Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 3, 2013

Council majority tables motion allowing for federal reimbursement for train station work

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls City Council will take more time to look at an agreement that would see the city reimbursed for work performed on the intermodal transportation center project near the Whirlpool Bridge.

The council majority — Chairman Glenn Choolokian, Councilman Sam Fruscione and Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. — voted to table a resolution that would give Mayor Paul Dyster's administration authority to submit paperwork and sign agreements required to be reimbursed by the federal government for work already performed by the city's engineering consultant on the project Wendel Duchscherer at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Choolokian said he wants Corporation Counsel Craig Johnson to review the document and report back before the council would vote to approve the measure.

"We just got this thing in our packet," Choolokian said. "I'm going to talk to our corporation counsel this week."

Council agenda packets are made available the Wednesday prior to each council meeting. The council was on recess during August and many of the council members choose to vacation during that month. Choolokian returned from a family vacation on Sunday.

"I just want to make sure I know what I'm voting on," he said.

Susan Sherwood, a representative from Wendel Duchscherer, attended the council meeting and explained that the purpose of the resolution was to begin the process of recouping federal funds — the feds are paying for 80 percent of the train station construction — for work that has already been performed.

"We're under contract right now and there are state funds that are already obligated," Sherwood said. "This is just (an agreement) that came trickling in a little later."

Wendel has almost $1 million in work already performed. The company has been waiting to bill the city, in part, as a courtesy to the city while it dealt with the financial strains caused by the dispute between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York state over provisions of the 2002 gaming compact the Senecas say were being violated, Sherwood said.

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