Council To Consider Firm For 2020 Plan

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the Planning and Development Committee voted 2-1 to recommend hiring a firm to facilitate the 2020 plan.

Mary Vanouse, community development director, requested authorization for the mayor to sign all contracts to hire Bergmann Associates to conduct the public meetings and revise the city’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan in accordance with the requirements of the technical assistance grant provided through the NYS Office of Community Renewal.

Mike Myers, chair, and councilor Ron Kaplewicz voted in favor of sending the recommendation to the full council.

Councilor Bill Sharkey voted against the request.

The 2020 Vision Comprehensive Plan was adopted in August 2003, Vanouse explained.

The NYS Office of Community Renewal (formerly the Governor’s Office of Small Cities) has awarded a grant for revising Oswego’s plan, she added.

A steering committee, appointed by Mayor Randy Bateman, solicited proposals from qualified firms and recommended Bergmann.

The 2020 plan is a living document, according to Vanouse.

It has provided the successful framework to garner state and federal grants and guidance for design parameters to preserve and enhance the city’s natural, historical and cultural aspects, she pointed out.

According to the resolution, Bergmann is to provide the services for no more than $50,000.

The grant will cover half the cost, Vanouse said. The other half would come from the capital budget, she said.

However, Sharkey believes the city should put its money elsewhere.

“This has been going on for over 10 years and we have not basically gone anywhere in the last 10 years toward our vision for the next 20 years. So, why are we going to spend another 25 grand of hard-earned taxpayer money into a document that basically holds no weight?” Sharkey said. “We are wasting more taxpayer dollars.”

“We have another alderman come up and want to give tax credits to other people when we can’t afford the bills we’ve got,” Sharkey continued referring to a brief discussion during the Physical Services Committee concerning a request by Alderman Kaplewicz regarding disability and limited income exemptions for city taxes.

The exemptions would be for certain people with disabilities making less than a certain amount.

Everyone else would “carry the load,” Sharkey said.

“Why do we continue to waste taxpayer dollars? I have nothing against disabled people. I have nothing against low-income. But, everybody is screaming,” Sharkey said. “I have highly affluent people in the Sixth Ward that have $300,000 homes that are (screaming at me) every week about their taxes, about their sewer fee; and now we’re going to make it easier for other people and add to these people’s cost?”

Instead of helping the city, Sharkey says the 2020 plan is “restrictive.”

“Everything within the 2020 vision plan basically restricts Oswego from being a more populous area, a more business savvy area. If you go into any part of the 2020 plan, it is restrictive in every avenue, to me,” according to Sharkey. “I’ve read it numerous times. All I can see is restrictions for business, restriction into housing.”

It is backwards from what the city should be doing, the councilor said. If it were up to him, he’d flush the 2020 plan and not waste $25,000 of the taxpayers’ money, he added.

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