By Jill Terreri
Final preparations are underway for the city's tax foreclosure auction, which starts tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., and lasts for three days, over at the convention center. A new list of 2,829 properties was posted on the city's web site this morning. The list has been cut from nearly 4,400 properties as people settle their tax bills or work out payment plans.
The Common Council will also hold their pre-meeting caucus at 2 p.m. today, in which they'll discuss hiring DiDonato Associates for work on a second-floor addition to the Hatch Restaurant. They think the work - design, engineering, construction administration and inspection - can be done for $120,000. A request for bids to operate the Hatch is going out this month, and if the expansion is expedited, the city can realize more revenue from a new operator, according to a memo to lawmakers from City Engineer Peter Merlo.
Also on the agenda is an amended PILOT agreement between the city and HealthNow. The health insurer is going to be leasing space in its West Genesee Street headquarters to the engineering firm URS Corp., which is relocating from its Goodell Street building, owned by the University at Buffalo Foundation. The amendment was approved by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency last week. The change will actually increase payments to the city by about $30,000 - $35,000 per year from 2014-15 through 2022-2023.
Lawmakers will consider a resolution from Council Members Joseph Golombek and Michael LoCurto urging voters to reject Proposal 1, which would allow up to seven casinos to be built in certain areas around the state. Western New York would be excluded, as the Seneca Nation of Indians has exclusive rights to operate casinos here. Golombek and LoCurto have fundamental disagreements about casinos, and think the expansion would be harmful to the state for different reasons. They agree the language of the proposal, which talks up the "economic benefits" of casinos and does not mention the harmful effects of gambling addiction, is inappropriate for placement on a ballot.
It's not clear whether the rest of the Council will support the resolution. Mayor Byron W. Brown, whose allies control the Council majority, is a member of a pro-casino lobbying organization that is spending millions of dollars on a campaign in favor of the proposal.
In other matters:
- LoCurto will ask lawmakers to review a section of the city code that allows posting of the names of property owners whose holdings are not in compliance with city code. Part II, Chapter 341-14, allows for a sign, 18 inches by 24 inches, to be posted on the right of way in front of the property, saying, "This property is contributing to the spread of slum and blight in the City of Buffalo." It should also say the owner's name, address and telephone number. This is a section of the law that has appeared to be ignored, and LoCurto would like to revive it.
- Savarino Cos. is working with Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk on an appeal of a decision by the city's Preservation Board to deny the company's request to dismantle the Erie Freight House. A formal appeal was filed by Savarino and will be considered by lawmakers.
- A public hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 12 to change the name of 125 Main St. from the Donovan Building to One Canalside. The building is the future home of a Courtyard by Marriott hotel and Phillips Lytle law firm.
- The Council will again send an application for landmark status for St. Ann's Church and Shrine on the city's East Side to the Legislation Committee for further review. Another public hearing is expected. There was an issue with the way the first application was filed with the Council, so lawmakers will review it again. An approval is expected.
taggedByron Brown | City of Buffalo | city spending | Common Council | Joseph Golombek | Michael LoCurto