As December 2007 concluded, the snowfall continues! The holidays look wonderfully white but there is no doubt snow affects travel, shoveling and the clearing of streets. December is a time of holiday cheer and generosity. So many people in our community share feelings and gifts with friends and family. Organizations such as the Salvation Army, Hospice, ARC, JCEO,United Way, the Elks and businesses of all sizes raise funds and toys for the less fortunate. It truly says so much for the residents of the North Country and how much they care. Year-end business in City Hall was busy as usual. Working on the 2008 budget was a priority. The new Common Council will vote on the budget on Jan. 10. Difficult decisions will be made that affect the taxpayers of Plattsburgh. Being an elected official at any level brings a serious responsibility. I had several meetings as usual throughout the month. I met with Kirk Stallsmith who is vice president of operations at Georgia Pacific. GP is so important to our city and region. One of my priorities is to create a new city Web site. I met with Peter Ensel and Tim Clukey from PSUC to seek their ideas. I had met with Rick Dodge from Media Central as well. I had lunch with my friend, PSUC president John Ettling. The discussion focused on center city issues and opportunities to share services for both the city and the college in the future. I attended the Strictly Business Legislative Forum which included a group of well respected and experienced local leaders. We discussed a number of issues which included the vision of our region, statewide issues and concerns, and the strengths of the North Country and its workforce. I met with the staff of DEC to discuss a boat launch project at the mouth of the Saranac River. I attended several meetings with our Community Development staff to discuss ongoing issues with downtown grant funding projects. As is always the case, controversial issues such as the Federal Building, the new sidewalk snow removal law, and bargaining unit negotiations took place. As I learned many years ago, you cannot please everyone especially in politics. We just do the best we can! In closing, I wish everyone a Happy New Year. We all have so much to be grateful for and I am confident 2008 will be a good year for the North Country!