Amsterdam mayor’s State of the City to cite highlights, headaches

A brighter city profile and neighborly evenings will be topics for Mayor Ann Thane’s State of the Ci
PHOTOGRAPHER:

A brighter city profile and neighborly evenings will be topics for Mayor Ann Thane’s State of the City address at 10 a.m. Saturday, as will crumbling streets and fragile, old water and sewer systems.

Thane said Thursday the speech will discuss the city government’s various achievements in the past year and challenges in 2010.

Achievements include a sales tax agreement that gives the city a bit more of the revenue collected by the county in return for selling water to the towns of Florida and Amsterdam.

Thane said the speech will talk about using federal stimulus money to resurface roads and restructure financing for the water filtration plant improvements, for which the city was awarded over $10 million.

Thane will also point to successful neighborhood initiatives, including the resurrected Neighborhood Watch Initiative, cleanups and beautification projects where residents planted hundreds of flowers around the city, and Meet Your Neighbor Night, which included games and mingling activities in five city neighborhoods over the summer.

Efforts to raise the city’s profile took off this year as well, with the launch of a new city logo and branding message — Small City, Big Heart. The city Web site at www.amsterdamny.gov was launched, and city officials are working closely with Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency board members to convince state officials to use the Mohasco complex as the site of a consolidated data center for the state Office of General Services. Challenges to the city are “perennial,” Thane said, including the continued deterioration of the city’s water distribution system.

“We have water main breaks on a daily basis and a crew of five in the water department and seven in the sewer department to manage a system of 85 miles of underground piping,” Thane said.

The budget process is a struggle, Thane said, especially given the weak state and federal finances.

Her speech will also point to the deterioration of the city’s infrastructure and equipment.

“The Capital Projects list has not been properly allocated for over the year,” she said. “At some point we are going to have to invest in more capital projects.”

The city charter stipulates that the mayor deliver a State of the City message to the Common Council by Jan. 15. Last year’s address was not delivered until the beginning of February. Thane’s delay caused a firestorm of criticism from local radio personalities and bloggers, especially after she announced her intentions of recording the speech and broadcasting it on local public television rather than delivering it live. She changed her mind.

Thane said she is trying to keep to the deadlines established in the Charter this year. Common Council members should expect a hard copy of the speech in their mailboxes today.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply