Niagara Gazette — The city council is continuing its stand against Mayor Paul Dyster’s administration’s use of consultants in the new year.
The council members — who cut $188,000 from budget lines set for consultants through amendments to Dyster’s proposed budget — voted unanimously to defeat a resolution from the mayor asking that they approve a change order for a consultant’s project at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
The measure called for the city to pay Stantect Consulting Group, Inc., an international consulting group with local offices in Tonawanda, for environmental testing the company has performed that fell outside its contract with the city for work on the John B. Daly Boulevard extension project.
The change orders would increase the city’s payment by $102,000 bringing the total price tag to $532,000. A funding source is available, according to Dyster’s resolution.
Councilman Sam Fruscione said continuing to pay consultants for work on the road project, which is supposed to extend the boulevard from where it now ends at Niagara Street through to Pine Avenue, is a waste of money.
“They’ve been talking for 15 years about extending John Daly Boulevard to Pine Avenue,” he said.
Putting down new road should not be a complicated project, Fruscione said.
“Plow out the road, put down some black top and be done with it,” he said. “Enough is enough with the consultants.”
Thomas DeSantis, the city’s top planner, said that the money for the consultant is part of a road project that is 95 percent refundable through federal funding from the Department of Transportation.
Several hundred thousand dollars has already been sunk into the project over the years and if the city does not complete the extension the feds could come calling to get that money back from the Falls.
“If you want the project to be complete you have to advance the project,” DeSantis said.