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NORTH TONAWANDA – The Common Council went wireless for the first time at its meeting Tuesday.

The 35-page meeting packets were emailed to members on city-owned iPads. Each Council member followed the line items electronically rather than with paper copies.

“We consume a heck of lot of paper every week,” said City Clerk Scott P. Kiedrowski prior to the meeting, holding up the single copy of the 35-page agenda packet. “Plus copies of the minutes, and then everyone in every department wanting one.”

Kiedrowski said $7,000 was spent out of the city’s annual technology budget but noted that printing costs in the city on an annual basis have been $12,000.

He noted, “These are municipal iPads, so if a board member ever leaves office, the iPad belongs to the city. If this works out, department heads might be moving into these.”

Full agendas and minutes are also available online for the public at www.northtonawanda.org.

Also Tuesday, the Council approved waiving building permit fees for a new Habitat for Humanity house planned for 759 E. Robinson St. City Attorney Shawn Nickerson said fee waivers are based on requests and any nonprofit has the option to apply.

Construction is set to begin immediately, with framing to be completed by next month and completion and occupancy by spring.

In another matter, the Council approved an additional award of $863 from the Niagara County Department of Social Services for the North Tonawanda Youth Court, increasing the annual budget for the city program to $6,439.

The program, which is run by the North Tonawanda Youth, Recreation and Parks Department on Wheatfield Street, has been in existence for about 20 years, according to Patricia A. Brosius, director of Parks and Recreation.

Brosius said the program allows 30 to 50 high school students, from ninth- to 12th-grades who are interested in careers in law enforcement, to act as judges, jurors and lawyers for the Youth Court.

Brosius said the program, under the direction of Diane Sheehan, allows youthful first offenders who are in trouble for minor issues, such as vandalism, to be tried by their peers.

In another matter, Brosius put on her Parks Department hat and noted after the meeting that the city is offering trees for $50 to any resident who will to allow the tree to be planted on city-owned land between the street and sidewalk. She said a variety of trees are available, and trees will be planted by city crews. Trees are available until Oct. 10. Anyone who is interested should call 695-8520 for information.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com