Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations
Meeting Minutes of
May 2, 2001
Albany Public Library
The meeting was called to order by Howard Stoller, new CANA Chair
Minutes: Amendment/addition requested by Mary Connaire that last month’s
Minutes (4/4/01) be amended to include her statement that DANA is still
optimistic about their future as a C-1 District. A motion to accept Minutes as
amended was made by Clare Yates and seconded by Harold Rubin
Communications/Announcements…. a CANA Correspondence box was passed
|Marggie Skinner announced her resignation from CANA. She has resigned as
CANA Chair, and she has resigned from the Executive Committee. Marggie has
been involved in CANA for 25 years. A motion was made by Henry Madej that
CANA accept the following:|
"Resolution—1. In the case of the resignation of a chair of
CANA, which shall also constitute a resignation by that individual from
the Executive Committee, the position of Past Chair on the Executive
Committee shall be filled by the most immediate past chair serving then
serving as a CANA delegate. 2. In this case the position shall be Harold
Motion was seconded by Steve Winters and passed unanimously.
Result: Harold Rubin will remain Past Chair. Also, there are 2
vacancies on the CANA Board.
|Elfrida Textores handed out Neighborhoods USA (NUSA)
literature re. Annual event in Pittsburgh 5/23-26/01|
|Joe Culver announced a Capital District Home Buyer Fair on
Saturday, June 9 from 10 AM-4 PM at the Pepsi Arena…everything you need
to know about buying or selling a home, featuring 20 banks and lenders
& non-profit groups (no fee charged) and sponsored by the City of
Albany, Banknorth Mortgage, Evergreen Bank, FannieMae & the Greater
Capital Association of Realtors, Inc.|
|Bob Cohen: Alliance for Quality Education is a coalition
of over 150 organizations advocating increased school aid for urban and
rural children in NYS. To overcome the Budget hold-up re. school aid, they’re
initiating a postcard campaign: "Our Children Can’t Wait To Receive
A Quality Education" (postcards can be filled-out here tonight). If
school aid decision is implemented there would be an 18% increase for
|Harold Rubin circulated a list seeking information re. regularly
scheduled meetings of neighborhood associations.|
|Kathleen Kearney: The Whitney M. Young Community Health Festival
featuring the AHRDC City-wide Neighborhood Watch Expo will be held
Saturday, June 9, 11AM to 3 PM at Lark & Arbor Drives. This is WMY’s
30th Anniversary and, teamed with Albany Housing Authority’s
City-wide Neighborhood Watch Expo, promises to be a huge event featuring
guest speakers, dignitaries, politicians, the Albany Police Dept.
(Community Relations Officers, the canine unit, the mounted unit, DARE,
gang prevention), the Albany Fire Dept. and the AFD Bus, insurance/alarm
companies et al (booths),reps from the Attorney General’s Office
(internet crime prevention, drug houses), a petting zoo, pony rides, a
talent showcase, performers, food, and more.|
|Waterfront Living History—public meeting: Giffen School,
5/7/01, 6-8 PM|
|CANA’s 25th Anniversary Party—looking for a
chair. Many helpers have volunteered & many will be needed.|
Albany City Schools. 2001-2001 Budget/Facilities Plan—Lonnie Palmer,
Superintendent and Scott Wexler, Pres. School Board. (The
following is taken from an information packet distributed by the speakers.)
- Committee Reports
—Tom Gephardt. They will
meet throughout the summer and will walk with the Police. Next meeting will
be Wednesday, May 9, 7 PM at the Albany Police Department at 526 Central
Ave. Topics will include: Updates re. Annual Spring 2001 "Six-Point
Plan" (end of year trash pick up, safety and behavior off campus) which
includes door-to-door "Having a House Party?" door tag; the City’s
"Pine Hills Parking Committee"; and, updated Tavern Owner
Advertisement Agreement. Report included flyers re: "Burn Your Burgers,
Not Your Apartment!!" "How Safe Downtown", "Friends Don’t
Let Friends Drive Drunk. Don’t Drink and Drive!!" and "Help Can
Be A Whistle Away!" Also, Mary Connair reported that the
"Christmas in April " project cleared the lot at the vacant
Lutheran church with help from the SUNY Women’s Basketball Team!
- University & Community Relations
- Community Police Council—Will meet on the third Wednesday, May
16 at 5 PM at City Hall to honor the "Officer of the Year"—Lt.
Steve Stella and the "Citizen of the Year"—Mark Yolles
- QoL Surveys…Year II—David Pfaff. About 32,600 surveys
are ready to be distributed. The survey will be an insert in next Monday’s Times
Union. Survey display boxes to be placed in strategic locations will be
distributed to the Albany Housing Authority, branches of the Albany Public
Library, and Stewart’s Stores (volunteers agreed to check Stewart’s boxes
re. refills). Last year TU paid all costs, but not this year. Printing
cost $1500-1600 and this year was underwritten by the NRC. We may have to seek
corporate sponsorship next year. Software has been ordered to read surveys.
- NRC Annual Members Meeting—Gene Solan. All are invited:
Tuesday, May 15, 6 to 8 PM at Sage College Albany--Campus Center on Academy
Road. The 2001 honorees are: Mary Connair (DANA)—The Thomas J.
Senchyna Neighborhood Service Award. And the 2001 Certificates of Recognition…
Judy Stacey, Albany City Gardener, DGS—Outstanding Public Official; Historic
Albany Foundation—Outstanding Organization; and the Hudson/Park
Neighborhood News—Outstanding Publication. Guest Speaker:
Deirdre Oakley of the Lewis Mumford Center. Topic: 2000 Census: Population
Diversity. Please send in your $5.00 membership dues and join the NRC!
- Lincoln Park Pool—Tom McPheeters. Bathhouse renovation
continues. Consider having events at the pool/bathhouse. They have not yet met
with the Mayor about the pool. Good Neighbor Plan—Tom
McPheeters. Dispute resolution re. group homes. Municipal officials in Albany
County like the idea. They had a meeting in Colonie and 40 people showed up…mayors
and public officials attended. Tom proposes CANA send a representative to
their meetings (they meet every 2-3 months). All interested can call Tom at
- State Employee Parking—Jeff Stats of PEF & Kathy
Garrison of CSEA. The Pataki administration is proposing charging for parking
at the uptown campus and at 44 & 84 Holland Avenue. They said: they don’t
want to see a spillover of parkers on residential streets and the stress of
looking for parking places… that the campus and Holland Ave. are good and
have parking… why does the State want to put employees in competition with
residents?… the fee is small but it’s the principle—NYS has a
$3.5billion surplus. Can’t we work together? Clare Yates offered to support
them if they wouldn’t oppose our proposed permit parking downtown. Henry
Madej reminded all that CANA is not necessarily unanimous re. the permit
system and that 33-35% of parking in Albany is taken by the State, not just
- Life Craft Foundation—Rev. Joyce Hartwell. This is a
not-for-profit organization with 27 years of history/experience that started
out training women for the building trades/construction in 1976. They’re
looking for a home--a community celebration space for a restaurant-cabaret,
plus room for arts & crafts gallery, and workshops re. education in home
& historical renovations. George Leveille (ALDC) suggested Central Avenue.
That’s where they found School 10 (the right size in a nice, visible, public
area) but the City won’t say "yes". Aaron Mair proposed that CANA
pass a resolution to support the project --specific to School 10--and Harold
Rubin seconded it. "CANA supports this concept and the reuse of historic
structures in the City of Albany". Resolution passed, unanimous.
|How does the 2001-02 budget compare with past years?
Budget rising from $115 million to $120 million…. 4.5% tax rate increase….
District property tax rate has actually declined by 1.1% over the previous three
|What are the major areas of increase? Educational program
improvements=$1.8 million… New Covenant Charter School=$1.2 million….
Utilities=$1.2 million ($.90/gal fuel oil until 7/1/01)…. Full-day
Kindergarten=$567.000…. Equipment (eliminated in 2000-01)=$263,000….
Raises for existing staff=$600,000…. TOTAL=$5,630,000.|
|What cost-savings efforts were adopted? Cut administration=$160,000….
New employee health insurance program=$600,000 (savings with Blue Cross)….
Implementation of "team cleaning"=$300,000…. Use of CDTA "Swiper
Cards" for bus service=$200,000 (estimated)…. TOTAL COST SAVING
|1997-98—20001-02 Administrative Positions & Costs: Total
administrative positions FTE reduced 17% from 66.2 to 55.0…. Total number of
people in part-and full-time administrative positions reduced 27% from 75.0 to
55.0…. Total positions FTE paid by local tax dollars reduced 30% from 63.9
to 45.0…. Total positions FTE paid by grants reduced from 2.2 to 10.0.|
|Revenue changes (in millions): State Aid (April 2001)=2.0…. Property
Taxes=1.0…. Fund Balance=1.5…. Other=0.5…. TOTAL=5.|
|Phasing Out of Homestead: Present Tax Rate: Homestead=$19.31,
Non-homestead=$26.91…. 2001-02 Tax Rate: Homestead=$20.18 (4.5%),
Non-homestead=26.72 (-0.7%)…. As the two rates merge onto one, homeowner tax
rates go up as business rates go down…. Tax rate impact for 2001-02=2.7%|
|Charter School Costs: Total cost of charter school 2001-02=$4.2M….
Increase over 2000-01=$1.2M…. State aid to offset charter school costs=0….
Tax rate impact of charter school=1.6%…. In 2000-01, New Covenant has
approximately 350 students enrolled. The district budget includes funds for an
enrollment of 600 students for 2001-02.|
|Albany vs. Area Schools, Tax Rate Increases for Last 3 Years: 12 area
school districts’ average=3.3%…. Albany’s average (decrease)= -0.4%….
Highest one-year increase in area=6.9%…. Lowest one-year increase in area
(Albany schools in 1998--Decrease)= -2.6%…. Lowest three-year average
(Albany City School District--Decrease)= -0.4%|
|Tax Rate Impact of 4.5% Increase (for $80,000 home): Average
Albany home assessment=$80,000…. Present tax rate=$19.31 per $1,000…. Avg.
tax bill=$19.31x80=$1,544,8…. 4.5% tax increase ($20.18 per
|Tax Rate Impact of 4.5% Increase (for $80,000 home): 2000-01
Tax Bill with STAR exmptn @ $20,000=$1,158.60 …. 2001-02 Tax Bill (est.)
with STAR exmptn @ $30,000=$1,009.00…. A decrease of $149.60.|
|Tax Impact With and Without STAR: Tax bill figures are based on the
average assessment in the City of Albany of $80,000. See table.|
|Tax Rate Increase/Decrease 1986-2001: See table.|
|What are the Albany City School District’s academic goals? 1.
Improve English language arts performance; 2. Improve math performance; 3.
Reduce suspensions; 4. Increase attendance; 5. Improve Regents results.|
|We’re improving, but there’s more to be done: The student dropout
rate fell from 5.1% to 2.4% in three years. The number of students graduating
from Albany High increased from 310 in 1998 to 409 in 2000 (32%). More
students are taking–and passing—the English and math Regents exams.
Hackett and Livingston middle schools have instituted comprehensive
improvement plans that are showing promising results.|
|What program improvements and new services are included in the budget?
Increased staffing to continue implementation of full-day kindergarten….
Increased staffing to maintain or further reduce class size (20.9 students per
elementary class)…. Expanded the alternative education program at Abrooken,
Harriet Gibbons, and the elementary Transitional Learning Center…. Added six
special education teachers and eight teaching assistants…. Increased
staffing and programs at Albany High to provide academic intervention in
English and math…. Increased staffing for the Integrated Special Education
Program at Albany High…. Added classroom support in English, math, social
studies, biology, and chemistry at Albany High…. Expanded summer school
opportunities…. Increased clerical hours so that all school offices will be
open 12 months a year…. Increased hours for a software analyst to diagnose
student academic deficiencies…. Increased technology staffing, where
necessary, from 10 to 12 months…. Increased support for the elementary
|What would an austerity budget mean for Albany? Maximum capped budget
@ $119.0 million…. Proposed budget @ $120.6 million…. Necessary budget
cuts @ $1.57 million.|
|What cuts might there be with an austerity budget? Layoffs and other
cuts totaling $1.57 million…. Each teacher layoff saves $35,000 (30
layoffs=$1 million)…. Each support staff layoff saves $15,000 (65 layoffs=$1
million)…. Each administrative layoff saves $65,000 (15 layoffs=$1 million)….
Remaining cuts would come from equipment and community use of schools as
mandated by law.|
|Who votes on the school district budget? Of Albany’s 61,000
registered voters, 3,824 voted last year (less than 7%).|
|How can I vote on the budget? Tuesday, May 15, 2001, noon to 9PM. Call
the Board of Elections at 487-5060 or the clerk of the board, Linda Shickle,
at 462-7200 for your polling place. Voters must be registered with the County
Board of Elections or school district. Bring identification to the polls.|
|Note: If budget fails, it can go up for re-vote by 7/1!|