Comments by Wildthane
Posted on March 28 at 7:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)
The Schenectady Gazette wrongly states that the City of Amsterdam took advantage of a "Spin Up" of state aid from the State last year. This is incorrect. The program, which would have awarded our state aid earlier in the year, was determined to be of no advantage to the City and we declined.
Posted on June 6 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Many of the budgetary problems we experience do not come from extravagant spending. They come from escalating health care and pension costs, declining aid from the state, and a shifting of mandates from the state to local municipalities. These are all costs we have no say in controlling. Now the state is going to limit our revenues without addressing the costs they so willingly drop in our laps. This will result in the collapse of government service as we know it. Services will be limited and people will loose their jobs at a time when we struggle to keep up with deteriorating water, sewer and road systems. The state must address these problems instead of shifting their responsibilities to counties, cities, towns and villages.
The efforts we have made to organize volunteer neighborhood associations and clean up/beautify our city are all goals established in our comprehensive plan, as is marketing a healthy image of our city. We are one of the safest communities in the Capital District, we have a great location on the river and off of the Thruway, we are very competitively priced, we have a rich heritage and close community.
I'm proud of my time in office and my accomplishments and look forward to the challenges the future brings.
Posted on June 6 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Our spending has been very conservative over the past three years. The year before I took office, the council authorized the Mayor to spend what we have spent in three years. They bought expensive equipment and had to make repairs to a boiler that had been previously identified as problematic but not tended to. Again, the emergency repair doubled the replacement cost.
My accomplishments are real, Alayne. We have garnered over $20,000,000 in grants and stimulus funding to make infrastructure repairs, reconstruct roads, rehabilitate residences, upgrade the water filtration and sewer plants, eliminate storm/sewer cross connections, expand the waterfront park, offer recreational opportunities, plan, and yes, market this city.
Our new A3 bond rating that allows us to borrow at a more favorable rate for capital projects and equipment. That will help when we take down another 30 dilapidated properties this summer (30 were taken down over the past 2 years). We've renegotiated our sales tax agreement with the County which has already brought over $500K to our budget this year alone and have a new agreement with GAVAC that will bring $200K in years to come.
We've controlled overtime costs and readily discipline employees when performance is lacking. We track code complaints, grants, property maintenance, absentee landlords and hydrant problems which had never been systematically addressed before. We have a strategic plan for water distribution improvements (hydrants, valves, water mains and laterals) that we make steady progress at every week and continue to seek funding for. We have regular department head meetings to share information and problem solve. These common sense approaches were not taken by the prior administration.
Posted on June 6 at 8:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Alayne, I have requested the funds to repair the roof at City Hall for three years. The council has not allocated funding for this critically important repair. In the meantime, we've repaired drainage, windows, retaining walls, and painted. We've reorganized offices and closets. We've turned a storage building into a conference room that gets used every day. We removed asbestos, a health hazard that had been identified but never remedied by the former administration, which doubled the cost of the remediation. The building has suffered from a lack of oversight and proper funding for years. It is now getting the attention it deserves.
Posted on June 5 at 10:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)
My record of service involves much more that community beautification or organization, though I am very proud of my efforts in these areas.
Ms. Wineberg continually chooses to overlook my successes in the realms of financial stability, administrative accountability, planning, strategic infrastructure rehabilitation, project oversight, and neighborhood revitalization, as well as meeting the goals established in the City of Amsterdam's Comprehensive Plan.
My accomplishments are outlined in this year's State of the City speech: http://wildthane.wordpress.com/2011/01/2...
Thank you for the opportunity to invite your readers to come to their own informed conclusions.
Mayor Ann M. Thane
City of Amsterdam
PS... and a hearty thank you goes to Dan Weaver for his kind words.