LETTER TO EDITOR
To the Editor:
I’ve been tracking the fire contract issue between the city and town of Oneonta over fire services to the Town’s Fire District #1.
The lack of town leadership has once again raised its ugly head as evidenced by the Town’s longstanding failure to have a legally constituted fire commission and then by ignoring negotiations on this all-important matter as it was formally proposed by the City in early 2015.
It’s a case of outright neglect by the Town’s elected officials, “kicking the can down the road” on a critically important matter, risking the welfare and needs of Town residents and businesses.
Thank goodness, the City demonstrated sound judgment to engage a ruling on the matter by state Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma, who recommended extending the contract negotiating period.
With the Town so entrenched in itself, the time would seem to be right for the City to pursue a re-directed route to “one Oneonta” by immediately beginning discussions with Southside property owners, to include Mr. Bettiol, the Pattons, the Karabinises, owners of the mall and others to consider having their properties annexed into the City.
For sure, the City can better provide the Southside business district with fire and police protection, water systems, year ’round business promotions and the overall physical capital upgrade of the Southside strip; and do so far more professionally.
It would be great if Mayor Herzig and the City were to move aggressively to appoint a “blue ribbon” panel to start the conversation.
All of Oneonta would be a lot better off acting and thinking as ONE.
Annexation of the Southside business district into the City would be a “winning opportunity” for
the Southside and the start of an “economic Renaissance” for the entire Greater Oneonta Area.