Schenectady, New York Mayor Gary McCarthy gave his State of The City address Monday night at City Hall.
Emphasizing 5 consecutive years of tax cuts, along with a declining crime rate, a rise in home values, and his trophy Smart Cities program, McCarthy cited a recent $10 million award the electric city received as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative as proof Schenectady is a regional leader. "Simultaneously, you look at what we're doing in our neighborhoods. We're continuing that revitalization. Neighborhood development projects are continuing along Albany Street, Craig Street, Van Wranken Avenue, along with Eastern Avenue where the new Renaissance Square is currently under construction."
McCarthy, a Democrat, touted the success of key investments including Rivers Casino and Mohawk Harbor. But, former Independent City Councilor Vince Riggi is not impressed. "I only know what I read in the paper and it sounds like the same old thing that I've heard from my 8 years on the council. Everything's coming up roses. Taxes are going down, development is going up and we're going to fix the neighborhoods. Now, he's got a complete Democratic City Council, but it's good to see that there's a little friction now between some members, that's not a bad thing. So maybe they can take up where I left off and and bring some clarity and transparency."
That's exactly what Councilors Leesa Perazzo and Marion Porterfield are planning to do... Perazzo: "Well, I think I may be one of the people he's referring to. It's certainly have a reputation of raising my voice and, and not being afraid to step outside of party lines when I choose my voting. You know, I embrace the fact that I'm a public servant. And I take that to heart and regardless of whether we're all Democrat or not, the city council's most important job is to be the checks and balances for our taxpayers and to be prudent stewards of their money."
Porterfield: "I know that there's some of us who question a lot of things, and rightfully so, because our role is basically to make sure that we're representing our constituents and to ask sometimes what are the difficult questions."
Still Perazzo and Porterfield say the seven-member Council will not serve as a rubber stamp for the mayor's agenda. The new city council president is John Mootooveren, taking over for Ed Kosiur.
McCarthy closed out State of the City with an impassioned plea for involvement in the coming federal census. "There's a lot of debate and discussion at the national level that really detracts from the merits of this endeavor. But this determines the allocation of many federal funding programs. It provides information for business, the formation of public policy and the allocation of members of Congress. I need you to help spread the word and make sure everybody participates on April first."