Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The number of expected layoffs in the Lockport Fire Department is down to seven, after one firefighter has indicated he will retire, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Wednesday.
Tucker informed the Common Council on Wednesday of the reduction. Last month, the Council passed a 2014 budget that included the elimination of four police officer posts, eight firefighter posts and one post each from the building inspection, youth, highway and city clerk’s departments.
But, at that time, city officials said any retirements that take place before Dec. 31 would reduce the number of layoffs. Tucker echoed that statement Wednesday, adding there could be one or two more retirements.
“If we have another, it’ll be six (layoffs,)” he said.
Any laid off workers will retain recall rights for two or three years, the mayor said.
While no retirements have been announced in the police department, Tucker said he believed all four positions could be saved. The city and the police union are still talking about other cost-cutting measures.
In other city news, Chuck Bell, Lockport’s director of planning and development, said the Planning Board approved the split-level design on Monday for the new municipal parking lot being installed at the site of the city’s former parking ramp at Main and Pine streets.
The two-level plan includes driveways from Main and Pine streets and a total of 44 parking spaces. It also maintains the canal view that had been hidden by the parking garage since the 1970s. The ramp demolition and new split-level lot is estimated at $1.2 million.
A retaining wall separating the two levels already has been built by Empire Dismantlement, the firm hired for the ramp and new lot project. The concrete for the wall came from Kistner Concrete, a Lockport company.
The entire project is under budget, Bell said.
However, the new lot won’t be completed until the spring. Tucker said Monday asphalt for the parking lot will not be laid down until then, when the weather is warmer.
“It’ll be all ready to go in the spring,” Tucker said.
Back in the summer, ramp demolition fell behind when workers from Empire ran into equipment and weather issues.
The project was originally supposed to be completed by Sept. 27, but the demolition work became even more difficult as Empire’s equipment broke down repeatedly due to the unexpected rebar in the concrete parking garage.
Empire was facing penalties for not completing the work on time, but the penalties were thrown out when the new lot design changed to a split-level. There is no penalty schedule now, Bell said.
• At Wednesday’s meeting, the Council decided to use $24,800 in bed tax revenue to pay for the Medina Railroad passenger platform that the city built on Gooding Street this fall.
• Also on Wednesday, 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Schrader said the Navy-Marine Club will mark Pearl Harbor Day at 11 a.m. Saturday by tossing a wreath into the Erie Canal from the Big Bridge.
• The Common Council will hold its first meeting of 2014 on Jan. 6. The meeting will include the swearing-in of all six members, each of whom were re-elected last month.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.