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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

March 7, 2001
Albany PublicLibrary

PresidentMarg Skinner opened the meeting at 7:07 PM.
I.                   Introductions.  All present gave their names and theiraffiliations.

II.                Minutes.  Copies of the February minutes had been sentout via e-mail only.  Print copies wereavailable. One correction from Helen Desfosses. She did not “initiate thepublic comment period at Common Council meetings; she has encouraged it in herrole as Council President. Harold Rubin moved to accept the minutes as amended.
Mimi Mounteer seconded. The motion passedunanimously.

III.              Communications
•        KellyConlon, Albany's 2000 Tulip Queen, distributed applications for the 2001TulipFestival.  Additional information isavailable on the city 's web site.
•        Severalannouncements of meetings, celebrations, … were made and distributed.
•        NRC'sAnnual Meeting will be May 15.  Deadlinefor nominations for the Senchyna, public official and communication awards is April10.
•        Aconference on Access TV is being held Mar. 15-18 at RPI.  CANA and NRC will subsidize the fees formembers who will attend.
•        TheAlbany Citizen Police Academy will start on a Tuesday as soon as the class isfilled.  Applications for admission tothe class were distributed.  They may bereturned to P.O. Fred Aliberti, Center Station, 536 Western Avenue.  For additional information, call 458-5669
•        PaulBray noted that the Mayor has still not made appointments to the Urban CulturalPark Advisory Committee. A discussion ensued.
•        Margexpressed our condolences to Jeanne Hennessy's family.  Jeanne, who died in February, was secretaryto CANA and executive director of NRC. To many long-time CANA people she was "Super Henny".  She will be missed.
•        Duesnotices and questionnaires were sent to NA presidents.  Not all have responded.  Reminder will be sent.  
•        The25th anniversary if CANA is this year.  We need help in planning an appropriate celebration. Call489-5311 if you can work on this.
•        SandraThomas, CANA secretary, has left us for full-time job at RPI.  We need someone to take and transcribeminutes at our meeting.  A small stipendis available.
•        CodeEnforcement-Quality of Life Committee distributed copies of a handout that canbe used for neighbors who ignore city ordinances regarding trash, etc.

IV.             CommitteeReports
A.         Committee on University & Community Relations.  Tom Gebhardt. The next meeting, Mar. 14 at 7 PM at the AlbanyPolice Dept., 526 Central Ave, will feature Anthony Capece of the Central Ave. BID.  The committee is promoting its first annualSafety First Day (2/21) and National crime Victim Rights Week, (4/22-28).Information fliers: travel tips, avoid being burglarized, and date rape drugs.
B.         Community Police Council.  Marginvited neighborhood participation on this committee.  She noted the form for reporting neighborhood problems that arepolice matters.
C.         Swan St.  Liz Griffin and HelenBlack.  Helen requested that CANA pass aresolution requesting an environmental impact statement to allow publiccomments than a negative declaration what does not allow as much publiccomment. A discussion ensued.
David Phaff moved that CANA draft a letterrequesting an environmental impact statement on the Swan St. project.  Dan Van Riper seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.  Paul Bray will draft the letter.
D.         Neighborhood Convention.  A finalreport will be coming out soon.
E.          Cable/Public Access TV.  Ourmeetings were being broadcast every Thursday evening at 7 PM on public accesschannel 18.  Marg thanked our videographers:  Tim Peters from CSR and Steve Winters.  She noted that CANA has submitted a grantapplication for help with our video needs. Our goal is to have a real access studio and make more civic meetingsavailable to the citizens of Albany.
F.          Airport Noise.  No report.
G.         Lincoln Park Pool.  Larry Becker gave a historyof the Pool Association and plans to redo the Bath House.  He discussed plans for the Bath House andarchitectural studies to find the source of the leak in the pool'ssuperstructure. Mac Mowbray suggested that each Neighborhood association couldschedule a pool party.
H.         School Coalition.  Pam Howell distributed anAlliance for Quality Education flier entitled "Background Facts: AllChildren Deserve Sufficient Room to Learn in a Safe and Modern Classroom"which detailed the school facilities crisis, the necessity for modern schoolbuildings and facilities financing options.
Steve Winters moved that CANA support and endorsethe activities of the Alliance for Quality Education. Gene Solan seconded.There was no discussion. The motion passed. There was one "No" vote. It was suggested that arepresentative of CANA should be present at all AQE meetings.
I.            Other.  David Phaff described problems with somequality of life issues gleaned from the citywide survey done last year.  He invited participation in the preparationof a new survey that will be distributed in May.

V.                Guest Speaker.  County ExecutiveMike Breslin, withJoe Pennisi, Commissioner of the Department of Management and Budget.
Mr. Breslin thanked CANA forthe invitation to speak at our March meeting. He welcomed the opportunity to let the people of Albany's neighborhoodsknow about the work that their county government is doing and also to clear upany misunderstanding about what the county is trying to do with real propertytax foreclosures, a $400 million operation.
$40 million is collected inproperty taxes.  After three yearsdelinquency, the county may foreclose on the property.  The county's current policy is to foreclose assoon as possible in and effort to return the property to the tax rolls
Q.   Isthere a process for citizens to suggest foreclosures on deterioratingproperties?
A.    Mr.Breslin:  Members of the county staffwill to meet with anyone to discuss citizens' concerns.  The county's works from the oldest liensforward.  Properties are only madeavailable for public purposes or not-for-profits.

Q.    Howcan we find out about auctions?

A.    Auctionsare announced on the Internet with descriptions of the properties.  The URL is:  The next two auction dates are:  April 28 and August 11.
Q.   Therehave been offers to buy property on Central Avenue.  But they couldn't be sold because there was no auction.  Can this situation be avoided?
A.    Mr.Pennisi:  106 Central Av. was put up forauction in December and was sold.
Q.   Doesanything in the auction procedure guarantee that the successful bidder has theresources and inclination to rehab the building quickly?
A.    Mr.Breslin:  Nothing in the countyprocedure deals with that specific issue. The Building codes of municipalities are responsible for getting valuefor the property, which is difficult if the property in encumbered.

Q.    Whatis the average time the county owns a property?

A.    Mr.Pennisi:  The county is trying to reducethe amount of time they hold a property. [He described the past policy and noted that changes to procedures arein the works to eliminate the upset price unless a previous bid was made.]
Q.   Isa property's assessment ever reduced so the county has to pay less when theymust reimburse the city for unpaid taxes?
A.    Mr.Breslin.  We're looking into that.
Q.   Isthere a way to prevent "investors" from buying property at auctionand then hang on to it for three years without paying taxes?
A.    Mr.Breslin: The county cannot foreclose for three years.  The county cannot discriminate among qualified buyers.
Mr. Pennisi: Nobody can purchase property at auctionif they already owe taxes on other properties. Homeowner/occupants are the most desirable purchasers.

Q.    Whatprogram is in place for maintaining properties to prevent deterioration?

A.    Mr.Breslin:  Generally, the county tries tomaintain the properties.

Q.    Thecounty evicts tenants when they foreclose on a property.  Is that necessary?

A.    Yes.  Situations where code violations exist inforeclosed buildings make it necessary to evict the tenants.  The county is liable for the consequences.
Q.   Whatabout working together with Neighborhood Associations to take ownership or taketitle to buildings to keep them from deteriorating?  Will backlogged buildings all go up for auction?  When?
A.    Within2 years the backlog will all have been auctioned.  Regarding specific properties where Neighborhood Associationscould get involved, the County Executive will consider all requests on an adhoc basis.
Q.   Manycounties run parks.  Even in financiallyhard times, some counties try to preserve historical landmarks.  Shouldn't Albany County be more pro-activein this regard?
A.    Thecounty is involved in economic development to provide jobs.  This administration is definitely pro parkbut can't get involved because the primary focus of county government is on apopulation whose major needs are in the areas of medical, mental and economichelp.

Q.    Doesthe county have any issues or priorities that involve CANA?

A.    Themost important thing that this administration has done is the creation of theChildren, Youth and Families Department to give kids a positive start. Thiswill make a big difference to these children's futures.  CANA can support and monitor the system andsuggest ways to improve it.
Q.   Rochestergot a local law allowing foreclosure after only one year.  I Albany looking into anything similar?
A.    Ourforeclosure policy is 3 years for residential, 2 years for commercial properties.

Q.   At what point does a residential building become commercial?

A.    Thezoning law determines the classification. Over 4 units are commercial.

Meeting adjourned 8:53 pm.
Respectfully submitted, Cynthia Galivan, Recorder


Kathleen Kearney HPNA.
Harold Rubin CSQ.
Steve Winters, SANA.
Clare Yates, CSQ.
Thomas Gebhardt UNIV.
Cynthia Galivan, MANG
Carmelina Morrison, D BID
Betsy Shearer, PSNA.              
Fred Perkins PHILL
Joyce Rambo, CSQ
Pat Maxon, UWNA
Colin McKnight, MANS
Mac Mowbray, HPNA
Steve Stella, APD
Mary Connair, DEL
Elizabeth Griffin, HAF
Kathy Hodges, GUILD
Nicole Santoro, SUNY
Renee Pizzo, SUNY
Amy Smut, SUNY
Ela Kessel, SUNY
Peg Elmer, SUNY
Don Wardle, UTA
Jeff Cannell, APL
Paul Bray ROUND
Tom McPheeters, MANS
Larry Becker, MANS
Marty Gawoski, WHILL
Christopher Lindsay, BEV.        Rev. Joyce Hartwell, LIFE
Gene Solan PHNA
Pam Howell, AQE
Nathan Black, AHCC
Nancy Wiley, BEV, LEGIS
Dan Van Riper, LPNA
Mimi Mounteer, MANG
Henry Madej, PHNA
David Phaff, NewANA
Anne Brewster, WPNA
Jim Tierney, PHNA