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3 COUNCIL OF ALBANY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS

4 MEETING MINUTES OF WEDNESDAY,
MARCH 6, 2002 AT 7:00 P.M.
5 MAIN BRANCH ALBANY PUBLIC LIBRARY

6
Helen Black, CANA Vice Chair, called the meeting
7 to order.

8 Introductions

9 Minutes: Motion to approve and seconded.
Minutes approved.
10
Guest Speaker:
11
Michael Breslin, Albany County Executive:
12
The University Heights Bender Lab facility will
13 be bringing in more research development.

14 Call Mr. Breslin's office if you have questions
on any County matters.
15
State of the County: It is a 430 million dollar
16 operation whose mission is to provide resources
and services to people who need help. This is
17 two-thirds of what they do.

18 Jail, probation and criminal justice take up 80
percent, record keeping takes up 20 percent.
19
Costs are rising primarily due to Medicare. The
20 population is older and living longer. New York
State puts the burden on the localities. Costs
21 have gone from 39 million dollars to 54 million
dollars over the last three years.
22
Children in need of supervision are those who
23 are neglected, abused or acting out but who are
not involved in criminal conduct. The number of
24 children in this group will double in the
program.
25
Highway funds will be cut.




 


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2
Accomplishments: Creation of the Children,
3 Youth & Family Department.

4 Health Care: Great Beginnings for difficult
pregnancies.
5
Early intervention & pre-K handicap.
6
Child Protective Services: They work on
7 investigation, referrals, prevention, adoption
and foster care.
8
Central Intake Unit: Looks at children to
9 determine problems and help effectuate change.

10 Foster care is decreasing.

11 Sheridan Avenue situation of three children and
what to do so it doesn't happen again. Steps
12 were taken and it was determined the caseworkers
acted appropriately, but it wasn't enough.
13
People in the neighborhood and police in the
14 neighborhood were asked if they saw anything
that might have indicated something was wrong.
15
A new group will be formed to create a better
16 system to have the whole community involved.
County would like input from the community and
17 CANA.

18 Real Property: The County owns properties with
tax liens. Properties that owe taxes are levied
19 by the City. After three years, the property is
turned over to the County for foreclosure. The
20 County cannot enter the property before then.

21 The County's goal is to get the properties back
on the tax roll. There were 822 properties in
22 possession. The auction process recently sold
625 of the properties. Real property goes up as
23 the expenses go up; they go down with more
property on the tax roll.
24
Exception to auction process: Steve Reilly on
25 Lancaster Street made arrangements with the
County to purchase property because the building




 


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2 was very desirable and he wanted to bring it
back to the neighborhood and pay taxes.
3
Properties can be sold before foreclosure on
4 condition of improving the property and getting
CO from the city within a specific period of
5 time.

6 Q. Why not hold auctions more frequently and get
the properties back on the tax rolls before they
7 deteriorate further?

8 A. County is increasing number of auctions.
There was one in February and there will be
9 auctions in May, August and September.

10 It cost the County a quarter of a million
dollars to reclaim Boopsie's on New Scotland
11 Avenue.

12 Neighbors need to be encouraged to refurbish and
decorate properties.
13
County tries to stabilize buildings but can't do
14 much more.

15 The County is trying to have auction information
on the Internet.
16
If anyone would like to enter the process early,
17 let Mr. Breslin know.

18 The County would like the City, Code Enforcement
and the neighborhood associations to get
19 together to get properties.

20 Delinquent taxpayers are published in the Times
Union.
21
The County is happy to share information with
22 neighborhoods and will work to get neighborhood
associations on the mailing list to get
23 brochures on properties.

24 Q. Can a piece of property be taken over sooner?
A. Mr. Breslin will look into that tomorrow.
25
Q. How does someone bid? What do you need to be




 


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2 aware of?
A. Check web site: AlbanyCounty.com.
3
Mr. Breslin will go to neighborhood associations
4 and bring a brochure listing what each property
needs and take it through the foreclosure
5 process. Buyers should determine if they want
property and talk to an attorney and a real
6 estate broker.

7 St. Joseph's Church: The County pays the taxes.

8 There is no incentive for the City to move on
properties because the County pays the City
9 while the house is empty.

10 Q. After auctions, how many buildings are in good
shape?
11
A. Doesn't know but will look into it
12
Q. Does the County carry any conditions to require
13 rehabilitation of buildings?

14 A. No. Would like to entertain on an ad hoc
basis how property should be improved. A right
15 to revert was in place 15 years ago but it
proved unworkable and the owners didn't care if
16 the County took the properties back.

17 At auctions: Purchasers need to be
pre-qualified. Home Store and Community
18 Development information is available.

19 No sale is made unless there is a rehab
commitment and a commitment to occupy the
20 building for five to ten years.

21 The County would prefer to work with the
neighborhood association to identify properties
22 and determine what neighborhood associations
need and want. The County will also work with
23 individuals.

24 Helen Black presented Mr. Breslin with a letter
regarding 41 Ten Broeck Street. They want to
25 work with the City and County to get the project
done. A resolution was drafted to have the




 


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2 County repair.

3 Mr. Breslin: A quarter of a million dollars is
needed. The County previously offered $50,000
4 to Historic Albany. The dilemma is the County
is short of funds. The project is difficult to
5 do and no one has shown any interest in doing
anything with the facade.
6
Q. What about the original cost that was 70 to 100
7 thousand dollars to repair the facade?

8 A. The County believes it would cost $171,000
to stabilize the facade. No one has said it
9 would not be $171,000. At $70,000, the County
would do it.
10
The County is looking for answers for 41 Ten
11 Broeck.

12 St. Joseph's is at risk of coming down. The
estimate to repair is one million dollars. If
13 no one comes through, the County is then
responsible. The County will continue to work
14 on it. Helen Black is working with the APD to
make the building safe.
15
Q. The County started the demolition and it should
16 be required to fix the building and purge the
adjoining buildings. Why did the County remove
17 the roof and make such a mess?

18 A. The steps that were taken at the time were
thought to be warranted. The County now agrees
19 the steps were inappropriate. There is no
indication it is further destabilized.
20
Elizabeth Griffin: The most stable part of the
21 building was removed and the building has failed
from behind.
22
Mr. Breslin: For $70,000, the County would
23 consider handing over the deed and do no more
work. The County would like to find someone to
24 find an acceptable arrangement. An alternative
plan is needed.
25
Elizabeth Griffin: Historic Albany, in a




 


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2 conversation with Michael Lynch, offered to
assume responsibility for the property. There
3 is a stabilization cap of $100,000. The County
should remove the building behind the facade and
4 parge the party walls.

5 Mr. Breslin: There is a drainage problem, the
building is open to mud slides, the clay will be
6 weakened and compromise the buildings on both
sides.
7
Q. St. Joseph's is part of the larger picture for
8 the future. What can be done so its condition
is not exacerbated?
9
A. The County needs to keep addressing the
10 situation.

11 Q. Is it time to go to civil disobedience?
Inaction drives people from the neighborhood.
12
A. The County doesn't want to become the
13 collection agency of last resort. The County is
not able to enter a building to determine its
14 condition and extent of damage.

15 Q. Code enforcement looks at buildings at risk.
Can the County form a cooperative arrangement
16 with the City to observe buildings with the
City?
17
A. County can't get in for three years.
18
Q. People need help in purchasing homes in
19 disrepair. Can the County have the properties
cleaned out to make them more affordable and
20 attractive to purchasers?

21 A. All houses should be stable, the windows,
the roofs, et cetera.
22
Tell the County what properties you want them to
23 look at.

24 Georgette Steffens - Albany Home Store has
$15,000 stabilization grants through the Albany
25 Community Development Agency.





 


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2 Kathleen Kearney: Support Helen and others
working in Arbor Hill and Ten Broeck Triangle.
3 Spending 1/4 million dollars would be a down
payment on Albany's future.
4
CANA passed a resolution last year to support
5 Ten Broeck Triangle.

6 Tom Gebhardt: Distributed handouts. Trash
pick-up day to be determined. Pine Hills has
7 cooperation of businesses involved in a program
that is part of the Keep Albany Beautiful.
8
Community Police Council: Helen Black: Meeting
9 is March 7, 2002 at 5:00 p.m. Nominations are
being submitted for civilian and police officer
10 awards, which will be presented in May.

11 Kate Frank: There will be no Saturday
neighborhood cleanup. The cleanup will be on a
12 regular trash night, the dates will be
published. No Block of the Year, it has been
13 folded into the C-1 program. DGS is under
pressure to reduce overtime costs.
14
The City decided not to have the Block of the
15 Year program because of CANA complaints the City
was not completing them. This year the focus is
16 on completing C-1 projects and the City cannot
take on any more commitments.
17
Carol Wallace: The Common Council passed a
18 resolution to bond one million dollars. What
happened?
19 Kate doesn't know but will call DGS.

20 David Phaff: The survey is in rough draft form
and eventually will be on the web. Does CANA
21 want this survey done every year or every two
years?
22
Marggie Skinner: The Reapportionment Committee
23 meets at City hall on Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. on
the mezzanine floor. The public comment session
24 opens for 15 minutes. New committee members are
welcome. There is a map available. A public
25 hearing will be scheduled.





 


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2 Lark Street Renovation: Harold Rubin: There is
an ad hoc committee of the neighborhood
3 associations, the BID, merchants and Richard
Conti about what they want in the project. A
4 letter in the form of a proposal to the Mayor
laid out the proposal by the neighborhood
5 associations, Chris Burke and Richard Conti.
Priorities were also presented in a public
6 meeting. The letter was not well received.

7 At the meeting at the Westminster Church, the
City showed the current plan versus the original
8 plan. The Mayor asked the commission to come up
with what they want by the March 21st deadline.
9 The committee met after the hearing and had a
lot of questions about a plan C. Next Tuesday
10 they will meet with the City about other options
and how the money will be used.
11
The CDTC is concerned about what has occurred
12 because the practice is unusual and they do not
want to establish this as a precedent. A letter
13 written by CDTC was read.

14 Gene Solan distributed forms for nominations for
the Thomas J. Senchyna Neighborhood Service
15 Award and for NRC Certificates of Recognition.

16 Henry Madej made a motion that CANA pause for a
moment of silence in memory of late former Mayor
17 Thomas Whalen, III and that the chair send an
appropriate expression of condolence to the
18 Whalen family on behalf of this body. Seconded
by Harold Rubin. All in favor.
19 (Moment of silence.)

20 Georgette Steffens of the Albany Home Store made
a presentation on programs available to home
21 buyers. Printed information was distributed.

22 A new program will be introduced on March 15th
with a press event in April.
23
Meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
24

25 Minutes respectfully submitted by Mary Connair