Department heads answer city council questions

City council members questioned both Director of Planning and Development Steve Neratko and Public Works Director Anthony Gugino at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

Councilman Michael Michalski questioned Neratko about whether the $50,000 loan payment for the Bertges building site cited in the 2013 Community Development Block Grant Plan was acceptable to HUD. Neratko said it was.

Councilwoman Stacy Szukala noted Plover Street was specifically listed for repair in the plan but that other streets, such as Ruggles Street, were not listed.

Neratko noted that $50,000-$55,000 will be left over from the 2013 plan after Plover is done. In addition, during other years of the five-year plan, other roads will be repaired.

He said, “We have a list. … We are working on a GIS map. It actually outlines different roads that are in need of repair.”

Council members Szukala and Adelino Gonzalez questioned Public Works Director Anthony Gugino at length about the overtime at the water treatment plant.

Szukala questioned a two-hour charge of overtime to order chlorine.

“It seems to me that should be accomplished within the 40-hour work week,” she said.

“Absolutely,” replied Gugino. He then went on to explain that he currently has five licensed operators, one of whom is out on compensation. He said that two of the operators had personal leave and vacation which could not be carried over to this year.

“Two guys sucked it up and split the work,” Gugino said.

Gonzalez asked why vacation could not have been spread out over the year instead of waiting until the end.

Gugino said the operators, to keep the plant going, put off taking time until the end.

“In the end, you can pay me now or pay me later,” he said

Gugino added that the operation is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, explaining there are three shifts each day.

“You can only fill holes of a 24-7 schedule for so long,” he said.

Gugino said he has worked with the mayor and hopes to get another operator, adding that the training takes some time.

Kiyak expressed her concern for the health and safety of the operators who work such a long stretch of overtime.

“Kudos to you for your sensitivity,” Gugino said. “The faster I get another operator, the better.”

Community Advisory Committee Edna Sek used the privilege of the floor to express concern that the property management proposal would be abandoned. Sek read from the Jan. 12 issue of the OBSERVER. She said that former councilwoman Rose Floramo worked hard on the issue, and she did not want the effort abandoned.

Councilman William Rivera answered her concern later during the meeting.

“I believe in the work,” he said, ” and I am optimistic this is the year it will be done.” He apologized if Sek misunderstood his intentions and invited her to sit down with him and discuss the issue.

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