By John B. SnyderFebruary 25, 2009
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. Aca,!aEURc Watervliet Mayor Michael Manning said in his State of the City address earlier this month that "We are in good shape," as he highlighted several program and department successes.
During his 35-minute remarks, Manning proudly talked of where the city has been, where it is today, and where it is going. And as typical of Manning, when he speaks of the City of Watervliet, he also speaks of the Watervliet Arsenal.
Manning said he is very pleased the Watervliet Arsenal took center stage in the Capital Region business community and in the media for much of 2008.
"After years of attrition and not-too-good news, we have a reason to hope for the future," Manning said in regards to the direction the Arsenal is now heading.
Manning highlighted the city's efforts to secure approximately $750,000 in state grants for two Arsenal civilian tenants, Solid Sealing Technology and Extreme Molding. These grants may provide up to 50 new private sector jobs on the Arsenal.
In anticipation that the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership may create significant business activity for the Enhanced Use Leasing project, the city has established an office on the Arsenal to assist with future coordination, Manning said. EUL will offer approximately 60 acres of Arsenal land and facilities to the Arsenal Business & Technology Partnership for private development.
Given the current challenges to our local and national economies, Manning was nonetheless able to tick off success story after story in regards to the city's achievements last year.
It may be hard for some to believe, but two years ago the City of Watervliet was operating in a financial deficit. Fast forward to 2009, and the city has a strong financial footing.
Manning attributed this financial success to many factors and not simply due to modest increases in the city's tax and water rates. Certainly, those increases helped to raise revenue, but they weren't the only reasons.
For example, Manning talked about passing conservative, realistic budgets and a law to control unbudgeted spending that has help to protect the city's coffers.
Nevertheless, Manning's praise of the City of Watervliet staff seemed to highlight as the main reason why the city is in good fiscal shape.
"The Police and Fire Departments, together the largest expense to our municipal budget, both finished the year under their overtime and total budgets," said Manning.
The mayor also highlighted several city-wide initiatives that will not only improve the fiscal strength of the city, but also the quality of life for its residents. A new Planning & Community Revitalization Department has attracted more than $2 million in new grants for the city.
The city also launched a Refuse and Recycling Program that not only improved service to residents who wish to recycle, but also achieved a saving of more than $100,000 for the city.
A new Refuse Department has removed the sanitation tasks out of the Department of Public Works, which has greatly helped DPW to focus on its core mission.
A new 19th Street reconstruction project that should start later this year will feature new road surfaces, pedestrian crossing, curbs, and landscape.
Finally, the City established a new ambulance service that has already improved the response time to 911 calls and has served the community 84 times in its first month of service.
For a complete rundown of the mayor's remarks, please go to www.watervliet.com