Interview with Stephen Gomula, candidate for fourth ward alderman

According to Stephen Gomula, fourth ward residents are looking for a new voice to represent them on the Amsterdam Common Council. Gomula said he hopes to be that new voice if elected to the fourth ward alderman’s position and in a recent interview, he shared many of his ideas to improve the city.

Gomula has worked as an EMT for 13 years now and is currently employed at Malta-Stillwater EMS. He is also an administrative office assistant at REMO (Regional Emergency Medical Organization) and fills in as a dispatcher at GAVAC. In addition to his EMT experience, he has served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a medic for ten years.

He described how just over three years ago, he struggled with a benign tumor in his leg which caused him significant nerve damage and which took him nearly a year to recover from.

“It was awful,“ recounted Gomula. “It humbled me. It also taught me to be resilient. I want to bring that resilience to any task I might have on the council.”

Gomula said that he would like to help revive the farmer’s market on Church Street, and bring back the neighborhood association to help build connections between residents. One example of a problem the association could address is helping elderly residents who need their driveways or sidewalks shoveled during the winter.

He said there is a need for a small grocery store within the city limits, similar to a scaled-down Price Chopper he observed in Saratoga Springs. If elected, he would use the alderman’s position to advocate for attracting such a development, possibly by rehabilitating the old P&C property near the five corners.

He would also like to see the city participate in a “cops on the block” type of program where law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMT’s, and teachers are given discounts on purchasing homes within problem neighborhoods with the condition that they live there for a certain number of years.

In regards to addressing the city’s general fund balance deficit, Gomula said he sees the continuation of economic development efforts as well as keeping up with the yearly foreclosure process as two ways to improve revenues in the long-term. He also says he will look for additional ways to share services with the county or school district in order to cut expenses.

In the shorter term, Gomula said he is in favor of adding a second vehicle to the city’s ambulance service in order to realize more revenue. He would also like to look at whether using a city staff member to handle the insurance company billing for the ambulance service would be less expensive than the current  third-party service.

Gomula said he is generally in favor of the project proposed by KCG Development for the former Chalmers property which is planned to include an apartment complex and a restaurant/banquet hall facility.

“I think the project could be like a spark plug for not only the downtown area but for the city as a whole,” he said.

However, he said he would like to see in-unit washers and dryers rather than the shared laundry room on each floor which is currently planned.

In regards to addressing the fund balance deficit in the municipal golf course fund, Gomula said he believes the city should be given additional time to increase revenues.

“The golf course is a gem,” said Gomula, who noted he is a former golf course member. “We should be able to make it work. We should look at other courses in the area for ideas, to see how they operate.”

However, Gomula said that leasing the course to a third-party operator or selling the course could still be options.

Gomula will appear on the Republican party line on November’s ballot. He faces Dave Dybas on the Democratic party line and incumbent Guy Cappuccio who is running as a write-in candidate.

For more information, visit Gomula’s Facebook page here.

Tim Becker

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