Don’t let lessons of covid be wasted
With several vaccines for COVID-19 soon to be released, the end to this global pandemic would appear to be slowly approaching.
While this is certainly good news for all of us, we may want to consider Winston Churchill’s words that, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
With every crisis, there is often an opportunity (i.e. silver lining) to learn and make improvements for the future. Our goal should be to come out of this one better able to deal with the next global pandemic that will likely occur.
Will we have nationwide testing infrastructure in place; adequate supplies of PPE; improved capabilities to both rapidly develop and distribute vaccines; plans in place to protect our essential works; a consistent policy for balancing economic and public health concerns; and advances in how to best deliver education in our schools, colleges, and universities during times like these?
Let’s not let this crisis “go to waste” by addressing these and other issues now, so that we can go into the future smarter, safer and more prepared to deal with the next global pandemic.
Nisky town budget addresses realities
As the majority of the Niskayuna Town Board who came together across party lines to negotiate our 2021 fiscal plan, we want to provide an overview of our decision-making process.
The budget we crafted included input from residents, staff, Schenectady County and New York state. It represents stark fiscal realities while maintaining an eye toward the future by including:
• a tax proposal well under the state-imposed cap;
• far less spending of our hard-earned fund balance (“rainy day fund”) than initially proposed;
• goals for future savings including a 4% reduction in spending and a cost-effective retirement incentive;
• investments in our workforce and programs; and,
• collaborative, solutions-based approaches for our award-winning, state-of-the-art wastewater plant.
The budget requires scrutiny of expenses and belt-tightening, not unlike what many of us are doing in our own lives during the pandemic.
This fall, Ismat Alam joined the town as comptroller. Her decades of municipal finance expertise enabled her to immediately take over the reins of the process, even though we were well into the current budget development season and heading into the second wave of COVID-19.
We have confidence in the comptroller and know she will take the lead in putting controls in place to maintain the strong financial position that has been a hallmark of Niskayuna town government.
Reaching a bi-partisan “Yes” on this budget is a positive signal for the town.
We are committed to working together to manage our investments and expenses collaboratively with Comptroller Alam.
Yasmine Syed, Denise Murphy McGraw, John Della Ratta, Bill McPartlon
Syed is the Niskayuna town supervisor. The other signers are members of the Niskayuna Town Board.
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