December is always the month of Christmas cheer and North Country generosity. If you are an elected official, however, we always worry about the weather, the challenges snow brings, and budgets. The weather cooperated and the difficult budget work is almost completed.
The month started off with the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train which always brings hundreds of people to view the festivities at The Amtrak Station and this year was no exception. I was invited to speak with Dr. Tom Mandeville's government class which I always enjoy. There was a public hearing held on the controversial proposed utility tax the Plattsburgh School Board was considering implementing. Let's hope the board listened to the several hundred attendees as the resounding opinion in the city is not to implement this unaffordable tax. I attended the last College/City Coalition meeting for 2010. This group was formed three years ago to positively address student/city issues and I am very pleased with the overall results versus former committees which were negative in nature. I was proud to participate in the Catherine Gardens ribbon-cutting event which was the first project I fully supported upon my 2006 election as mayor. We are all proud of the completion and ongoing housing project in the center city. Betty and Howard Benjamin held their 2nd Annual Christmas Dinner which provides hundreds of meals for the less fortunate. I am so proud of these two people and the many friends of mine who contributed to this special event. Laurentian Aerospace officials announced the project is still moving forward and hopefully by March an official announcement will be made that the project will begin in earnest. This would certainly be great news for the New Year!
In looking forward to 2011, the difficulties will be many as our friends, neighbors, and business owners are facing unprecedented challenges. The North Country always perseveres, however, and as long as I am mayor I will continue to do my best for the majority of our residents and friends! Happy New Year to everyone!
Don Kasprzak is mayor of the city of Plattsburgh.