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City And County Officials Report On State of Municipalities

Despite inclement weather, nearly a hundred officials and business leaders from across the North Country gathered in Plattsburgh this morning to hear addresses on the state of the town and city of Plattsburgh and Clinton County.
The North Country Chamber of Commerce hosted the breakfast program featuring addresses from the mayor of the city of Plattsburgh, the supervisor of the Town of Plattsburgh and the chair of the Clinton County Legislature.

Chamber President and CEO Garry Douglas noted it is the first ever joint state of the city, county and town addresses.   “We’re thinking regionally, putting projects forward together within a regional vision and then supporting one another. And certainly the Plattsburgh area is the economic heart, the economic capital if you will, of this economic region. And so it struck us that we would invite our three friends here this morning to provide their vision their update on the state of Clinton County, the state of the city of Plattsburgh, the state of town of Plattsburgh together.”

County Legislature Chair Harry McManus spent considerable time reviewing improvements and investments at the Plattsburgh International Airport.  The county also plans infrastructure improvements at the former county airport where Norway-based Norsk Titanium plans to set up its U.S. operations. Focusing on the theme of collaboration, McManus announced a joint effort with the city and town.   “From this month on the town, the city will be given seats on the airport committee in an ad hoc way and every month they’ll be meeting with us and providing input.  I think it’s an important step in terms of cooperation.”

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read, who took office on January 1st, described a vision emerging from the $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative award.  He also outlined a plan to put the city on a long-term budget planning process.   “The department heads are going to be asked actually next time around to produce a 5 year budget not just a 1 year budget. We’re trying to get departments to reorganize themselves around functional areas so they start cooperating so we create a culture where they start collaborating more across these departments.  And I think that can not only give us gains in efficiencies but it will allow us to do more with the resources we have.”

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman said he is a firm believer in the state-mandated tax cap and reported that since 2015 the town council has stayed under the cap.  He says with the town seeing significant growth and investment, this year an aggressive capital plan will be launched to improve water infrastructure.   “For approximately 20 years we have not been able to capture everything that we need to as it relates to our water infrastructure. We have 130 miles of water mains, 50 miles of wastewater, 15 pump stations. Delivery of drinking water is a significant need but it can be absolutely detrimental if we do not make the investment right now. And I was very very pleased to see the Governor make an announcement that he is aggressively going after a lot of money for water infrastructure.”

The Chamber’s Garry Douglas said that with additional commitments announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, the state has invested more than $300 million in the North Country region in the past nine months.