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Minutes for
Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations (CANA)
Wednesday, December 2, 1998

1. Introductions

2. Minutes
Corrections to November 4th minutes
p. 2 The Albany Police Department has already purchased 15 new bikes and hopes to increase to 20.
p. 2 The parking permit fee was raised from $500 to $1,500.
Harold Rubin moved to accept the minutes as corrected. Dan Potter seconded. Motion Approved.

3. Communications/Announcements
Marggie Skinner thanked all the neighborhood associations who have paid their CANA dues since the November meeting. If your NA has not sent in their dues, please do so.
The Albany Citizens for Good Government sent a letter thanking CANA for their efforts with the charter reform process. The letter stated that the process brought many issues to the forefront and that “most agreed…that the proposal needed to be changed; it was a question of whether to fix the charter before it passed or after.” The committee remains committed to making the charter work. The letter was signed by Shawn Morris, Nancy Burton, Tricia Coates and Helen Desfosses.
Council of Community Services, Thursday, December 3 at 9:30 a.m. committee on the homeless. Interested CANA members encouraged to attend and report back.
Albany Public Library newsletter was circulated.
Community Development Agency is seeking proposals for Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership Act, Community Housing Development Organization Set-Aside, Emergency Shelter Grant. Deadline is January 15. For more information call 434-5240.
Janine Stuchin, the new Project Manager of the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition, sent a letter introducing herself and informing people of their monthly meetings held the first Wednesday of the month at 9 a.m. For more information call 459-4197, ext. 322.
4. Committee Reports
a. Community Police Council – no report.
b. Community University Relations – The next meting is Wednesday, December 9th from 6-6:45 p.m. at the Albany Police Department’s Traffic Safety Building at 526 Central Avenue. The committee will be receiving an update on the intentions of the Student Association of the University at Albany regarding “Parkfest, ’99.” Please note that there will not be a meeting in January as most of the colleges on the committee are in recess.
c. Library – the renovation contract has been awarded and should take place between Jan. and Mar. Library director and Board president will address CANA’s March meeting.
d. Zoning – zoning notices were circulated.
e. Permit Parking –bill will most likely be amended to reduce the non-resident fee to $785.
f. BIDs – have paid dues but have not attended recently. Marggie will invite to a meeting in 1999. g. Schools – problems getting subs and teacher contract.
5. Joint CANA/Common Council Finance Committee Public Meeting on Albany’s 1999 Budget
Comptroller Nancy Burton, Council Committee Chair Shawn Morris, and other members of the Common Council. (Chris Hearley, City Budget Director was unable to attend at the last minute, due to a family obligation.)
Nancy Burton distributed copies of her critique of the 1999 Albany City Budget along with 1999 budget figures compared to actuals in 1996-1998, and a series of graphic representations of revenue and expenditure.
After Nancy reviewed the handouts, CANA members asked the following      questions:
Q: Regarding the sales tax on clothing and other taxes, the county claims the increase in volume will offset any loss of revenue.
A: City used county figures for municipalities. The number includes a decrease in home heating oil and text books only in Jan. and December of 1999.
Q: Did anyone explain why the City Marshall’s position was eliminated?
A: Moved over to County Sheriff’s office and taken out of the city budget.
Q: Who makes decision to eliminate positions?
A: The Mayor
Comment: Many expressed their concern over the elimination of the Marshall’s position. Some stated that the Marshall provided much needed services to the City that will not be available now.
Q: What part of the fund balance is accounts receivable?
A: Needs to be analyzed, can’t tell from this information.
Q: What is our relationships with the Albany Water Board?
A: We appropriate budget of Water and Sewer Department. Full cost of Water Department is supported by the Albany Water Authority and Albany Water Board. Individual impact can be brought up at fee hearings. Water Board fund balance is shrinking as expenses increase. Water
Authority can compel a rate increase (if fund balance gets too low – revenue remains the same while expenses increase.)
Comment: Not-for-Profits (who received $1,300 to $25,000 from the City) were taken out of the budget and are now encouraged to apply to CDBG ($82,000 available). The 10 youth programs who received money will now go through an application process from $250,000 of funds (a $20,000 increase). The City wants to increase accountability of those receiving funds.
Comment: Different community service agencies received a total of $200,000 or 1/10th of 1% of the budget. The fact that these programs were suddenly cut from the budget will be extreme for these organizations and will impact services they provide to the community. This step was taken to supposedly increase accountability to the City and meet needs of the City. Develop something similar to Parks Agency for these agencies.
Q: Budget provides same amount for the Albany Public Library from 1997-1999. Where does the money come for the renovations? No increase means that although other city employees are receiving a 4% increase in salary, the library employees are not.
A: Bonded in 1997 for renovations. The fact that there is not budget increase is an issue.
Q: What is the $1,000 for CDTA Passes (p. 114 of the budget document)
A: City employees can receive a $1 subsidy per pass, per week. Only two people take advantage of this program intended to encourage use of public transportation.
Q: What is the $53,000 for Fiscal Agent Fees (p. 113 Capital Expenditures of the budget document)
A: Fiscal advisor, bank fees for bonds, etc.
Q: Debt Service (p. 118) and Dept. Payment Fees (p. 119) – what are they for?
A: IDA – bonds for golf course.
Q: $3 Million is budgeted for street lighting – why, where does it go to and what are the alternatives?
A: Should explore and evaluate phone and utility alternatives.
Comment: This budget does not provide enough information. Need to know total number of positions last year, this year, current year; need to see an outstanding debt table; there is no workload data – that would give sense of what agencies are doing – how many COs issued, police calls or buildings inspected; shows revenue but what is our outstanding revenue; Parking Authority should reimburse City for enforcing and checking on the meters. Hours of public safety offices should correspond with hours of the meters.
Comment: (Helen Desfosses) Ways to increase revenue to the City: (1) negotiate with Pepsi and Coke for best contract at all city facilities and venues; (2) City/county task force on foreclosed property – develop a short list increase economic potential or increase deterioration impact. No environmental impact. Move property back to the tax roles. Show potential for city and help develop policies. Publicize public auction of vacant properties; (3) Expand regionalization – hazardous waste and dispatch services, joint snow plow initiatives, etc.
Nancy Burton has a web site at http://www.albanycomptroller.com. Please visit the site and send her your comments, recommendations, suggestions. (You can also reach her through CANA’s home page which is linked to several community resources- check it out.)

6. Other Business: Thea Hoeth, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Albany, updated CANA on the Center that has been an integral part of Albany for more than 30 years. The Center has installed a volunteer database (with non-city funds) accessible through their web site; emphasis in 1999 to connect with all agencies to recruit groups of volunteers; implementing Commit to Kids which will connect kids with adults for healthy relationships; continue to fundraise.

Attendance (12/3/98)
Christopher Price, SUNY Albany
Harold Rubin, Center Square NA
Emily L. Grisom, Sheridan Hollow NA
Thomas Gebhardt, University at Albany
Mary Connair, Delaware Area NA
Richard Carroll, DANA
Michael Trout, Park South NA
Betsy Shearer, Park South NA
Holly Katz, Mansion NA
Colin McKnight, Mansion NA
Eileen Purcell, Albany Public Library
Dan M. Potter, CDARPO/West Hill NA
Janice A. Potter, CDARPO/West Hill NA
Helen Desfosses, Common Council
Howard Stoller, Melrose NA
Bob Sheehan, Helderberg NA
G. Mowbray, Hudson Park NA
Claudia Brown, Washington Park NA
Donald Wardle, United Tenants & Center Square NA
Cynthia Galivan, Manning Blvd. NA
Craig Waltz, Helderberg NA
Jeffrey Bender, 14th Ward Resident
Nancy Burton, City Comptroller
Shawn Morris, Alderwoman 7th Ward
Carol Wallace, Alderwoman, 1st Ward
W.H. Pologa, 364 Mountain. St. Albany
Keith St. John, Historic Pastures NA
Aimee Allaud, Melrose NA
Carol McLaughlin, Common Council
Jimmy Scalzo, Common Council
Dan Herring, Common Council
Pat Maxon, Upper Washington NA
Linda Katzman, Upper Washington NA
Elizabeth Benjamin, Times Union
Andrew Harvey, Park South NA
Thea Hoeth, Volunteer Center of Albany
Margaret Chretien, Volunteer Center of Albany
Dominic Calsolaro, Second Avenue NA
Marty Gawoski, West Hill NA