Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations Minutes for November 3,
1. Introductions - Roll call. In the absence of both Marggie and Sandra, Howie Stoller
began the meeting with introductions and turned things over to Carm Basile and Dennis
Fitzgerald from CDTA. They described the service improvement package CDTA plans to
implement on Nov. 15. They will make significant changes to service in the Route 5
Albany-Schenectady Corridor, in the South End and Arbor Hill, from Crossgates to Downtown
Albany, from Downtown Albany to Rensselaer, from Albany to Troy, from Albany to Cohoes as
well as in Troy, Schenectady and the Suburbs. Get schedules and route information by
calling 482-8822 or TDD 482-9024, or checking the CDTA website- www.cdta.org.
2. Minutes - approved.
3. Communications and Announcements:
· The City of Albany is soliciting Nominations for 1999 Human Rights Awards: deadline
· Library: Grand reopening scheduled for Dec. 1- check newspapers for details.
· Christmas in April, Capital Region: volunteers will repair homes for low income,
elderly and/or disabled homeowners in the South End and Capital Hill neighborhoods of
Albany and the Town of New Scotland on Saturday, April 29, 2000. Call Pam Hallenbeck at
465-5251 to nominate a homeowner who would qualify for this assistance (deadline
11/24/99), or to volunteer.
· City needs volunteers to work with the Red Cross in case of disasters. Call Kathy Hill,
434-5411 to register for training: deadline 11/19/99.
4. Committee Reports
· Community Police Council - Minutes of meeting were circulated.
· Community University Relations -
· Agenda was distributed for Nov. 17 meeting- main topic- update on new NYS
unlimited drinks special law and the committees Tavernowner
· Flyers and packets were handed out so that we could see what was distributed to
students re Halloween and turning back the clocks.
5. Speakers: Shawn Morris: Chair, Common Council Finance Committee
Nancy Burton, Albany Comptroller
Phil Calderone, Deputy Mayor, City of Albany
Chris Hearley, Budget Director, City of Albany
Carol Wallace, Carolyn McLaughlin, Sarah Curry-Cobb, Jimmy Scalzo, Dan Herring, members of
Common Council Finance Committee.
Jack Nielson, Chief of Police
Jim Larson, Fire Chief
Joe Fahd, Deputy Fire Chief
Finance Committee Chair, Shawn Morris described the activity to date regarding the
Citys budget for the year 2000. On October 1, the mayor presented a $102 million
budget that included an 8 1/2% property tax increase. At the press conference the mayor
recommended some changes to his budget that would eliminate the need for the tax increase.
The Common Council held public hearings in October and Council Committees met with the
departments under their purview and discussed the departments budgets. The Common
Council will have its final public hearing on the budget on November 15 at the beginning
of its regular meeting.
Deputy Mayor Phil Calderone described the mayors suggestions for changes in the Fire
Dept., Police Dept., and General Services that would eliminate the tax increase. He also
indicated that the administration was looking for additional suggestions from the citizens
and the council. Phil introduced the Police Chief, the Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief
who were here to answer questions about the impact of these changes in their
departments budgets. They would eliminate the tax cut by increasing revenues-
charging insurance companies for the cost of paramedic service, rescues and removal of
hazardous properties- and by eliminating a few positions in the police and fire
departments. The police positions are currently vacant- they will not be filled. They may
have to lay off 5 firefighters.
Budget Director Chris Hearley said that the City had cut expenses to the bone. Further
cuts would mean layoffs and reducing services. Efforts have been made to focus on
revenues. NYS will send a payment at the end of the year instead of early in the new year.
That, coupled with an additional $1 million in state aid will help balance the budget.
Revenues from sales taxes will increase by more than $2 million. The landfill is the most
volatile source of income and is currently very profitable. The City has proposed an
expansion that will add 10 to 15 years of life to the current landfill and will bring in
$800 thousand a month from April through December, 2000. Counting on these revenues and
using almost all of the remaining $8.4 million fund balance the City can avoid a property
Comptroller Nancy Burton distributed three handouts: one compared
projected Y2K revenues with actual and budgeted revenues from previous years; one provided
the same information for expenses and the third was a 10 page critique of the Y2K budget
itself. In this critique, Nancy described the Citys current fiscal condition, the
fiscal condition of the Authorities whose finances are entwined with the Citys,
(Albany Local Development Corp., the Parking Authority and the Water Dept. and Authority),
some of the changes in revenues and expenses indicated by the proposed budget and some
suggestions for changing the budget and for addressing the Citys long range need to
find new sources of revenue and to control costs. She recommended bill audits to control
utility and phone costs. The City should explore deregulation opportunities and energy
conservation in city buildings for additional savings. Better management of overtime,
purchasing, vehicle maintenance and health insurance could also reduce expenses.
Collection of parking ticket revenues, reimbursements for services provided and more
creative investment of cash balances might increase overall revenues.
Q: Has the City considered creating a task force to find new revenues? e.g. issue tickets
in neighborhoods surrounding Pepsi Arena on event nights?
A: Budget is an ongoing year round process- always open to suggestions. In fact there is a
RFP out now for a utility audit.
Q: What happened to golf fees?
A: Raised the rates usage was down- very hot summer, bad for golf.
Q: Which is the real budget?
A: Council: bound copy- with 8.5% tax increase.
A: Calderone: no tax increase budget- with recommended changes.
Q: How will the landfill bring in additional $5 million ?
A: By better disposal of trash and using space no longer needed for other things- vehicle
storage,... will add 10 to 15 years of life to the landfill at its present location.
Q: Can the CDBG budget cover City costs?
A: There are no plans to invade the CDBG budget to pay for normal city operating expenses.
Q: How will police provide coverage? How will Fire Dept. continue code enforcement
activity? Is it true that there are only 3 people now doing code enforcement.
A: Code enforcement is no problem. Dept. completed 30 month program of inspecting all
units in the City. Now it has base information on every unit, it can respond to requests
for inspections. Mayor has proposed to cut 9 positions, only 2 are vacant. They are
working with the union to figure out how to do this. If there are problems with inspection
requests- call the Chief 447-7879. Inspectors do go to the property and must find the
owner. Some court cases have been delayed a year or more.
Comment: Some citizens would prefer to pay a bit more in taxes and not have services cut.
Q: Re tax base- when does value of new property get added to rolls?
A: Some kick in immediately, some phase in.
Q: How about bikes for public service officers to ticket cars illegally parked on street
A: Calderone- with a straight face- Well consider that.
Q: What are plans for $1 million neighborhood enhancement fund?
A: Beefed up Block of the year- develop with CANA- capital projects- $250K/year over 4
Q: Assessments? updates underway?
A: still working with consultant. CANA should ask Keith McDonald to address a meeting.
Q: Can we still afford to pay big money to Palace? Alb. Institute for History &
A: City has strong commitment to the arts, through grants decided by City Arts Commission
and direct support.
Q: Can the Fire Dept. use disabled firefighters for code enforcement?
Q: Are landfill fees up to date?
A. This has been responsibility of Treasurers office since April. No information
Q: Who pays for police overtime during legislative session?
A. There are no extra sources of revenue to cover that.
6. Other Business- none
Meeting adjourned at 9:15 pm
by Marggie Skinner
Attendance November 3, 1999
Gene Solan Pine Hills NA
Nielson, Albany Police
Cynthia Galivan, Manning Blvd. NA
Aimee Allaud, Melrose NA
Morris, Common Council
Karen Brown, UTA
Stoller, Melrose Avenue
Roger Markovics, UTA
Yates, Center Square
Elfrieda Textores, SECC
Calsolaro, Second Ave
Holly Katz, Mansion NA
Colin McNight, Mansion NA
Calderone, Deputy Mayor, Albany
Betsy Shearer, PSNA
Wexler, School Board-elect
Thomas Gebhardt, U@Albany
Hearley Albany Budget Dir.
Maria Parisella, Mansion NA
Burton, Albany Comptroller
Don Wardle, UTA
Herring, Common Council
Jackie Heitzman, WPNA
Rubin, Center Square NA
Bob Sheehan, Helderberg
Scalzo, Common Council
Mary Connair, DANA
Dennis Fitzgerald, CDTA
Wallace, Common Council
Joe Fahd, Albany Fire Dept.
Larson, Albany Fire Dept.
Carolyn McLaughlin, Common Council