Teresi Defends Jamestown In State Of The City Address
The state of the city of Jamestown is that of a city which is a good and generous place.
Those were the words spoken several times by Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi as he addressed the Jamestown City Council while submitting his annual State of the City report Monday.
In his address, Teresi said he has more confidence in the future of the Pearl City than he has had at any other point during his 57 years of living in the city.
“I believe that the state of our city is sound, and getting stronger and better each and every day,” Teresi said.
Teresi also addressed the growing voice of discontent in the community from those who have regularly questioned several initiatives and policies implemented by the mayor and the Jamestown City Council.
“Unfortunately, I can, and have been hearing it all too loud and clear, from certain self-serving individuals, in certain circles and on certain platforms,” he said. “Not just in the past several weeks, the past several months or through the diseased and destructively toxic tribal national political environment of the past several years. No, this has existed in various, virulent forms and strengths throughout my nearly four-decade career in local public service.”
“Now I’m sure that it will not shock many when I remind you that there exists a small, vocal and persistent group right here in our fair community that unfortunately carries and spreads the attitude that Jamestown is the ‘Little city that couldn’t,”’ Teresi continued.
“These are the people that imagine conspiracies lurking around every corner and tend to oppose any new idea coming down the pike,” Teresi continued. “These folks believe that no matter what we think, say or do, things are always going to be too big, too expensive and too hard for a place like this and people like us to achieve. These individuals believe that we should simply lower our expectations to go along and merely learn to accept our limited abilities and lowly station in life.”
Teresi said once he was asked to describe Jamestown when he was at a statewide conference with other municipal mayors and leaders. He told them that Jamestown is a “good” and “generous” place where people believe in the miracle of hard work, support local music programs, cheer on youth sports teams, embrace the arts, practice their religious beliefs, elders teach and nurture the community’s young, and where neighbors offer individual acts of kindness.
“A good and generous city government, with the limited dollars afforded to it by its hardworking taxpayers, provides the highest possible level of public services to enhance the quality of life not only within the city, but for its neighbors throughout Southwestern New York,” he said. “Join with us as we tell and demonstrate for everyone with an open mind and everyone who is willing to listen, that we are smart enough, strong enough, resourceful enough and good enough to look for and demand the best in others so that we can deliver the best to ourselves and future generations. Yes, even with the problems and challenges before us, the state of our city is sound. And if we chose to work in the interest of others and not ourselves, it will continue to get a little stronger and better with each passing day.”
In Teresi’s State of the City report to the council, there are 59 initiatives city officials will continue to work on advancing during 2018. In the 11-page report, Teresi discussed initiatives like the sale of the wastewater treatment plant to fund capital infrastructure and equipment improvements.
Teresi said the proposal would have the JLDC taking out bonds to purchase the plant outright from the city of Jamestown, and the city would then then pay to lease the plant for use until the bonding was fully paid off. At that time, the property would revert back to city ownership. The payments for the lease-to-own agreement would come from wastewater rates collected from throughout the wastewater service area, which includes areas outside of the city. The wastewater treatment plant property is assessed for between $15 million to $20 million.
Teresi also discussed the proposed annexation of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Dow Street substation into the city of Jamestown from the town of Ellicott and village of Falconer.
Falconer and Ellicott officials have publicly stated they are against the annexation proposal because it would cost them tax revenue. Currently, the BPU pays a total of $325,158 in property tax payments to the village of Falconer ($68,789); town of Ellicott ($33,955); Falconer Central Schools ($153,827); and Chautauqua County($68,587). If the annexation is approved, the BPU would save $157,232 in property tax payments and the city and the Jamestown Public School District would each start to receive tax equivalency payments of $78,616 from the BPU.
The State of the City report also discussed the several Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects that will be progressing during the next year.
Last year, the state approved around $10 million to fund several private and public projects that will include new business like the Jamestown Brewing Company and the DoubleTree by Hilton Jamestown. The DRI will also include projects to improve streetscape and pedestrian travel and the implementation of infrastructure for future excursion train travel.
The State of the City report is available to the public through the city’s website, jamestownny.net, at the James Prendergast Library, and in the office of the city clerk and mayor at the Jamestown Municipal Building, located at 200 E. Third St.