Sundquist To Announce Goals In State Of City Address
The annual report detailing activities and accomplishments during the last year and goals and initiatives for the upcoming year will be slightly different than the one presented to the Jamestown City Council for the past 20 years.
On Monday, Eddie Sundquist, Jamestown mayor, will be giving his first State of the City address to the council following his inauguration earlier this month. Sundquist told The Post-Journal his address will focus on three points: the city’s current reality, items that need immediate change and long-term plans.
Sundquist said since becoming mayor, he has done a deep dive of the city’s operations and finances. He said there are three expired union contracts with employee bargaining units — Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) local 1000, International Association of Firefighters Local 1772, which represents city firefighters, and the Kendall Club Police Benevolent Association — that could potentially “wipeout” the city’s savings.
He isn’t stating that the city is bankrupt or needs a control board today, but there are several financial issues that need to be addressed.
“There is no disputing this, we are a distressed city,” he said.
Some of the immediate changes Sundquist will discuss in his speech is the need to improve communications between city departments and with the public. He said there is also the need to improve the conditions of fire stations in the city. In October, Sam Salemme, city deputy fire chief, said the fire department has four stations that are an average age of 79 years old. He said some of the stations need necessary upkeep, including a new roof on one of the facilities.
Sundquist also said he will discuss possible changes to the city’s development department.
“The Department of Development is being turned around. We’re starting to create new partnerships,” he said. “We’re starting new models for taxation. We want to tax things we don’t want to see more of.”
As an example, Sundquist said there are a lot of vacant lots and dilapidated houses in the city. In order to eliminate blight in the city, he said city officials want to reward homeowners for maintaining their property. He added there might be changes to how assessments are done following renovations so the homeowner isn’t immediately taxed more for the improvements they have made. Sundquist said the proposal is modeled after a program in Rochester.
“We want to encourage people to invest in their home,” he said.
Sundquist said, now that he has had a chance to see how city departments operate, he will be providing more detailed information about government operations than he did when he was running for office.
“I’m going to get more into the nitty-gritty,” he said.
Sundquist said city officials are working to possibly live stream the speech online at the city’s website — jamestownny.net. Sundquist is scheduled to make his speech during the council’s regular voting session meeting that starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the second floor of the city’s Municipal Building, located at 200 E. Third St.