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2012StateoftheCityAddress DeliveredJanuary17,2012byMayorAnnM.

Thane
Goodeveningandwelcome.Toeachandeveryoneofyouinthisroomandtothose ofyouwatchingathomeoronline,thankyouforcaringaboutourCity.Itisa privilegetoserveasMayoroftheCityofAmsterdam,andtoonceagaindeliverthis annualmessage. Thisexercisemakesmerealizethewisdomofthosethatputthepracticeofthe annualspeechintoplace.Whilemyexperiencemaybeoneofstudyingcity operationsthroughamicroscope,Irememberthatmostconstituentsaregazing downfromthewindowofanairplane. Theannualspeechisanecessarydisciplineandanhonor,butImustadmitthatitis adauntingtask,asitscontentissovast.Whileponderingthisundertaking,I'vebeen drawntoonethemethatresonateswithrecenteventsandoursharedfortunes.The phrase"toughtimes"comestomindinrelationtothedifficulteconomy,crazy weather,infrastructureproblemsandatriskneighborhoods. Yes,timesarecertainlytough. Butjustbecausetimesaretough,wedonotgiveup.Adversityissomethingweare familiarwithanddespitethedifficultieswefaceasacommunity,wemeetour challengeswithforcefuldetermination.Wearefightingthroughoneofourmost challengingperiodsinourCity'shistoryandareholdingourown.Wearesmall,but wearetough. 2011wasayearthattestedourresolveandspirit,andourcommunityhasrisento theoccasion.Wehavereasontobeproudonsomanylevels.Despitethefinancial stressfeltbymunicipalbudgetsonalllevels,wehaveweatheredeconomicturmoil betterthansurroundingmunicipalities.UnliketheCountyandtheSchoolDistrict, wehaveheldtoaselfimposed3%taxcap.Wemanagedthisfeatthroughcreative measuresthathaveaddedhundredsofthousandsofdollarstoourannualbudget andcutspendingtoabareminimum.Inthispastyear: We'vesecurednearly$500,000inadditionalsalestaxrevenuefromthe county. We'venegotiatedanewrevenuesharingagreementwithGAVACthatbrings in$200,000ayear.

We'vetakenrecyclinginhouse,savingover$100,000ayearinexpense. Wearecontrollingdiscretionaryovertimeinalldepartmentsandhave realizedsignificantovertimesavingswiththeadditionofthreepatrolofficers totheAmsterdamPoliceDepartment.

Theseinitiativeshavehelpedtoshelterusfrommajortaxincreasesordeepercuts toessentialservices. Ourdrivetosucceedintoughtimeshasresultedinthecompletionofkeycapital projectsinourcitythatservetoenhancethequalityoflifeofourresidents.The completedprojectsareasdiverseastheyarenumerous,roundingoutoneofour busiestconstructionperiodsever.Theyinclude: ReconstructionoftheBridgeStreetcorridor. Upgradestoinfrastructure,includingwater,sewerandroadsystemsonthe Southside. AsbestosremovalfromCityHall,rewrappingofpipes,andnewwindow insertshaveresultedintensofthousandsofdollarsinenergysavings. $13milliondollarsworthofimprovementsatthewastewatertreatmentand waterfiltrationplants,paidforinpartthroughstimulusfundingandour agreementswithHeroBeechnut. RemovalofthefiredamagedEddyBrushCompanybuildingandsite remediationofbrownfieldissues. Demolitionof45dilapidatedanddangerousstructureswithsome participationfromMontgomeryCounty. RepairstoAmsterdamsTransportationfacilityincludinganewfurnace, flooring,portablelifts,energyefficientlighting,aswellasnewbuses,also fundedthroughthefederalstimulusprogram. Resurfacingofstreetsineachwardinthe2011RoadProgram. Remediationandreplacementofasbestoscoveredwaterlinesbeneath GriemeAvenueBridge. ConstructionofRiverlinkParkPhaseIIincludesnewwalkways,lightingand thenewsculptureentitled,ThePaintedRocksofAmsterdambyworld renownartistAliceManzi.

Additionalimprovementstotheparkincludeanewbandshell,cafdeckand landscaping.

Wehavemanagedtocompletethesephenomenalprojectsinayearthatwewere challengedbyafloodofdramaticproportionsnotseeninrecentmemory. IntheaftermathofHurricaneIreneandTropicalStormLee,wetriumphedovera tumultuoussetofcircumstanceswhichenabledustoseecityoperationsattheir finest.Staffmobilizedtoappropriatelyandeffectivelyrespondtothesafetyofthe public,coordinatingacomprehensiveevacuationstrategy,rescueefforts,temporary shelter,andtrafficmanagementprotocols,allinamatterofhours. Throughouttheemergency,wewereabletodisseminateinformationinrealtime throughourfacebookpageandinpartnershipwithWCSSandtheRecorder. Becauseofthisachievement,wenowunderstandsocialnetworkingtobemorethan apastime.Itisanessentialtoolofeffectivecommunication. Volunteersdisplayedincrediblecompassionandselflessness,showingupindroves toassisttheirneighborsinrecoveryfromtragedyintheweeksafterthestorms.We witnessedcommunitypartnerscleaninghomesandbusinesses,organizingdonation dropoffsitesanddistributingsupplies,allofwhichlentsupportinatimeofgreat strife. Wearetough.Wepulltogether. Ourstrengthisinnumbersandourcommitmenttooneanotherdemonstratesthe truecharacterofthepeopleofAmsterdam.2011wasabanneryearfor volunteerisminourcity.Notonlydidwehostseveralsuccessfuleventsincluding NationalNightOutandtheMainStreetWinterMixer,butwealsogearedourefforts towardscommunitybeautificationwithlittercleanups,graffitipaintouts,murals, plantingsandgardens,allofwhichhavehadapositiveeffectinreshapingour image.WeofferedfreeconcertsoverthesummeratRiverlinkParkandHero Beechnutsponsoredswimminglessonsfor125youngchildrenatVeteransField swimmingpool.Additionally,SpringFlingsoughttohighlighttheProfessional WrestlingHallofFamesInductionceremonieswhilepromotingcommercialspace inourDowntownarea.Thismuchcelebratedoccasionbrought3000peopleto MainStreet.Alloftheseinitiativeswereprovidedatnocosttoourtaxpayers. Whilecommunityinitiatedeffortshavebeguntotransformourimage,wehavealso takenamoredirectandprofessionalapproachtomarketingourcommunity.This year,thoseeffortswererecognizedbyEmpireStateDevelopmentasbestinclass forwebsitedesignandcollateralprintedmaterials.Wewereabletoaugmentour presencewithvideosproducedbyAmsterdamHighSchoolstudentsthatare broadcastovertheInternetandcontinuetogarnerattention.

Inthesetoughtimeswehavedecidedwhoweareandwhowechoosetobe.We mustembracechangeandunderstandtheopportunitiesitpresents.Wearea communityofmanycultures,andmustbewelcomingtothosethatwishtomake Amsterdamtheirnewhome.Recently,Chineseimmigrantshavepurchased40 properties.Theyhaveinvestedhundredsofthousandsofdollarsinmaterials,taxes, feesandlabor,withtheintentionofbringingmanymorefriendsandfamiliestoour community.Theinvestmentmadebytheseindividualswillbetransformative. Thecomingyearinvitesahostofexcitingprospects,eventhosethatwillbedifficult tosurmount.Wearefacedwiththeimpositionofa2%caponpropertytaxesthat willforceustobebothbraveandcreative.Uponenteringintothenewbudget season,wemusthaveacompleteandaccurateaccountingfromournewController ofallrevenues,expenditures,departmentalbudgets,fundbalanceanddebt. Thesedifficulteconomictimesdemandthatwebreaknewgroundandcreatenew relationships.Wemustmeetourchallengeswithcivilityandmeasuredthoughtas wereachouttoourpartnersatthecounty,regionalandstatelevelstofind solutions.Wemustfunctionasaregionalparticipanttosharefundingsources, laborandequipmenttoadequatelyprovideforthefuture. TraditionallywehaveonlythoughttoreachouttotheCountyBoardofSupervisors aspartners.WhilewemaycertainlyengagewiththeCountyinanumberofcost savinginitiatives,includingrecordsmanagement,energyconservation,joint purchasingandcrossagencytransportationoptions,wemustestablishnew relationshipswithsurroundingmunicipalitiesintheCapitalDistrictandGreater MohawkValley.Weveseenevidenceofthissuccessfulapproachwiththerecent awardstotheRegionalEconomicDevelopmentCouncils.Byestablishinga commitmenttocollaborationwewillincreasethelikelihoodofsecuringnecessary resourcestorealizeeconomicgrowth. Thiscommitmentmustextendtothepoliticalpartiesthathavetraditionallybeen drawntostancesthataredramaticallypolarized.Ourproblemsareuniversal.Itis timetoputpoliticalagendasaside,toidentifycommonalitiesinourpositions,to rallypeopleandresources,andsolvetheproblemsthatwearechargedto overcome.Tothisend,IhaveinvitedthechairmenoftheRepublicanand DemocraticCityandCountyCommittees,aswellasthemembersoftheCommon Council,toassistmeinthispursuit.Thismaybetoughtodo,butitstimeforthe factionstomovepasttheirdifferences. Toughtimesdictatethatwecreateanetworkoflikemindedcommunities.Wehave establishedadialogueusingtheStatesregionalmodeltoexploreavenuessuchas landbanking,thecontinuedexpansionofwaterandsewerinfrastructurefor residentialandcommercialdevelopment,aswellaslongrangeplanningand investmentinwaterfrontdevelopmentanddowntownrevitalization.Thisdialogue alsoincludesaproposaltorelocatestateofficestoourcity,whichidentifiesusasa communityworthyofinvestment.Wearecreatinganewdynamicandhavepridein 4

thefactthatseveralindustriesinourcityhaveseensignificantgrowthoverthepast year.BretonIndustries,NTIGlobal,FGIandMohawkFabricshaveallundergone expansionoftheirfacilitiesresultinginmorejobsandinvestmentinour community. Wearegoingtocontinuetosucceedintoughtimes.Overthecomingconstruction seasonwewillprogresswaterdistributionimprovementsonMarketStreetHill.We willidentifyandremediatestormandsewercrossconnectionsaroundthecityand wewillimplementthenewtrafficpatternstoroutevisitorsbacktoourdowntown. WewillinstallanewmemorialatRiverlinkParktohonorthoseloston9/11,roads willberesurfaced,valvesandhydrantswillbestrategicallyreplacedandwewill completethedemolitionoftheChalmersproperty. WemustalsoturnourattentiontotheEsquirepropertyattheMohascosite.On accountofitsadvancedstateofdeterioration,thebuildinghasbeenfoundunsafe andrequiresdemolition.Thesitemustserveasakeydriverforrevitalizationof thatdistrict.Thiscoincideswithotheractiveprojectstargetingneighborhood revitalizationontheEastEnd,ReidHill,waterfrontheritageareaandalongthe ChuctanundaCreek.Aswell,wearepartneringwiththeAmsterdamUrbanRenewal Agency,MontgomeryCountyHabitatforHumanityandtheAmsterdamHomeless Projecttoprovideopportunitiestothosemostinneedduringtougheconomictimes. Wecontinueourfighttokeepourresidentssafedespiteeconomicstressors.Our neighborhoodwatchgroupshavebeeninstrumentalinbridgingarelationship betweenthecommunityandlawenforcement.Awarenesswithintheneighborhoods hasnettedarrestsfordrugandothernonviolentoffensesasofficersutilizethe informationprovidedbythewatchgroupstoenhancepublicsafety.Thankstothese efforts,AmsterdamremainsoneofthesafestcommunitiesintheCapitalDistrict. Itisduringtoughtimesthatweneedtobethemostoptimisticandhopeful.Iam remindedeachdaythatIamsurroundedbyahighlyqualifiedandtalentedteam whocometoworkeachdayimpactedbylimitedresourcesandstaffing,yettogether wefindtheresolvetoshoulderourresponsibilitiestothoseofyouwhopayour salaries.Iwanttothankthesegoodpeople,ouremployees,onbehalfofthe residentsofthiscommunityforthefinejobthattheydo.Whentimesarehard,they workharder. Thesetougheconomictimescannotbeusedasanexcusetopullbackoravoid progress.Itsamistakewehavemadetoofrequentlyinthepast.Inthisregard,we mustaddressinadequaciesinstaffingthatnegativelyimpactcityoperations.These shortcomingslimitouropportunitiestogeneraterevenueandaddressissuesof greatconcerntoourcitizens.Theconditionofblightedpropertiesisperhapsthe mostoftencitedcomplaintheardinmyoffice,ontheradio,orontheInternet.We muststrengthenourcodesdepartmentbyaddinganadditionalinspector,evenif thepositionisparttime,tomanagehealthandsafetymatters.Aswell,weneed additionalseasonalhelptocutgrassandpickupgarbagewhenproperty 5

maintenanceisanissue.In2010,theyearbeforetheflood,wecleaned210 properties,generating351fulldumptrucksofdebris.Ofcoursethispastyear,much oftheeffortsofthesefourmenwenttocleaningupafterthedisaster. Ifwearetogrowourtaxbase,weshouldagainlooktorefundingtheCommunity andEconomicDevelopmentDepartment.Whileseveraldevelopmentagenciesexist, thereisnoorganizationthatcanfillthevoidcreatedbytheabsenceofthisentity. Weneedthisdepartmenttomusclecomprehensiveplanningwhichincludes revampingtheLocalWaterfrontRevitalizationPlan,Brownfieldprograms,the zoningrewrite,neighborhoodanddowntownrevitalization;tocoordinate communityeventsandactivities;tooverseepropertydispositionandgrantsina coordinatedfashion;tocoordinateactivitybetweendepartments,state,countyand developmentorganizations;toassiststrugglingnotforprofits;toupdatethe website;andtoproactivelyresearchandproposenewincentivesfordevelopment andgrowth. Wecannotletnaysayersandnegativismdetermineourfate.Wevebeenthrough floods,ahurricaneandaglobaleconomicdownturnandwearestillhere.Weare small,toughanddetermined.IamremindedofashortquotebyThomasBuxton, Withordinarytalentandextraordinaryperseverance,allthingsareattainable.In everysenseoftheword,ourcommunityhasbeenheroicinitsperseverance.To thoseofyouinourcommunitythattakenuptheloadwhentimesaretough,that havereachedouttoyourfriendsandneighborswiththeofferofhelp,thatlovethis communityforwhatithasbeen,forwhatitisandforwhatitwillbe,Ithankyoufor yourcommitment. Wearegoingtomakeit.Wewillbegalvanizedbyourexperiences;wewillbe better;wewillbestronger.

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