Posts Tagged With: economic development

Amsterdam’s Administrator of Economic Development


With a forty-five thousand dollar salary in place for the City of Amsterdam Administrator of Economic Development, a search for the proper candidate will soon take place.  During last night’s Common Council Meeting, Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis referred to the city charter when reminding the Alderman, the position is filled  by Mayoral appointment.  Let’s take a look at what the charter states the duties of the Administrator of Economic Development really are.  Some people will be in for a few surprises.

Article XXII
Community and Economic Development Department (§ C-149 – § C-150)
[Added 5-20-1997 by L.L. No. 5-1997]
§ C-149
Establishment of Department.
A Community and Economic Development Department shall be headed by an Administrator appointed by the Mayor, with Common Council approval, for a term of office coterminous with the Mayor’s term, to serve at the Mayor’s pleasure.
§ C-150
Duties of Administrator.
The duties of the Administrator shall be as follows:
A. To act as a full-time administrator of the Urban Renewal Agency and Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency offices to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive approach to community and economic development within the City of Amsterdam.
B. To develop and administer a combined and integrated staff to support the Urban Renewal Agency, Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency and other community-based programs recognized by the Common Council.
C. To administer and keep detailed financial records according to generally accepted accounting principles for each of the above respective departments, programs and volunteer initiatives.
D. To aggressively seek, prepare, review and administer all aspects of grants sought by the City of Amsterdam and maintain detailed financial and administrative records of every grant received by the City.
E. To appoint, with the Mayor’s approval, project managers when grant budgets permit for various projects that may come under the jurisdiction of this Department, after seeking the advice of the Board of Directors of the agency involved.
F. To oversee all volunteer community-based initiatives, recognized by resolution of the Common Council, and to provide administrative services and technical support to the various community-based initiatives so recognized.
G. To coordinate the financial affairs of the Community and Economic Development Department with the City Controller.
H. To assist the City Planning Commission in updating the City’s current Master Plan.
I. To advise and coordinate with City and county planning offices.
J. To undertake any other community and economic development duties deemed necessary by the Mayor.

Full-time administrator of both Amsterdam Urban Renewal and Amsterdam Industrial Development Agencies and act as accountant for both agencies!

Develop and administer staff for both offices any other community based projects recognized by the Common Council.

To develop and administer grants. Why did the budget just pass with separate funding for a grant writer?

What Mayor Ann Thane thinks the job description should be:

CEDD Draft Job Description

The City’s Community & Economic Development Department provides leadership and technical assistance to business, residents and elected officials to:
– Provide direction and momentum for revitalization of the City’s commercial and industrial areas;
– Maintain a business friendly and investment friendly atmosphere to encourage economic development;
– Provide a system for sustainable development and preservation of the City’s historic fabric;
– Develop and support activities and programs that increase the quality of life in the City of Amsterdam

The CEDD is responsible for the areas of economic development, planning, downtown redevelopment, historic preservation and physical regeneration of the City. This includes retail and industrial development assistance, staff support to City boards and not-for-profit community organizations, marketing, comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance revisions, and historic landmark designation.

– Assist new and existing businesses with expansion or retention projects.
– Develop and Assist a Downtown Amsterdam Business Improvement District (BID).
– Provide staff support to the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Micro-enterprise Committee.
– Develop/update marketing materials for ongoing economic development in the City.
– Provide development planning services.
– Administer the City’s business loan fund and other grant programs.
– Support the city’s cultural heritage and other tourism efforts.
– To undertake any other community and economic development duties deemed necessary by the Mayor.

– Business Data Tracking
– Business Outreach and Retention
– Project and Contract Management
– New Business and Business Expansion Entitlement Processing
– Liaison Between the Local Business Community and City Resources
– Overall Management of Marketing and Economic Development Efforts

General Assistance
The Department of Community Development will provide a number of services to make the process of opening or expanding a business as easy as possible. The Department will provide direction on what permits are needed and who needs to be contacted. The Department will act as a liaison with other economic development agencies such as the Amsterdam Industrial Agency, Amsterdam Urban Renewal Agency, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency, and the Empire Zone, and act as an advocate for businesses with other city departments.

Revolving Loan Fund
The Department of Community Development will develop and administer a City Loan Fund. Businesses that create or retain jobs in the City of Amsterdam may be eligible for assistance. Example: A business can obtain loans of up to $30,000 for equipment, real estate acquisition or improvements, or working capital. Loans can be obtained for to 5 up years. Current rates may be the prime rate -1 for targeted businesses such as manufacturing and niche retail or restaurants. Other businesses receive a prime +1 rate. Decisions on loans will made by a committee of local peers who run businesses or live in Amsterdam.

At last night’s meeting of the Common Counsel she added Communications to include updating the City’s website to that list.

The Common Council needs to decide if the job description in the Charter should be changed. If left to her own devices, Queen Ann would have the poor Administrator at her beck and call.  A personal servant to walk two steps behind her and to the left to pick up anything she may have dropped along the way.

Categories: Amsterdam, Law, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Queen Ann Prevails!

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!

Categories: Amsterdam, Law, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Body Language

You can tell by the grimaces, postures and hand gestures that the citizens of Amsterdam, New York are not happy with the budget presented to them on June 12 by the Common Council, the Controller and the Mayor.  Issues presented include a $15,000 raise for the City’s part-time Corporation Counsel (who received a vote of no confidence from the Common Council), a new $45,000 appointed position in Economic Development, a $10,000 part-time Event Coordinator, raises for the Assessor and Recreation Director,  in a year when utility fees and property taxes are going up, in a city that is among those with the highest taxed property in New York State.

This is Amsterdam 5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero who consistently voted down the appointment of Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis, the pay raises and the budget as it currently stands. He truly represents the will of the people.

Once again I’ll let the pictures tell the story. (If you make to the end of the photos, there is a brief video of excerpts from the Public Hearing).

Categories: Amsterdam, Photography, Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

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