Buffalo City Council Hears Challenge to New Building

Members of the Buffalo City Council met Monday, January 22nd, for their regular monthly meeting. All council persons were present, and Buffalo Mayor Royce Dawkins presided.

Buffalo resident Gayle Ray addressed the council in the public comments section of the meeting. Ray challenged the board concerning the building and financing of the new City Hall / Information Center. ?The council set up a process for a committee to look at any requests for use of Hotel/Motel Tax Fund monies,? said Ray, ?but I have looked at all the applications for the past couple of years, and it doesn?t seem the city used its own process to approve spending the funds for this project.?

Ray also raised the point that the total cost of the new structure has changed. Ray pointed out that there was nothing in the budget for paying off the $500,000 the city agreed last month to borrow to finish the City Hall / Information Center project. And Ray challenged whether the idea to use the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund for building a Civic Center is allowed by state regulations governing that fund. ?The fund has been depleted already. There is not enough money left to give to the groups that have come to rely on it for their events.?

Council Person Dianne Ryder said that the council should follow their own policy of using the committee or rescind the policy. City Attorney Jerry Nowlin said that even though the committee is in place, it is only advisory and the council has always been free to take action with or without the advise of the committee. The Mayor said that approximately the same amount of funds will be available to the groups who have been requesting funds for their events the last several years.

Tim Ezell, representing the Buffalo Youth Organization, was present to request funds for the upcoming State Tournament Baseball Pitch for Girls. The city voted to allow $26,650 for this event which has brought large crowds of fans to the city for the four day tournament.

The council also voted to allow $3,700 to the Tri-County Horseshoe Association. Present for Tri-County Horseshoe were Ron Murphy and Paul Kennedy. Murphy reminded the council that the organization will need further funds for other events planned later in the year. Applications have already been submitted for those events.

The post event analysis of the Teenage State Tournament held last July was approved.

A workshop was held just prior to the meeting so that the council could hear from representatives of Lone Star, a group that specializes in improving a community?s ISO rate. Insurance Services Office (ISO), established in 1971, provides the database for insurance companies to determine pricing and rates and rules regarding property and casualty insurance risk. With an improved ISO rating, a fire department and insurers of commercial and residential properties, can offer better rates in that community.

The representatives from Lone Star were asked to speak to the council by Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) Chief Shane Reeder. They presented a plan to evaluate the Buffalo community to receive a better ISO rate so that BVFD can receive a better insurance rate. Independent Insurer Bryan Robinson was also present for the workshop and said that an improved ISO rate will help him offer better insurance rates to his customers, also.

The council asked Reeder to bring a written proposal to the board for an evaluation study to be done to improve the ISO for the city. ?I am all on board with this,? said Council Person Dianne Ryder. ?It is something we have talked about before, and we need to move on it and get the better rates.? Reeder agreed to present the board with a proposal at the next meeting.

Approval was voted for the joint polling place election agreement.

The council also voted to authorize the mayor to sign the loan resolution for the construction of the City Hall / Information Center. The council voted last month to borrow up to $550,00 to be able to complete the new structure which will be built mostly with funds from the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund.

Council person Martin Housler stated that he had requested at the last meeting that the contractor/engineer of the new facility attend this meeting. The contractor was not present, and Housler asked the mayor if he had asked the contractor to attend. The mayor indicated that he had not asked, but said that the contractor will be at the meeting next month.

The council approved the BEDC Quarterly Report as given by Executive Director Ken Jones.

Buffalo Police Chief Lance Pavelka gave the monthly report from his department. Pavelka reported 80 calls for service including 1 Burglary of a coin operated machine, 1 Giving Porn to a Minor, 5 Credit Card Abuse, 2 Criminal Mischief, and 1 Recovery of a Stolen Vehicle.

The police department also issued 198 citations. The chief reported that calls and complaints still come in about various scams. ?It seems,? said Pavelka, ?that most of the ones who still get caught up in the scams are people who don?t read the newspapers. And some are the elderly.?

Phillip Bounds, President of the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, invited the council to attend the upcoming Chamber Banquet at the Civic Center at 6:30pm on January 30th. A meal will be served by Catering by Cindy of Jewett. The public is invited. The charge for the meal is $15.