JAMESTOWN – Mayor Sam Teresi delivered his annual state of the city address Monday night.
The mayor passed on verbally reviewing the accomplishments from the past year during his address to the Jamestown City Council and also passed on laying out the more than five dozen objectives he has planned for the new year (all of which can be found in his written report at the city website).
Instead, Teresi spent time thanking the city employees and members of his administration who help in the day-to-day operation of city government, while also taking some time highlighting a few initiatives that he felt were worth mentioning.
Among the goals for city government in 2019, Teresi focused on education, saying city officials need to remain vested and supportive of the efforts of the Jamestown Public Schools district as well as Jamestown Community College and Jamestown Business College.
“We need to remain vested in and supportive of the efforts of our colleagues on Martin Road to protect, build upon, celebrate and market the attributes of our outstanding public school system and the young people they are molding into the leaders of tomorrow. Quite possibly, from a long-term standpoint, this may be the single most important thing we can be doing to attract residents, businesses, jobs and tax base into our city,” Teresi said. “On the higher education front, we must support and the development and expansion of two of our most significant engines, Jamestown Business College (JBC) and Jamestown Community College (JCC).”
He also highlighted the need for improving transportation corridors in and out of the city – specifically urging the state to make improvements to the area of Route 60 that stretches 24 miles from the NY Thruway to the North in Dunkirk to Interstate 86 at the city border.
“If we aspire to grow our economy in the increasingly competitive 21st century, we must have a safe, efficient and inviting north-south traffic artery that connects our County’s two major urban areas and our only two Interstate Highways. Furthermore, a Route 60 that has the capability of moving traffic in a modern, fast and safe fashion is absolutely essential if we are going to attract more commerce to our region from Pennsylvania, fully benefit from our proximity to both the flourishing Buffalo-Niagara and Canadian markets and encourage visitors to travel here and support our growing tourism and hospitality sectors,” Teresi said, adding that getting commercial airline service back to the Jamestown airport was also crucial to making the city a tourism destination.
And the mayor also highlighted the importance of getting the city prepared for the 2020 census, saying accurate population numbers are extremely important in making sure the city gets its fair share of aid from both the state and federal government during the new upcoming decade.
The mayor also said a multi-million dollar Capitol infrastructure and improvement program will be undertaken by the city in 2019 and while he didn’t provide specific numbers in his address to the city council, he did offer more details to the media following the council meeting.
“It’s going to be somewhere north of $10 million – probably in the $12 million to $15 million range. We’re looking to be able to get a portion of that grant-funded to the city. Some of it – the utility type items – will be covered by our BPU enterprise funds. And other items will be part of a bond initiative,” the mayor added. “We are scheduled to pay off some older debt, retiring some older debt with bond money coming off the books and adding more – we’re quite hopeful and confident that adding the even new debt coming onto the books is going to be expenditure-neutral in the budgets coming in the future.”
Wrapping up his state of the city, Teresi acknowledged that Jamestown officials will once again undertake an ambitious agenda that will likely be criticized by some in the community, but urged the council and city officials to stay positive and strong. He also asked residents for their understanding and patience, while also urging them to work with and support city officials in the weeks and months ahead.