The month of August brought some hot and humid weather. It is also the time of year when summer is ending and fall begins. This change brings home grown vegetables, apples, cooler weather, and Battle of Plattsburgh activities. The PSUC students return and our summer work involving paving projects, sidewalk work, and mowing will slowly change to other responsibilities.
We have begun our 2012 budget work which will be very challenging due to the new Tax Cap legislation. We will do our best to keep tax and utility rates stable as possible. I attended the Battle of Plattsburgh press conference and am continually amazed at the ever growing list of events each year. I have always said this is the premier event in the North Country. I was appointed to the North Country Regional Economic Council and attended a meeting in Potsdam which hopefully will result in new development projects throughout the entire North Country. The Lois McClure docked at Wilcox Dock and provided public tours of the 1862 class sailing canal boat led by a good friend of mine, Art Cohn. City staff and I continue to meet with FEMA representatives attempting to finalize funding for flood damages. Although this is a work in progress and I appreciate FEMA staff efforts, I am extremely disappointed that no individual assistance funding was given to North Country residents although Vermont residents did receive funding.
I continue to address the daily constituent problems, concerns, and complaints. This and personnel issues are the part of the job which actually take more of my time than the public realizes. Some day I should write a book on what I have seen and dealt with all these years as an alderman, a NYS Parks regional director, and mayor! It would be interesting reading!
In closing, my favorite month is September and I am looking forward to all the wonderful weather and events in the fall. The challenges in City Hall are always there regardless what month it is. We will continue to do our best for the residents of the North Country!
Don Kasprzak is the mayor of the city of Plattsburgh.
It is amazing how quickly we are reminded of our limitations and the power and fury of Mother Nature! Once again we have had our patience, determination and resources challenged. This year, more than any in recent memory, we have faced obstacles and challenges that few are ever really prepared to encounter. Once again, North Country emergency responders and neighbors came together to do what they could and what was necessary during and following Tropical Storm Irene. Our volunteer fire departments were especially helpful during this incident. Their work helped make it possible for town highway crews to get out and begin their work. Utilities were also severely taxed during this time but they too focused their efforts and restored services in a timely manner. The challenges have varied from home to home and business to business but, again, we will go on and embrace our future with even greater determination.
It has been a most trying year with our regional needs and recovery efforts as well as the economic challenges many continue to deal with. Though it is often difficult, the town of Plattsburgh will continue to work to build our future, invest in our infrastructure and make decisions that will benefit existing homeowners and businesses as well as attract new business to our municipality. We must bring “things” back to the way they were before this most recent weather incident and keep our focus on a better future.
Hopefully, my next writing will be done without having had another weather related issue of this magnitude. Still, as I listened and watched the many challenges other municipalities are facing in the North Country and across the country, I am again reminded what a very special place we live in and how fortunate we really are!
Remember, our children are back in school so please drive carefully during morning and afternoon commute.
Bernie Bassett is the supervisor of the town of Plattsburgh.