Oswego Council Approves Mayor’s WiFi Plan

Seventh Ward Councilor Robert Corradino explains where he voted no on the proposal. At left is Fifth Ward Councilor John Gosek.

Seventh Ward Councilor Robert Corradino explains where he voted no on the proposal. At left is Fifth Ward Councilor John Gosek.

OSWEGO, NY – At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, Mayor Billy Barlow was authorized to enter into an agreement with MCI
Communications Services (Verizon) for the implementation of WiFi throughout designated areas of downtown. But it wasn’t clear sailing.

Several speakers voiced support for the plan during the public session prior to the meeting.

Seventh Ward Councilor Robert Corradino explains where he voted no on the proposal. At left is Fifth Ward Councilor John Gosek.
Seventh Ward Councilor Robert Corradino explains where he voted no on the proposal. At left is Fifth Ward Councilor John Gosek.

However, when the resolution came up for a vote, City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli pointed out that last week, the committee “failed to take formal action on the mayor’s proposal to implement WiFi service downtown.”

To remedy this “harmless error, he explained was to waive the rules of the Common Council to place the matter before the councilors for a vote.

Councilor Eric VanBuren made the motion (to waive the rules) and Councilor Nate Emmons seconded. The resolution passed unanimously.

The WiFi service will modernize downtown Oswego and provide an additional amenity to visitors and patrons of downtown businesses, the mayor said.

It will complement the investment and effort of small business owners downtown and further enhance Oswego’s effort to attract investment in its downtown from the state of New York, he added.

However, concerns linger over the need for the service and its nearly $12,000 cost (not including monthly service fee).

The service will allow people to hang out downtown and take advantage of what downtown has to offer, Barlow explained. Boaters will also be able to utilize the service.

“It shows we’re actually making an effort to attract people downtown,” he said. “This is nothing short of helping small businesses.”

Fifth Ward Councilor John Gosek said he supported the mayor’s proposal.

“I’ve heard positive feedback,” he added. “It’s an investment in the city. It’s positive. I encourage the council to see this as an investment.”

Fourth Ward Councilor Shawn Walker offered a different view from the residents of his ward.

Many weren’t in favor of the plan. “They are older, elderly people who pay taxes; why should they pay taxes for the downtown businesses?” he said. “Personally, I think it’s a good idea. But with the situation the city is in, I don’t think it’s a good idea now. I’m going to have to stick by my constituents.”

Seventh Ward Councilor Robert Corradino said it was a great idea and praised the mayor for being a forward thinking administrator. However, he said he had some issues with the way the proposal was done.

He didn’t agree with the three-year term of the contract, and asked whether the mayor put it out for proposals from other vendors.

“I don’t feel comfortable making a three-year commitment. There are more questions than answers that I have,” he said. “I just don’t see what the rush is.”

The city contracts with Verizon for its phone and internet service, the mayor replied, adding that Verizon is the lowest state contract price.

He pointed out how the city is saving money by no longer using Time Warner Cable at the marina and has gone to WiFi instead for about two-thirds the cost.

The city could do an early termination of the contract, but there would be a penalty, he added.

There is a notion that if (the administration) is focusing on one thing, it’s not focusing on anything else, the mayor said.

“That’s just not true,” he said, adding that there are several items being focused on – but things “won’t get fixed overnight. We’re working on it.”

The resolution was approved 5-2 with councilors Walker and Corradino voting no.


  1. Aren’t our wallets demolished enough around here? We now have to pay for others to enjoy WiFi?! I don’t want anything to do with it & I surely don’t want my hard-earned $$$ going into it neither! I don’t even own a cellphone, not interested so why should I have to help fund it?! I want to opt out. On another note, how come people can come into this city & get “free” anything when in fact the locals here are footing the bill for it…like the insane water/sewer rates; maybe people from outside here can help pay those & if not take your bowel-movements back out of town with you…and your computer use right along with it! Sick of this!!!!!

  2. I am with you Robert. I am so sick of the way the priorities are set in this city. There must be something in the water ! Seriously, what is wrong with you people? I really want to know, I just don’t get it! I am already “House Poor” and you people just keep making it worse. I don’t even own a car any more to live in when my house goes up for foreclosure I won’t be able to afford it much longer and no one will buy it for what I owe.. The house next to me which is much nicer has been on the market for 1 1/2 years, been reduced twice and they still can’t sell it. So I hope Billy and the counselors that voted yes enjoy that slice of pizza when there on there lunch break and using that free WiFi that I am paying for but can’t and do not want to use myself. How embarrassing to know that our City Government thinks free Wi Fi takes priority over our homeless, drug problems, teen pregnancy, teachers being laid off, road repairs, sewer/water bills, absent landlords and the list goes on. Sham on you all!!!

  3. Apparently “free” wifi will transform the city’s economy. 1000s of students who already spend $ downtown and in the local economy can now enjoy free wifi. Dont forget all the Harborfest visitors who are busy drinking and reveling in the festivities and not using an Ipad at a quiet streetside coffeehouse. They are all saying, ” Oh thats right, I already have internet access on my smart phone data plan so I didnt even notice this $40k/yr fiscal sinkhole was here. Plus I dont trust public open air wifi. ”

    You just cant make this stuff up folks.

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