December is always a challenging month as we all wait for the winter weather to change. If snow arrives, then we begin to deal with all the issues associated with snow plowing, shoveling, driving inconveniences, and safety conditions. We were fortunate this December as the weather cooperated and no huge storms arrived. I am sure, however, they are on the way!
I have always been proud of the generosity of the people of the North Country, especially during the holidays. The contributions to the Salvation Army, The Christmas Bureau, Toys for Tots and all the other holiday agencies is very impressive. This year was no exception and one other wonderful act of kindness worth mentioning was the dinner provided to the needy by Harold and Betty Benjamin of Benji's Caf . They held a holiday dinner and served hundreds of dinners through donations and the hard work from them and many volunteers. Leisa and David Boise assisted with dinner seating at their downtown business, Villari's Self Defense Center. Harold mentioned to me he plans on making this a yearly event.
My schedule was busy as usual with meetings throughout the month. I attended the open house at the new indoor storage facility, Lucenda's, located at the old Bouyea Baking Company Building. The business is being managed by Lori and Mark Allen. Sunrise Rotarians and the city are working together as partners to plan, market, and run the 2010 Mayor's Cup and Regatta which I am confident will be a success. I attended a press event for the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum announcing a February funding wine tasting and auction to benefit their Kid's Museum. I performed a wedding ceremony for a wonderful young couple and attended a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce with local business leaders addressing the Pfizer situation, which is being handled as best it can in light of the decision to reduce hundreds of jobs.
Regarding city business, budget sessions continue to be held by the Common Council. They are considering changes to my budget and must vote on the official 2010 budget by the second Thursday in January per Charter Law. Constituent complaints and concerns are dealt with on a daily basis as best we can. Union negotiations, grievances, and personnel issues continue which are always interesting.
2010 will bring many challenges to the city of Plattsburgh and the entire region. My hope is our elected officials in Washington and Albany understand the struggles people are facing and do what is in the best interests of the majority and not special interests.
Happy New Year to everyone!
Donald Kasprzak is the mayor of the city of Plattsburgh. His column appears regularly in the Clinton County Free Trader Today.