by Dave Warner

The first Common Council meeting of the year had to be held via Zoom because of the increase in COVID-19 cases in the County and the City. The meeting was a short one with mainly ‘beginning of the year’ housekeeping items on the agenda.

Resolution #1 dealt with the selection of the 2021 Common Council President. Mayor Mark Blask stated, “Each year we throw it out for nominations and if more than one person gets nominated, we have a vote.”

A motion was made for Justin Welycko to hold the position, which was seconded and voted on unanimously.

Resolution #2 designated the official banks as Berkshire, Adirondack Bank, and M&T Bank of Little Falls, the official newspaper as the Times Telegram, and WKTV as the official news station for the year 2021. The resolution passed unanimously.

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 2021. The resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution #4 appointed G. Gerald Fiesinger Jr. to serve as Special Prosecutor to prosecute traffic violations that occur within the City with said term to expire on December 31, 2021, and that the salary for the position be fixed and approved at $4,000. The resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution #5 designated Holy Family Parish Gymnasium on John Street as the polling place for Election Districts in the City of Little Falls for the year 2021. The resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution #6 appointed Larry Ortlieb of 87 Church Street, Little Falls as the Dog Control Officer with $3,000 as compensation. The resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution #7 resolved that the Mayor and City Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to draw warrants on the City Treasurer for bonds and notes, as and when they become due and payable for the year 2021. The resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution #8 stated, Whereas the City of Little Falls has a need for a City Attorney within the City, and Whereas, the Mayor of the City of Little Falls has appointed Jennifer L. Chrisman Esq. to serve as said City Attorney for a term of one year, with said term to expire on December 21, 2021, and that the salary for the position shall be fixed and approved at $26,000.

Blask stated, “I just personally and professionally could not be happier with the job that Jennifer does. She’s a part-time employee that certainly works much more than that. She’s there for the budget, for the insurance and spending issues. Weekends or whatever and I sincerely appreciate the job that Jennifer does for this City.”

Resolution number 8 passed unanimously.

In final comments, Alderman Brian Marhaver brought up the issue of parking on the streets during the winter months. “We had an early storm that kind of got the best of us. Nobody knew we were going to get that.”

He said that there had been discussions about where to park during a snow emergency and he said, “I was walking my dog and thought ‘wow’, Vets Park is wide open. Is there any way we could just plow a path down there and let people park there when there is a snow emergency?”

Marhaver thought it would help the residents and DPW in particular by getting cars off the streets. “It’s just an idea I thought about.”

Mayor Blask stated, “I think it’s a fantastic idea. One of the things we struggle with here is the dance between putting on the parking ban, meaning the cars get off the streets so DPW can safely plow. But understand that when we do, that there are a lot of properties in Little Falls that simply don’t have places to park. We understand both sides of that.”

“We only put the parking ban on when it’s absolutely necessary,” stated the Mayor.

Blask asked Marhaver to take the idea one step further and speak with DPW and the City Engineer to possibly find other areas where this might work as well. “Take the idea and expand it across the City and see if we can come up with other areas where we can help people out,” he said.

In the Mayor’s comments section, Blask stated, “We’re just trying to plug along. It’s been a rough week. It’s going to be maybe a longer winter than we had anticipated. But we’re all smart enough to realize that things will get better here, hopefully in the very near term.”

Blask stated they’re going to start the budget talks in about three weeks, but the priority was to get people healthy first. “It doesn’t make sense to do any in-person meetings until it is an absolute slam dunk from a safety perspective,” he said.