FULTON, NY – A recent informational meeting for the Third Ward organized by Third Ward councilor and council president, Donald Patrick Jr. allowed residents to express questions and concerns.
Long term Fulton residents Ann and Bob Kastler requested the meeting to allow open dialogue between the ward residents and their elected city official.
“We requested the meeting because we used to have meetings like this all the time under former aldermen,” Kastler explained. “This was very informative, a good turnout. We’d like to have more of these meetings moving forward to address more of our concerns.”
Councilor Patrick anticipates an informational meeting to take place every three months.
The first meeting allowed the city’s Department of Public Works Commissioner Charles Smith III to help field questions and provide information to residents.
Commissioner Smith provided information on city garbage pick up, road work funding and restrictions, infrastructure, sewer and water bills, proper collection of yard materials, and more.
Residents addressed concerns and presented constructive ideas including updating outdated codes to be more efficient for residents and city employees and the inclusion of a grant writer position for the city.
Among other concerns, one resident addressed traffic backup and potentially unsafe conditions to DPW workers as city garbage removal trucks collect trash during rush hour mornings on State Route 48.
Subsequently, Commissioner Smith imposed a change to the garbage collection route placing DPW workers along State Route 48 after 9 a.m., alleviating rush hour traffic congestion and creating a safer atmosphere for workers.
“This meeting provided several great ideas. It’s always good to discuss things that can improve and listen to concerns of residents in an open manner like this,” Smith said.
The change was one example of the success of holding such meetings, councilor Patrick said.
“I’m very pleased with the turnout of our first meeting. People have busy schedules, they don’t always know what’s going on in their city. This is another way to help them stay aware with what’s going on instead of only hearing from residents when they have a problem. To have this many people interested in what’s happening, that’s a great thing,” Patrick said.
While DPW Commissioner Smith was the guest for the first Third Ward informational meeting, Patrick said each meeting will include a different city official from each department.
Third Ward resident, Tonya Crisafulli said these meetings are “encouraging.”
Born and raised in Fulton, Crisafulli moved back to her hometown almost two years ago, at which time she didn’t know her neighbors.
Falling into the program Fulton Block Builders helped her to develop neighborhood relationships, and now meetings such as this are helping her and her husband to meet more of their neighbors as well.
“Don (Patrick) has been amazing. The turnout was great here but I’d like to see more people coming to things like this. Living in Upstate NY, we know we face certain problems, but it’s always a start to initiate conversations to get things going. This meeting has been nothing but encouraging,” Crisafulli said.
The next Third Ward informational meeting will tentatively be held in June.