Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations (CANA)
Minutes for meeting of November 1, 2000
· Vacant building ordinance information distributed
· CDTA magnets, celebrating 30 years, were distributed
· Colin McKnight thanked everyone who helped plant daffodils
in Lincoln Park.
· Letter from Mayor regarding gang problems inviting
neighborhoods to participate in a half-day meeting. Building Safe Communities: A
Strategy for Albany 11/14/00 AM. First of several meetings to strategize and
develop recommendations. 434-5723.
· Recommendation to invite Lori Harris, of Albany's Planning
Dept., to a future CANA meeting. New focus on neighborhood planning and
· Circulated clippings and other announcements.
· Albany Home Store: David Riker (434-5237) looking to
develop working relationship with neighborhood associations and would like to
meet with CANA reps.
4. Committee Reports
a. SUNY University/Community Relations
Next meeting 11/8 6-6:45. Committee will discuss the 10th
Anniversary Celebration that will include awards to neighborhood/local
community, business, city level and state level, recognition certificates to all
"cooperating taverns" who are part of the committee's Tavern Owner
Advertisement Agreement. Reception before/after formal part of evening.
b. Lincoln Park Pool
Meeting with City. No further update.
c. CEQL- report will be given at Neighborhoods Work!
d. Neighborhoods Work!
Brochure has been distributed - please pre-register. Need
volunteer recorders, moderators, set-up and breakdown crew.
e. School District News
f. Cable Access
Meeting 11/14 at Albany Public Library at 1:30.
Christmas in April
Lorraine Charboneau, President of the Board, described
Christmas in April, local entity that is part of a nationwide organization.
Volunteers from the community rehabilitate the houses of low-income homeowners,
particularly the elderly and people with disabilities. They would love increased
participation in neighborhoods within the city of Albany. They need: a;
qualified applicants and b; volunteers to work on homes in their own
neighborhood, or elsewhere. Work is light medium or heavy and they focus on the
City of Albany and rural towns. Deadline is 11/10 but they will consider
applicants after that date. To nominate a neighbor who could benefit from
this program, to volunteer, of for more information, call 447-5067.
Can we close the alley between the library and armory or
light it better? ??
Are members of the Robinson Family (alleged dealers) in the
South End too? Apparently, yes, they are in the South End, too.
5. Guest Speaker: Nancy Burton, Comptroller, on the City's
Nancy reviewed the following aspects of the budget:
2. Major Changes
3. Cash Liquidity Fund Balance
4. Capital Budget
5. Looming problems with Health Insurance Costs.
Nancy provides the Common Council with budget reports every month. The Mayor
develops the budget with input from department heads. The budget is almost $107
million. There are no significant cuts this year because additional state money
and additional landfill revenues enabled the City to maintain spending levels
without increasing property taxes.
A summary of significant aspects of the budget was distributed and reviewed by
Nancy. The following questions were then raised. Council Finance Committee
members Shawn Morris and Richard Conti were also there to answer questions and
to hear our comments.
Q: The mayor is spending most of the windfall. Is this wise?
A: Not for the cash poor times of year. There should be a 3-5% fund
balance, according to the bond raters. But they were satisfied with what's
committed to the fund balance ($600,000). Take incremental steps to get to the
3-5% fund balance.
Q: How does Albany's budget process compare to other cities?
A: About the same. The process is less cooperative. Don't hear from
departments; sometimes have to piece together information.
Q: Any potential loss of funds from census?
A: Community Development Grants might be impacted and the administrative fees we
Q: Taxes taken in (property) how do they compare to last year? Commercial
A: Assessed value down $46M in commercial and non-homestead. Considering
resolution of slight decrease in homestead and 3% commercial increase.
Q: Landfill is almost 10% of budget. Revenues could disappear if Albany Pine
Bush continues litigation against the City.
A: Impact would be far larger than $10M. Another reason to maintain the reserve.
Q: Are the adjusted personnel positions really 35?
Q: Revenue - fines and fees - how do we compare with other cities (permit fees,
abandoned building fees, etc.)?
A: Collection process not particularly sophisticated. Most cities use outside
service to collect. Not necessarily staffed well enough to know who's paying
Q: Is Common Council going to do anything?
A: Invited treasurer - have not seen yet. Would like to have an actual number re
uncollected fines. Will look at credit agency information.
Q: Reduction of 14 in justice department grant position. Why?
A: Grant ran out and those moved into budget. Civilian grant to put officers on
Q: Retirement benefits for state employees will get cost of living increase.
A: Good state package so city contribution has been reduced significantly.
The budget is solid in what it does but needs to expand in depth of Economic
Development and special projects. Capital Budget is $5.7M. Portion already
in budget. Distinct improvement from past -- good to see what equipment
purchased. Less good at economic development and special projects (Palace
Theatre and Albany Institute of History and Art). Hard to tell actual dollar
Common council approved $1.9M (98), $11.9M (99), $26.6M (00)
Rarely captures what issued in debt for any fiscal year. Every project has cash
The City went through the rating process. Standards and Poors did not raise the
rating and kept their same concerns. Fitch did an extensive analysis of
default rates. Their organizational assumption is that municipalities default
less than any other. Raised the rating. Risk of default is lower.
Total debt outstanding right now is $72M.
Water department consistently overspends in personnel services.
Health insurance is an ever-increasing expense as the baby boomer generation
retires. Need to look at different ways of handling this. The city pays
over $1 M per month in health insurance. Health insurance increase costs exceeds
rate of inflation.
Submitted by Sandra Thomas & Marggie Skinner
Jim Lyons, MEL
Dan Egan, PLYM
Peter Yezzi, HPNA
G. Mowbray, HPNA
Howie Stoller, MEL
Emily L. Grisom, SHNA
Mimi Mounteer MANG
Cynthia Galivan, MANG
Henry M. Madej, PHNA
Thomas Gebhardt, University at Albany
Margo Janack CDTA
Harold Rubin, CSQ
Lt. Steve Stella, APD
Mary Connair, DANA
Cathy O'Neill, DANA
Holly Katz, MANS
Robert Batson, Whitehall
Mike Kernan, MEL
Betsy Shearer, PSNA
Daniel W. VanRiper, LPNA
Shawn Morris, DANA Council
Gerard Marino, ST. Rose
Nancy Burton, PHNA, Guest
Gene Solan, PHNA
Tim Hoff, HELD
Richard Conti, Council
Lorraine Charboneau, Christmas in April
Tom Murname, Capitalvoice.com
Terence Thornberry, WPNA
Clare Yates, CSQ
Barry Walston, guest
Tom McPheeters, MANS