By Autumn Evans
North Tonawanda's Common Council is once again full after a new alderman-at-large was sworn in and a new city treasurer was appointed Tuesday night.
Robert Pecoraro, a former Air Force colonel of 30 years, was sworn in as alderman-at-large to applause at the start of the council's meeting. The meeting was also the first for Dan Quinn as newly appointed city treasurer.
At the end of the meeting, both spoke fondly of their new positions.
"I'm looking forward to working with everyone on the council and I look forward to doing my best for the city in any way that I can," Quinn said.
Pecoraro said, "I want to thank the council for their trust and confidence in me in selection of the alderman-at-large position and allowing me to continue my community service to the citizens of North Tonawanda."
He also thanked his sister for encouraging him to move back to the city.
"I have to say, Bob, your sister knows exactly what she's talking about," Mayor Arthur Pappas joked. "This is our little paradise here and she knows what she's saying!"
In other Common Council news:
•Resident Cathy Kern asked the council to contact Verizon about getting FiOS television service for the city.
"I'd like to know why we don't have, through Verizon, FiOS. I would like to get out from under the thumb of Time Warner. Their rates are killing me," Kern said. "So council members, can someone take the lead and get some answers from Verizon? ... Whatever you can do, I'd appreciate it. Time Warner has just gotten too exorbitant for me to carry any more."
Robert Welch, executive assistant to the mayor, responded that former Mayor Rob Ortt had investigated the issue several times during his term.
"We looked into it, we got to the top executives of Verizon ... we wrote letters to them, contacted them personally on the phone and so forth," he said. "Unfortunately, it's a corporation. They choose to deliver their services where they want to deliver their services, they have numbers they want to meet as far as their marketing needs."
Alderman Eric Zadzilka urged residents to contact Verizon as well.
"I think it makes much more of an impact when the residents call and say, 'We'd like to see this service here in our city.' The city officials are not as numerous as the residents," he said. "The more of you that call, the more that they may think this is a place they want to come."
•Kern also told the board she was "unhappy" about the city spending $300,000 on reviving Oliver Street. She said she would have preferred it to be used on infrastructure.
Mike Zimmerman, the city's community development director, responded to clarify the money was from a grant from Lumber City Development Corporation, not from the city's own budget.
•Pappas thanked the Department of Public Works and the fire and police departments for their work during recent harsh weather conditions. He also relayed thanks from the fire chief to residents who have tried to clear snow from fire hydrants in front of their homes.
In light of the weather, Alderwoman Cathy Schwandt also asked residents to look after elderly neighbors.
"If we can check on these people and make sure they're okay, take them some food or whatever they need," she said. "If we all look out for each other, it'll help out."