GLOVERSVILLE -- The Common Council on Thursday night unanimously voted to appoint Vince DeSantis as the 34th mayor of Gloversville.
DeSantis, a retired city judge who has served as the city's councilman-at-large since 2016, gave up his council seat to fill the next 10 months of former mayor Dayton King's third term in office.
King's nine-year administration came to an abrupt end Wednesday when he resigned as part of a plea bargain agreement in which he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor official misconduct related to the theft of some stamps from the city's postage meter.
DeSantis said it is not "without some trepidation" that he takes over the job of mayor. He said he is committed to trying to increase the city's tax base by leveraging the city's historic downtown to attract the "creative class": entrepreneurs, often operating internet-based businesses, that represent a growing part of the U.S. economy.
"The only way for the city to survive is for revenues to increase at a greater or equal rate to the increase in the cost of government," he said.
DeSantis, a Democrat, said he intends to maintain some of the policies of King's administration while aggressively attacking enforcement of city code violations.
Under King's administration, the city raised the tax rate for the 2011 budget to $21.71 per $1,000 of assessed value, but then cut the tax rate four times -- in 2014 ($21.31), 2016 ($21.06) 2017 ($20.64), and now to $19.95 for 2019. Adjusted for inflation, Gloversville's tax rate is now the lowest it has been since the late 1990s.
DeSantis said he hopes to further lower the city's tax rate as a means of helping to increase its population, but he isn't yet ready to commit to running for the final two years of King's term.
King's resignation triggers a special election to be held in November. DeSantis said he thinks it's likely he will decide to run in November, but he hasn't decided. He acknowledged his decision to give up his councilman-at-large job is not without risk.
"If I don't run in November, I'm out of government," DeSantis said.
Fourth Ward Councilman Steven Smith, a Democrat, was unanimously appointed by the council to serve as councilman-at-large, who also serves as the city's ceremonial deputy mayor.
Smith gives up his 4th Ward council seat, which will need to be filled by council appointment. Smith said the council will solicit applications for the seat, evaluate candidates and likely choose his 4th Ward successor by Jan. 21.
Special elections for the final two years on the terms of the councilman-at-large and the Fourth Ward will also be held in November.
The Common Council decided to delay allocating committee assignments until the council's roster has been refilled, but conducted the rest of the city's organizational meeting as per usual.
All of the appointed officials of King's administration were reappointed by the council, including Department of Public Works Director Dale Trumbull. Trumbull provided city police with a sworn statement supporting the charges against King, stating he had received a letter from Howard Hanna Realty, where King works as a real estate broker, with a city postage meter mark on it. He said the envelope also had King's handwriting on it.