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Teresi Promises Good Things For Taxpayers

There is much to talk about from Mayor Sam Teresi’s recent State of the City address.

Let’s set aside, for a moment, the discussion of things the city doesn’t control that must change to keep the city financially viable and to make property taxes affordable for city businesses and homeowners. Teresi touched on several such items in a wide-ranging speech during Monday’s City Council meeting. Of more immediate interest, however, are items in Teresi’s speech the city can accomplish on its own in the coming year that can easily be lost amidst discussions of a new charge to make Route 60 a four-lane highway, of making Jamestown Community College a four-year college and of hounding the state, again, to make changes to state law and policy that have been needed for decades.

There are four items out of dozens of activities Teresi wants to accomplish this year in which city residents should be particularly interested:

City residents can look forward to an end, one way or another, to the ongoing discussions over a proposed consolidation or collaboration between the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department and the Jamestown Police Department. Discussions on the plan should be brought forward in the coming months for public review and legislative consideration, which means we will finally know if police consolidation is a waste of time or have a path forward to make police consolidation work. Either way, we are encouraged to hear Teresi say it is time to either move forward with the idea or to set it aside for once and for all.

Teresi also said, in no uncertain terms, that the city will continue its aggressive stance on the illegal drug trade in Jamestown. The Jamestown Police Department has been effective in harassing drug dealers in the past year or so, sending a message, in Teresi’s words, “to drug dealers that they are not wanted here and that we are going to do everything in our legal power to disrupt and drive them out.” Teresi also said the city will support to the best of its ability efforts to help those providing education, treatment and care for drug addicts. The city doesn’t have the money to add more police officers or the legal authority to build treatment centers, but city residents should be encouraged to hear Teresi put the city’s weight behind enforcement and treatment activities.

Arsons in Jamestown have decreased over past years, but are still an act that hurts the city and is unsafe for first responders and neighbors. Everyone should know the damage arsons can do, and city officials have talked about the problem for years. It was good to hear Teresi say he wants to expand emphasis on prevention and education programs involving the school system, community groups and area churches. Perhaps a proactive approach will lessen the problem.

Almost buried in the speech were a housing and neighborhood agenda that includes development of a storm water mitigation plan in some of the most severe wet spots in the city. The plan is desperately needed, as any homeowner who wakes up in the middle of the night to a foot of water in their basement or who has a natural swimming pool in their backyard every time it rains for more than 30 minutes, can attest. Water issues are as big a quality of life issue in some city neighborhoods as the city’s drug problem, and those city residents affected will surely welcome any assistance the city can provide.

Will any of these programs and initiatives suddenly stabilize Jamestown’s neighborhoods, lower property taxes or bring hundreds of good-paying jobs into the city? No. Will they make life better for those who live in Jamestown and pay Jamestown’s taxes? Absolutely.

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