Tonawanda News

November 24, 2012

Niagara County budget up for review

Staff reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A series of public hearings will be held Dec. 4 concerning parts of the proposed 2013 Niagara County budget.

Beginning at 6 p.m., hearings will be held on the water, sewer and refuse district assessment rolls. The hearing on the proposed budget — a $322 million spending plan that drives a 3 percent tax rate increase — is on deck at 6:30 p.m.

Also Dec. 4, at 6:50 p.m., a public hearing will be held on the draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for buildout of the county’s new emergency communication system. A copy of the statement is on file at the legislature clerk’s office now for public review.

The GEIS tries to anticipate any environmental effects from installation of five new radio towers around the county, all but one about 180 feet tall; one in Lockport will be about 100 feet taller, due to the terrain. A generic statement was written in the event any of the tower locations has to be changed.

The Legislature this week accepted the GEIS as it’s written, and declared a 30-day public comment period that’s in effect through Dec. 28. Written comments about the GEIS should be sent to Jeffrey Glatz, Niagara County Manager, 59 Park Ave., Lockport, NY 14094.

In other business this week, lawmakers:

• OK’d an allocation of 145 kilowatts of low-cost power to Niagara Envelope Inc., a new offset printing-envelope manufacturing business moving into the old Bell Aerospace plant on Niagara Falls Boulevard. The allocation is from Empower Niagara, a county-run program that re-grants shares of the county’s nine-megawatt allocation from New York Power Authority for economic development purposes.

Niagara Envelope president Janese Olivero said in the company’s application for low-cost power that it would start up early next year with four employees, and would add up to 14 more at an unspecified time as second and third shifts are created.

Niagara Envelope is affiliated with Matrix Printing Solutions of Wheatfield, which will be the envelope maker’s primary customer at startup, Olivero said.

• OK’d a casino cash grant of $17,533 to the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce, to fund its new “Shop Niagara” marketing program. The chamber will spend the money on promotional events, advertising campaigns, incentives and online promotions to encourage patronage of local small businesses after the holidays, in conjunction with 20 business associations around the county, according to the approving resolution.

With the grant, the county’s casino fund — proceeds from the cut of Seneca Niagara Casino profits that the county used to receive, until the state law was changed in 2009 — is nearly exhausted, resolutions sponsors noted.