The City of Geneva Council discussed two hot topics at this week’s meeting, turning down the opportunity to establish a Police Accountability Committee but moving forward with the first reading of a new landlord registration process.
Police Accountability Committee
Following the Council’s decision to not appeal Judge Doran’s decision, leading ultimately to the disbanding of the Police Accountability Review Board, Counselor Ken Camera brought a motion to the table in Resolution # 18- 2022, seeking the creation of a Police Accountability Committee.
After Camera’s presentation to Council, Counselor Noone inquired whether the motion went through legal before the meeting. Camera replied that it had been sent to legal a week prior; however, they have not had time to review it.
Counselor Reagan asked how the Committee participants would be appointed and if it would include individuals that were not on the former PRB. Counselor Burrell echoed Noone’s procedural notion, asking that all motions brought to Council be reviewed by legal before meetings, but also stated he wanted to keep police accountability alive.
Counselor Pealer stated that he doesn’t see it working. Reflecting on Council’s ability to investigate, he said he attempted to obtain some documentation from the police department, and Camera told him that “it was wasting staff’s time…” and that “[Pealer] was stupid.” Pealer continued by stating that if accountability is just “rules for thee and not for me,” it isn’t going to work, and that is just “savage politics,” and it was a hard no for his vote.
Counselor Salamandra stated that the difference between Counselors and police is that Counselors can legislate; police have guns and can put people away and harm them. Then she asked, “do we believe victims or not?” and stated that what Council is doing is asking people injured by the police to go to the police to make a report.
Mayor Valentino stated that he was not going to support the resolution because of the missing structure in the resolution.
Councilor Reagan attempted to table the conversation, which Council voted down, stating that it needed more work. Counselors Reagan, Salamandra, and Burrell supported tabling the discussion, and Counselors Camera, Salone, Noone, Gaglianese, Pealer, and Mayor Valentino opposed the motion.
Turning back to vote on the resolution to create the committee, the motion was defeated 8-1, with Salamandra, Salone, Noone, Galianese, Burrell, Pealer, Reagan, and Mayor Valentino opposed.
Private Landlord Registration
Counselor Salone brought a new resolution to the table addressing private landlord registration after the previous motion to create one was struck down during several conversations over the past few months. Salone’s resolution states,
“All private landlords in the City shall be required to register with a contact name and phone number within ninety days of the effective date of this ordinance or within ten days of acquiring an interest in private residential rental property, by deed, lease, or other transaction, whichever is sooner. Failure to register or maintain accurate information may result in the suspension of the Certificate of Occupancy for the property in question and a penalty of Two Hundred and Fifty dollars. A penalty must be paid in full, and re-inspection of affected property or properties must be completed before the suspension will be lifted.”
This would waive the registration fee for landlords to register but would enforce a penalty of $250 if they did not register within 90 days of passing the resolution.
Pealer asked for an amendment, requesting that a property manager live local if the property owner did not. Camera requested that all contact information, including name, telephone, email, mailing address, and more, be included. Burrell wanted more clarification on the term private landlords and the phrase “for-profit” to be struck from the resolution.
Counselors can bring changes to next month’s meeting for the second reading.
- Councilor Gaglianese presented the proclamation celebrating the ten-year service of the BID’s maintenance supervisor Don Liberatore as he embarks on his retirement.
- Mayor Valentino presented the proclamation honoring the Boy Scouts (Troop 4) Day of Service and their work completed at the Glenwood Cemetary on April 9
Remedial designs progressed for two additional properties in the block located north of Middle Street along the east side of Exchange Street and the west side of Wadsworth Street. These designs will be completed in early May, pending property owner comments. NYSDEC’s engineering contractor met with property owners to review excavation on their properties.
Structural assessments and additional soil sampling will be performed in mid-April at several properties located south of Lewis Street on Genesee, Geneva, and Tillman Streets. Remediation is anticipated in 2023, with up to six properties on the west side of Genesee Street anticipated being remediated in late 2022.
Lyceum Tax Exemption
The Geneva Housing Authority manages three low-income housing projects at 150 Lyceum Street: Lyceum Heights I; Lyceum Heights II; and Lyceum Heights Ill, all exempt from real property tax. Lyceum Heights II and III had different expiration dates for their tax exemption. This resolution, passed unanimously by Council, will align all of the terms for all three properties to fall under the same expiration date.
Marsh Creek Upgrades
Council passed the resolution to execute an agreement with Koester Associates, Inc. to provide Marsh Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant equipment. The financial impact is $214,143.
Julie Coleman is a resident of the City of Geneva and freelance contributor to FingerLakes1.com. Formerly, she was a reporter with the Finger Lakes Times and Director of Marketing and Communications for the City of Geneva. Currently, she manages two businesses in Ontario County, enjoys spending her free time with her husband and child, and participates in several community working groups.