City officials Tuesday matched 25 crumbling sidewalks and their elderly, low-income owners for possible priority treatment in the city’s new sidewalk replacement program.
Councilman John Castiglione, R-2nd Ward, a strong advocate for helping the fixed-income elderly replace their sidewalks, asked the council to consider using a $75,000 state grant to replace as many of those 25 walks as possible.
The sidewalks of 25 property owners identified by Castiglione and Public Works Director Robert Abel would be addressed after Abel’s crew completes 12 walks selected last fall through a lottery. The owners of the 12 have already paid the city $1.75 per square feet for materials. The city provides the labor. Abel said work on those walks will begin in the next two weeks.
Castiglione and Abel recently evaluated the sidewalks owned by 77 elderly homeowners whose incomes are $16,700 a year or less and identified the 25 worst sidewalks.
Castiglione made a motion Tuesday to begin using the grant money to address the 25 sidewalks but withdrew the motion after other council members raised issues. Councilwoman Robin Wentworth, I-1st Ward, asked for cost estimates on the project to determine how many walks can be replaced.
Councilman Matthew Myers, R-5th Ward, said while he also believes much of the grant should be used to help low-income elderly, he would support broadening the eligibility so that others can participate.
Another issue at the May meeting will be whether outside contractors will be hired to perform some or all of the work while the grant lasts.
In other business Tuesday:
u The council responded to a crime statistic presentation by Officer Tracy Green by authorizing the hiring of two new police officers. One will be hired immediately and a second at the end of June when Chief John Harzinski retires. The first position will be filled by an officer transferring from another department, police Capt. James Lorenzoni said.
The additions will expand the force from the current 32 authorized personnel to 33 officers. Green presented state Division of Criminal Justice Services statistics showing that the more serious crimes rose in Fulton County last year by 60 percent while crime in that category declined in neighboring counties.
Green, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said the existing force cannot respond to the yearly average of 20,000 calls and still properly patrol the city.
u The council approved starting an Amsterdam bus route on May 5. The route, recommended by Transit Director Al Schutz, will run four times daily, five days a week and will use the Visitors Center in Vail Mills as a hub. The Transit Department’s Northville, Mayfield Broadalbin route also stops at the center. Buses would continue to run south on Route 30 through the shopping district and to Amsterdam medical facilities. Schutz said his projection of 5,000 riders annually is conservative.
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Categories: Schenectady County