City Council to pursue grant to prepare Stormwater Capital Plan
Batavia City Council took less than 30 minutes Monday night to decide to pursue a state Community Development Block Grant for $50,000 -- and commit another $50,000 in matching city funds -- for a Citywide Stormwater Capital Improvement Plan study, and to approve 10-year cable television franchise agreements with Community Cable Corp. and Empire Video Services Corp., and appoint numerous city residents to a trio of committees.
City Manager Jason Molino said his proposal to Council regarding the CDBG deals with a project that "best aligns" with the city's strategic plan, and follows up on the city's commitment to investiing in its infrastructure, which has resulted in a state-recognized water and sewer capital plan.
"The grant will help us to study the flood plain, which has about 1,400 properties, in an effort to prevent future flooding, and it also will take into account the 'Big Ditch' -- the massive stormwater culvert that runs from Walden Estates on Bank Street to Ken Barrett's (auto dealership, and out to the Tonawanda Creek)," Molino said. "The mapping of it and determining the status of it will be incorporated into part (of the study)."
Molino said the city has previously capitalized on CDBG money in the form of housing rehabilitation, microenterprise (small business) grants and infrastructure funding. He said planning -- in this case, preliminary engineering reports -- is a fourth component of the program administered by the NYS Office of Community Renewal.
He estimated the entire stormwater study would cost about $100,000, which is why he urged Council to include a $50,000 match -- an amount well above the required 5 percent local match. Molino said he believes the increased city contribution would enhance Batavia's chances of getting the grant.
Council voted unanimously to schedule a public hearing for July 20, as required by law, and also to submit an application for the grant by the July 29 deadline. In order for the city to be eligible to apply for the grant, it has to show that at least 51 percent of the persons who would benefit from implemention of the plan are low- to moderate-income persons.
"Because this is a citywide project that impacts all residents, we would be able to use all the census tracts (thus meeting the criteria)," Molino noted.
He said notification of the grant would come around December.
In other action, Council:
-- Approved cable television franchise contracts with North Penn Video and Empire Video Services of Prattsburg, which in reality is one company with two DBAs (Doing Business As). The resolution stated that the city believes the company has the "financial, legal and technical ability to provide these services" and "can reasonably meet the future cable-related community needs and interests."
As a result of this action, Empire Video Services now will be competing with Time Warner Cable, another city franchisee, for residents' cable TV business.
-- Appointed the following to city committees/boards -- Youth Board, Page Wasilewski, Councilperson Brooks Hawley; Audit Advisory Board: Marc Staley, Nicholas Harris, David Leone and Councilpersons Adam Tabelski and Paul Viele; Deer Management Committee: Kenneth Alfes, Gus Galliford, Mike Freeman, Dann Neale, Joe Rowbottom, Al Hemer, Ryan Whitcombe and Councilperson Paul Viele.
-- Moved to the Aug. 8 Business meeting a proposal to accept a supplemental agreement, called Marchiselli funding, that would reimburse the city for the cost of the design aspects of the Summit Street Reconstruction Project.
This is a program that offers a 15 percent funding grant to the project through New York State, in addition to the 80 percent funding already approved through the Federal Highway program, Molino said. Public Works Director Matthew Worth said he expects "double digit" numbers of supplemental agreements as the project progresses.
-- Moved to the Aug. 8 Business meeting a request by the city firefighters' union to open a one-year window for entrance into a more lucrative state retirement benefit plan. Molino said the one-time past service cost will be $27,441 and the estimated annual cost for this fiscal year will be $5,485.