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 Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes May 3, 2006

Albany Public Library

 

1)     Introductions

 

On May 15, 2006 , voters will have the opportunity to meet the two candidates running for vacant Albany Public Library Trustee positions in the board room at the Main Branch.   Voters will vote on the proposed Library budget on Tuesday, May 16.

 

2)     Minutes

 

The minutes of the April 5, 2006 , meeting were approved.

 

3)     Guest Speakers and Presentations: 

 

The 2006-2007 Proposed School Budget: Dr. Eva Joseph, Superintendent of Albany City School District

 

A.     Spending plan:

 

The 2006-2007 spending plan is $169,975,932.  This represents a budget-to-budget increase of $12.9 million and a 7.2 percent tax increase or additional $1.64 per $1000 assessed property value without star exemptions.

 

B.    Specific goals:

 

All schools will meet and exceed New York State Education standards.

 

The “achievement gap” will be eliminated while maintaining academic challenges for all students at all academic levels.

 

Successful smaller learning communities, including alternative education programs, will be established at the middle and high school levels.

 

Safe schools and student health will remain a priority.

 

Continue to rebuilt Albany schools including meeting facility plan targets.

 

C.    Estimated tax rate increase:

 

Operating budget:           1.2%

Charter school costs       3.6 %

Benefits:                           1.3%

Utilities:                            1.1%

TOTAL INCREASE        7.2%

 

D.    Impact of charter schools on the budget:

 

There are 10,000 students in the district.  There are presently 18 charter schools; next year there will be 25.

 

The total expense of per pupil payments and services to charter schools is $16.55 million.  Of the 7.2% tax rate increase being requested, 3.6%

 

E.     Impact of additional magnet school aid:

 

Previously publicized 8.87% tax rate increase did NOT include $1.5 million in additional magnet school aid

 

The governor vetoed the magnet aid and legislature overrode veto.

 

If magnet aid is finalized, resulting estimated tax rate increase would be 7.2%

 

F.     Cutbacks of 1.8% from previous year:

 

District-wide supplies, materials and equipment budgets cut by 10%

Instructional staff reductions

Administrative staff reductions

Support staff reductions

                        (Net total of 41.4 positions eliminated)

 

G.    Estimated tax rate impact for homeowners (at 7.2% tax rate increase)

(based upon property value assessment of $100K)

 

Tax rate in 2005-2006:  $22.86

Tax bill in 2005-2006:     $2,286

 

Tax rate in 2006-2007:   $24.50

Tax bill in 2006-2007:     $2450

 

Estimated rate change:  $1.64

Estimated tax change:    $164

 

H.    Estimated revenues:

 

1.0%         Federal aid

1.1%         Fund balance

7.6%         Local revenue

32.9%       State Aid

57.4%       Property tax

 

I.        Estimated expenditures

 

8.5%         Administrative

16.2%       Capital

75.3%       Program

 

J.      In the event that voters do not approve budget:

 

Contingency budget cannot exceed $168,373,960

Assuming $1.5 million in magnet aid, the proposed budget is $101,972 above contingency level

 

Contingency budget eliminates all student supplies, equipment and certain raises; other restrictions

 

K.      Ballot Propositions

 

Proposition #1:  $169,975,932 school budget

Proposition #2:    Albany Public Library tax levy of $4,359,600

Proposition #3:  Library Board of Trustees 2 seats open

 

L.     Questions answered and issues addressed:

 

The district has requested that the legislature provide “Charter School Relief Aid” to relieve Albany of some of the financial burden that has resulted in the number of charter schools established in Albany .

 

Of the 41 positions being eliminated, 3 are administrative, 22 are support, 11 are teaching.  64 employees will be retiring; one administrative position is being eliminated.

 

The budget is supplemented by $20 million federal and state projects; $157.7 million grants and special funds; and $20 million in off-budget revenues.

 

No special education students from Albany are being sent out of state.  A very few are enrolled for classes outside the district.

 

A different accounting process will be used next year with regard to children who attend private schools in Albany .

 

A facilities team is accountable for the construction quality and cost of new and renovated schools.  Each project had a contingency budget and each has been used due to increases in construction costs and the drain on the district’s budget from the mandated funding of charter schools.  Since the facilities plan was approved in 1998-1999, schools have continued to deteriorate.  It will cost more to repair Hackett Middle School than planned, and Arbor Hill has such serious water damage that rather then be repaired, it needs to be replaced. 

 

There are no plans to utilize the space in Lincoln Park known as the Sunshine School .  There are no students there and much repair is needed.

 

The district is in need of a new data management system.  Information is being reviewed and one will be chosen.

 

$10.5 million (6.16%) of the school budget is used to pay debt.

 

Albany schools use the services of public access television.

 

 

The Affordable Housing Partnership of the Capital Region, Inc./ Albany Homeownership Center :  Susan Cotner and Dhawana Laing

 

The AFP is a HUD-approved, not-for-profit agency providing homeownership counseling and financial assistance to residents of the Capital District.  The Albany Homeownership Center provides homeownership counseling, homebuyer education, down payment assistance, money for home repairs, and workshops. 

 

The AHP also assists with refinancing for homeowners who have been victims of predatory lenders.  Funds are available under the repair loan program at a fixed rate of 7% with flexible credit guidelines.

 

Residences in Albany are becoming less affordable and many are in need of significant repair.  The AHP is looking to partner with CANA by attending neighborhood association meetings and sharing information about services with residents.   Additionally, there will be homebuyer seminar on June 10 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Albany Public Library main branch.

 

4.)  Committee Reports

 

bullet Neighborhood Resource Center :  The Annual Members Meeting and awards presentation will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 , from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Sage College Campus Center . 

 

bullet CANA Anniversary Celebration Committee:  A “date saver” for the CANA 30th Anniversary Celebration to be held October 4, 2006 , will be sent to members by email.  Speakers are being selected.

 

bulletUniversity & Community Relations:  Next meeting will be May 10.  The “Trash-to-Treasure spring clean up days will be May 16 through May 23.

 

5.)     Announcements and New Business

 

bulletThe Historic Albany Foundation will present a community forum “Endangered Historic Resources:  Challenges Faced, Opportunities Presented”  On Saturday, May 20, 2006, from 10 AM to 1 PM at the First Congregational Church at the corner of Woodlawn and Quail.  Admission is free.  Admission is free.

 

bulletA resolution was passed stating that that “ CANA endorses the Code Enforcement Task Force’s report as well as its recommendations for implementation.”  The CANA president will inform Mayor Jennings of this resolution

 

6)     Adjournment

 

The meeting adjourned at 8:47 PM .

 

                                                                                                Submitted by Deanna Colfels

.CANA

April 5, 2006

Meeting Attendees

 

NAME

ASSOCIATION

ADDRESS

Daniel VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

dwvr@mac.com

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

Helen Klaeysen

West End

817  Livingston Ave

John Paneto

Shaker Park

JAP@cs.state.ny.us

Eileen Murray

PHNA

114 South Main Ave

Andrew Harvey

Park South NA

271 Myrtle Ave

Regina Goodbee

DANA

39 Hurlbut St

Mary Connair

DANA

68 Summit Ave

Dhawana Laing

AHP

255 Orange St

Mary Lou Nolan-Gillham

Albany Bicycle Coalition/Helderberg NA

11 Cardinal Ave

Susan Cotner

Affordable Housing Partnership

255 Orange St

Joe Rabito

City of Albany

21 Lodge St

Mike Yevoli

City of Albany

21 Lodge St

Chris Leo

City of Albany

21 Lodge St

Craig Waltz

HNA

 

Brian Levine

Hudson/Park NA

92 Willett St brianlevine@alumni.albany.edu

Susan Holland

Historic Albany

sholland@historic-albany.org

Louise McNeilly

DANA

22 Summit Ave

Gene Solan

PHNA

126 South Allen St

Howard Stoller

CANA

Hstoller@aol.com

John Cirrin

Albany Library

 

Don Wardle

United Tenants

 

Tom Gebhardt

Univ at Albany

 

Julie Elson

 

510 W Lawrence St

Mimi Mounteer

Manning Blvd NA

75 Manning Blvd

Jim Lyons

Melrose

101 Melrose Ave

Karen Cunnniff

Upper Washington Ave Assoc

kcunniff@nycap.rr.com

Steve Winters

SANA

sdoxie@verizon.net

Aimee Allaud

Melrose NA

85 Melrose Ave

Holly Katz

Mansion

harriskatz@mac.com

Roger Markovics

United Tenants

utalb@verizon.net