Cortland Common Council met last night (November 5) for the first of two November congregations, where the agenda included several important and relevant items of business.
Council voted unanimously to adopt Mayor Tobin’s $21.4M budget proposal, which now becomes the city’s official spending plan for 2020.
The approved budget grows the city property tax levy by 2.36% over 2019 through a less than half-percent tax rate increase (0.48%).
These figures represent a stark contrast to the mayor’s original proposal in September of a more than 8% increase, which was avoided through more than $500k in cuts and adjustments.
Council also passed a resolution that increases water rates, specifically a 5.86%increase on minimum quarterly water bills, bringing the total monthly bill of a minimum-use household to $41.04 per quarter.
Additionally, Wayne Friedman was accepted unanimously by council as the new City Fire Chief.
A 10-year veteran of the City Fire Department, Friedman’s career includes a combined 24 years experience in fire and emergency services.
He’s served as both deputy chief & acting chief to fill vacancies left behind by the dual-retirements this year of Chief William Knickerbocker in July and Chief Charles Glover in September.
On top of his emergency service credentials, Friedman’s resume also includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration.
Additionally, he’s one of only 45 fire executives from New York State to graduate from this year’s prestigious National Executive Fire Officer Program.
Th programs been in existence for 31 years and accepts only 200 students each year from across the United States.
Friedman received his certificate of completion from this four-year, intensive course back in July.
During ward reports, each alderperson took time to remind residents that the city’s Department of Public Works is now taking appointment to pick up yard waste materials like leaves and dirt.
It’s paramount these cleanups are done efficiently and in an orderly fashion to prevent any complications with roadword or snowplowing ahead of the impending winter season.
Last night’s meeting closed with discussion on this year’s holiday decorations, which are displayed each season in the city’s downtown district.
Council members said that they’ve secured a total of 40 wreaths and two large “snowflake banners” to be spread across either end of Main Street, with a total package cost of $1,000.
Mayor Tobin also indicated a more extensive purchase of decorations that would last years into the future may be possible as part of the city’s multi-year, $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award from the state.