By LEVI PASCHER
Fulton County Express
GLOVERSVILLE – Mayor Dayton King delivered his State of the City address at the organizational meeting last week and spoke about the need to improve the city’s economic stature and visual appeal.
The mayor said the city was able to pass an on-time budget last year with no tax increase, layoffs, or reduction in services.
“We won’t be able to keep doing this,” King said. “The finance commissioner and I have been very transparent with our projections for our fiscal future. We need to invest in our future to create new revenue sources and take a look at what services people will be willing to decrease in order to decrease taxes.”
City residents are already at 97 percent of the constitutional tax limit which has left little room for generating more revenue from the tax base over the past couple of years.
Additionally, city officials have previously said if they continue to use large portions of the fund balance the city could potentially go bankrupt by 2018.
King said he will be spending more time in Albany lobbying to state representatives to receive more state aid.
He also spoke about the need to make the city more presentable during the winter months as well.
“We need our city to look presentable,” King said. “Quite frankly, we need to clean our city up.”
The mayor said this needs to be an all year priority but specifically it needs to improve during the winter months when the roads conditions deteriorate.
“We often get compared to the city of Johnstown and how their city streets are plowed and how you can tell the difference when you hit the city line,” he said.
“I believe this is one of the biggest issues that breeds negativity in our city.”
He proposed the solution of adding salting devices to the city plow trucks to improve the snow removal process.
Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said the additional equipment would improve the city’s process but create an additional expense with both equipment and the vehicle replacement schedule.
Jones said the city currently uses separate vehicles for both plowing and salting city streets. Although the equipment would save time, he said, adding the salt body to the plow deteriorates the vehicle more quickly and requires it to be replaced more frequently.
“It would be my preference to plow what’s in front of me and treat what’s behind me,” Jones said.
The mayor also thanked members of the council for their work on the recently released 2015 Comprehensive Plan.
While the comprehensive plan is in the process of being changed King also suggested the need to update the City Charter.
He said if city officials work together during council sessions they could update the document in manageable sections throughout the year.
“We might be able to put some items on the ballot in November to change our charter,” King said.
Following the meeting, Councilwoman Robin Wentworth said the city previously purchased salt bodies for plowing vehicles under the previous department of public works director but they were never used.
“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to buy them when we already did and they aren’t being used as they were intended,” Wentworth said.
She said she agrees with the mayor that the city should consider updating the charter throughout the coming year.
“I think it would be a great place to start,” Wentworth said. “We won’t know how it works until we start doing it but I think there are a lot of things that need to be changed in the charter.”