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Power outage causes residents to gripe, Hall appointed as Chief

NORTH TONAWANDA - After residents in the City of North Tonawanda experienced a mass power outage Saturday, June 1, some residents have had to endure quite the clean up. The consequences have become quite a nuisance for two residents, Andre and Patricia Pazik.

Andre approached the common council Tuesday to express his dismay with the city’s infrastructure near their home, and the seven to eight inches of sewage that backed up in their basement as a result of losing power earlier this month.

According to Andre, after a portion of the city lost power the sewage system shut off, which ultimately caused a back up in his home. He approached the council with concern of “what happens next” after this type of incident occurs.

Andre stated he had to take out sewage back up insurance in order to get things cleaned up in his home, but wondered what types of preventative measures are in place for the next time the system shuts off.

“The damage was done,” stated Andre in response to Superintendent Brad Rowles, as Rowles attempted to explain why this incident may have occurred.

“I think we are double the rainfall for June already, so what we have is the water level being very high right now,” said Rowles. “We are able to put up generators and put up pumps, but that takes some time. For this particular incident, we were in quite a small area that did back up. We like to operate on a house by house basis. We do recommend that your basement drains are plugged.”

He continued, “We are going to be there to help. We are even looking at ways to improve what we do.”

Andre suggested the city look into some time of back up system to have in place for when National Grid’s power shorts out the next time, or that the infrastructure be examined and replaced in the area of the city he was referring to.

North Tonawanda Common Council President Rich Andres noted Pazik’s questions needed be directed toward City Engineer Dale Marshall, because members of the council were not at liberty to provide a solid solution to the problem that occurred at the Pazik home.

The city plans to look into the problem and hopefully find a solution.

In other city news:

• Bill Hall was appointed as Chief of Police for the City of North Tonawanda, Tuesday. An induction ceremony took place Wednesday, at city hall.

“Bill has been with the department for 29 years. He was recently the chief of detectives and, of course, he has been serving as the active chief for several months,” said Mayor Rob Ortt. “I have no question about Bill’s capabilities, and no question that he was the best candidate for this position.”

He continued, “I know he is going to do great things for our department and for our residents.”

Chief Hall does not plan to make big changes within the department, but feels that tightening down on a few specific items will better suit the community. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve the North Tonawanda community.

“I look forward to working with everyone on the council and with the mayor,” said Hall.

• The council voted to put Local Law No.1, which would add to Chapter 30, regarding Home De-Coversion Rebate, on the table, Tuesday, where it will remain for the next seven days.

North Tonawanda officials wish to provide a tax rebate for property owners who de convert multi-family homes dwellings into single-family dwellings.

“This will hopefully provide residents with the incentive to deconvert the multi-dwelling homes into single family homes,” said Andres. “This encourages the types of things we want to see around here.”

There are approximately 33 percent of rentals located within the city.

“We are trying to make it worth while for people to convert their homes, and then consider selling their homes,” added Andres.

The tax rebate would first allow those who are eligible to receive the rebate to obtain proper certification from the city building inspector, stating the dwelling has been reduced from multi to single.

Secondly, the rebate would be calculated and allow for a 10-year tax rebate for those property owners who are eligible.

According to the resolution passed on Tuesday, the rebate would be equal to the owners city bill, or $1,000 annually, whichever of the two is less.

A formal hearing regarding the change will be held at 6 p.m. July 2, at city hall, 216 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda.


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