Mayor Michael Villa released his State of the City Address in written form Friday afternoon. In it, he outlined his plans to deal with the city’s financial issues, as well as the continuation of a number of grant-funded initiatives that were started in the previous administration which he plans to continue.
“There is no doubt that we have financial concerns and we are in the process of determining exactly how deep those concerns truly are,” Villa wrote.
In the address, he pointed to his plan to hire a legal adviser to assist in the selection of an outside accounting firm to help bring the city’s records to a “current and acceptable state.”
“By initially utilizing an outside accounting firm, our controller and his staff will be able to focus on financial issues that are current and once our financial forecast is complete we will be able to focus and meet all financial requirements of the City going forward,” wrote Villa.
In regards to future city initiatives, Villa wrote, “There are many initiatives that have been started that I plan to see through to completion and many initiatives that we can look forward to in the near future.”
Villa cited the work of the Capital Region Land Bank and said that 13 units have been identified for renovation as well as six units for demolition.
In the address, he announced that a committee had been formed to work on marketing materials for the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook. Members of the committee are Samantha Bonanno, Robert Von Hasseln, Danielle Whelly, Chad Majewski and Gina DaBiere-Gibbs.
He also said he plans to proceed with a feasibility study to relocate the city’s train station from the west end of the city to the downtown area.
Villa also announced, “Generous donations from Dr. Rao, Bob’s Paving and Cranesville Block have been secured to create a new, safe community playground and skate park behind the Centro Civico building on East Main Street. We anticipate a start date this Spring.”
In regards to economic development and infrastructure repair, Villa wrote, “In our aging City, many updates, repairs and improvements are needed and in most cases they are quite costly. The former administration was diligent in finding opportunities for grants to aid in some of these updates and repairs; however the grants cannot cover the costs in their entirety. I am confident that we will build on the momentum of the grants that we have already received, find new opportunities for additional funding and utilize current budgetary dollars to invest wisely in the future of our City.”
He highlighted the recent sale of the old Best Value hotel and the success and possible expansion of Mohawk Lifts and Noteworthy. He went on to list a number of grants that had been received by the city for various improvements to the city’s infrastructure, housing and the pedestrian bridge.
Villa also said, “The Administration will be meeting with Senator George Amedore, Congressman Paul Tonko and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara to seek support and funding to help with the city’s needed infrastructure repairs.”
He also highlighted the prior administration’s decision to install solar arrays which are projected to save the city over $150,000 annually. He added that he is committed to converting to LED lighting at several city facilities which is projected to save the city $41,000 annually.
Lastly, he said he hoped to see economic development projects currently underway by the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency come to fruition, including a joint effort with AGT Services to attract additional turbine companies, marketing the former Mohasco site, continuing downtown revitalization, and potentially bringing a new hotel to the city.
Villa concluded, “As you have read, there are many exciting projects in our City’s future. Some of which were started under the previous administration, some are anticipated and many possibilities have yet to be mentioned. I am committed to the residents of Amsterdam to not only manage the day to day operations of the City but to continually explore opportunities for the improvement and financial stability.”
“In closing I would like to quote a former Mayor; ‘I am seeking a new spirit of harmony, ideas and solutions all working for the one common goal, that being the renewal of our city.’ Thank you, and God Bless You.”