City to use Bacon for programs


Recorder News Staff

The city of Amsterdam will soon be offering programs for the youth through the use of the former Clara S. Bacon school building owned by the Greater Amsterdam School District.

At Wednesday evening's Common Council meeting in City Hall, city recreation Director Rob Spagnola told the mayor and council that the use of the building will be advantageous to the children in the city.

"They're allowing us to use the Bacon school year round for activities in the gym and upstairs in the amphitheater free of charge," he explained. "I think it's a great move on their behalf ... and I think it's a great benefit to the community."

After-school and weekend activities will come from using the building and can encompass activities for kids in high school, young adults, and older.

"I really think it's going to be a great benefit to the kids."

Spagnola said that the new assistant recreation director, who will start soon and work year round for 20 hours a week, will work on setting up the schedule for this location.

Fees for those attending the events will be kept low and games, prizes, and contests will all be a part of the plans.

"I think it's really going to take off right from the get-go," he said.

Other updates he gave the council focused on the sale of the docks that were damaged at Riverlink Park last year during the floods, the conclusion of the first year using the event tent at Riverlink Park, and some of the projects that they are moving ahead with at Shuttleworth Park, including fixing the dam that had been broken.

First Ward Alderman Joseph Isabel chimed in at the end of Spagnola's update, saying he was happy to see a Union College bus driving around the city.

Spagnola told the council that the college had been bringing about 40 or 50 people twice a week -- now it's down to 30 -- to the park and although the long-term arrangement between the city and college to use the field is not signed, he thinks they are very close.

Later in the meeting, Amsterdam city Controller Ronald Wierzbicki began to answer for the council a list of questions that he was sent from Mayor Ann Thane recently.

But after reading a few responses, Wierzbicki was told that the council already had the copy of his responses, and he continued with his regular report.

The responses from Wierzbicki did include information on the Annual Update Document that the city is expected to submit to the state by November 1.

Wierzbicki's response said that no one is currently working on it because the submission for fiscal year ending on June 30, 2011, has not yet been accepted in its entirety by the Office of the State Comptroller.

Wierzbicki's responses also included information on where the city is in regard to the recently approved capital purchasing plan and the need for the Capital Projects Fund in the city's financial records to have an "extensive examination," among other topics.

The final response on his list detailed that he contacted the Office of the State Comptroller this week to request that a financial audit be performed of the city's financial records.

He said in his response letter that he sent a list of the needs in a letter to the state office on Tuesday.

As for the position the controller was interested in having for his department, 4th Ward Alderman David Dybas said at the meeting Wednesday that he would like a statement of justification for the needed position and restructuring in the controller's office.

"If you can justify the need for this person, I have no problem, but I have seen no justification, I have seen no job description and I guess that's too much to ask for," Dybas said.

Wierzbicki told the council that he is working on a job description.

As the council meeting continued, council members and the mayor accepted resolutions that awarded a bid for resurfacing more than $420,000 worth of streets in the city, authorized the finalization of the fiscal year ending in 2012, and made various budget amendments.

An ordinance was also accepted that amended sidewalk construction material requirements and prohibition of unauthorized removal of sidewalks and curbs.

A second ordinance amended the speed limits on two streets.

Church Street was accepted to be 25 mph from the intersection with Prospect Avenue northwest to the city line, and Clizbe Avenue from the city line to Church Street and Cornell Street was taken off the list, no longer being listed as a 25 mph street within the city.