Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 2, 2014

Vote on first step of overhauling Falls' parking system set for Monday

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Councilman Andrew Touma, who took his seat on the council at the beginning of the year, said he supports the plan to overhaul downtown parking.

“As a city we haven’t tapped into our ability to generate revenue from parking,” he said. “We’ve missed out on an opportunity in the past.”

Choolokian said previous administrations have paid consultants to produce parking studies that have not been implemented.

“I think we waste more money on consultants than we have to,” he said. “We do the same studies over again.”

Choolokian strongly opposed the measure to allocate funds for the implementation of the parking plan when it came up last fall, saying that $1 million was far too expensive.

He said he would rather see the city hire a company to manage the equipment and service and split revenues, as he has seen other cities manage their parking that way, though he could not give specific examples when reached by phone Friday as he did not have the paperwork detailing his prior research with him.

“I’m definitely opposed to it,” he added.

The council will also consider items that would:

• Allocate $105,000 in casino revenues for the Department of Public Works to purchase 480 hours of road patching services from Patch Management, Inc.. The company would use its Pothole Killer machine to repair city roads.

• Allocate more than $341,000 in casino revenues to purchase new equipment for the Niagara Falls Police Department’s SWAT team, including a SWAT vehicle, bullet proof vests and surveillance equipment.

• Approve a memorandum of agreement between the city and the Niagara Falls Fire Department that would extend the collective bargaining agreement between the parties for another four years.

Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257

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