January 19, 2016 common council highlights

  • At Tuesday’s meeting, the council unanimously passed a resolution lowering City Engineer Rich Miller’s salary and hours. Previously, he worked a 40 hour week with a salary of $86,595 with benefits. His new salary will be $52,500 with benefits and will work a 28 hour work week.
  • Robert von Hasseln was re-appointed as city historian. Previously, von Hasseln had also served as the city’s community and economic director and therefore did not receive any additional compensation for his position as historian. As von Hasseln was not re-appointed to the CEDD position when Mayor Michael Villa took office in January, the council voted to restore the $5,000 per year stipend for the historian’s position.
  • New members of the Amsterdam Land Bank Advisory committee were approved. The council passed a resolution appointing Calvin Cline, Assessor, Erin Covey, Robert DiCaprio, Tom McQuade,Code Enforcement Officer, Mike Sampone, Michael Villa, Mayor, Robert von Hasseln, Historian, and Michael Whitty, Fire Chief.
  • Joe Emanuele, former mayor of Amsterdam, was appointed to the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency, to replace current member David Nyles Nelson.
  • The council unanimously approved a resolution to hire the Wladis Law Firm for legal advice in regards to interviewing for and hiring an accounting firm to help the controller’s office. The resolution authorizes up to $10,000 to be paid to the firm.
  • According to Controller Matt Agresta, the city may have to pay approximately $60,000 in fees to Montgomery County in order to process the transfer of ownership of foreclosed properties to the city. At the meeting, Agresta said he is looking into whether those fees could be waived. However, the council authorized the transfer of $60,000 in contingency funds to cover the fees if needed.
  • Urban Renewal Agency Director Nick Zabawsky said at the meeting that he is pursuing $5 million in funding to comply with an order from NY State Department of Environmental Conservation to make improvements to the city’s sewer system. Some of the proposed work includes upgrades to three pump stations and replacement of old piping. Zabawsky said that he hopes to secure a $1.2 million grant toward the total amount. He also said the city qualifies for additional zero-interest bonding. The council approved a resolution accepting lead agency status for the city under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), a necessary step in the funding approval process.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.