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>Assistant fire chief due back after suspension

LOCKPORT -- Today was to be the first day back on duty for Assistant Fire Chief Mark S. Devine, who was suspended with pay after being arrested on domestic violence charges.

Fire Chief Thomas J. Passuite said Monday that the city Fire Board lifted the suspension last week. Devine, 51, a 31-year city employee, continued to draw his $61,361 annual salary during the suspension, which began Feb. 4.

His next City Court date is March 22 on charges that he shoved a woman at a Prentice Street home in front of a 3-year-old child Jan. 22 and tore a telephone out of the wall so police couldn't be called.


>DEC awards $358,245 to probe contamination

LOCKPORT -- The state Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded the city a $358,245 grant to investigate contamination on the site of the former O'Byrne's feed mill at Niagara and Bristol streets.

Three underground storage tanks, one for gasoline and two for oil, have been removed from the site in the past few years, but testing at the adjacent site of the former Laux stationery store at 237 Park Ave. showed petroleum contamination. The grant is to pay for a probe of the full extent of the pollution.

The city owns the property after foreclosing on it because of unpaid taxes in 1998. The area has been a field since O'Byrne's was destroyed by a fire in the early 1970s. After the probe is done, the city may choose to excavate contaminated soil before redeveloping the property.


>IDA corrects error in property tax break

WHEATFIELD -- The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, in a brief special board meeting Monday, corrected an error in the property tax break it gave the Ulrich City Centre project in Lockport on Jan. 12.

Because of a clerical error, the City of Lockport was given incorrect information on how much the 15-year tax break would be. The 13-storefront complex at 80 Main St. will be taxed at 15 percent of full value for each of the first five years.

In years six through 10, the tax will be 30 percent of full value, and in years 11 through 15, the property will be taxed at 45 percent of full value.

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