BATAVIA – Unexpected litigation is putting a dent in the city’s carefully crafted budget that was intended to maintain all services with a minimum tax increase.
Budget transfers – including nearly $72,000 in professional fees – were approved Monday by the City Council.
The need for more in legal fees was not listed, but the city has filed a lawsuit against the Mall Merchants Association over maintenance responsibilities and is involved in zoning and assessments disputes over two downtown building projects.
There are also insurance claims and routine legal business that added up to an unusual $250,000 in legal services.
Another government agency, the Batavia School District, is also involved in unanticipated litigation that could run legal bills into six figures.
The district lost a suit filed by the parents of three girl softball players over inadequate facilities when compared with the boys’ playing field.
The Council also approved redistricting for four of the six wards, moving boundaries to keep ward populations close to a 2,600 average.
The city has lost about 400 residents since the last census, but four wards deviated by more than 10 percent from the required average.
The boundary changes, which drew no opposition at a public hearing, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, if approved at the November election.
The Council accepted two resolutions dealing with business sites.
One approves redevelopment of five locations ranging from the City Centre mall to a Tonawanda Creek Park.
The other transfers a South Spruce Street residence to the Batavia Housing Authority, with plans for Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County to restore the property.
Council members narrowly approved (5-4) paying half the $3,800 cost of hanging flower baskets in the business district, an annual project of a merchants association.
A busy summer is on tap, with Council approval of these events:
• A series of 10 Friday night concerts in July and August at Jackson Square;
•The Batavia Concert Band’s performances on five Wednesdays in July at Centennial Park;
• GO-ART’s annual daylong Picnic in the Park on July 4 at Centennial Park;
•A downtown farmers’ market every Thursday.