by Dave Warner
The Little Falls Common Council returned to business in the new year, but started out the session with a Proclamation for retiring Chief Michael Masi. Mayor Mark Blask addressed the council, Masi’s family, the Police and Fire Commission and members of the Police Department that were in attendance.
“This is such a special night for Mike,” said Blask. “A night where we recognize the 26 years he’s been in the Little Falls PD. That’s 80% of his adult life. That’s a long time.”
The Mayor went on to say that his family should be part of the recognition as well. “The only way we retain fire fighters and police officers is if we are good to the family and recognize them,” said Blask.
Blask stated “Two words come to mind when you think of Chief Masi – commitment and leadership. Anything that we have needed from Chief Masi, he has been there for us. We really need to appreciate that tonight, which is what we are doing in recognizing him.”
The Common Council went on to approve the following Resolutions:
#1 2019 Common Council President – Mark Ruffing was made the 2019 Common Council President.
#2 Official Bank, Official Newspaper, Official News Station – The official banks where Berkshire, Adirondack Bank and M&T Bank of Little Falls for the year 2019. The Times Telegram was designated as the “official newspaper” for the year 2019 and Station WKTV the official news station for the year 2019.
#3 Payment Schedule – The City Treasurer 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 2019.
#4 Special Prosecutor – G. Gerald Fiesinger Jr, will serve as said Special Prosecutor for one year, said term to expire on December 31, 2019 and for a salary fixed and approved at $4,000 for year 2019.
#5 – Polling Place – Holy Family Parish Gymnasium John Street.
#6 – Dog Control Officer – Larry Ortlieb approved for a one year term with compensation for 2019 at $3,000.
#7 Authorization for Mayor and City Clerk – that the Mayor and City Clerk are and hereby 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 2019.
#8 – Herkimer County Humane Society – Sheltering agreement for seized dogs.
#9 – City Attorney – Jennifer L. Chrisman Esq. to serve as said City Attorney for a term of one year.
#10 – Tax Anticipation Note Resolution Dated January 8, 2019 – A resolution delegating to the City Treasurer of the City of Little Falls, Herkimer County, New York, the Power to authorize the issuance of and to sell not exceeding $1,300,000 Tax Anticipation notes of said city in anticipation of the collection of taxes levied for the fiscal year 2019 of city commencing January 1, 2019.
#11 – Appointment – Housing Authority – Jordyan Mueller with a term to expire 07/2019.
#12 – Re-appointment – Housing Authority – Maureen Petkovsek with a term to expire 07/2023.
#13 – Little Falls Police Department Police Car – The City of Little Falls Police Department needed a new vehicle to replace the 2013 Ford Explorer that had more than 180,000 miles on it. The replacement vehicle is a 2019 Dodge Charger that will be leased for two years. The price of the fully equipped vehicle was $36,394.62. The equipment was leased by the City of Little Falls through a tax exempt municipal lease through M&T Bank and the City of Little Falls shall own the equipment for $1 at the conclusion of the lease.
Under Old Business:
The debris that continues to remain on West Main Street where the houses exploded and burned because of the National Grid gas leak was discussed. Mayor Blask stated “We’re pretty limited in what we can do. It’s really kind of a fine line putting them on notice. We have talked to them and their attorney from Syracuse, really once a month trying to get some resolution. We realize it’s an eyesore.”
The codes officer, mayor and home owners have tried to work out some kind of timeline for the cleanup. “We’ve tried to be incredibly flexible because of the tragedy, but at some point it needs to be cleaned up,” said Blask. “This will be addressed in the new year.”
Alderman Jeff Gressler wondered if there was going to be movement on the Comprehensive Plan, now that the Common Council “owns it. It’s our document. As a community, what is next?” said Gressler.
Mayor Blask stated that the Planning Board that had created the document had been given several months off since they were an ad-hoc board that had met every month for 16 months. “They really worked their tails off on that document, so once it was ready, they said they were going to take December and January off and either in February or March they were going to meet and see what we can accomplish.”
Discussion continued about the Planning Board looking at the low hanging fruit of things that could be accomplished and that anything that needed Council approval would be brought forward for a vote once those things had been identified.
The situation regarding River Road between Little Falls and the Town of Manheim was brought up again by Alderman Peter Atutis. This had been discussed at the previous Common Council meeting, but Mayor Blask was out of town and was not aware of the issue.
Atutis said “wouldn’t it be nice to engage the Town of Manheim to try and transfer that property.” Discussion continued about the complexities of the situation and what would be involved in annexation. City Attorney Jennifer Chrisman stated “Annexation is a pretty drawn out process.”
Mayor Blask proposed that there be a larger discussion regarding the property in question and the possibility of annexation.