North Tonawanda Common Council President Paul P. Reidenouer Tuesday night offered some ideas for reducing costs and asked his colleagues to come up with some of their own.
Ideas that Reidenouer wants explored over the next two years include:
A private-public joint venture to operate the city's wastewater treatment plant.
Reorganizing the police and fire departments. The Police Department has been racking up $200,000 a year in overtime.
Possibly consolidating parts of city departments, such as vehicle maintenance in public works, parks and recreation and police. Alderman Dennis J. Barberio favors possible consolidation.
Combining high-volume city purchases with the North Tonawanda School District and Niagara County.
Revaluing property to ensure fair and equitable tax assessments throughout the city, possibly leading to a phaseout of the homestead and non-homestead tax system.
Offering residents incentives to rehabilitate housing.
Offering retirement incentives to long-time city employees to cut the payroll.
Possibly establishing a housing court.
The other Council members and Mayor Ronald R. Dawson seemed receptive to Reidenouer's ideas and offered some their own.
For example, Dawson is a firm advocate of ending duplication of services, such as police protection between the city and the county.
Alderman Leonard J. Wudyka favors elimination of overtime in the Police Department and cost reductions in the Fire Department.
"We have to stop the hemorrhaging of taxpayers' money."
Aldermen Barberio and Scott P. Kiedrowski, agreed with Wudyka.
The city is facing the start of contract negotiations with all four of its unions: police, fire, civil service and municipal employees.
Reidenouer also is encouraging a city alliance with the Empire State Development Corp., the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency and the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas to formulate an economic development plan for the city.