BATAVIA — City Council members this week approved a $1,000 monthly stipend for Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski.
Tabelski, who has taken on the additional duties and responsibilities of a city manager, according to the resolution passed at Tuesday’s Council Business Meeting, will get the stipend in addition to her salary. She became interim city manager after the June 20 resignation of former City Manager Martin Moore. The stipend is retroactive to July 20 and continues until the city manager job is filled.
During the discussion Rose Mary Christian apologized to Tabelski, but said she did not support a stipend for Director of Public Works Matt Worth when he served as interim city manager following the 2018 departure of former. City Manager Jason Molino.
“I can’t possibly vote for you on this. I am very concerned about people in the city of Batavia, long lines for people to get food, the fact that a lot of them can’t pay their rent, can’t pay their mortgage. They’re having an awful time with their utility bills, so, sorry,” Christian said.
Councilman-At-Large Bob Bialkowski said when you’re salaried in the private sector and you have to do extra work, that’s the way it is.
“I’m a big believer in hourly employees should turn in the hours and receive overtime pay in that manner. I don’t support it,” he said.
Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said Tabelski is not an hourly employee.
“The charter specifically specifies that we, obviously, will have a city manager. It also specifies that we shall have an assistant city manager,” He said. “The people of Batavia have directed us to follow those rules and regulations that they provided us, which is the charter. They basically split those two jobs down the middle. From my understanding, the job of assistant city manager is a lot of additional duties that the manager has. When you’re doing both jobs, it is a burden.
“At some point, we’re going to have to either hire a manager or an assistant city manager and stay in line with the charter,” Jankowski said.
The vote was 7-2 in favor of awarding the stipend.
Also Tuesday, the Council introduced an ordinance changing city industrial zoning to include public garage businesses as an “allowed use” with a special use permit. The Council set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Oct. 26 in the City Council Board Room.
In February, Eric Biscaro, the owner of 653 Ellicott St., submitted a formal petition for a change to the zoning ordinance. The current ordinance doesn’t allow for any public repair garages in an I-1 industrial zone.
“... that type of use is limited to C-2 Commercial zones with a special use permit per the Zoning Ordinance,” Worth told Moore in a memorandum Feb. 18.
“The petition, as received, requests that I-1 Industrial Zones be changed to allow for the operation of a public automotive service garage business,” Worth said in the memorandum.
Lawmakers also approved Jankowski signing a purchase and sale contract with the Batavia Housing Authority for property at 50 Oak St. The city had foreclosed on the property for non-payment of property taxes.
“Habitat for Humanity has agreed to assist and partner with the City of Batavia and Batavia Housing Authority with property transfer and residential redevelopment efforts subject to the Residential Re-Development Land Use Plan,” the resolution stated.
50 Oak St. will be transferred to the Housing Authority for $1. Ultimately, Habitat for Humanity would acquire and rehabilitate the property to give someone a chance to own a home.