Upstate won’t recover until cities can regain their long-lost luster
Once again, the key to growing upstate New York economically is bringing new life and vibrancy to its cities. That will occur only when those cities and their surrounding townships see the wisdom in the concept of consolidation.
There are many ideas toward improving the finances of struggling cities, some described in Robert Caracciolo’s Oct. 28 Viewpoint, “Redistribute the revenue.” But the truth is that nuance won’t work in the long run, neither for upstate’s cities, but even more importantly, the economy of the entire upstate region.
Cities are more important than counties. Energizing commerce in upstate cities will lead to new commercial energy through the creation of new, good-paying jobs throughout prosperity zones surrounding each of those cities. Counties can’t do that, but central revitalized cities can. As long as we continue to do the “same-old, same-old,” upstate will never see its full potential.
It’s really about our crazy and confusing structure of government. We know that the state won’t legislate consolidation, and we also know that land-rich townships reject consolidation outright.
There’s only one way to proceed. It’s incumbent on every city government in every upstate city to take matters into their own hands. Here’s what they should do:
1) always extend the hand of friendship and work in cooperation with their surrounding townships;
2) aggressively pursue annexation, particularly those town areas of highest commercial value;
3) propose, then enact, local taxes that yield new revenue from non-city residents, perhaps the best one being a commuter tax assessing non-city residents for the privilege of working in those cities. I’d bet that in Schenectady, as in other upstate cities, the vast majority of area income earners [higher-end earners] work within the geographic footprint of those cities.
These strategies are certain to get the attention of leaders and residents living in surrounding townships. City governments genuinely seeking municipal consolidation would be well served to implement these strategies and will likely see an increased willingness from town governments to come to the table to discuss merging. Try it, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Contec should bring its business back to Sch’dy
Re Nov. 6 article, “Cable box company Contec restructures”: I remember reading about the workers laid off in 2009 from Contec [Holdings Ltd.] and felt awful that people were losing their jobs in this economy.
Now I see they are “restructuring.” What a coincidence that while they laid off all those people, they opened a facility in Mexico the same year. What a slap in the face.
Chief Operating Officer Wesley Hoffman said, “we are closely looking at opportunities to expand our business.” Why doesn’t he start with “expansion” back to Schenectady rather than another foreign country? I’m sure the laid-off workers would be thrilled to have “their” jobs back.
Can’t get to church in run-up to Stockade-athon
Re Nov. 11 letter, “Time of Sch’dy road race horrible for churches”: I agree with Dr. William Levering’s request to change the time of the Stockade-athon. After trying unsuccessfully to get to St. John the Evangelist Church on Union St. this morning [Nov. 11], I had to return home to Scotia.
I should have known better than to try. This has happened to me in previous years, but I thought if I went early enough I could find a way. But no luck! Once the race is in motion, there is no way to get to the interior of the city. The course snakes through the city and cuts off all major streets.
It’s time to change the time of the race. Why not have it on Saturday or Sunday afternoon? It’s time the race organizers take into consideration all of the people trying to get to their places of worship on Sunday morning.
Obama’s mighty army wasn’t only minorities
I take issue with a statement made by E.J. Dionne in his Nov. 9 column, “Obstructionist GOP will be endangered species.” He says, “And he (President Obama) mobilized a mighty army of African-Americans and Hispanic voters.”
When I spent 4 1⁄2 hours making phone calls for Organize for America, the room was filled with Caucasian men and women. The CEO of a local health care facility spent three weeks in Ohio working for Organize for America. And my youngest daughter canvassed door-to-door in Virginia. We are all Caucasian.
The mighty army that President Obama mobilized was made up of Americans of all races, genders, religions and sexual orientations. The president mobilized committed Americans who care deeply about their country and the direction in which it is going.
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