Common council meeting highlights for June 21, 2016

At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort gave a presentation highlighting issues the county is working on, as well as ways the county and city have been working together.

Some of the items outlined by Ossenfort:

  • The Downtown Revitalization Initiative proposal was recently submitted by the Montgomery County Business Development Center on behalf of the city, which puts the city in the running for $10 million grant for projects in the downtown area.
  • Applications are in the works for two block grants by the MCBDC on behalf of the city to stimulate business development. The common council later voted to approve two resolutions authorizing the county to apply for the grants from New York State. One application will be for the New York Main Street Program to help business in the Prospect Street area, and the other will be for the state’s Microenterprise Program.
  • The county is leading an effort to build a county-wide digital records management system which the city will utilize to scan and store permanent records.
  • The county is also leading a project to upgrade communications equipment for first-responders, including the city’s fire department, which will allow better communication between different departments within the county.
  • Ossenfort also gave an update on the status of repairs to Miami Avenue, a major road in the Town of Amsterdam. He said that he hopes to have a new 100-year lifespan culvert pipe purchased and delivered by August, and said he hopes to see the work completed by September.

Foreclosure properties approved for sale, no auction date set yet

The council voted to place 28 foreclosed properties up for sale. The properties will be advertised, and any buyer interested in purchasing one of the properties may apply through the city engineer’s office. Click here to view an official list of the properties for sale. Council members discussed the idea of hiring a real-estate agent to help with the property sales, but did not come to any consensus on the issue.

The council also plans to identify vacant lots that could be sold to neighboring owners rather than putting them up for auction. Controller Matt Agresta said he hopes those properties will be identified by next week. Agresta also said he is still waiting for the city’s codes department to complete a final report on which foreclosed properties are candidates for demolition. Council members agreed that once it has been finally determined which properties will be sold, and which properties will be demolished, that the city will set a date for the remaining properties to be auctioned off.

Renewal of property and casualty insurance policy

Although the city has filed a lawsuit against the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR), seeking further compensation for damage done to city properties during the hail storm of 2014, the council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign an agreement renewing coverage through them. After the meeting, Mayor Michael Villa said that although he believes the lawsuit is necessary to receive fair compensation for the city’s damages, that NYMIR has been doing a good job overall. According to Villa, the new agreement will save the city approximately $56,000 per year compared to previous years and was the best offer presented to the city. Earlier in the year, council members heard from a representative of insurance broker Foa and Son who claimed the city’s current broker, Adirondack Trust, was not doing enough to find less expensive carriers other than NYMIR.

Tim Becker

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