The Common Council conducted a brief public hearing on the proposed public nuisance law Wednesday, but delayed voting on it until its next meeting Nov. 5.
The hearing drew four speakers. Two were 2nd Ward alderman candidates, Dennis J. Stachera and Richard Schad. They expressed support for the law, which would allow the police to ask City Court to issue orders evicting a tenant or closing a building if drug or other criminal activity was going on there.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said the sole source for information about drug activity leading to use of the new law would be the Niagara County Drug Task Force. "This is not something where you can call the mayor's office and complain about your neighbor," he said.
Patrick Schrader of Gaffney Road, who said he was a landlord, said he's been trying without success to evict a rowdy tenant. City officials said the law would help him. "This is not targeted toward the good landlords," Mayor Kenneth D. Swan assured him.
Jacob Kern Jr. of South Transit Street said, "You'll always have innocent people who will get caught." He questioned the need for the ordinance in view of the federal drug asset forfeiture law.
Ottaviano said if a landlord knows of drug activity and does nothing to prevent it, the federal law could be invoked against him.
On another legal matter, Ottaviano again refused Kern's request to reveal how much the city's insurers paid the widow of Sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey Incardona, killed in a July 1993 patrol car crash. He said the settlement of the wrongful death suit earlier this year was sealed by court order, but it was less than the city's $1 million liability policy limit.
In other action, the Council refused a written request from Town of Niagara Economic Development Director Nicholas A. Curtis to buy a book of advance tickets for Kiwi International Air Lines flights from Niagara Falls International Airport to Newark, N.J., or Chicago. The book costs $1,010 for 10 one-way fares.
Council President Michael W. Tucker, R-7th Ward, asked his colleagues, "Can anyone think of a reason why we should buy one of these books?" Alderman Jacob S. Michaels, D-4th Ward, answered, "No." There was no further discussion.
Also Wednesday, the Council:
Authorized Swan to sign documents accepting a previously announced assistance package from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Canal Corridor Initiative.
The city will receive a grant of $1,675,414, and loans totaling $1,886,000. Most of the money will be spent on efforts to develop Richmond Avenue into a canal-side business district.
Authorized Swan to accept a $270,000 state housing rehabilitation grant, and a $5,000 grant obtained through State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-North Tonawanda, for Altro Park improvements.
Directed the seeking of bids for 1998 dog control services.
Scheduled a Nov. 5 public hearing on a sewer project on Columbia Street, to be paid for by local assessment. Residents petitioned for the project.
Invited operators of businesses in the old post office at East Avenue and Elm Street to approach Benderson Development, landlord of the Jubilee Foods store at 34 Chestnut St., in an effort to obtain 12 to 15 permit parking spaces in that store's lot, leased from the city.