FULTON, NY – The Fulton Common Council rang in the new year by selecting the councilor who will serve as president for the next year.
Taking the place of former president and first ward councilor Thomas Kenyon, the council nominated and unanimously approved second ward councilor David Ritchie as president for 2017 during the first regular meeting of the new year.
Ritchie thanked his fellow councilmen for the opportunity to lead and expressed a commitment to work together.
“Thank you for supporting me,” he said to the council. “I know we had a few hurdles this past year but I think we managed them well by working together. I’m sure there will be more hurdles this year, but we can continue working together to get through them.”
Ritchie is entering his second year as a member of the common council after being sworn in to his position on January 1, 2016.
Prior to his role on the council, Ritchie worked for the city of Fulton for more than 35 years in both Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Works.
“I’m glad to give it a shot,” Ritchie said of his new title on the council. “We have to keep moving forward with what we’ve got going. We need to keep working to get Nestles down and get the (Lake Neatahwanta) beach open. We need to focus on finishing the tasks we set out for.”
Mayor Woodward recognized former president Kenyon as well as the council’s ability to have different opinions with one common goal.
“I want to thank Tom (Kenyon.) It was good working with you last year, I think we got a lot done. I know Dave is going to do well also,” he started. “There’s one thing we don’t want to lose track of, that we care about the city of Fulton. We may have different ideas, but all our hearts are in the right place.”
Woodward believes Ritchie’s career experience outside the council will benefit his role as president.
“I’m looking forward to working with him. I’ve known Dave for years, he has plenty of experience working for the city in a couple departments and he’s a long term Fulton resident. I know he will do well for the city,” he said.
In other business, county legislator Frank Castiglia Jr., D-Fulton, stepped to the podium to speak to the common council at the first regular meeting of the new year.
His first order of business, making a donation to the non-profit organization, Friends of Fulton Parks whose efforts focus on revitalizing parks throughout the city of Fulton.
Castiglia acknowledged the 2017 county budget that passed with a 0% increase, referring to it as a “false budget” as money was taken out of the general fund to keep the budget stable. However, each legislator received a raise.
He then referenced the 2009 legislative body, faced by similar circumstances in which the democratic caucus donated their raises to a charity of their choice.
Following suit, Castiglia said that he would be donating his $370 raise to the Friends of Fulton Parks, a “very admirable” decision, Mayor Woodward said.
“That’s where our future is, with our kids and our kids need our parks,” he said.
FOFP founder, Kelley Weaver was present to receive the donation.
The group is currently focused on Recreation Park, located adjacent to Lake Neatahwanta, to be finished and usable this coming spring.
Weaver added that Castiglia’s donation would be matched due to a grant awarded to the organization last year.
“That was very generous and admirable, we really appreciate it,” she said.