why are they repaving a parking lot when there are so many of the streets that needs t
Photo: Repaving School Street parking lot
Submitted by Howard Owens on September 12, 2013 - 1:31pm
Yea... this definitely should be a priority over the city streets??!!!
Must be a council member parks in this lot often.
Because they spending $251,000 on sidewalks, they are repaving streets and they own the parking lot.
If they let deteriorate more, the repair will cost more later.
If Brian or others would only attend a City Council meeting and publicly say they want to pay even more in property taxes so more sidewalks can be fixed each year, maybe the Council would spend more than the quarter of a million dollars just voted. Next meeting is in 2 weeks.
In August City Council turned down a 65K proposal to mill and repave this very parking lot and build a block enclosure around private dumpsters located on the property. I was at that meeting. There was no mention in August about any urgent need to mill and repave the lot. The repaving was presented as a necessary step to take before building a dumpster enclosure. A month later council approves a proposal to spend 30K to repave because the parking lot can't wait until it's regularly scheduled maintenance in 2014 or 2015. I am skeptical about the new found sense of urgency. There was no mention of the dumpster enclosure in the resolution council voted on Monday. But it is likely to follow after the lot is repaved. One council member even suggested that he saw no need to get construction of a dumpster enclosure approved by council if it is funded as planned by BDC grant money. I feel strongly that anytime a structure is built on city property, approval from council should absolutely be required. City tax dollars will eventually be needed to maintain and repair any new structure. Monday night I asked council to consider the fact that we are setting a dangerous precedent in building Caddilac style dumpster enclosures for private business. What happens the next time a dumpster enclosure needs to be built and a 25K grant from BDC is not available? The city does not need to be in the dumpster enclosure business. We have bigger needs in the city including streets, sidewalks, foreclosed homes and neighborhoods. In fairness to the City Manager, the BDC grant money had to be used in the downtown corridor. Still, I think there would have been more worthy projects. Dumpsters should be located in discreet, low visibility locations. Private businesses who utilize the dumpsters should be responsible for the care and maintenance. Current fees that private businesses pay to the city for dumpster space should be earmarked for parking lot beautification. We need to re examine our priorities. A 65K Dumpster enclosure is not a priority for the city.
Again, you misstate the issue. Council made very clear that the dumpsters are to be enclosed, as per City Code. Council made very clear the City will not spend tax money to do it, but the businesses will have to pay. Council also said that they would approve the use of the $25,000 in grant money to be used, but no tax money (yes, grant money is tax money from Albany). With the grant, you get a nicer looking enclosure. Without the grant, you get the chain link fence with the green slates like the one near Safe A Lot. But the taxpayer does not foot the bill for the enclosure. And the enclosure is to be built.
Since Council directed that the dumpsters be enclosed, paving the lot just makes sense. And that part of the lot was deteriorating.
The City owns a few downtown area parking lots. Some businesses have dumpsters on that public property. The City Code mandates that businesses owners pay to enclose the dumpsters on public property. The School street dumpsters were the only ones not yet enclosed, so this is not something new.
As for Council having to address this again, it does not. They already told the Manger to do see the enclosure gets done. They also told him to see if it could be done for just the cost of the grant ($25,000), which the manager has now said it could not be. Since no direct tax money will be spent and the enclosure is required by code, it does not have to come back to council. The only reason it came to Council in the first place was the Manager recommended using tax money and not having the businesses re pay the City, and Council said NO.
You say current fees paid by businesses who have dumpsters on City property should be used for "parking lot beatification". What is that? Why should businesses pay to beatify a public parking lot?
And Council already addressed raising the fee paid by businesses for placing the dumpsters on public property for future maintenance of all the enclosures in next year's budget, so that issue was addressed.
Aside from the enclosures, how do you recommend paving and maintenance of the parking lots be paid for? Do you favor parking fees or privatizing the City owned parking lots?
No John. I do not mistake the issue.
These are the facts as we know them.
On Monday evening, City Council voted to allocate 30K to mill and re pave the Center/School St. Parking lot ahead of it's regularly scheduled maintenance in 2014 or 2015.
There was no mention of building dumpster enclosures in the resolution that passed Monday evening.
The taxpayer DOES foot the bill for dumpster enclosures because yes, grant money Is indeed tax money.
The entire cost of repaving and enclosing he privately owned dumpsters will be in the vicinity of 60K.
Chain link fence with green slates would meet the city code for enclosing the School St. dumpsters.
Here is my position:
The city should be more transparent with the tax payers regarding the urgency to mill and repave the parking lot. I believe there is more urgency about losing the grant than there is about the parking lot.
Any permanent structure built on city property should be subject to a vote by city council. There was a suggestion from one council member Monday evening that a dumpster enclosure could potentially be built with grant money without the need for council approval. That would be the wrong thing to do.
The city's role in this matter should be to enforce code. Let those who utilize dumpster enclosures build them...as long as they meet city code.
Fees collected from the businesses that use city property should be used to help maintain or "beautify" those properties.
I don't favor parking fees or giving away city property.
I favor the use of every tax dollar in the most efficient way possible, addressing our most pressing needs first.
Look at the unintended consequences of being less than transparent about the real rationale for the sudden work on Center Street. People like Anne and Brian (above) are left wondering why we are re paving a parking lot when streets and sidewalks are in disrepair. This is where the disconnect happens between city government and local residents. Unless you follow City Council on a regular basis (and most people don't have the time for that, nor should they need to) you don't always know what the real agenda is. Consequently, many voters end up distrusting their elected officials. The ARC refuse collection/trash can with tracking chip debacle earlier this year was a perfect example of this. It is not the obligation of local residents to attend city council meetings in order to get the entire picture of the story. City Hall has a responsibility to communicate it's complete agenda in a transparent and understandable manner. Presenting a resolution for paving work that omits any mention of the plan to build an expensive dumpster enclosure is bad practice. Any attempt to defend that practice seems to me to be a call for staying firmly entrenched in doing it the way we always did it. I believe the people deserve better. I will fight for that. People shouldn't need us to play Tuesday morning quarterback and explain what is REALLY going on at City Hall.
For the record, Transparency and Trust are the REAL issues at City Hall. Much more so than milling and repaving parking lots or building dumpster enclosures. There should be no need for John Roach or Jim Rosenbeck to use The Batavian to explain the workings of local government to city residents. As a Member of City Council, I won't vote on a resolution without explaining my understanding of it and the rationale for my vote. Every position I have taken on an issue during this city council campaign is available for review and comments at www.facebook.com/Rosenbeck4Batavia .
The dumpster were not mentioned Monday, because that was settled at the previous meeting. It does not need to be approved every two weeks.
The "suggestion" about not needing a vote by council was because, again, they took care of that at the previous meeting. It does not have to come up again every two weeks.
True, grant money is excessive tax money taken and then returned as a supposed gift. That is a case of accept your money back, or let them give to somebody else. Are you recommending the grant be returned or that the businesses be made to repay the grant also?
You say the businesses should be made to pay for the enclosures. Council already said that also, so you agree with something that was already in the law and reinforced at the previous meeting.
The requirement to build the enclosure is part of the Batavia City Code. That was voted on in the 1990's and does not need to be voted on every time a code is enforced.
To build the enclosure and then pave later is inefficient and more expensive, It just does not make any sense to do it your way. And the Council did not say the City can wait until next year to the year after to do the enclosure.
As you should know, the season for blacktop paving is ending. It's not like you can wait until December.
Streets are being fixed, but at a rate passed at budget time. Streets are being paved or rebuilt, again as funded at budget time.
We can do a lot more, faster, if you are willing to spend more each year. But, not one person has come to Council this year and demand more taxes for more spending on repairs. That includes you.
You did not mention how you think parking lot repair should be paid for.
They should sell the parking lot to private owners.
The streets, parking lots, sidewalks, etc... ALL are being addressed on a schedule that was created by someone's assessment of need at some point in time. I really don't care about the history of how that schedule was created because that's water under the bridge. The question is what is being done on schedule, what new items are being added to the schedule, what lifetime expectation is given to repairs and rework (patching), and exactly what warrants being moved up on the schedule?
The transfer of funds to address a parking lot ahead of schedule is questionable. If we had $30K to burn, what suddenly made a parking lot the top priority when it's repair was only a year or two out? When was the last time it was repaved or rebuilt? What concrete (pun intended) evidence was there of it's suddenly rapidly eroding state? There are streets in Batavia that get WAY more traffic on them than that parking lot that have not been repaved in 40+ years! There are missing curbs in Batavia that cause WAY more problems that that parking lot ever will. Despite the patching and repaving work this summer there are still streets with significant cracks that will turn into pot holes after the impending winter. If we had spare $30K in the budget, we should have spent it on THE #1 priority, not what someone ran into Council with after a two week scramble to justify use of another pot of taxpayer money.
We deserve better representation, action, and accountability. November is fast approaching - we welcome the change in season!
The code requires the privately owned dumpsters on public property to be enclosed. With or without the grant, the owners have to pay. Council directed that this get done.
If you enclose the dumpsters before the paving is done, then it becomes more expensive when you do the paving. This saves us some money.
Are you saying that the dumpsters should be enclosed first, then paved later?
Do you favor selling the City parking lots?
Just to be clear, the whole lot is not being repaired ahead of time, just the area that will have the dumpster enclosure over to the sidewalk. The majority of the lot will be done later as scheduled.
The bottom line in all this is 25,000 tax payer dollars thru a grant are going to be given to private business for a trash enclosure that they have been out of compliance for many years with no fine or penalty assessed...Now the city is willing to bend over backwards for these same business's to get them a free trash enclosure...Is the city going back and make them pay all fines for this.....Would be nice if those on council would let the public know what other areas the 25000 dollars could be spend on..So maybe we could have a say in were this grant money goes...That is the openness that is missing..And now they say because its a grant council doesn't even have a say in what its spent on....Why no debate if that is the right place to have dumpsters anyway...Who uses them....
So you have in fact confirmed that this expense was targeted specifically to enable dumpster enclosures! Is that direct from City Council members? Nice end around, eh!
Does this repaving also include areas under the dumpsters? If so, why? That can be gravel, dirt, or recycled plastic.
And dumpster enclosures are going to be built that are prohibitive to repaving in the future? Huh??? A chain link solution could be devised with corner anchors that allow for easy repaving at any point in the future.
This saves "us" some money? Boulderdash! Just how much reconstructive damage was found when milling the stretch of parking lot? Ummm...I did not see a report of great discovery that indicated this $30K saved us a single red cent with conclusive physical evidence.
As I posted in a prior thread, the dumpster users should have been directed to enclose their own dumpsters or find another solution for their refuse. Get the city out of the trash business and focused on problems that are clearly affecting the homeowners who are paying taxes and ultimately the salaries of the Council Members and their appointed charges.
Per the question of selling the parking lots in the city, that's neither here nor there. I for one appreciate a parking spot every once in awhile, but it sure isn't daily or even weekly and rarely for more than a few minutes at a time. If you look at it that way, I don't relish the practice of subsidizing parking lots for the high volume users and the heavier vehicles, trailers, or whatever that cause more damage than a small car, motorcycle, or bike. Think of the hundreds of city residents who NEVER use a parking lot! They all pay for the lots. Now, on the other hand, the local businesses benefit from the parking for their employees and customers. In turn that generates some level of put back to the community. But all of that is a shell game with untraceable consequences. And the parking lots are vastly underpopulated the majority of the time.
So, to Donnie's comment, sell them. But that's still not going to change the code and dumpster enclosures will still prevail.
And speaking of code, explain exactly why there are 3 dumpster enclosures behind Super Cuts and over 13 trash receptacles with nary a single one behind an enclosure EVER???
There is no defense for how City Council is manipulating the budget. There is no defense for not enforcing codes uniformly or at least having a single code that applies to all dumpsters in the city that are visible to the public.
At least we agree that the code should have been enforced long before this. And that is just another reason I think the manager should be replaced.
If you had read the code, you would know it was the City's job to enclose the dumpsters first, then bill the businesses. How can you fine them for something that was not their fault?
And with or without the grant, they still have to pay about $10,000, so how can you say it's free? Personally, I am ok with the grant, but I am equally ok if gets used for something else. I want the dumpsters enclosed and have said so since the beginning of the year, before the grant came up.
If Super Cuts is over near Tops, that is private property. The dumpsters there are not on public land.
If you think imposing more rules on private property is OK, come to Council and make the suggestion.
I think dumpster enclose in the city should be a uniform code - either it's for everyone regardless of where the dumpsters are or it's for no one. Visible daily trash is either a detriment regardless of where it is located or it is no big deal wherever it is located.
I personally do not need to go to City Council to make a suggestion - our highly qualified and insightful elected elite should walk around town and figure things out for themselves by looking at neighborhoods and talking with our citizens.
Having the city enclose the dumpsters then bill businesses is quite frankly bogus. Inform businesses of the code then let them meet the code. If they don't want to meet the code, remove the dumpsters and let them take their trash daily to a transfer station.
If this code situation has been going on for years, why hasn't it been enforced to date and why now is it suddenly of urgent business? Again, there are LOTS of other more unsightly and detrimental areas in the city, private property included (some condemned).
Our citizens deserve far better than these last minute fire drills laden with ulterior motives.
No matter how it's sliced or diced, business first, citizens 2nd, thats the way it is, and it won't change anytime soon.
Jim, you got my attention, and now you will get my vote, I like the way you think.
Thank you Frank.