Niagara Gazette — The city's Department of Public Works has been working overtime through a series of weather events and will now have the money to pay for that overtime.
The Niagara Falls City Council approved the transfer of $79,000 from a special fund created by the council during last year's budget deliberations to the DPW to help pay for additional work related to a series of snow and ice storms that have hit the region in recent weeks at its last meeting of the year on Monday.
Chairman Glenn Choolokian said the council set up the contingency fund to prepare for emergency situations.
"Thank god we put together that contingency fund because we would have never made the year," he said.
The funds will be used to repay any overages in overtime for the department and to handle any further weather events in the final week of the year.
Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti said last week that she would call DPW Director Dave Kinney in front of the council to explain why so many streets went uncleared during last week's snow storms.
Grandinetti said she did not feel it was appropriate to call Kinney in front of the council Monday as he and his crews had been working hard to clean up after the ice storm in recent days.
City Administrator Donna Owens said the city will look to improve its planning for weather events in the coming year.
"In the future, before we have any storm event, I will be coming to the council giving them, proactively discussing our strategy," she said
Mayor Paul Dyster praised the work of the department's employees through the many weather events.
"I'd like to take this opportunity on behalf of the citizens of the city to thank all the folks whose efforts over the course of the weekend helped us to get through the storm," Dyster said.
Dyster said that most of the addresses that lost power this weekend have had their power restored, but encouraged people who still do not have power to call National Grid at 1-800-867-5222.
Those looking to report branches hanging from power lines or dangerous debris in the road should call the DPW's offices at 716-286-4840.Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257