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New policy favors local workers

The Common Council on Tuesday approved a hiring policy intended to increase the number of local workers used by contractors for public projects.

By a 3-1 vote, the Council enacted the policy for all projects valued at more than $50,000.

The policy calls for contractors to make good-faith efforts to hire 30 percent of their work force for a project from Niagara County.

Members of the Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope, a faith-based coalition, urged the city to adopt the policy late last month.

"It will help us all," the Rev. Rex T. Stewart told the Council in October.

The policy is expected to make a difference when out-of-state contractors are hired, NOAH members told the Council.

After one month of the effort to hire locally, contractors would be free to hire anyone.

The measure has already been enacted in the Town of Wheatfield.

Council President Brett M. Sommer cast the only vote against the measure. First Ward Alderman Phillip Rizzo did not attend Tuesday's session.

In other business, the Council approved a final payment to the contractor who monitored removal of tree limbs following the "surprise" storm of October 2006.

Total costs of $468,187.35 will be paid to Beck Disaster Recovery of Pensacola, Fla.

The costs include an increase of about $17,000 for surveys of all city parks and cemeteries for limb removal eligible for federal reimbursement.

City officials have been denied reimbursement from the federal government for about $850,000 in limb removal work, and are awaiting word on their second appeal of that denial.

The Council also approved a $14,000 change order as well as the final contract for the reconstruction of Kingston Avenue.

A total of $162,052.90 will be paid to Northeast Diversification of Lancaster for the work.

The city borrowed $205,000 under this year's capital budget to pay for the project.

e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com

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