JAMESTOWN – The City of Jamestown has received some good news from the state’s Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments.
On Monday night, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi updated Jamestown City Council members on recommendations from the board – which was created in 2013 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to assist municipalities with identifying ways to reduce the cost of government.
Teresi said that the board has returned with a five point plan of action for the city, which includes a financial contribution from the state along with several recommendations. According to the mayor, a total of $250,000 will be given to Jamestown to help payoff a $3 million bonding initiative approved by the city council in January. The money from the bond initiative will be used to purchase several pieces of DPW equipment, along with several capital improvements.
During Monday night’s work session, the mayor said the state has agreed to chip in a portion of funding to help pay off the bond, primarily because the money is being used for energy-efficient projects.
“The state’s position is that they see that as a restructuring initiative because it has a long-ranging, recurring savings value to the community as we change out less energy efficient equipment and replace it with more energy efficient equipment. So $250,000 cash will be allocated to the city that we can use in the coming year to apply against the debt service for that latest round of borrowing that the council approved,” Teresi said.
In addition to the $250,000 award, the restructuring board’s action plan also made several other recommendations. They include:
- The development of a transition plan to converts city street lights to more energy-efficient bulbs;
- Encouraging the state legislature to go forward with the city’s request to develop a Parking Fine Adjudication Board (Tribunal);
- Working with neighboring municipalities to develop other consolidation and shared service projects that would result in lower costs and better efficiencies;
- Continuing the effort to finalize a Police Consolidation Study between the Jamestown Police Department and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.
The mayor said this action plan was really just the initial phase of the board’s involvement with the city, and it board may return with other recommendations in the future. He said that partly hinges on his Government Efficiency Task Force, which is currently working on identifying various cost savings measures that can be taken up by both the city and/or Board of public utilities.
Any municipality that participates in the State’s Financial Restructuring Board program is eligible to receive a maximum of $5 million in state aid and the mayor said more funding may find its way to Jamestown, depending on how the city proceeds with continuing to identify cost-saving projects. Participation with the board is voluntary and the city is not required to follow through on any or all of the recommendations that are made.
Mayor Teresi will provide more details on the restructuring board’s recommendations later this week when he appears on WRFA’s Community Matters public affairs program, airing at 6 p.m. Thursday.