City Hall News Briefs


Amsterdam Controller Matthew Agresta says the city is “not in dire straits” financially. In his report at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, Agresta said that from July to December 2013, the city’s spending was 35 percent of the amount budgeted for the entire year. In addition, he is preparing a list of more than 500 foreclosure properties.

Council members passed a resolution requiring anyone appointed to a volunteer board or commission to be a city resident. The measure, which was tabled at the council’s previous meeting, also states that volunteers may serve on no more than two boards or commissions at a time.


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About John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.

8 Responses to City Hall News Briefs

  1. AvatarDan Weaver says:

    So since I live in the Town of Florida but run a business in downtown Amsterdam, I would not be able to serve on a board where I might be able to offer some valuable input about the needs of small businesses or downtown businesses–say AIDA or something like that. Seems a little short-sighted.

    • AvatarTom says:

      You cannot serve on a volunteer board or commission…but you can be a cop or fireman or work in another capacity for the City? They must be trying to eliminate people that are on the golf commission or something?

    • AvatarRob Millan says:

      I also agree re: Dan, Alayne, just looks like yet another attempt for Amsterdam to keep outsiders from making decisions as they relate to the city. I think the same was attempted for fire and/or police, but could be mistaken since I believe the former chief lived outside the city.

      The arguments, however, come from both sides and are pretty level-handed. On the one side you have those who believe that the city should employ or have on its boards, agencies, and commissions only city residents in order to ‘keep tax dollars local,’ that is taxes for salaries should go only to our neighbors, friends, and relatives. If you’re a resident you rent or own locally and are more inclined to spend your salary locally, which in turn contributes to tax revenue. I can respect that idea.

      However, on the other side you have people that say this practice limits ideas and input to the city borders, as if to say only people that live in Amsterdam know what’s best for it. Forget any and all outsiders that come with their investment money, ideas, or creativity.

      This practice has hurt Amsterdam way more than helped, as is evident in the decline of any significant economic growth. It also all but guarantees influential positions continue to be handed down to friends, relatives, or anyone else in the same line.

      Now we have a case where this infectious practice wants to be extended to include even volunteer positions, which tosses out the argument that city tax revenue should be spent on city salaries, which can only mean this is just a power-hungry ego-maniacal group of people acting ‘just because we can.’

      • You are mistaken Rob, the current Police Chief lives outside of the city of Amsterdam and is allowed to by NYS Public Officers law, as are the paid city firemen. They must live in Montgomery County or an adjacent county. The City Planning Board is also covered by NYS law and they MUST be city residents. Amsterdam changed its residency requirement rules for city employees when they hired Calvin Cline as the Assessor. Preference must be given to city residents for hiring, but when there are no qualified candidates, hiring of non-residents is allowed.

      • AvatarRob Millan says:

        I didn’t say I was certain- I said I believe. And I was referring to Mr. Brownell.
        I continue to maintain that hiring only city residents (or even county residents as you say) is highly a restrictive practice.

      • AvatarAlayne says:

        Just to be clear, I don’t agree with the names that you felt the need to call the new members of the council, I just feel that folks that operate successf businesses in the city, should have a place on committees as they can provide much needed insight!

  2. AvatarAlayne says:

    I agree with you Dan!

  3. AvatarDiane Hatzenbuhler says:

    Dan I look forward to working with you and several other of the local business owners downtown for the betterment of the downtown district. Feel free to contact me at any time and we can have a meeting to discuss any of your issues.