Tonawanda News

Local News

November 13, 2013

City of Tonawanda Council ponders Little League Drive

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Gilbert campaigned on his support for the project, and current Second Ward Councilman Blake Boyle, whose term expires at the end of the year, said he will also vote for the contract.

“It’s going to help the city all around,” he said, taking the opportunity to criticize Zeisz. “The council has been working on this for four years, and for Carl to back out of it now is totally irresponsible.”

Fourth Ward Councilman Tyler Kossow, who did not run for re-election, has also expressed his support for the project.

“I have been for it since the very beginning, and I will continue to be for it,” he said. “The city has the option to gain tax revenue with zero investment.”

But Third Ward Councilman Richard Slisz, who lost last week to Republican John “Jay” Hall, has repeatedly spoken out against the current contract and the process that led to the tax abatement.

“It’s like you are buying a car, and the salesman tells you you can have it for $30,000,” Slisz said. “And then you come back, and it’s $45,000. There are options, but as far as I’m concerned, they are unacceptable to me.”

To pass the contract before January, Slisz or Zeisz would have to support the project.

The issue could still rest with Zeisz after the new council members take their seats. Hall has said he will support the project, but the new Fourth Ward Councilwoman, Jenna Koch, is against the contract.  The Second Ward race still hasn’t been decided, with Republican Jon Juliano, who supports the project, just one vote behind Democrat Jackie Smilinich, who is against the development.

The race won’t be decided until absentee ballots are counted sometime next week. But even if Juliano wins — and everyone stands by their campaign promises — the council will still be one vote shy of approving the contract without support from Zeisz.

Put simply, homeowners whose properties cost between $225,000 and $250,000 to buy will pay taxes as if the home was worth between $146,250 and $162,500. - See more at: http://www.tonawanda-news.com/local/x710302626/Little-League-Drive-deal-reached#sthash.6S37AIlW.dpuf

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.

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