Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 3, 2013

Casino revenue crunch will impact lot maintenance, other city services

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

"I can't designate the machine nor can I designate the personnel to take care of the 600 lots that the contractor used to do," Kinney said.

In addition, the casino cash crunch has left Kinney's department with less money for other general maintenance services than it has had in previous years. This year, Kinney said he's expecting DPW to struggle to keep pace with the following: 

• Potholes. The city will not have the money to rent the Pothole Killer machine, which costs about $70,000 to use for two months. As a result, Kinney said, the DPW will have to revert to the old method of a truck, laborers, shovels and stampers to patch the holes.

• Downtown clean up. Kinney has four laborers dedicated to keeping the downtown area looking nice. In previous years, he was able to hire a second crew to work nights and offer overtime for workers willing to take weekend shifts to make sure that tourists walked through a clean and trim looking cityscape. Without the funding, he said his department will no longer has access to the extra help, or the hours. 

• Street replacement. Kinney will not have the personnel to use the zipper machine - a large milling machine used to take out sections of road - to replace particularly pock-marked sections of city streets.

During Monday's council meeting, Councilman Charles Walker said Kinney needs to come up with a plan to deal with the shortfalls the best way possible moving forward.

"We can't go through a whole summer not cutting these lots," Walker said.

Kinney said he has been exploring different options, but without the money to contract with private companies or more money budgeted for overtime or temporary workers he does not see a realistic solution.

"I'm looking at different avenues right now, but I have nothing solid," Kinney said.

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