by Susan Mikula Campbell
With no one commenting at public hearings Tuesday, the Town of Niagara Town Board approved two new laws, one allowing them to override the state tax cap and the other establishing a property maintenance law.
The State Legislature, at the urging of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, passed a property-tax cap in June. Supervisor Steve Richards presented his $7.063 million 2012 tentative budget to the Town Board on Oct. 3, and it is currently being reviewed. He has called the state's tax cap "the most reckless piece of legislation I've ever seen," and asked for the override vote in case more funds are needed due to the increasing cost of state mandates when the final budget is approved.
The new town-wide property maintenance code requires businesses and homeowners to properly maintain buildings and open areas and keep them free of infestation of rodents and insects, garbage and hazards, as well as properly seal unoccupied buildings. Penalty for failure to comply can include a fine of up to $250 per day, imprisonment or both.
In other matters:
•The board approved adding unpaid water, sewer and town charges to the 2012 tax warrant. This amounts to $423,316.27 this year, up from $311,014.77 last year.
•The board approved a change in its contract with the Niagara Active Hose Volunteer Fire Co. The town previously agreed to pay $25,000 to pave the fire company's parking lot in return for allowing town residents attending events at Veterans Memorial Park to use the lot. Instead of the paving, the fire company accepted the transfer of title of a 2005 Ford Excursion previously used by the Town of Niagara Police Department as a command vehicle. Police Chief James Suitor said two radios that have scrambling capability will be removed, leaving two others that meet fire department needs.
•The board approved sending a letter to the state Department of Transportation asking for a study on adding a new right-hand turning lane at the intersection of Packard Road and Military Road heading northbound to help avoid traffic backups. Deputy Supervisor Marc Carpenter, who headed Tuesday's meeting, also noted that better timing of the lights at the Six Corners intersection also is needed.
•The board approved the annual request by Wegmans on Military Road to temporarily place a refrigerator trailer in its lot to hold frozen turkey products for three weeks in November.
•The board set a public hearing for its next regular meeting, 7 p.m. Nov. 15, on a proposed landlord licensing law.
•Councilman Charles Teixeira reminded residents to bring non-perishable food donations for the needy to the annual Electric Lights Parade down Military Road on Oct. 29. Councilman Robert Clark added that those unable to attend next Saturday's parade also can drop food off for the needy at the Belmont Center Block Club's sale of "Fight Like A Girl" clothing, to benefit the fight against breast cancer, being held at his home, 3596 Rhode Island Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 22.