Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 29, 2013

City council approves outside help for vacant property upkeep, pothole repair

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls City Council gave a big boost to the Department of Public Works at Monday's meeting.

The council voted unanimously to pass a pair of measures that will allow DPW to enlist some outside help for two services always of concern to Niagara Falls taxpayers — tall grass and potholes.

The council voted to allow Mayor Paul Dyster's administration to extend contracts with Patch Management, Inc. and Niagara Grass Cutting for another year. Patch Management will receive $140,000 — $70,000 for last year's services and $70,000 for this year's work — and $50,000 will be paid to Niagara Grass Cutting to cut and clean vacant lots throughout the city.

David Kinney, the department's director, said he is very excitied that the city will continue utilizing the services.

"For us it makes a huge difference," he said. "It frees us up to do other work."

Kinney said Patch Management and the company's "pothole killer" truck will be particularly important this year, after a winter that saw many freezes and thaws.

"There are an immense number of potholes out there," he said. "That machine allows us to get a lot of labor-intensive work done in a short period of time."

And with the vacant lots being contracted out, his guys can concentrate on parks and medians, Kinney added.

"I simply don't have the personnel or the equipment to do it," he said.

Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian said he was able to work with members of Dyster's administration to find money in the budget to ensure the services would be provided.

"It was already budgeted in the general fund so it's not like we're grabbing money from some new money," Choolokian said. "The money was there."

Choolokian said it is important for the city to keep up on maintaining the lots that it owns to set a good example.

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