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Committee To Improve City Financial Status And City/County Relations Report

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KReed    440
10 hours ago, Hal said:

The key word being may contain ... the Co Chairs had the Authority  to appoint members of the public but chose not to ! That whole may vs shall thing gets in the way every time . I had posed the question a while back as to why there were so many Honorable titles on the committee and none with the title Citizen . This resolution tells me why I did not receive a reply . 

In addition to declining to include members of the public....it just occured to me that there was notable lack of representation by anyone outside the city at all. 

Chairman Burin: District 9 (City of Elmira, Town of Elmira) 

Mandell: Mayor (City of Elmira)

Duffy: Councilman (City of Elmira)  

Vandermark: Former Chamberlain (City of Elmira)  

Sonsire: District 7 (Town of Elmira)

Chalk: District 10 (City of Elmira)  

McCarthy: District 12 (City of Elmira &Town of Southport)

Drake: District 13 (City of Elmira, Town of Southport)

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The Committee worked very hard to pull together information about why the city has the financial problems and what to do about it. Most of the recommendations will require passage by the Legislature and/or City Council to pass, and they frankly could be initiated by either of those bodies without input or support of the County Executive. Of course it would be far better to have us all on the same page, but it is not necessary.

There is no reason why this precise commitee could not (a) be formed by the Legislature or City Council; or (b) just meet on its own like Jim Waters’ group did as quorum is not invoked. We are exploring both options.

The bottom line is that we have a group of people willing to put in a tremendous amount of time and energy to delve deeply into these issues. I don’t know why anyone would want to cut us out of the process. Instead, we should all work together to come up with the best solutions.

It’s interesting how history has a way of repeating itself. In 1965 a City/County Commitee was established by the Board of Supervisors to study sales tax distribution. Within a short period of time leaders outside the city became weary of the group, and the Council of Governments was formed. COG was an important tool in local government for the next 30 or so years, but has since disbanded. I am all for recreating it so that issues like this could be hashed out by all of the stakeholders.

The members of the Commitee are not going anywhere. We had a great turnout Tuesday night, and have received a lot of feedback both positive and critical that will help us fine tune the recommendations. I can’t tell you for sure what the next steps are, but can guarantee no one is giving up on the process.

I ran for this position to actually help the community. Working on these issues is the first time I - and I believe the other Legislators on the Committee - feel like we are doing anything meaningful. We have all grown tired of the politics and just want to get things done. 

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Hal    218

Well , an hour wasted on a thought provoking post LOL 😆 only to get and error message on hitting submit  ! Guess it was best not posted  . 

 

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Chris    947

I see no reason the committee can't continue to explore options on their own and make recommendations at future county or city meetings.

Speaking of Jim Waters though, it could just be coincidence, but it seems kinda strange for two city councilman to resign for personal reasons within months of each other. 

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KReed    440
7 minutes ago, Chris said:

I see no reason the committee can't continue to explore options on their own and make recommendations at future county or city meetings.

Speaking of Jim Waters though, it could just be coincidence, but it seems kinda strange for two city councilman to resign for personal reasons within months of each other. 

Or for the Legislature and City officials to form another committee to explore some of these recommendations and start formulating plans/proposals...perhaps even a group that includes public participants and maybe more county represenatives from outside the City this time around. 

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Adam    19
10 hours ago, KReed said:

Or for the Legislature and City officials to form another committee to explore some of these recommendations and start formulating plans/proposals...perhaps even a group that includes public participants and maybe more county represenatives from outside the City this time around. 

i would have thought to see some representation of municipalities in this conversation since they most certainly stand to get the messy end of the stick

 

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Moss designed the Committee. He chose two members - Jim Waters and John Burin - and asked each of them to select four members. 

The Commitee only included eight in the end as Jim Waters resigned and one seat was never filled.

John Burin desired to have a larger committee with greater representation, but Moss didn’t set it up that way. Should the Legislature recreate it I suspect we will have bigger numbers as I agree it would be good to get more perspectives at the table. Again, I think this is yet another reason to reestablish a Council of Governments.

To be clear, we hand-delivered copies of our report - which included only recommendations - and included the Legislature, City Council, all municipal leaders and the public to a forum to discuss them. I am not sure we could have done it any other way as quorum was invoked, meaning the meeting was public no matter what. We chose to use Mandeville Hall (at no charge) because the Hazlett Building and City Hall were not big enough.

On a side note, the two resignations of Councilpersons is unrelated to any of this. They both left for personal reasons. 

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KReed    440

When I mentioned including public participants and more county represenatives from outside the City, it wasn't so much about the group's size as diversity of who they represent.

I would feel the same way if an 8-9 member Upstate/NYC Committee was formed and it contained 7-8 representatives from NYC and one from Westchester. 

Five legislaors may be plenty. However, since the city was choosing half the members to reprsent their residents' interests....then all four "county" members that Burin chose could have (and I believe should have) come from outside the city - not just one of you.

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Chris    947
1 hour ago, Christina Sonsire said:

On a side note, the two resignations of Councilpersons is unrelated to any of this. They both left for personal reasons. 

Ok, seemed kinda strange is all. 

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I can’t say I disagree that having greater perspectives is a good idea even though the committee members all did a great job of shedding their identities (i.e. county or city) when we came to the table.

As you know, I am the legislator who represents portions of two areas (the Towns of Elmira and Big Flats) and no part of the city, so I necessarily had to be very cognizant of any negative impact our recommendations would have on those areas. 

Town of Elmira Supervisor Dave Sullivan supports the recommendations and efforts of the committee fully as he realizes there is no negative impact - only a potential net gain. Big Flats Town Supervisor Ed Fairbrother has a different take, but my opinion is that it’s borne out of a years-old struggle between the City and Big Flats as none of the recommendations hurt that municipality either. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Chris said:

Ok, seemed kinda strange is all. 

It’s too bad re Jim as he was the true driving force behind getting this recent city-county collaboration started. If you search the CCM blog you will see several things he wrote in 2018. 

Edited by Chris
With permission...

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Hal    218
1 hour ago, KReed said:

diversity of who they represent

Exactly ! Let’s put some Citizens ... plain old John Q Public types on these Committees for once , just checkerboard them in with the “ Honorables “ ! Don’t get me wrong here please , along with all you do Christina , you find time to come here to answer our questions and concerns and that in itself is admirable ! I just believe it is time to utilize some of the area’s non elected talent for a change . Doing this may just eliminate a good deal of the skepticism of just politics as usual from the same old career politicians ! 

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Adam    19
9 hours ago, KReed said:

When I mentioned including public participants and more county represenatives from outside the City, it wasn't so much about the group's size as diversity of who they represent.

I would feel the same way if an 8-9 member Upstate/NYC Committee was formed and it contained 7-8 representatives from NYC and one from Westchester. 

Five legislaors may be plenty. However, since the city was choosing half the members to reprsent their residents' interests....then all four "county" members that Burin chose could have (and I believe should have) come from outside the city - not just one of you.

I would say that concern is quite valid given this answer(from a Legislator) to the Concern about County Finances and Legislative raises: "My policy on the subject remains consistent - that we take the same raise as employees (usually 3%)."

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