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John Rafter

Council Member John RafterAlso Runs For Second Term

FIELD FIRMING UP FOR ELECTION 2019

Council Member John Rafter

Also Runs For Second Term

John Rafter

ONEONTA – With Common Council member John Rafter’s announcement a few minutes ago that he plans to seek another term, the outlines of the 2019 campaign are firming up.

Three incumbents, Rafter, Dave Rissberger and Michele Frazier are running again.  But five Council members are not.

And, with six newcomers surfacing already, there will be no shortage of candidates to replace them.

Council’s Legislative Committee Discusses Noise, Disturbances and Short-Term Rentals

Council Committee

Focus: Town-Gown

Chairman John Rafter Aims To Focus
On Neighborhood Noise, Apartments

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Council member
John Rafter

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 Welcomes New City Manager

KORTHAUER VISITING DEPARTMENTS

City Manager Greeted

At City Hall Reception

Councilman John Rafter, Ward 7, meets with George Korthauer, Oneonta’s new city manager, during a noon-time reception at City Hall today. “He has a combination of 25 years of experience an a hands-on, approachable and involved attitude,” Mayor Gary Herzig said in welcoming remarks.  “His first few weeks will be spent learning, then we will focus on our list of goals that include organization, procedures, assets and how to efficiently use City resources.”  Korthauer, chosen from 90 applicants, spent the morning  with the personnel director at a staff meeting, and planned on touring some city facilities this afternoon. “There is so much going on here, I am just trying to get caught up!” said Korthauer. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Airport Commission: Name Terminal For Dennis Finn

Airport Commission To City:

Name Terminal For Dennis Finn

Jeff Back, a longtime friend and fellow Airport Commission member with Dennis Finn, announces the commission’s recommendation to name the airport terminal in Finn’s honor. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Council member Dave Rissberger, Third Ward, will take the recommendation to the Operations, Planning and Evaluation committee that he chairs.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM

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.”

Grocery Store, Highline Pitched At Public Engagement Meeting
CHARRETTE ON DOWNTOWN ONEONTA

Grocery Store, High Line Ideas

At Public-Engagement Meeting

John Rafter, Nancy Kleniewski, Gary Lang, Ruth Allen, Dennis Finn and Pat Pidgeon look over a map of downtown and discuss important focal points they would like to see for downtown revitalization. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
From left, Common Council member John Rafter, SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski, Outlaws owner Gary Laing, Ruth Allen, Dennis Finn and Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon look over a map of downtown and discuss focal points they would like to see addressed by downtown revitalization. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.”

Council Discussed Options To Keep Teen Center Open

Council Discusses Options

To Keep Teen Center Open

"We are looking forwards for to other parties coming in to operate the Teen Center," Council member John Rafter tells his colleagues this evening. At left is Council member Joe Ficano. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)
“We are looking forwards for to other parties coming in to operate the Teen Center,” Council member John Rafter tells his colleagues this evening. At left is Council member Joe Ficano. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

By JASON BRICKELBACK • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Council member Rissberger: " think the program's important to the kids."
Council member Rissberger: “I think the program’s important to the kids.”

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.

Greenway Project Suspended, But Trails Still Open

Greenway Project Suspended,

But Existing Trails Still Open

Council Member Melissa Nicosia brought the resolution to suspend the expansion of the Susquehanna Greenway out of the recommendations from the Community Development Committee. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Council member Melissa Nicosia, Second Ward, brought the resolution to suspend the expansion of the Susquehanna Greenway to Common Council from the Community Development Committee. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
The Susquehanna Greenway will remain open for biking, walking and recreation.
The Susquehanna Greenway will remain open for biking, walking and recreation.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • for AllOTSEGO.COM

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.”

Charter Commission Recommends Giving Mayor Vote on City Manager

Charter Committee Recommends:

 Let Mayor Vote On City Manager

Joining the Charter Review Commission was new City Council Member John Rafter, Seventh Ward. Behind him is Council Member Russ Southard, Sixth Ward. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Joining Mayor Herzig’s ad hoc Charter Review Committee is new Common Council member John Rafter, Seventh Ward. Behind him is Council member Russ Southard, Sixth Ward. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

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.

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