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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes October 5, 2005

Albany Public Library


  1. Introductions

·        The Albany Public Library has purchased and upgraded a bookmobile.  It contains all library products.  It will be on display Saturday at the SUNY Education fest and the opening of the North Albany Branch next Thursday at 6 PM and at the Woodlawn/New Scotland Neighborhood Association meeting on October 6.  The Library staff will bring the bookmobile to neighborhood associations as requested.  Contact John Cirrin at 427-4344.


·        The Albany Police Department has launched the Operation Safe Child Program that was developed by New York State Department of Criminal Justice.  Parents may have their children photographed and fingerprinted with the latest digital technology available.  They will also contain information that further identifies the child, and a copy is given to the parent.  Information is stored on file at DCJS and is immediately available to law enforcement personnel if the child is missing.  Parents may have their child photographed each year until they are 18.  When the child turns 18, the information is the database is purged.  The equipment is at Albany police headquarters.


  1. Minutes

            Minutes of the September 2005 meeting were approved.


  1. Guest Speaker  - Assistant Commissioner William Simcoe, City of Albany Department of Water and Water Supply


Three entities are involved in the production, maintenance, and financing of Albany ’s water supply.  The Albany Water Board “owns” the water and sewer infrastructure and has an operating agreement with the City of Albany .  The Albany Municipal Water Finance Authority is responsible for the accounting aspect, and the Albany Department of Water and Water Supply is responsible for providing services to residents and businesses in the City of Albany .  (The Department of General Services is responsibility for sewer maintenance.)   The Albany Department of Water and Water Supply’s main facility is at 35 Erie Boulevard .


20 million gallons of water are used in the city each day.  13 billion gallons are stored.  30 million gallons can be treated at the treatment facility in the Town of Bethlehem after being transmitted from the main water source at the Alcove Reservoir.  The City also provides water to the towns of Bethlehem and Guilderland to supplement their own supplies.  There are approximately 20 miles of water main that were built for this purpose around 1930 to which capital improvements are made each year.  The City has an additional water source at the Loudonville reservoir and a storage tank in the Pine Bush.


Since September 11, 2001 , several improvements have been made to secure and monitor the water resources.  The reservoirs, filtration and storage facilities are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, electronically in some cases.  Improvements have been made to the Loudonville reservoir and filtration and distribution are being automated.  Some improvements to the water and sewer systems are made to coincide with other infrastructure improvements.  The DEC will reimburse the City for some of those improvement expenses.



Assistant Commissioner Simcoe responded to questions and comments from attendees.


·        When the comptroller’s report is issued, rates and minimum unit  usage may increase.  The issue will be introduced at the next meeting of the Albany Water Board.  If the Board approves the increase, public hearings will be held.

·        The Water Board utilizes the services of paid financial consultants.  It has no employees.  However, it does have expenses for arrangements with banks for their fees to maintain a lock box, issue bills, etc.

·        There have been problems at the Clapper road filtration facility in Bethlehem .

·        The towns of Bethlehem and Guilderland have a 15-year contract to pay Albany $2.42 per thousand gallons of water.  Albany residents pay $2.29 per thousand gallons. The town of New Scotland then pays more than $2.42 to Bethlehem for that town’s water.

·        Pressure in the fire hydrants was an issue at the site of a recent fire in the Mansion neighborhood.   Sometimes when one hydrant has pressure, others don’t.  The neighborhood association has requested that the issue of adequate pressure in the hydrants be addressed.  Pressure valves regulate the flow of water as it changes direction   Some hydrants are locked, and older ones are being replaced.  The Water Department works with the fire department testing the several thousand fire hydrants in the city and work crews are assigned to make repairs when necessary.  Commissioner Simcoe will investigate this situation and report back to CANA .

·        Albany’s system of using three entities to run the water services was developed in the 1980’s and modeled after those used in New York City and Buffalo.

·        Revenues from the sale of water appear on the city’s budget as transfers.

·        Subsequent to the recent change to automated meters, many water bills were significantly higher than usual.  That is the result of reading discrepancies and the cycle of billing.

·        Consumers may review the Department’s billing records only for their own properties.

·        A long-term study will address overflow from the Hudson River ;  work is already underway to address the problem of flooding basements,

·        The water infrastructure will not be overhauled at once.  Repairs to the system are “dovetailed” with other reconstruction work.

·        There is a water main located under the parking lot of the new middle school.  It was checked both pre and post construction and is intact with no leaks.



  1. New Business and Announcements


·        Erin Tobin Bearden of the Historic Albany Foundation discussed historic neighborhood overlay.    Albany does not have a designated historic district; because historic buildings are located in many neighborhoods.  Rules and regulations for rehab and reconstruction apply to each historically significant building in the overlay district, but are not necessarily being observed.  The BZA is attempting to enforce the ordinance that addresses this issue. Historic Albany Foundation provides education, advocacy and assistance to those who are rehabbing or reconstructing. .   Additionally, they have a warehouse of items that were salvaged from historic buildings that are available. Citizens are asked to be aware of work being done in their neighborhoods and contact HAF if they have questions or concerns about whether the guidelines are being adhered to. 


·        Georgette Steffens of the Albany Home Store provided information about the city-wide Home Store City Living Campaign which now is promoting seven mid-town neighborhoods in addition to those originally designated.  The City Living Campaign Committee is presently developing a logo and tag line.  A realtors’ event and education program are being planned as well as block parties and group open houses.  There will be a block party in the upper Madison Avenue area on October 15 from 1 to 5 PM .  A design workshop is scheduled for October 22 at St Rose.  The Committee meets as needed and requests that a representative from each targeted neighborhood attend the meetings.  A representative from the Home Store is available to attend neighborhood meetings in the mid-town areas.


·        Gene Solan announced that the date for the Neighborhood Works conference has been changed to December 3, 2005 , from 9 AM to 1:00 PM .


·        Some residents who live near St. Peter’s Hospital were notified that the hospital is planning a series of expansion projects and were invited to attend “pre-briefings in their command center.”  It is apparent that they will be seeking zoning variances for these projects.  In order for CANA to comment, a copy of the application to the BZA is required.  That will be forwarded to the CANA chairman for comment.


·        The city is considering a temporary $.50 surcharge on taxi fares to offset the increased price of gasoline.  The Law Committee will meet on October 13 at 6 PM at city hall to receive public input. 


·        The public is invited to attend meetings of the Charter Review Committee and comment at meetings on October 11, 2005 at 7 PM at the main branch of the library and on October 26, tentatively scheduled to be held at the College of St. Rose .


·         Adults and Children Together (ACT) is holding a workshop for educators and parents of young children titled Act Against Violence on October 29, 2005 , from 9 AM to 4:30 PM at the Sage College .  The cost is $25 and includes lunch.  To register call Virginia Hammer at 438-0195.  The deadline for registration is October 21. 



  1. Committee Reports


·        Budget Committee

Attendance at budget meetings has been sparse.   Issues being focused upon are health insurance, debt, authorities, cable access, landfill and finances.  The City‘s budget has been published, and the Common Council has scheduled meetings. Public hearings will take Place on October 17 at 7 PM .  Tom Nitido will attend the November 2 CANA meeting to discuss the budget.  Mr. Conti will notify the CANA chairman about the dates of departmental presentations.


·        Cable Committee

Mr. Torcinello will be setting up meetings.   The issues of access in the schools and libraries will be on the agenda.


·        Zoning Committee

The committee has not met since the last CANA meeting.



  1. Adjournment


The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM .



Meeting Attendees

October 5, 2005





Holly Katz


harriskatz@ (illegible)

Colin McKnight


Betsy Shearer


Bill Cleveland

West End

9 Essex St .

Julie Elison


Jeff Cannell

Albany Public Library


PO Matthew Montesano

Albany Police Dept

Erin Tobin Bearden

Historic Albany Foundation

PO Kathi Rissberger

Albany Police Department

536 Western Ave

Gene Solan

Pine Hills

126 So. Allen St

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

David Phaff


Judy Levin


Megan Daly

ALDC/DDP/Center Square


Howard Stoller


Georgette Steffens

City Home Ctore/Second Avenue


Donald Wardle

United Tenants

125 Dove St

Chris Leo

ACDA/Center Square

Hillary Tommaney

Historic Pastures

Anne Brewster

Washington Park


Mimi Mounteer

Manning Boulevard


Jack Consiglio

New Albany NA

Andrew Harvey