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What you need to know for 01/20/2017

Glenville State of the Town speech holds ambitious plans

Glenville State of the Town speech holds ambitious plans

Attracting more businesses, upgrading technology and improving government efficiency top the list of

Attracting more businesses, upgrading technology and improving government efficiency top the list of priorities Glenville town Supervisor Chris Koetzle outlined Wednesday during his State of the Town address.

He told about 50 people gathered at Town Hall that his administration accomplished much in 2012 but still has more to do in the areas of town operations, economic development and budgeting.

Koetzle said Glenville needs to streamline its approval process, so developers do not have to bounce between different boards with various changes to their plans.

“We must commit to our developers that you will go through the process once,” he said.

He hoped the newly formed Local Development Committee would help attract new businesses. He also proposed a loyal shopper program for town businesses, where participating merchants would offer discounts to repeat customers.

Koetzle particularly wants to focus on sprucing up the town center, in the immediate vicinity of Glenridge Road and Route 50. He is pushing for completion of a project to install new lighting similar to the lamps that have been installed in front of the new Target store.

He said the project has to be done this year because the state Department of Transportation will be installing new sidewalks in that area, connected to ones done for the Target project that stretch to Glenridge Road. Once those sidewalks are installed, the town is not going to be able to rip them up to install the lighting fixtures.

“If we miss this window, we will not have an opportunity to do this again,” he said.

Koetzle said he would like to improve government efficiency by getting people all under one roof, instead of in different buildings.

“It’s not that we don’t have enough people to meet these needs; it’s just that they’re all spread out,” he said.

He would like the town to acquire property at the old Scotia Navy Depot owned by the federal government for a new public works facility to replace the current, outdated one.

Another priority is a study of the possibility of a joint sewer plant with the village of Scotia, which Koetzle said would be more energy efficient, environmentally friendly and allow for the possibility of expansion. That would create the potential for development up Route 50 near Burnt Hills.

He said the town must upgrade its antiquated technology in an initiative he called TRUE G, for Technology Restructuring, Unification and Efficiency for Glenville. Right now, different departments are using different, outdated systems, according to Koetzle.

“Just like our employees can’t be scattered all over the place, no longer can we allow our technology to be fragmented,” he said.

Koetzle has said this would also allow the town to offer more online services.

The third priority is to continue to cut spending in the budget. Koetzle said the town has reduced nonmandated operational expenses by $450,000 in the past year. It is getting more difficult to find savings, though, he admitted.

At the same time, revenues are stagnating. Schenectady and the surrounding towns are locked into an eight-year sales tax agreement, which Koetzle said doesn’t give the towns and the city a fair share because Schenectady County keeps 66 percent of the revenue.

Glenville’s employee health insurance costs increased 10 percent this year, while its contributions to the retirement system increased 92 percent in the last three years, from $743,000 to $1.43 million, according to Koetzle.

He also wants to keep reducing the use of the town’s surplus. The board tapped $650,000 for this year’s budget, and he only wants to use $500,000 in the next budget.

Koetzle acknowledged it is an ambitious agenda for the last year of his first four-year term as supervisor, but he said it is important to set big goals.

“When our time together ends, whenever that may be, you will not say that we were timid,” he said. “You would know that we worked together to deliver on our promise, that we worked hard every day on your behalf, that we set a vision and methodically worked toward it.”

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