By Mike Pidanick
North Tonawanda has officially adopted its 2017 budget. In a special session before Tuesday's regular meeting at City Hall, the Common Council unanimously approved the $36,424,619 general fund budget. The budget accounts for appropriations of $26.4 million and revenues of $18.6 million. The real property tax levy is $16.2 million.
"I think we put forward a responsible budget," Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka said. "I just thank the mayor and I thank previous councils, previous mayors when we can all put together a budget, year after year, that is conscious enough to keep the taxpayers in mind and not sacrifice our city services."
The water fund budget of $4.3 million was also unanimously OK'd, as well as the sewer fund budget of $4.7 million and the $3.2 million capital improvements budget.
In his closing comments, North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur G. Pappas addressed the effort put in by the council to make the budget work for everyone.
"I'd like to thank the council for their hard work in reviewing the budget and coming up with a budget we thought was very reasonable," Pappas said. "Going through this, line-by-line, it's not an easy thing. It's nice to have the budget season over and taken care of."
Following the special session was a regular meeting. Community members seemed fine with the budget - but the terrace-parking ban has become an issue that seems to be growing more in concern. Several community members again took time to discuss issues with the law that bans vehicles from parking on the terraces between private property and the roads.
Erika Francis, a 7th Avenue resident, has been vocal on the subject. On Tuesday, she pointed out properties that were once houses are now apartments, leaving a lot more cars.
"We have multiple families in one driveway, so it's very hard for everybody," said Francis, who also said she was recently ticketed while other vehicles without plates remain.
City officials assured the residents they understand the concerns. A special meeting is set for Nov. 22 to discuss the issue.
"I don't blame any of you for your feelings or your thoughts, because I think (if) I still presently lived down in that area I'd probably be complaining, too," Pappas said. "I probably would be, because it is a problem and we know it's a problem."
The next meeting is set for Dec. 6.