The City Council on Monday agreed to borrow $2.13 million for capital projects and awarded a $529,800 demolition contract to tear down 26 vacant buildings in an effort to address conditions the fire chief and city administrator characterized as hazardous.
The Council unanimously approved using proceeds from municipal bonds to pay for a list of projects and new equipment that includes replacing leaking roofs at City Hall.
"We really can't afford to wait on this," City Administrator William Bradberry told the Council. "These situations are only going to get worse with time. We need to do something, and we need to do something now."
The projects to be funded also include new comfort stations in Hyde Park and Griffon Park, as well as eight new trucks and other equipment for the Public Works and Parks departments.
The bonds are part of Mayor Vince Anello's 10-year financial plan to borrow $3 million a year for infrastructure needs. He plans to pay the debt with casino revenue. The Council approved borrowing the money despite concerns from several members about dedicating casino revenue the city has not yet received.
Councilman Chris A. Robins, who said during a work session he had "real concerns" about borrowing based on projected casino revenue, approved the capital list because he said several projects on the list need to be completed.
The Council unanimously voted to award a $529,800 contract to demolish 26 buildings to Cambria Contracting of Lockport. Francis Barone Jr. is president of Cambria Contracting. The firm received a contract from Niagara Falls in 2004 to demolish a city parking ramp, said Cambria salesman Leonard Bevilacqua.
Cambria's bid was $194,084 less than three other sealed proposals for the work.
Money for the demolition work will come from the city's Department of Community Development budget, which is funded primarily with federal money.
Also Monday, the Council unanimously approved a resolution from Councilman Sam Fruscione that asks for a bronze statue of Harriet Tubman to be placed near a bridge abutment near Whirlpool Street "and not in Lewiston." Fruscione said his resolution was a reaction to a proposal in the Village of Lewiston to build a monument in a riverfront park that would depict Tubman.