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Cohoes, NY 12047

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COMMON COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - 7:00 P.M.
Special Meeting
Common Council Chambers
 
Mayor McDonald led in the Pledge of Allegiance at 7:00 PM
 
Roll call was taken
 
PRESENT:      Mayor McDonald                                           EXCUSED:     NONE
Council President Primeau                                       
Council Member Kennedy
Council Member Turcotte
Council Member Nolin
Council Member Ceccucci
Council Member Signoracci
 
Mayor McDonald, “We will now conduct a series of Public Hearings regarding Local Laws 2, 4, 5, and 6 for the year 2011. Just for everyone’s information we will open up the public hearing on each local law, solicit any public comment. After all public hearings, if the Council so wishes we will then vote on each piece of legislation individually”.
 
At 7:01 PM, A Public Hearing was conducted for Local Law 2-I for 2011 entitled: A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE PEDDLERS AND SOLICITORS SECTION OF THE CODE
 
At 7:02 PM, with no public comment being made, Council Member Kennedy made a MOTION to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Council Member Turcotte. All members voted “AYE”, the motion passed.
 
At 7:03 PM, A Public Hearing was conducted for Local Law 4-I for 2011 entitled: A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE CITY’S PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE LAW TO EXCLUDE ELECTRONIC MAIL
 
At 7:04 PM, with no public comment being made, Council President Primeau made a MOTION to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Council Member Nolin. All members voted “AYE”, the motion passed.
 
At 7:04 PM, A Public Hearing was conducted for Local Law 5-I for 2011 entitled: A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE CITY CODE WITH RESPECT TO THE TRAFFIC COMMISSION AND CHAPTER 82
 
At 7:04 PM, with no public comment being made, Council Member Nolin made a MOTION to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Council Member Ceccucci. All members voted “AYE”, the motion passed.
 
At 7:05 PM, a Public Hearing was conducted for Local Law 6-I entitled: A LOCAL LAW AMENDING THE CODE WITH RESPECT TO THE WARD BOUNDARIES OF THE CITY OF COHOES
 
George Hebert, 40 Masten Ave., “As it is written here tonight, I have no objection. What I do have an objection to is a rumor, that I hope is dispelled, is that there is a movement to eliminate wards. In 1915 when the City Charter was first published it stated there are 6 wards and 6 elected aldermen. That system has served the City well for almost 100 years. In 1993, three pieces of legislation was introduced, none of which passed. Less representation is not the way to go. It would be a big mistake to change ward numbers, don’t mess with a system that is working”.
 
Council Member Signoracci, “I do believe people have the right to vote on this. I don’t believe there is a cost for a referendum. Should be shared services, this is status quo, we need to start somewhere”.
 
Randy Koniowka, 142 Hudson Ave., “Highest rate of property tax, puts burden on the tax payers. 100 years ago, this was a bustling City. I have no opinion, one way or the other, but should put it to the voters, let them vote on it”.
 
Council President Primeau, “I speak on behalf of the Council, being President of the Council, I can tell you, working with these ladies and gentlemen, they work very hard, and saved the City money throughout the 12 years I have been on the Council. Not just the fact of coming here and listening to what is going on; there is a lot of input from the Council. We get called in for everything from neighborhood disputes to missing cats. I hope this is not just about the CSEA contract; this seems it all came out with that. This was looked at with the Charter Revision; they looked at it and found it should not be done. Charter Revision did go out to the people of Cohoes, and was voted on. I am not going against the voter’s of Cohoes”.
 
Council Member Kennedy, “I would also like to make a comment, it’s not only the work that we do, but the majority of the Council work full time jobs, and they try to do all the work that they do at night and on weekends, you don’t want to make a job so heavy that the only people who can do it are people who are retired or don’t have to work. But more importantly than that, I think what has been lost in this conversation, is democracy. More minds you bring to a topic, the more discussions you have, the diversity of opinions it will eventually get to something far superior than perhaps three people with the same agenda all in a room making all the decisions”.
 
Gil Ethier, 26 Middle St., “As a resident, I am pleased with 6 members. Instead of reducing the size of the Council, give up your pay”.
 
Mayor McDonald, “I first ran for office in 1999, after serving on the Charter Revision Committee. During that time we had rigorous debates about the number of Council members. We also had debates about checks and balances, to make sure that City never got in the position of one individual having total authority and power to run the city on their own.  The biggest problem we had in the past was people were literally frozen out from speaking their mind in government. I championed, as Chair of that Commission, to take away the authority of the Mayor’s position, not knowing I was running for the position. And I am glad I did. The voting public overwhelmingly voted for the charter revisions. One of the suggestions we made is to make sure that the public reviews its Charter in a timely manner. We gave the newest committee 1 ½ years to review the charter in as thorough a manner as they desired. There was multiple public meetings, plenty of opportunity for the public, if they were concerned about the size of the Council come forward and make that a discussion point. The voting public overwhelmingly, two to one, voted in the current form of this government. Recently, a poll authorized by a Council member, through a political party of Albany County, of which the Chair of that party, stated to me and reinforced this afternoon how he was amazed at the response of this poll. And that the public was satisfied with the number of Council Members. I have to question where the arrogance comes from to ignore the public’s wishes. How many times does the message need to be told. For the first time, since 1930 our population has moved in a positive direction. I could possibly understand the argument to decrease the Council when we dropped 4,000, 5,000, or 6,000 people. We’ve increased the size of our Community. I sincerely appreciate all of the input I get from all of the Council Members as we go through and deal with the City’s issues in these most difficult times. This is not a time to close down the size of our elected body. It is a time to support the elected body. This Common Council inparticular, and I have had the privilege of serving with three different elected bodies, this Common Council has sacrificed more than any other elected body in the history of the City of Cohoes. This Common Council eliminated health insurance at a greatly reduced cost. This Council reduced the opportunity for elected officials to receive a buy out for health insurance. I give them all credit for doing this. We have sat through five public meetings, and not once in those meetings did any discussion come up about reducing the size of the Council. Not once was this topic discussed. Only after voting down a labor contract, which there is no relation to the two, does the topic come up again. Personally, I think it is retaliation, I don’t think it is good government principals, and I am not going to subscribe to that theory. If any member of the Common Council firmly believes that they are over paid, firmly believe they are receiving too much, although when I total up the savings and health care costs, over $60,000 per year since they made this change. When I came into office I lowered my salary by 25%, to demonstrate that we show shared sacrifice. If you want to reduce or give back your salary, if you are serious about it you can.”
 
At 7:35 PM, with no further public comment being made, Council President Primeau made a MOTION to close the Public Hearing, seconded by Council Member Turcotte. All members voted “AYE”, the motion passed
 
Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci introduced Local Law No. 2-I for 2011
 
A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE PEDDLERS AND SOLICITORS SECTION OF THE CODE
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci voted “AYE”. Local Law No. 2-I for the year 2011 passed. 
 
Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci introduced Local Law No. 4-I for the year 2011
 
A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE CITY’S PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE LAW TO EXCLUDE ELECTRONIC MAIL
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci voted “AYE”. Local Law No. 4-I for the year 2011 passed. 
 
Council President Primeau and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci introduced Local Law No. 5-I for the year 2011
 
A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE CITY’S PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE LAW TO EXCLUDE ELECTRONIC MAIL
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci voted “AYE”. Local Law No. 5-I for the year 2011 passed. 
 
Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci introduced Local Law 6-I for the year 2011
 
A LOCAL LAW AMENDING THE CODE WITH RESPECT TO THE WARD BOUNDARIES OF THE CITY OF COHOES
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, and Ceccucci voted “AYE”. Council Member Signoracci voted “NAY”. Local Law 6-I passed.
 
Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci introduced Resolution No. 24 for the year 2011
 
A RESOLUTION AMENDING THE ANNUAL BUDGET
 
Ed Carboni, “Is there any money for stump removal?”
 
Mayor McDonald, “No, we got a good deal, but it does not include stump removal.”
 
A roll call vote was taken, Council President Primeau, and Council Members Kennedy, Turcotte, Nolin, Ceccucci, and Signoracci voted “AYE”. Resolution No. 24 for the year 2011 passed. A copy of budget transfers are attached.
 
At 7:40 PM, with no further comments being made, Council Member Ceccucci made a motion to adjourn the Common Council Meeting; Council Member Turcotte seconded the motion. The motion passed.
 
 
                                                                                    ______________________________
                                                                                        Lori A. Yando, City Clerk





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