Amsterdam’s Mayor Ann Thane got her wish at the June 19, 2012 meeting of the Common Council. Despite the large public outcry, the budget committee voted to fund a $45,000. Economic Development Director proposed by the Mayor. Alderman Richard Leggiero proposed the position be removed from the budget, only to be met with an extremely long-winded soliloquy from Mayor Thane as to why it should stay in. The only other changes to the budget so vehemently opposed by the taxpaying public were a reduction in the proposed raise for Corporation Counsel from $15,000 to $6,000 and a reduction in the sanitation rate to bring it under the 3% tax cap proposed by Alderman Gina DeRossi. Apartment buildings with 4 or more unit may now install water meters instead of paying a flat rate. That was changed for favored son William Petrosino’s Guy Park Avenue School/apartment building. The Assistant Recreation position remained in the budget as did other raises for appointees and grant writing. The Aldermen increased the budget for more laptops, printer and software for themselves. Alderman Isabel stated that Amsterdam would likely see a large budget increase from the dissolution of the insurance trust from the County.
The official property tax is now $15.14 per thousand. Flat rate water fee is $346.53/year, Sewer $271.36/year, Sanitation $223.75/year.
With Corporation Counsel acting as the Controller inputting changes in his laptop computer and dictating the results, the modified budget passed. 5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero voted NO to the modified budget and Controller Ron Wierzbicki abstained from all budget votes. Alderman Joe Isabel who stated he would vote no to the proposed $45,000 position, flip-flopped and voted YES to a one year trial. The Aldermen also wanted in on the selection process. Corporation Counsel reminded the Aldermen that the Economic Development position was a Mayoral appointment.
There were also various year-end changes to departmental budgets and a proposed city employee insurance plan sent back to committee.
The people spoke, the Mayor and majority of the Budget Review Committee ignored them!