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Oneonta Common Council

SETH CLARK: ONEONTA COMMON COUNCIL, WARD 2

SETH CLARK

ONEONTA COMMON COUNCIL, WARD 2

COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: Oneonta

EDUCATION: BA in English, MFA in music

Seth Clark

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 24 years experience in the local business community.  Manager of Peter Clark Student Rentals 1995-2010, Owner of various rental properties 2010-present.  College music instructor 1994-1995.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Steering Committee, Oneonta Comprehensive Plan re-write 2017-2019.  I have been deeply involved with the Oneonta small business community as part of my day-to-day professional life since 1995.

FAMILY: Peter Clark, father, Angela Clark, mother.  My father is one of the most successful businessmen in the history of Oneonta.  Some people seem to think that should count against me in this race. That’s just silly.

PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: I don’t care whether we have small government or big government, but we definitely should have COMPETENT government.  That means we listen to our citizens.  That means we don’t put a huge income-restricted housing project in a neighborhood that is overwhelmingly against it.  That means we recognize that the local small business community is struggling, and we address the needs this struggle brings to light.  That means we embrace our local student population as full-fledged citizens of our community, citizens to be respected.  They are, after all, half of the citizenry.  That means we promote new job opportunities intelligently, because we recognize that there is terrible income inequality even in our small community, and that such inequality is thoroughly unacceptable.  And that means we have leaders who understand the workings of our local economy, leaders that understand what grows the economy and what hinders it.

MAJOR ISSUES FACING CITY OF ONEONTA: Over 60 small businesses have closed since the DRI initiative was announced three years ago.  We have, in that time, spent between 1.5 and 2 million dollars on consultants (mostly from outside Oneonta).  We have shameful income inequality.  According to the information I can get from the local school system, fully half of the families in this area are food insecure.  And the city government needs leaders, like myself, who understand the needs of local business and the local economy.

MY QUALITIES:I understand the local economy very, very well, because I have been studying it for the past 25 years.  Studying the economy is part of my job.  Other than that, patience is a virtue.  Impatience is also a virtue.

STATEMENT:  Oneonta is in a period of rapid flux.  The small businesses that weave our community together are certainly on thin ice.  Many of the leaders currently in City Hall want to score cheap political points by creating a false sense that it’s “us” (the year-round residents) versus “them” (our college students).  That kind of rhetoric is completely unproductive.  We need leaders who understand business, understand higher education, understand housing, and how housing availability is effected by the local economy.  If we keep waiting around for the DRI money to materialize and for the rail yards to be developed, we will all grow old waiting while the Oneonta that we know and love disappears beneath our feet.

Activists Lambaste Common Council Over Railyard Vote

MAYOR HERZIG, CRITICS JOUST

From Across County, 

Activists Blast City Hall

Over Vote On D&H Yards

Mike Stolzer, West Oneonta, this evening voiced his displeasure at Oneonta Common Council’s vote to accept the GEIS (generic environmental impact statement) on the D&H railyards.  “I am disappointed that input appears to have been ignored and that people didn’t have the ability to speak before the vote,” he said. “There are people who have been following this project for three years and they don’t trust it. A different approach (to this review) is absolutely necessary.” The vote passed 7-1, with Council member Dana Levinson, Fifth Ward, voting no. Mayor Gary Herzig’ said the GEIS is preliminary: Future developers of the D&H yards will not be able to build on the site without further environmental review. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
LOOK FOR FULL DETAILS IN THIS WEEK’S
FREEMAN’S JOURNAL, HOMETOWN ONEONTA
Environmentalist Davies Sought To Make City Greener
from MELISSA NICOSIA

Environmentalist Davies

Sought To Make City Greener

To the Editor:

As outgoing city councilwoman for Oneonta’s Second Ward, it is my privilege to endorse Dr. Mark Davies for the Ward 2 Common Council seat in the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, June 25.

Mark has been a city resident for 17 years. He is employed as a Hartwick College professor of education, and is coordinator of the environment, sustainability and society major there.

On a personal note, Mark is an avid mountain biker and hiker, and loves working and living in Oneonta. He feels the area offers the best trails for his outdoor pursuits, as well as being rich in agriculture and natural beauty. This gives him an opportunity to educate his students on the importance of protecting the environment.

Mark’s lifelong commitment to social and environmental justice has led him to be actively involved in local initiatives and boards.

As Common Council liaison to our Environmental Board, I have had the pleasure of working with Mark, who is chair, for the past 3½ years. He has been on the Environmental Board for six years, as chair for four years.

Mark works to help the city find ways to reduce Green House Gas emissions, develop “complete streets” to assure a walkable/bikeable city, and create a sustainable vision by being a member of the countywide Energy Task Force and the City Comprehensive Planning Committee. He is working to develop a plan securing grant money for a countywide composting facility to be located in Oneonta.

Dr. Davies’ knowledge of, and commitment to, our city, its residents, the county and the environment, are the reasons I feel he is the best candidate to represent Oneonta’s Second Ward. I encourage you to vote for Mark Davies for second ward councilman on June 25.

MELISSA NICOSIA
Second Ward Councilwoman, Oneonta

Kaytee Lipari Shue Announces Council Candidacy

Kaytee Shue Announces

Fourth Ward Candidacy

Kaytee Shue

ONEONTA – Katherine (Kaytee) Lipari Shue, a long-time resident of Oneonta’s Center City neighborhood, has announced her candidacy for Common Council member representing the Fourth Ward.

“I’m looking forward to raising my son in the Fourth Ward and sending him to city schools,” she said. “It’s my priority to support legislation which will foster a positive community experience for all residents of the neighborhood.”

A Democrat, she will face Jerid Goss in the Democratic primary on June 25.

Common Council Adopts New Comprehensive Plan

COMMON COUNCIL OKS DOCUMENT

Comp Plan Focuses On

‘Zombies,’ City Arts Scene

Bob Brzozowski, GOHS executive director and a member of the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, read from their final report as Common Council voted to adopt the updated Comprehensive Plan. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – An office to market the city as a destination for arts and culture, the reuse of “zombie properties” and continuing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative were all recommended as part of Oneonta’s updated Comprehensive Plan, adopted unanimously by Common Council during their meeting this evening.

“You’ve given us a road map that will use over the years,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “It’s given us a clear vision…an action plan and some real goals.”

The city formed steering committee in 2017 to update its Comprehensive Plan, implemented in 2007, because “Oneonta was at the tipping point,” Herzig said, “where we found ourselves with new opportunities and resources to reinvent Oneonta and thrive in today’s economy.”

Oneonta Airport Will See Growth Over Next 20 Years, Consultants Say

Consultants: Oneonta Airport

To Grow Over Next 20 Years

Zach Staff, regional aviation planning manager for the McFarland-Johnson consulting firm, Binghamton, presents recommendations for airport upgrades to Oneonta’s Albert S. Nader Regional Airport during a presentation to Common Council this evening. With him, seated, is Turner Bradford, senior engineer for the firm. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – For years, it was believed that as many as 23,000 takeoffs and landings happened annually at the  Albert S. Nader Regional Airport since the 1980s.

In reality, said Zach Staff,  McFarland-Johnson Consulting’s regional aviation planning manager, research for an updated airport master plan found annual takeoffs and landings over the last 30 years really averaged about 4,600.

“People would go with the old number and it was just gathered by word of mouth,” said Staff.

Staff and  Turner Bradford, senior engineer for the Binghamton-based firm, presented the updated data to Common Council this evening.

Oneonta Residents Weigh In On Environmental Impact of Rail Yard Development

Environmentalists

Express Concerns

On Railyards Plan

‘Eco Park’ Urged In Scene Setter

For March 5 Public Hearing On Site

Colleen Blacklock urged Common Council to consider including renewable energy sources in any business development plans in D&H yard during public comment at tonight’s meeting. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Though the formal public hearing on the Railyards Generic Environmental Statement isn’t until Tuesday, March 5, citizens told Common Council tonight that it doesn’t focus enough on used of renewables.

“I would like to see us explore this idea of an ‘eco park,’ a net-zero eco park with wind and solar and geothermal energies,” said Colleen Blacklock, who is associated with the Concerned Citizens of Oneonta.

Berger, Tiemann named employees of the quarter

Berger, Tiemann Named

Employees Of Quarter

Mayor Gary Herzig stands with Police Sgt. Eric Berger, left, and Police Detective Joseph Tiemann, right, who were awarded the City’s Employees of the Quarter award this evening at Common Council. The pair were recognized thanks to a letter from Dan Maskin, CEO of Opportunities for Otsego, who commended them on their work with his staff during a recent active shooter drill at their facility. “They did an outstanding job working with and training my staff for the unimaginable,” said Maskin. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Common Council Approves Study for New Downtown Hotel

Common Council Approves

Study for New Downtown Hotel

Mayor Gary Herzig and City Manager George Korthauer believe that Oneonta would be a good site for a boutique hotel. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO,com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Downtown Oneonta could soon be the site of a new boutique hotel.

Oneonta’s Common Council authorized the Mayor to contract with the consulting firm, REVPAR International, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia to do a marketing feasibility study for developing a downtown-area boutique hotel during their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Funded by a state grant of $19,000, the feasibility study will determine if a boutique hotel would be a good addition to Oneonta.

Oneonta Adds New Electric Vehicle Charge Station On Dietz

Dietz Street Lot Gets

Electric-Car Charger

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

This is an Ideal Shield electric-car charger, similar to one ordered for the Dietz Street lot.

ONEONTA – Looking for a “Clean Energy Communities” designation, a ChargePoint Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging station has been added to the Dietz Street parking lot.

“Over the last two years, there was a joint effort among City departments and the Council to takes steps to earn the Clean Energy Communities designation,” said Council member Melissa Nicosia, Second Ward. “I am proud to have been a part of being able to complete this initiative. Clean Energy can only benefit our community in the future.”

The EV charging station is a pier-mounted console which will allow EV drivers to recharge their batteries over time.

ONEONTA EYES BOUTIQUE HOTEL

ONEONTA EYES

BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Council Considers Hiring Consultant

One REVPAR project, the Betsy Hotel on Miami’s South Beach, won a World Boutique Hotel Award in 2012.

ONEONTA – Common Council Tuesday will be asked to approve a contract with REVPAR International Inc., Alexandria, Va., to do a feasibility study on whether a boutique hotel would be successful in downtown Oneonta.

During Mayor Dick Miller’s administration, such a plan was discussed for the lot between Ristorante Stella Luna and Foothills, but the concept did not move forward at that time.  The land was owned by the late Gene Bettiol.

Fire-Sprinkler Reg Excludes All But One Business, Owner Reports

Businessman: Fire-Sprinkler Reg

Excludes All But One Business

By CATHY NARDI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Bernie Zeh tells Common Council a new fire-safety regulation has damaged his business by excluding all but one local company.  Liz Rose of Peter Clark Rentals, left, seconded Zeh’s concerns.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – During last evening’s Common Council, Bernie Zeh Jr. petitioned Council to hear his grievance.

Zeh said his business, ABM Fire Equipment, Hartwick Seminary,  is suffering unfairly due to a recent regulation that requires fire-sprinkler inspectors to obtain a Level II inspectors certificate from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering and Technologies (NICET).

“We were not notified of this change,” Zeh said.

Common Council passed the new code at a January 2016 meeting.

“It wasn’t until August 2017, when a customer called us to say the city would not accept our report that we were even made aware that there had been a change,” said Zeh.

Connectivity Is Key, Says Council Member Frazier

Connectivity Key To Success,

Says Council Member Frazier

Council member Michelle Fraizer, First Ward, explains the benefits of enticing remote-access workers to the city with City Manager George Korthauer. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By CATHY NARDI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Connectivity is a future focus of economic development and Oneonta Council member Michele Frazier, First Ward, wants the Hill City to be a competitive presence.

“People are able to work remotely,” Frazier said. “They look for an ideal place to live, and we have a wonderful community, we are a perfect place for workers who want to live in a place like this and work remotely.”

Frazier asked that the board consider municipal Internet to be a possible infrastructure provided by the city. This coupled with a push to market the city to remote workers could be a new focus that has the potential to bring young adults to the area. A lot of businesses are eager to try a virtual office and other solutions that would allow employees to work remotely but this just isn’t capable yet because they often find their internet is far too slow to keep up with the demand.

This isn’t a new issue though as many businesses have already voiced their concern over the fact they would want to take more aspects of their business online by having employees use software like FilecenterDMS but being left unable to due to poor connectivity.

Destination Oneonta’s Jessup To Update Common Council

Destination Oneonta’s Jessup

To Update Common Council

ONEONTA – Bank of Cooperstown Vice President Rachel Lutz Jessup, who is treasurer of Destination Oneonta, will brief Common Council on DO’s recent activities when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.

Common Council also plans to update the city’s harassment policy to comply with recent guidelines established by the State Division of Human Rights.

Fire Commissioners To City: Let’s Talk

Fire Commissioner

To City: Let’s Talk

Al Rubin, commissioner for the Town of Oneonta Fire Commission, stands and addresses Common Council this evening, encouraging the City to talk with him to negotiate a formula for long-term fire coverage. Despite being elected to the position, talks between the two have been stalled, due to the chair of the fire commission not supplying the paperwork authorizing Rubin’s position to negotiate. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By CATHY KOPLEN NARDI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Following two years of stalemate, the Town of Oneonta Fire Commission reached out to the City of Oneonta to re-open talks about the contract with the town Fire District.

“We feel the contract is very important,” said Town Supervisor Bob Wood said. “We would like to encourage you to talk, especially with Commissioner (Al) Rubin. He has expressed a strong intention in finding a formula that is fair, one we can go forward with.”

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