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Mayor Barlow Shares His Vision For The City

Mayor Billy Barlow speaks to a large crowd at Tuesday's economic development roundtable.

Mayor Billy Barlow speaks to a large crowd at Tuesday's economic development roundtable.

OSWEGO, NY – Mayor Billy Barlow shared a recap of his first 40 days in office and his vision for the rest of his term with a large crowd of area business leaders on Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Billy Barlow speaks to a large crowd at Tuesday's economic development roundtable.
Mayor Billy Barlow speaks to a large crowd at Tuesday’s economic development roundtable.

The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, working in concert with the Mayor’s Office, held its first economic development roundtable at the Beacon Hotel.

The chamber has been on an upward swing in recent years, the mayor said.

“Forty days in office and I’d say we’ve started with some momentum,” Barlow said. “We’re getting things done. We’re fielding constituent phone calls more than ever. If they call with a problem, we try to take care of that problem as quickly as possible. That’s what people pay taxes for, that’s what they expect – an immediate response from City Hall. ”

Barlow said he wants the people in his administration to be out in the public more, to be more assessable to the residents.

“Just be out in the people. When you see the folks from City Hall out wandering around, you have a feeling that they’re one of us, they have a sense of what’s going on,” the mayor said.

He highlighted a few of his accomplishments in office and hinted at a few things in store for the future.

The city’s website “is an embarrassment,” he said, adding that the council is in the process of working with a local firm to create a new and improved website.

Read the mayor’s press release regarding the city website project here.

He hopes to have it up by April. It will include a blog by the mayor, profiles of city officials, city documents, interactive maps and more, he said.

“It’ll be a nice form of communication,” he said.

The mayor also wants to improve the Community Development Office. It has under performed during past administrations, he said. But under the leadership of Community Development Director Justin Rudgick, there has been significant improvement, the mayor said.

Code enforcement has been taken out of the Fire Department and is now being handled by Sue Deary, city assessor.

“Right now we are in the process of reconstructing what was once the Code Enforcement Office around Sue. The point of that office will be to focus on neighborhoods, violations. The ultimate goal is to add a couple of code enforcers,” Barlow said.

His administration is also looking at how to rein in the water and sewer rates, he added.

He has also met with several state and federal elected officials in hope of alleviating some of the financial burden placed on the city by the consent decree.

Legislator Roy Reehil, chair of the county legislature’s Economic Development Committee, says he looks forward to working with the city to strengthen the area's economy.
Legislator Roy Reehil, chair of the county legislature’s Economic Development Committee, says he looks forward to working with the city to strengthen the area’s economy.

“While I don’t feel comfortable celebrating quite yet, Senator Schumer and Congressman Katko have been extremely, extremely helpful. We were missing out on some opportunities. Sometimes you just need to make a phone call. It’ll take a little while to see results,” Barlow said.

All city buildings are in bad shape, not just City Hall, the mayor admitted.

He will look put some money aside each year in a capital plan to make the needed repairs.

“They need some serious, serious help. We need to break these larger projects down into smaller projects and take care of them,” he said.

He has brought in a firm to manage the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

“We still have city employees there. They are just being managed by a private group. I’ve toured that facility and the change that is happening there is just outstanding,” Barlow said. “It will help us with our reputation with the DEC.”

There are a lot of good things happening in the city he pointed out.

For examples, he cited initiatives by the Oswego Renaissance Association, the Lighthouse Restoration Project, the potential marine sanctuary and others.

It’s easy to be negative, the mayor said, adding that the city isn’t dying.

“We need to market ourselves better,” he said. “We have a lot of strengths. We’re in a good place right now and we have to keep the momentum moving forward.

He encouraged all groups as well as individuals to be engaged in city government.

For more information, contact the Mayor’s Office at 342-8136.

The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, together with the Office of Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward, will host another economic development meetings with the Fulton business community.

Mayor Woodward and members of the Common Council will join the group for the first meeting in Fulton on February 18.

The meeting will be held in the council chambers in Fulton City Hall and begin promptly at 5:30 p.m.

10 Comments

  1. The water/sewer rates should be Priority #1, not the website! It’s those ever-increasing rates that will be driving the few private-sector working taxpayers out of here & when that happens this city will succumb to a slow financial death which will hurt everyone left here beyond their wildest imaginations! It will happen if something’s not done yesterday!!!

  2. I agree with Robert. To add to that, I think we have a better chance of seeing God than to see our council touring the wards taking care of problems. I have been told that for the last 10 years and have yet to see it happen. Stop blowing smoke up my butt Billy!! Show us some results in the neighborhoods!

  3. Great actions from our Mayor. We are moving forward and addressing the immediate needs. We work problems in parallel and don’t get bogged down by one issue. This type of transparency is mandatory on the path to success. We realize things don’t get solved over night but it doesn’t detract from the focus. Awesome leadership. Recognize it.

  4. All fluff and no substance. We should be doing something about these free riding PILOT businesses and industry. They pay next to nothing and receive all of the same services as the Middle Class Oswegonians pay the freight. Get out from in front of the camera and get your hands dirty.

  5. Yeah let’s build a website while people are moving out of here at an alarming rate due to the sewer and water cost…..amongst other things.

  6. $25000 for a website. You should be ashamed of spending our money on a website. There’s something called a state college with a computer science department that could have a student project do it for free.

  7. Let’s not be negative. What’s happening in Oswego is occuring throughout the whole northeast. We need DESPERATELY to find industry (of some sort) that will help pay some of our bills, not just on the backs of residents in the form of property taxes. We need SALES TAX/BED TAX Revenues.

    A great website (and maybe some promotional dvds that can go out to other cities/countries), might make Oswego tourism a booming business.

    For thirty years I have scratched my head why Oswego, with four seasons, two waterways, and charming small city feel doesn’t get on the bandwagon for super tourism like they have in the canal towns of Europe/or EVEN what they have in Skaneateles or Tarrytown, or any number of more upscale tourism sites.

    With the soon to be renovated Lighthouse, the CITY needs to PROMOTE itself, and the hotels/restaurants/small shops will benefit (and when THEY do, the sales tax SHOULD defray some of the exorbitant costs of running this city).

    We need to rein in spending though. Maybe consolidating departments, and working on that. Esp. as employees retire.And maybe a different ‘tier’ for entry level government employees might be a place to begin. We no longer have the nukes paying our way…But we do need to pay a fair wage, but just in line with other communities in our region. Across the board…Lower income taxpayers, of which most of the city is made up of, cannot carry the burden…the sewer/water bill is a case in point. For us, we use almost no water in my business, but another increase of the proposed (is it in effect already?) of $88.00 more four times a year will kill more than one business…translation, less TOURISM DRAW. Sailors and visitors to our community need something to DO once they arrive for an overnight, and the bar scene/dancing, etc., is non-existent most days. So shopping would be nice. Don’t KILL SMALL BUSINESS with these costs of doing business. PLEASE!

    As a small business man himself, I have high hopes that Mayor Barlow in listening. It’s a new year…a new administration.

  8. Wasting money on building a website. Why not ask the teachers at the Oswego High School to have the students come up with a working website for little to no cost. I am sure the students could use this for extra credit in class. That would be a good starting point I would think. As for the sewer and water rates. Do the same as with the residency requirement wave your magic mayor wand and make it go away. That would be the right thing to do I know. But that’s ok you won’t. 40 days down 1,420 more to go.

  9. Our priority needs to be bringing business to the city. We have power. We have water. We have roads and rail. We have a great port. We need to be moving product. We need manufacturing. Everything else will take care of itself once we figure out how to court corporate investment in our community. That is the key. While we are at it we need to cease with nonsense like harassing small local businesses who might put up a temporary sign or two to try and court a little opportune business activity, only to come down on them for some petty zoning violation. A sandwich board near the sidewalk on a Sunday afternoon isn’t exactly destroying our quality of life. That sign might generate just enough commerce on that day to keep the lights on for that small shopkeeper. We need to focus on the big picture. If a mayor wants to be re-elected then bring in a big business to this area. It is possible. What company have you contacted today to sell our city? Who will you call tomorrow? Not too many CEO’s refuse the call of a city mayor. Think outside the box. The trivial details of micromanaging what little we do have is the work that gets delegated to our hard-working public employees. Go big or go home.

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