By Autumn Evans
North Tonawanda officials acted fast after being informed of a clerical error on the city's official website Tuesday during a Common Council meeting.
Resident Sonia Dusza reported the Common Council agenda was not uploaded until the day of the meeting, which did not give her enough time to look over the items to be discussed.
Immediately after Dusza spoke, City Clerk/Treasurer Dan Quinn confirmed the agendas are supposed to be available 72 hours in advance and personally apologized for the delay. He said he would follow up with the person responsible for uploading the agendas to avoid the issue from happening again in the future.
Later, Dusza also brought up the planned revitalization of Oliver Street and the state of the city as a whole.
"Where we are located is something very special, but if we do not focus on our location, our assets, our constraint, we're going to continue to slide," she said. "They've been focusing on downtown, but we're putting all our eggs in one basket - there's a whole town to look at."
Council President Russ Rizzo responded the city is improving, but progress takes time.
"North Tonawanda is becoming a destination," he said. "People say, 'We go to North Tonawanda because of the restaurants, because of the small boutique shops on Webster.' We're going to try to do that same thing for Oliver Street, but it's not going to happen overnight. It didn't happen overnight on Webster. We've got to do it block by block, piece by piece, but you've got to stay positive - it's not something that's gonna happen overnight."
In other council news:
•Pappas read a proclamation declaring May 16 through 22 National Safe Boating Week. Clark Godshall of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, also superintendent of Orleans-Niagara BOCES, accepted the proclamation on behalf of the auxiliary.
•The council approved a motion to allow the city's Water Works Department to sell a gas chromatograph to Gen Tech Scientific for $6,500. The 11-year-old equipment was used to analyze waste dumped at the city's plant. The service contract required to operate it, which cost $10,650 per year, is no longer available due to the machine's age.
Superintendent David Scott reported a new gas chromatograph would cost between $80,000 and $100,000. Instead of having to buy a new one, the city will send samples to be analyzed at Test America for $2,550 per year.
Dusza said she was concerned about the accuracy of tests run by people outside of the city and preferred the city do its own testing.
"I'm thinking, when you go to the hospital, do you want some stranger being an advocate for your mom or dad or your child?" Dusza said. "I hope we can trust the lab that they give us the factual, the truth, on whatever the results of that testing is."
Rizzo countered, "Sonia, when you go for a blood test, do you trust the people that take your blood and analyze it and tell your doctor what they find, or do you want to do it yourself?"
•The council awarded a bid of $288,100 to Nichter Construction Co. to make accessibility improvements to the Carnegie Art Center. The Lancaster-based company was the lowest bidder.
•The council accepted the resignation of Pete Trinkwalder as city historian and appointed Joseph Midura to the position, for a term to expire Dec. 31.
•Pappas announced plans are moving forward for a memorial walkway dedicated to city children who have passed away. He said he is in the process of forming a committee and is already receiving inquiries from interested families.
•City Engineer Dale Marshall announced the city's 2014 annual stormwater report is now available online and at City Hall.
•In his closing remarks, Alderman Bob Pecoraro, an Air Force veteran, asked residents to remember fallen soldiers during Memorial Day weekend. He also read the famous World War I poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae.
The city will hold a Memorial Day service at noon Sunday at Renaissance Bridge. A parade will also be held at 2 p.m. in the City of Tonawanda.