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 Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

 Meeting Minutes,  Sept. 3, 2008

Albany Public Library


Start. 7:00 p.m.




Howard made opening comments.  The City Planning Dept. had to reschedule and Albany Common Council member Richard Conti will speak instead.  He then discussed the Sustainable Design Assessment Team Report done by the American Institute of Architects which cites CANA as a community asset: "Albany is fortunate in that it has a large number of already-engaged citizens, as well as organizations that have a deep concern for and commitment to the city’s future. Most of the city’s neighborhoods have viable civic associations, and the network of those associations—the Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations (CANA)—is a great community asset. CANA , along with specific issue organizations such as the Albany Bicycling Coalition, the Historic Albany Foundation, and the Affordable Housing Partnership, should be embraced as partners in the planning process.. 



Richard Conti, Albany Common Council


Mr. Conti states that the city budget is the most important document a city can have, it’s the city’s blueprint.  Under the current city charter, the mayor proposes, the council reviews and makes adjustments.  The city council has the authority to make changes, and as a policy making body they can override changes by the mayor.


However, the Council has no role in transferring budgeted funds as it is the Board of Estimate and Apportionment that does.  The Common Council does not have oversight to carry out the role that Conti believes they should have. He also points out that every municipality that has had one of these boards has gotten rid of it or changed it.


Mr. Conti detailed Local Law C-207 that states all the powers that the Board of Estimates and Apportionment has over transferring budgeted funds.  Conti also provides a list transfers that were subject to Local Law C-207. 


He also provided a proposal to strengthen the Common Councils power of oversight, a  modest proposal that he hopes will lead to more reform.   It was adopted by 8-5 vote, and now goes to ballot in November.  Proposition 1 (tentative) will make changes to the Albany City Charter.  Conti is looking to CANA for support and to do the grassroots work.  He points out that Mayor Jennings opposes it.


He also offers to come to any Neighborhood Association to discuss this in depth, and will put together a pamphlet.


Conti then takes questions from CANA members.


Schenectady and Troy are very involved in budget transfers.


A third of the council members voted against this, why?  Claims that Mayor needs management flexibility.  People say that it is not been abused, so why change.  Also some are more “deferential” to the mayor,


This change would provide quicker public notification, as it would need to be on the Common Council agenda.


Board of Estimates and Apportionment is technically public but no one goes and there is no public record.  Common Council gives it more openness.


The mayor can move $6 million around without getting council approval.  The change would create a more balanced approach. This is why CANA should support the proposal.


The City Charter sets membership: Mayor, Common Council president, comptroller, treasurer, corporation council. The comptroller puts together agenda.


Harold Rubin proposes support of this proposition on ballot/ballot initiative.


Motion approved.


Howard discusses putting it out on listserve and sending information to the Times Union.  Someone also suggests Metroland. Other venues such as candidates forums and the League of Women Voters website are discussed


Mr. Conti states that this is an opportunity to start looking at how the city is administered, where can we reform how we do business, save administrative costs, and share services with the county (tax collection, billing).  There are opportunities to make dramatic changes.


He points out that New York State has shared municipal services grants available and that we need to become more creative as the city is facing a projected deficit next year and the financial plan only goes to 2010.


State aid is going down so the farther we go out the bleaker the situation looks.  Need to be creative and efficient.  We can’t afford a 30% tax increase to cover the deficit.


More discussion on regionalization


Minutes approved


African American Family Day 

Stephen Winters


Stephen details that in early August, CANA   had a display at the African American Family Day, (A-Z program guide) and  six people stopped by. Two were new Albany citizens, one who looking to live here, a landlord who wanted to know his neighborhood association and individuals from a group home who were looking to join their neighborhood association so they can get their views across. 


Howard suggested contacting to OGS for a bigger outreach next year.


Committee Reports -- Submitted


Cable Committee

Aimee Allaud reported on cable access. After 18 months there is now an actual proposal for Time Warner public access TV and forming a relationship with Albany City Schools and Saint Rose, school/college media workshop.  This is a detailed proposal, college credit for Albany High students, extensive communications workshop for high school students.  Total available funds are $110,000


The media workshop/center will be housed at Harriman campus with a satellite studio housed at the Albany Public Library.  Details are still sketchy but the basic structure is good  ($200,000 for acquisition for hi tech equipment.  No idea on long term expenses.  City may have to come up with operation expenses.


The contract was shared with public in mid August.  The public critiqued and councilman Rosenzswieg set meeting for September 11 at 6:00 p.m. .  Aimee urged CANA to attend the meeting


Further discussion ensued.



Committee on University and Community Relations

Tom Gebhardt reported that the next meeting was set for September 10 and will feature guest speaker Ron Barrett discussing youth gangs.  The annual 15 point plan was discussed and door tags were circulated.  He met with tavern owners about underage drinking and DWI. 



NRC is planning now for Neighborhood Works 9 which will be Saturday November 22.  There will be two panels highlighting successful neighborhood initiatives and developing successful partnerships.   Gene handed out request for  panelist from neighborhood associations discussing what has worked, what lessons learned, failures and successes and successful strategies to replicate (suggested 10 min. presentation). The deadline was September 19th. It will be held at the First Lutheran Church.



Albany Public Library board seat will need to be filled by September 15. 



A discussion began on sewer issue. It was asked if anyone was documenting the number of sewer backups.  Melrose is doing it in an organized way.




Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.





Pat Maxon

Upper Washington NA

Eileen Murray


Helen Klaesen

West End NA

Dan Van Riper

Lincoln Park NA

Aimee Allaud

Melrose NA

Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany

Bill Law

Mt. Hope NA

Stephen Winters


Kevin G



Loren LaJoy


Dan Egan

Debbie Phaff


Mimi Mounteer


75 Manning

Shirley W. Brand

Upper Washington NA


Karen Cunniff

Upper Washington NA

Dan Curtis



Harold Rubin

Center Square Assn


Gene Solan

Pine Hills NA

Colin McKnight


Andrew Harvey


Holly Katz


Julie Elson


Mike Kernan

Melrose NA


Donald Wardle


125 Dove 12202