November is a busy month for many of us. Families are coordinating plans for the holiday season, neighbors are cleaning up the leaves in their yards, and local businesses are gearing up for the the winter shopping season.
This month is also a busy month on the Council, as we are reviewing and deliberating on the City of Albany’s 2019 Budget. These decisions are crucial as it determines how the city will spend its money, and it helps guide city policy for the new year. With this in mind, I am working to make sure that the final budget that passes is one that is fair and beneficial to the residents and businesses of the 10th Ward.
Here’s an update on what I’ve been doing in City Hall:
The Common Council’s Finance Committee voted to move legislation to adopt the 2019 budget out of committee for consideration by the full Council , which will occur during the November 19th meeting. The city’s trash fee no longer exempts single family homes from paying the fee. Property owners will now be charged $90 per housing unit, each year, for curbside trash collection. This revised fee is a more equitable means of providing a stable stream of income. The Albany landfill is expected to close in 2026, which will eliminate a source of revenue that has effectively subsidized our cost of trash collection. The City is exploring other financing alternatives including a “pay as you throw” system. I discuss this and the budget in greater detail in this article –https://blog.timesunion.com/pinehills/the-people-speak-albany-residents-talk-to-the-common-council/11615/
At the Council’s November 5th meeting we voted to pass a resolution that authorized the Mayor to enter into an agreement to purchase the street lights in Albany from National Grid. Additionally, the Council is considering a bonding ordinance to finance the purchase. The Finance Committee will meet at some point later this month to consider the proposed financing plan. This transaction, if completed, will allow the city to switch from traditional light bulbs to energy efficient LED lighting that has the potential to save the city millions of dollars in energy costs. The city will then have the option to provide high-speed wireless internet service, by installing 5G antennas on the poles, which will make the possibility of implementing of municipal internet system a real possibility in the City of Albany.
As you shop during the holiday season, please remember that November 24th is Small Business Saturday and support local businesses, especially those in the Pine Hills Neighborhood. Dollars spent in the community are dollars that stay in the community and grow the local economy.