WBTA contributed to this story.
It took the City Council 20 minutes to debate whether the city should reimburse the Business Improvement District $1,900 for flowers.
In the end, the resolution passed 5-4, but not before some sharp words where shared in the council chambers.
Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian looked around the room during the debate and wondered why Don Burkel, BID director wasn't there, "so we could rip his ass."
The request for the reimbursement didn't quite come from Burkel, however, it came from Councilman John Canale, who invited Burkel to submit a request for reimbursement. Canale saw it as a symbolic gesture to show common cause between the City Council and the business community.
Councilwoman Kathy Briggs said the city already does enough for Downtown. The sidewalks are clean, the medians are beautiful and city crews hang the flower baskets.
"The fact is, we just saw this for the last time in our last packet and I'm like, 'oh, what's this,' " Briggs said. "The fact that a few council people were talking about it beforehand, planning it, then why didn't we know about it in a committee report? Why weren't we told about it. I got it in my packet and I'm like, 'what's this?' They didn't come to us at budget time. If you want this done, come to us and let's talk about it, but for me to find it in my packet and then decide it, no."
Councilman John Deleo also opposed the idea.
“I promised voters I would be financially responsible with their money,” Deleo said, “but flowers don’t rise to that level.”
“It’s not just about making Downtown pretty,” countered Councilwoman Patty Pacino, “it is about making Downtown attractive to new and existing businesses.”
The BID fronted about $3,900 for the hanging baskets.
"I supported Vibrant Batavia because I wanted to bring pride back to the city," said Councilman Pier Cipollone, who spoke at length about the need to restore pride in Batavia. "If more people have pride they'll have a better feeling about being Downtown."
The city spent a total of $10,700 during the last fiscal year defending itself against a lawsuit filed by the City Centre Mall Association.
The figure was obtained by resident John Roach through a Freedom of Information Request. Roach complained that the bills he obtained were not “itemized.”
City Manager Jason Molino countered that Roach only requested a total amount for mall litigation and if an itemized accounting was requested, it could be provided.
The legal services summarized in the 2012-2013 fiscal year were incurred before the city filed a countersuit against the Mall Association earlier this year.