OSWEGO, NY – Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow delivered the 2016 State of the City on Monday night, combining the speech with his official 100 Day Address.
“As we mark our first 100 days together in office, we can all look back and be extremely proud of what we have already accomplished,” Mayor Barlow told the packed Council Chambers. “For the first time in a long time, our residents are excited about our community. They are encouraged by their local government.”
The official 100-day mark for the new administration was on Saturday, but the mayor addressed the Common Council and public Monday night during the Common Council meeting highlighting several accomplishments within the first 100 days and emphasizing the amount of momentum and energy city government currently has.
“When I decided to run for mayor, I ran because I felt the city needed a drastic change. We needed a jolt of energy and we needed a “Can-Do” attitude. And when I won the election, I vowed to myself and to the residents of this city that I would use the same amount of energy and passion it took to win an election to represent and move our city forward, because the leadership in City Hall was stagnant and absent for far too long and it showed,” the mayor said.
“It is also precisely the reason why we entered the New Year with incredible momentum and with the help of the Common Council we have carried that momentum through the first 100 days and have made considerable progress in several different areas,” Barlow continued.
He thanked the council members who “took office in trying times” and have worked together to settle into office and passionately serve their constituents.
“It hasn’t been an easy first few months as we walked into office facing a previously implemented water fee increase and a tough budget on the horizon,” he said. “But, we rolled up our sleeves and immediately got to work doing exactly what our constituents asked us to do. I am happy to work together with each of you.”
Because of the momentum they have generated, he said he believes the state of the city “is strong, energetic and active.”
And, although there are challenges ahead, “I believe we have reason to be optimistic,” the mayor added. “We’ve already made progress on many different fronts.”
Mayor Barlow touched briefly on some changes at City Hall, like passing a resolution to accept credit and debit cards throughout city government, creating a new city website and taking unprecedented steps to ensure government transparency by creating a bi-partisan ethics board.
He also stressed the importance of creating and improving relationships with key state and federal representatives and agencies like Assemblyman Will Barclay, Senator Patty Ritchie, Congressman John Katko, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and expressed how helpful and cooperative DOT Commissioner Matt Driscoll and the NYS DOT have been in his first months in office.
Barlow dove more in-depth to some significant changes and victories they’ve tallied in the first few months.
He touched on reaching out for financial assistance with the city’s $85 million Consent Decree, establishing a new Code Enforcement Office, streamlining the city’s building and permitting process, engaging in a waterfront feasibility study, restructuring the Community Development Office and encouraging the Department of Public Works to focus on customer service and quicker response time to constituent requests.
Mayor Barlow closed his address by previewing what his administration faces ahead and noting plenty of work still needs to be done.
“We will present a plan to help recover and rebuild our city’s infrastructure and neglected buildings and equipment. We will look for and consider reforming and restructuring fees with the intent to ease the burden on our taxpaying homeowners,” the mayor said. “We must make a serious attempt to capture the available Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding from Governor Cuomo that was passed in the state budget and focus on developing our waterfront and utilizing our natural resources.”
Finally, the mayor mentioned how honored he was to serve the city of Oswego and how much he is enjoying the new job.
“We are 100 days in and have already accomplished a lot and we must keep working hard,” he said. “I, for one, can’t wait to get to City Hall every day to serve this community and I look forward to what I know we will accomplish together for the city of Oswego.”
(The Mayor’s Office provided information for this report.)