OSWEGO – The state of the city of Oswego is strong. And, it’s getting stronger, according to the mayor.
Billy Barlow delivered his fourth State of the City Address on Monday night, recapping his first three years in office and outlining his plans for 2019.
James Weatherup, the new chair of the Oswego County Legislature, several legislators, DA Greg Oakes, and Sheriff Don Hilton were among the many special guests at the address.
The mayor highlighted his accomplishments over the last three years, including securing $20 million in federal and state grant money, issuing the first tax cut to city residents in 20 years, construction of a code enforcement office and increased regulation for rental properties, and the paving of nearly $2.5 million worth of city roadway, drawing a stark contrast to the state of city government prior to taking office in 2016.
“In 2019, the state of our city is strong and gaining strength. We have the energy, the confidence, and the momentum. We are a local government delivering for its residents,” Mayor Barlow told the large crowd in the Council Chambers. “We are making progress in all areas and that is why we will only gain strength as we roll into 2019.”
“As we look to the year ahead, we will continue with our vision and priorities that have served us so well thus far. We will continue to improve our parks and public space, offer more community amenities, push our neighborhood and downtown revitalization efforts, and offer better city services at a lower cost to our residents,” Barlow added.
He cited city departments, such as DPW, Fire, and Police, for their hard work and lowered over-time.
He also praised the Common Council for its hard work and support.
“We’ve dropped citywide overtime by $350,000 since 2015,” he said.
2019 State of the City announcements and priorities:
• Proposal to reduce the annual city sewer service bill by $200 for homeowners
• Banning commercial water meter by-passes for large commercial water users
• Brand new, first fully handicap accessible playground in Hamilton Park
• Focus on job creation and business expansion within city limits in 2019
• Elimination of economic development application fees for businesses
• Bringing back the DARE program
Mayor Barlow thanked his department heads, city employees and city residents for their hard work and support for the last three years and insisted much work remains to be done in the coming years.
“Our goals for 2019 are consistent with our overall vision for our community. Through smart, strategic investments we can continue to ease the financial burden on our residents by reducing the city sewer bill, we will continue to grow and improve our community by building the first ever handicap accessible playground, and we will foster partnerships and encourage business development and expansions within city limits,” the mayor said.
“We’ve changed the direction, the momentum is with us, the energy is with us, we are leading the way in Central New York and all we have to do is keep working together to keep it going,” he added. “The change in attitude and renewed confidence is palpable. There are positive signs of progress that are undeniable and if we keep working together we will make the city of Oswego a new and different Oswego than it has been before, as we finally realize the limitless potential that exists in this fantastic community.”
“I am fortunate to be mayor of this city while there is an unprecedented level of energy, cooperation and progress in all sectors,” Barlow said.
He thanked the residents for their support and pledged that he and the council would continue working on their behalf.
“There is no question, our darkest days are behind us,” he said.
Council President Rob Corradino said he was happy to hear the mayor pass along congratulations to the council and everyone who was helping move Oswego forward. Without them, “We just couldn’t get all the work done that we wanted to,” he said
And he looked forward to working with the mayor in 2019 on more projects.
“We’ve come a long way,” he said. “There’s a lot of positive energy. We want to be a part of the momentum moving forward. I’d like to find additional funding for more paving. The improvements in the Codes Department are ongoing. Overall, I think the council and mayor should be working in tandem.”