constitution Center that had the full Constitution of the United States in it for all of the aldermen. “Since you all swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, I have copies of the U.S. Constitution. Read it when you get a chance and consult it when people say ‘it’s my right to do so-and-so’. You can show it to them. Congratulations everyone.”
The Mayor closed the meeting with his comments.
He welcomed the members to the council saying, “This is going to be a great year for Little Falls. There’s going to be a lot going on. I’m really excited about 2020 and what it’s going to bring for Little Falls.”
He also wanted to bring up that the Working Woodlands Plan was not on the agenda, even though it had been stated at the last council meeting that it would be. “I wanted to make sure that the three new council members are really up to speed on this. On your first meeting, I didn’t want to hit you with something that could potentially bind the City of Little Falls for the next 20 years, maybe even 40. It’s a very important resolution,” he said.
Blask ended with wanting to touch on the fire that happened Monday evening. “Just a tough day. The firefighters were down there at one o’clock in the morning, in the snow, doing their best. I was just standing there in awe of them and just so much going on. Stretchers, police, they’re up in the windows, their’s water. We’re just so lucky to have these firefighters.”
He went on to say, “We obviously lost a great Little Falls man in Tim Regan and Nick (Regan) who just came off the council, that was obviously his Uncle. I’m sure everybody in this room knew him either in passing or was a friend of his. A good old Saint Mary’s boy, always with a smile on his face. It’s an absolutely huge loss.”