Falls City Council gets three new members and a new chair to begin 2022

The members of the Niagara Falls City Council pose for a photo after their organizational meeting on Saturday. From left are Traci Bax, Donta Myles, Council Chair John Spanbauer, Kenny Tompkins and David Zajac. For more on Saturday’s council’s annual New Year’s Day organizational meeting, pick up Tuesday’s Gazette or visit our website.

Five non-controversial items passed the city council during a special meeting held Friday night, all by a 5-0 vote.

The items included a resolution directing the city assessor to dispense with the renewal applications for persons granted property tax exemptions.

Also approved were three contract awards, one for Information Technology Improvement Consulting Services, one for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCOTT) Paks for the Niagara Falls Fire Department, and another for Reverse Osmosis Filtration System Replacement at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion.

The final matter amended the city charter to separate the departments of Planning and Economic Development.

After business concluded, Donta Myles asked why there was a need to call a special meeting, having gotten off work just prior to the meeting. Chairman John Spanbauer held the start of the meeting up by a couple of minutes to allow Myles to attend.

Mayor Robert Restaino explained that the contract awards were under bid timelines and that the first item was to expedite processes so senior citizens would not have to show duplicate proof in order to receive property tax exemptions.

Chairman Spanbauer spoke glowingly of the importance of the self-contained breathing apparatus for the Niagara Falls Fire Department.

Most of the discussion was directed around the information technology improvement consulting services. Councilmembers Ken Tompkins and Traci Bax both made inquiries about the type and cost of service.

Restaino said that the funds approved for the item were in line with wraparound funding that was approved as part of his plan to spend American Rescue Plan monies.

The mayor also said that, in discussion with the company under contract, Avero Advisors, he was told that while information technology in the Falls appears in dire straits, many other cities are in a similar position. 

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