Winter weather and holiday travel plans resulted in a near-empty Oneonta Common Council meeting earlier this evening, where outgoing members Michelle Fraser, First Ward, Melissa Nicosia, Second Ward, and Dana Levinson, Fifth Ward, didn’t attend their final meeting as Council members. With Michelle Osterhoudt having resigned Nov. 30, that left only, from left, David Rissberger, Third Ward, City Manager George Korthauer, Mayor Gary Herzig, City Clerk Kerriann Harrington, Russ Southard, Sixth Ward, John Rafter, Seventh Ward, and Joe Ficano, Eighth Ward, in attendance, leaving the council without a quorum. Though Ficano and Southard, both outgoing, were honored by Herzig for their contributions, inset photo, a special meeting was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18 to address agenda items that could not be voted on tonight. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – Town-gown relations – noise and mischief in neighborhoods, and the large number of shortterm rentals in the city – are on Common Council member John Rafter’s agenda this year.
And it’s now on the agenda of the council’s Legislative Committee, whcih he chairs, and which met last night for the first time in 2019.
Rafter told committee members – Council members Dave Rissberger, Michelle Osterhoudt and Joe Ficano – they need to assess whether the “Social Host” law, passed last March, is working; and whether a register of rentals might help City Hall identify problem properties.
ONEONTA – During public comment at this evening’s Common Council meeting, city Airport Commissioner Jeff Back laid out his case for naming the Oneonta Municipal Airport terminal in memory of the late Dennis Finn.
“Dennis was a valued founding member of the airport commission,” he said. “His involvement with the airport goes back to it’s construction and pre-dates the original dedication ceremony in 1966. His commitment, daily efforts and never-ending promotion of airport activities have been a strong contributor to the renovation of airport facilities, airport awareness and increased community involvement.
“It is the unanimous recommendation of the airport commission that the airport’s main terminal be named in his honor.”
ONEONTA – A grocery store. A high line, an elevated walking trail overlooking murals and mosaics. More sports in Neahwa Park.
These were some of the ideas presented in the Foothills atrium at tonight’s Public Engagement Meeting, sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Local Planning Committee.
“We’d love to see more artistic spaces with murals,” said Carol Mandigo, the local muralist. “We’re thinking an elevated walkway down to Market Street – like the High Line in New York City – where people could look over murals on the walls of Foothills.”
ONEONTA – Common Council this evening discussed options to continue operation of the Oneonta Teen Center despite the YMCA’s choice not to carry the program beyond Dec. 31, when the Y’s contract with the city expires.
“At first we were led to believe that the Y would be able to continue after the 31st until we find another operator,” Council member Dave Rissberger told his colleagues. “That is not happening.”
A portion of the 2017 budget has already been allocated for teen activities and programs. The city can take on the program if its insurance liability policy covers it. The city owns the Armory on Academy Street, where the teen center is located.
ONEONTA – For now, at least, plans to expand the Susquehanna Greenway are dead.
“The city would have to come up with $40,000 just to do a redesign,” said Council member Melissa Nicosia, Second Ward, who brought the resolution to suspend the project from the Community Development Committee. “We would have to start the work by September and finish in January. It’s just not in the best interest of the city.”
The resolution, which passed unanimously at tonight’s Common Council meeting, suspended the proposed plan to expand the Greenway in both directions for improved access and trails from South Main Street. “We’ve had flooding since we originally designed the project,” said Nicosia. “The plans we had no longer work. And with the timeline, it’s just not feasible.”
ONEONTA – Though a mayor’s vote is normally limited to breaking ties, the ad hoc Charter Review Committee is recommending that a mayor be part of the search for the city manager, and be allowed a vote along with Common Council to make the appointment.
“Both have to be heavily involved,” said Council member Russ Southard, Sixth Ward. “Otherwise, you don’t have a buy-in. Mayor Dick Miller was heavily involved in the search for the first two city managers.”
The continued clarification of the mayor and city manager’s roles were discussed in length at the charter review meeting this evening. Former Council member Maureen Hennessy had resigned from committee, and Mayor Gary Herzig appointed new Council member John Rafter to take her place.