Mayor Ann Thane highlighted the city’s strengths, its potential for growth and room for improvement in her first State of the City address on Tuesday.
The city is in good financial condition and could see a $1 million surplus from the 2006-2007 budget after a final audit is completed, Thane said.
Among Amsterdam’s assets, she said, is a city that is “an eminently safe place to live.” She said the Amsterdam Fire Department responded to 2,815 calls last year, most of which were calls for emergency medical services, and only three citizens were injured by fire. Crime rates are up slightly over last year, but the issuance of parking tickets are up more than 100 percent, “which is an annoyance to some, but puts money in our coffers,” Thane said.
Thane talked about the city’s various economic development projects, including the Via Ponte project, which will “mark the rebirth of the South Side,” the redevelopment of the Mohasco site, for which the city received a $2.5 million Restore NY grant, and the Bridge Street redevelopment project, which the city hopes to complete by the summer. Thane also urged residents to support a proposal to build a pedestrian bridge from downtown to the city’s South Side. She said the state money allocated for the project cannot be tapped for other needed work, and the bridge would “help develop the northern and southern riverfronts.”
Thane highlighted her ideas to revitalize downtown, starting with Main Street between Market and Church streets, by obtaining grant money through the state’s Main Streets program. She also wants to develop East Main Street to make the city’s gateway more attractive to visitors.
Thane said establishing a marketing plan will help the city accomplish its economic development goals. She promised to create a city Web site to improve the city’s image on the Web. The site would also make city government more efficient by allowing business to be conducted online.
Thane also promised to “work harder, but work smarter” through various shared services initiatives with Montgomery County.
Thane said the city faces several problems, including its aging infrastructure. She said as northern and southern municipal neighbors grow, it is Amsterdam’s responsibility to provide water to these communities. The city can’t do that without proper infrastructure, she said. She also intends to address various problems with the city’s sanitary sewer systems and water systems to bring them up to state regulations, she said.
Thane said the city needs to be stricter on code enforcement. She said she supports any tools needed to help clean up the city’s neighborhoods.
“This city is a beautiful place to live, but our deteriorating neighborhoods get all the attention,” she said.
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Categories: Schenectady County