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Friday, July 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm

City announces refinancing of City Centre loan

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre

Press release:

On Wednesday July 16th the City refunded (refinanced) the current City Centre debt service. This effort refinanced approximately $4,050,000 of general obligation bonds that financed the construction of the City Centre in 2004.

These bonds were issued by USDA Rural Development, and at the time were considered low interest at 4 percent. However, much like refinancing your own home mortgage, refinancing the City's outstanding bonds will reduce the interest paid over the life of the loan. The refunding was approved by City Council on April 8, 2013, and the City along with its financial advisors, Municipal Solutions, Inc., have been monitoring bond market rates for over the past year to find the time when market rates would be at their lowest level to maximize the savings to the City's taxpayers.

Interest rates on municipal bonds are very favorable at this time and the savings realized by refunding the outstanding bonds now resulted in more than $73,000 in increased budgetary savings compared to rates that were presented to City Council one year ago. In total, this refunding has saved the City approximately $303,000 in interest payments during the remaining 21-year life of the reissued bond, ending in 2036.

Monday, April 21, 2014 at 8:18 am

City claims mall merchants owe $805,000 in past due rent

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre


The City of Batavia is suing the Genesee County Mall Merchants Association for $805,000.
Court papers just filed and obtained by WBTA show the city has filed a complaint against the mall association for past due rent. The city also wants the lease for the mall concourse to be terminated.
The city claims the Mall Association has not paid fair market rent for the mall concourse since April of 2000.

The bad blood between the city and the mall association goes back years.

The mall has claimed that since the city owns the concourse, it is responsible to replace the roof and make other improvements.

The city says that the lease clearly states the mall is responsible for the maintenance of the roof and other public areas.

City Manager Jason Molino, reluctant to talk about details of the latest legal salvo, says he is hopeful the situation can be resolved:

"Hopefully, we will be able to have a permanent resolution to a decade-long conflict that will ultimately contribute to the community."

City Council President Brooks Hawley issued a prepared statement declining comment on the latest legal action while it is pending litigation:

"In the course of defending the City's interests in the case, certain information has become available resulting in the City to pursuing a claim against the Merchants Association. To the extent that this is pending litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment any further."

The Mall Association has been leasing the concourse from the city for $1 a year plus the maintenance costs. The city contends the mall has not kept up with repairs and maintenance equal to the fair market rent.


Monday, June 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Photos: Hosta planting downtown, next to City Centre

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre, downtown, Gardening

Two flower beds that in recent years haven't looked like much got a hosta makeover by city staff Monday afternoon.

City Manager Jason Molino, himself an avid gardener, organized the effort and convinced several local businesses, including Genesee Dental, Hawley Insurance, the Bank of Castile and WBTA, to pay for the hostas.

City staff from several different departments turned out today and got the 21 plants in the ground in about 30 minutes.

The plants were selected by Molino, who also drew up the plans on where each should be planted, and purchased from Pudgie's Lawn and Garden.

Asked, why hostas, Molino said, "Partially, because I’m a big fan of hostas myself. Hostas don’t need a lot of care. They’re pretty hardy. They’re a good no-brainer in terms of maintenance and something that will come back every year. As they come back and fill out more, you’ll see more and more the hostas themselves and less of the dirt."

Photos: Above, Molino and Sally Kuzon. Below, Sgt. John Peck, Batavia PD, and bottom photo, most of the staff (and Sgt. Peck's wife) who participated in the planting.

Friday, September 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Photo: 9/11 display at City Centre

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, 9/11, city centre

This is the Remembering 9/11 display set up at City Centre by the NYS Museum, one of several 9/11 artifact displays set up in various municipalities throughout New York.  The car is an unmarked NYC Port Authority sedan that was found under the rubble of the Twin Towers. The display is outside the mall-side entrance to Batavia City Hall.

Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Zumba dancers fill City Centre with Latin flavor

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre, Genesee Cancer Assistance

The City Centre was packed with Zumba dancers this afternoon as part of a "Party of Hope" to raise money for Genesee Cancer Assistance.

Zumba is a fusion of Latin beats, international music and fitness dance moves.

Dancers donated money to participate.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 6:29 am

Council approves repairs to eliminate white streaks on City Hall

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre

A solution may have been found for the white streaks on the red bricks of City Hall.

sally_kuzon.jpgOn Monday, City Council approved a $31,500 contract with Highland Masonry and Restoration Inc., of Buffalo, to replace 46 windows and sills with material that won't run and create new streaks.

Once the building's cleaned up and the new windows are in place, the building should be more attractive, officials say.

"It does bother the citizens of Batavia," said City Council President Marrianne Clattenburg. "I get comments on it all the time – when are you going to fix those windows?"

Director of Public Works Sally Kuzon said the city tried two different replacement or repair options on three different windows on the building. The replacement process showed the most success on two windows, so the city then sought bids for the work on the remaining 46 windows.

frank_ferrando.jpgCouncilman Sam Barone was the only council member to object to the work, saying he was concerned about the expense and that he could live with the situation.

The city did budget $27,000 for the project. The $4,500 shortfall will be taken from the city's facilities reserve.

Councilwoman Patti Pacino was among the council members who questioned why the city couldn't sue the contractor who installed the windows, or the architect who wrote the specs.

"I still don't understand how it's not some body's fault," Pacino said.

City Attorney George Van Nest explained that the building contractor was merely going off the plans and specs provided by the architect when the building was erected five years ago, so couldn't be held libel.

As for going after the architect, he said expert opinion, according to his research, varies on the proper construction process and materials for installing windows in a masonry building, making getting a win on a lawsuit much more difficult.

"Legal action could cost more than the project itself," said City Manager Jason Molino.

patti_pacino.jpgBoth Molino and Van Nest explained that winter-time construction and the compounds used in installing the windows at that time of year may be the reason the streaks appeared. Van Nest said he's seen the same problem appear on buildings in Buffalo.

"In my opinion, this is a beautiful building and those stains under the windows really detract from it," said councilman Frank Ferrando. "I think we owe it to this community and the investment that we made here that we make it look good. This is our downtown. This is something we should all be very proud of."

Photos: Kuzon, Ferrando, Pacino.

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 9:38 am

Smell of wires burning reported at City Centre

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre, mall

City Fire is being dispatched to 1 City Centre, section 8A, to investigate the odor of wires burning.

UPDATE 10:31 a.m.: Engine 12 went back in service a few minutes ago.

Monday, August 11, 2008 at 3:33 pm

city centre reality check

post by Mitchell Chess in city centre

It seems lots of people like to speak with no knowledge base.  Mr. Mallow seems to be the prime offender, although obviously he is not alone.

These are the facts that are not disputed:

The sign belonged to the merchants and was taken down and destroyed by the city.  The city has confirmed this in the past and we have that documentation.

The city owns the concourse. 

State laws give tenants specific rights in absence of lease documents to the contrary.

The city has never given us a lease, despite multiple requests for one.

What is in dispute is who is responsible for what.  We keep trying to negotiate these points and the city keeps stalling hoping to never resolve them.  We believe we have certain responsibilities and believe the city, as concourse owner has others.  The city may have another view, but we can't get any meaningful negotiation to even know what that is.

We have been misled and need resolution.  Mr. Mallow has poisoned any possibility of negotiation. That is why the law suit is being filed.

For those of you who rent, would you expect to make structural changes, such as a new roof?  I would guess not.  Would you have been patient enough to wait years.  I think not.  We have gone out of our way to work with the city.  Unfortunately some of the representatives of the city, especially  Mr. Mallow ,just want to stay in the papers without allowing for any resolution.

Mr. Roach also disappoints me.  I assume this relates to some political aspirations.  Prior to this year he was our advocate.  Reputation is something valuable.  One should not sell it cheaply.  Perhaps you can think this out before continuing, or at least speak with us to see both sides.


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