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                                        Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes April 7, 2004

Albany Public Library


  1. Introductions

            Paula Breen, one Albany 's three, new Albany assistant chiefs of police, was introduced.


  1. Minutes

            Minutes of the March 3 meeting were approved.


  1. Announcements


·        Park-in for Parking

Each Tuesday from April 13 through May 22, downtown residents are encouraged to leave their automobiles parked on the street (at least until noon ) in an effort to encourage commuters to find alternative methods of transportation to downtown jobs or use the State's parking facilities.  Albany is one of a few Capital cities in the northeast without a residential parking permit system.  Legislation has been introduced again this year in the New York State Legislature that would allow Albany to adopt such a system.


·        New Albany Community Police Council

Six CANA members have been asked to serve on the new council.  They are Steve Winters, Tom Gebhardt, Mary Connair, Fred Perkins, Bill Pettit, and Gene Solan.


·        School Superintendent

The CANA chairman reported that Albany City School Superintendent Michael Johnson will address the group at the May meeting. After getting no response from Academy Park , he wrote the School Board and the members indicated the Superintendent would attend. 


·        Albany City Council PTA

The vote on the school budget is scheduled for May 14.  Albany City Council PTA asked CANA to join the Vote Yes coalition and the Chair responded that he would ask for vote after the School Superintendent’s presentation at the May meeting.  The public library operating budget will be the subject of upcoming public hearings.


·        Neighborhood Resource Center Awards

The deadline for submission of nominations is April 9.  Completed nomination forms should include background information about the nominee and may be mailed or delivered to 38 Catherine Street .   Awards will be presented on Tuesday, May 11 at the Sage College .


·        Albany Homebuyer Fair

The Albany Homebuyer Fair will be held on April 17 at the Pepsi Arena from 10 AM to 4 PM .  There will be 45 exhibitors representing several home purchasing related businesses such as title companies, insurance companies, banks and mortgage brokers.  Exhibit spaces are still available and are free to not-for-profit organizations.  Flyer announcements are available from the Home Store by E-mail.  The city still has funds to extend assistance to individuals purchasing homes in Albany and a new program us expected to be introduced this summer.


·        Peace and Justice Forum

Part I of the Capital Area Council of Churches’ Peace and Justice Forum will be held on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 , at the First Lutheran Church of Albany, 181 Western Avenue .  Speakers will present information on “Leadership in Albany ’s Inner City.  This is part one of a multi-part forum.  The second part will be held May 11, 2004 .


·        Citizens’ Library Advisory Council

The Council is in the process of deciding which citizens will hold seats .


  1. Guest Speaker - Albany County Executive Michael Breslin

The quality of life in Albany County remains safe and healthy and continues to improve as a result of programs that protect children, promote economic development, enhance services to senior citizens, improve roads in the hill towns, safeguard public health and fight for relief from unfunded mandates, particularly Medicaid.


New York State passes Medicaid costs on to the counties and they are the highest in the country. Most states pay only 50 percent of Medicaid costs, and pass half of that on to the counties except for long-term care.  But in New York State , the State pays 50 percent of the total cost and counties pay the other 50 percent.  As a result, 85 percent of the nation's Medicaid expenses are paid by New York State . 


In 1995 Albany County Medicare costs were $33-34 million, and the property tax receipts were $40 million.  In 2000 Medicaid costs increased to $40 million; in 2003 they were $65 million; and this year they will probably increase an additional $8 million.  In three years, the $40 million surplus in the Albany County budget has been completely depleted.


Several measures have been taken to control the impact on Albany County taxpayers. Three hundred (300) jobs have been eliminated.  Two years ago, property taxes increased 23 percent and one year ago they increased 17 percent.  In order to continue to fund Medicaid, they will be increased again. 


Additionally, the County is troubled by lagging sales tax revenues and increased health insurance and pension costs.


Regardless of the financial burden Medicaid places upon the County, all departments have made many significant achievements while working with fewer staff and restricted funds.


The Department for Children, Youth and Families has been reorganized; referrals and services for health, mental health, social services, abuse, child protective service reports, etc. are handled by a centralized intake unit.  Workers are organized by geographic teams and are proactive being involved in the community's schools, churches, police departments, etc.


Adoptions have increased.  Sixty six permanent adoptions were completed last year, and the number of children in foster care decreased.  The Juvenile Release Under Supervision (JRUS) program has been developed to provide an alternative to detention of PINS children. During the first five months of the program, 71 children who would previously have gone to detention remained at home and the number of PINS children placed on probation has decreased 35 percent.  This program saved the County approximately $250,000 in detention costs.


To provide better services to those who cannot be represented by a public defender, the Alternate Public Defender program model provides services in a more economical and efficient manner.  Albany County will have five alternate public defenders and expects to realize an annual savings of more than $1 million.


Albany County continues to use intergovernmental agreements to reduce operating costs and efficiently use resources.   Some of these include


·        A cooperative purchasing agreement with Rensselaer County

·        Coordination of snow and ice removal

·        An automated telephone messaging system that sends out thousands of calls in minutes (ACCESS)

·        The use of a county-wide emergency radio system

·        Working cooperatively with Schenectady and Rensselaer counties to improve our ability to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks


One or two people will be hired by the County Health Department to increase its ability to respond to biological attacks. 


The County has applied for three federal grants totaling $8.4 million to purchase upgraded communications equipment.


Last year Albany County provided a $1 million incentive for the development of a tech park on Route 85 in Slingerlands.  Albany County officials are working with town supervisors in Bethlehem and New Scotland as well as developers to make this park beneficial to the taxpayers, industry, and residents.  The creation of jobs is a priority.


The County endorses a plan for the development of a convention center in the downtown area because it will create jobs, entice high tech businesses to come to Albany , and increase tax revenues.


Renovation of the County's courthouses is almost complete.  A new family court building will be constructed on Clinton Avenue and a justice building will be built on Lodge Street . 


Drug Treatment Court has been extremely successful and now includes Felony Drug Treatment Court and Family Drug Treatment Court .  The assignment of supervision to offenders has decreased repeat offenders. 


The County will continue to move forward with a committed and talented workforce addressing the needs of the less fortunate who are dependent upon government. 


Executive Breslin made the following statements in answer to questions and concerns from members.


·        The County is working with CDTA to provide bus service to the tech facility on Route 85 so that it is accessible to workers who live in Albany .

·        High tech businesses are being developed outside the city of Albany because of the difficulties encountered by developers with regard to brownfield laws.

·        Tax incentives will be provided to businesses to encourage further development.  However, incentives will be held back until each can prove they meet imposed criteria and obligations.

·        The postcard campaign to cap Medicaid is continuing.

·        The county executive does not have jurisdiction over the Albany County Board of Elections and, therefore cannot investigate or prosecute recent election results.  A new election will be held in three or four weeks.


  1. Committee Reports


·        Committee on University and Community Relations

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 21 at the Albany Police Department at 526 Central Avenue .  The “Spring, 2004 Seven-Point Plan” will be discussed.  Timely advertising campaigns continue.


·        City Budget Committee

For about 20 years, Marggie Skinner, Cynthia Galivan and Harold Rubin have been making presentations on Albany ’s budget on behalf of CANA .  This committee needs to be revitalized and new members are being sought.  Alyce Van Allen has volunteered to represent CANA this year. Tom Nitido will present a “budget primer” to members at the June CANA meeting.


·        Zoning Committee

Stephanie Richardson has resigned from this committee and it has become dormant.  Helen Black has joined the committee.  The Chairman will send an email asking for volunteers.



  1. Adjournment


            The meeting adjourned at 8:40 PM .




Meeting Attendees

April 7, 2004





Kathleen Kearney


326 Hudson Ave

Carol Wallace


66 Elm St

Craig Waltz


979 New Scotland Ave

Bill Pettit


369 1/2 State St

Aimee Allund

Melrose NA

85 Melrose Ave

Mac Mowbray


400 Hamilton St

Judith Place

Center Square

Julia O’Neil


194 Benson St

PO Kathi Rissberger

APD, Center Station

536 Western Ave

Jeff Cannell

Albany Public Library

A/C Steve Reilly


Gene Solan

Pine Hills

126 So. Allen St

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

Anthony Bruno


Paula Breen

Albany Police

Patricia Maxon


Rebecca Brownell


Tom Nitido

City of Albany

2 Eagle St

Mary Connair


68 Summit Ave

Howard Stoller


Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany


Dennis Mosley


550 Myrtle Ave

Patricia Maxon


34 Victor St

Donald Wardle

United Tenants

125 Dove St