Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Common Council President James Pitts has been searching for some answers as to why utility bills were not paid at the Wiley Sports Pavilion at Jefferson and Best.
The old War Memorial Stadium athletic complex falls under the city's Department of Public Works, but Pitts says when he called, he was referred to the comptroller. Tony Farina, executive assistant to the comptroller, tells WBFO News, grants and aids frozen due to the city's fiscal troubles led to unpaid bills at the center and says there is no contract in place to allow the operators of Wiley to make payments.
But Pitts says that's not true since the center has been in operation for ten years. He says there is money in the current budget.
"We opened up that facility ten years ago. The program has been running there for ten years," he said. "You have a board, so why all of a sudden is there this problem with who is suppose to pay the bill and where the money comes from. I think somebody is trying to cover for ineptness."
The Comptroller's office also tells WBFO News, utility bills have now been paid and phone service will be restored as soon as possible. Pitts says both public works and the comptroller's office promise all issues would be resolved soon.
"I'll believe it when I see it. I think that it's a shame that someone has not paid a bill which has been outstanding now for almost six-months," Pitts said.
Pitts says he's concerned because about 10,000 area children utilize the center from April through December. The Council president says he also learned there wasn't even any toilet tissue and other supplies at the sports complex.
"Public works had money for janitorial supplies. Mysteriously they were not being purchased so when I made a phone call they were mysteriously purchased," he said.
Pitts says if things are not resolved, he will bring most of those 10,000 children who utilize the Wiley center to City Hall to ask why the bills were not paid.