Town of DeWitt Supervisor Accomplishments

Town of DeWitt Supervisor Accomplishments

 

 

I am committed to making DeWitt a community where people want
to live, worship, work, shop and play.

 

Town Board
• Pledge of Allegiance: Instituted the policy of beginning each Board meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
• Committees and Commissions: Made all appointments based on qualifications, not political affiliation.

Transparency
• Opened Board to the public: residents are invited to present their concerns at the beginning of each meeting.
• Notice to nearby residents: Implemented policies of contacting the press, conducting informational meetings, and posting project notice signs so neighbors are aware of pending proposals affecting neighborhoods.
• Traveling Town Board Meetings: Conducted informational meetings in East Syracuse Fire Department Station No. 2, Park Hill School, Village of East Syracuse Municipal building and Jamesville Elementary School in order to get closer to residents and allow greater public participation.

Budget
• NYS tax cap: Maintained Town budgets below tax cap for 10 years; 0.5% in 2017.
• Grants Program: Aggressively sought and obtained over $3,000,000 to lessen cost load on DeWitt’s taxpayers.
• Engineering costs: Lowered costs by over %5000,000 per year.

Property Taxes
• Held the line on property taxes: less than 1% annual average budget increase over past 10 years after years of double digit increases under prior administrations.
• Loss of sales tax revenue: Avoided large property tax increases seen in other major Towns (used a planned step down of sales tax revenues placed in a reserve fund).

Employees
• Union contracts: Negotiated and settled with blue collar, white collar, and supervisory collective bargaining units of the Civil Service Employees Association and DeWitt Police Benevolent Association.
• Compensation:
  – Granted 2% annual raises for multiple years with increased benefits,
     yet still maintained a budget under the NYS tax cap (<0.5% in
     2017).
  – Established a schedule of annual step pay raises based on seniority.
     Treatment of employees was inconsistent and unfair across
     Departments under prior CSEA and PBA contracts. Town will realize
     significant long term savings through future retirements.
• Employment policy and procedures: instituted fair and consistent work practices via co-authored employee handbook, and implemented annual performance reviews for all permanent employees .

Consolidation and Shared Services
• Police Departments: Consolidated Town of DeWitt and Village of East Syracuse.
• Tax Receiver and Town Clerk Offices: Brought forth referendum, consolidated, saving over $50,000 per year.
• Onondaga’s County Purchasing System: First Town to join. Also instituted a Town-wide purchasing policy across departments, saving thousands of dollars annually.
• Snowplow sharing agreement with Onondaga County.
• Government Modernization: Hosted Forum to improve efficiencies and lower costs.
• Consolidated Offices: Renovated, reconfigured, and reorganized; instituted worker sharing policy across departments.
• Consolidated Billing and National Grid: By organizing hundreds of monthly payments according to facility, street light, water pump, and sewer pump; saving hundreds of hours of administrative time.
• Water Utility Costs Evaluation: With the Onondaga County Water Authority (OCWA); both parties concluded the Town of DeWitt provides water at lower costs than OCWA.
• Tax certiorari cases: Share costs and work collaboratively with East Syracuse-Minoa School District.

Environment
• Established a Sustainability Policy, Sustainability Plan, Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Climate Action Plan, Tree Inventory, Forest Management Plan, and No Pesticide Use Policy (see website: www.townofdewitt.com).
• Member of ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability.
• Tree Planting: Free to residents; planted over 1000 new trees throughout the Town to date.
• Emerald Ash Borer: First municipal program in Onondaga County; inoculated and saved over 200 ash trees.
• Tree City USA: Recognized by National Arbor Day Foundation.
• Tree Ordinance and Tree Committee: Enacted to protect and promote trees in public spaces. Trees provide oxygen and clean air, shelter and shade, moderate temperature, high winds and noise, mitigate storm water, and increase property values. Fewer power outages experienced during storms because large breakable trees will not be planted near power lines.
• Solar Power Systems: Enacted an alternate energy code.
• Lighting: Updated Town facilities with 50% cost grants from National Grid. Over 700 light fixtures were replaced with new T8 fluorescent bulbs, thereby lowering lighting costs by 55% and reducing our CO2 output by over 145,000 pounds annually.
• Roof: Replaced the 20-year-old leaking roof at Town Hall with an insulated white energy efficient PVC membrane that will lower heating and cooling costs.
• Roof-top Solar Array: Installed a 50kw solar panel system reducing electric utility costs by 15%.
• Carbon Footprint Reduction: Implemented a multitude of projects and practices; reduced number of copiers and printers, use electronic letterhead, moved to paperless wherever possible, consolidated purchasing, use green cleaning materials.
• Electric Vehicles: Purchasing a Chevy volt and two bolts
• Electric Charging Stations: Installed at Town Hall by years end.
• Air Quality: Worked with DEC, Syracuse Hancock Airport, and C&S Engineers in resolving problem of fugitive odors emanating into Collamer neighborhood from holding ponds storing airplane de-icing fluids.
• DEC Commissioner: Visited Albany and obtained air testing for Jamesville and Boulder Heights.
• Lobbying: Continued for off-site monitoring of the incinerator to County Legislature, Health Department and DEC; filed public comments with DEC; requested for residents greater safeguards from emissions.
Moving DeWitt: Championed sidewalks and creation of a sidewalk policy; integrated sidewalks into major construction projects (Thompson Rd, Jamesville Rd, North St, Bridge St, Rt 173, Park Hill, etc); advocate a Town wide benefits district to construct and maintain sidewalks and bike paths along major transportation corridors.
• Cleanup: Worked with National Grid and others to cleanup several dumping grounds along utility rights-of-way.
• Stopped the Coal Gasification Plant in Jamesville: protected school and neighborhood via rezoning; applied for several grants to demolish the abandoned Alpha Portland Cement Plant and cleanup the distressed industrial site.
• Volume-based Solid Waste Removal System: To limit truck traffic, allow off-curb service for those in need, and promote recycling; implemented recycling and composting practices at Town Hall.
• MegaWatt Solar Farm: Being built on the Town landfill, which will account for 100% of Town’s electricity (all street lights, water and sewer pumps, all town buildings and facilities), thereby totally eliminating the Town’s use of fossil fuels for electricity.

Neighborhoods and Planning
• Zombie Property Restoration: Established the only municipal program to restore and return bank foreclosed and dilapidated homes to private ownership, helping maintain property values and preserve neighborhoods.
• Deer Management and Control: Established Deer Task Force to work with DEC, ESF, Cornell Cooperative Extension and experts in developing an effective deer management program to reduce Lyme Disease, automobile accidents, ecosystem destruction, and nuisance fecal deposition and yard damage. Culls expected this Winter. (Natural habitats possess about 8.5 deer per square mile; DeWitt has greater than 95 deer per square mile.)
• Comprehensive Plan: Updated the Town’s zoning code for the first time in 50 years. Established a long range Comprehensive Planning Committee that continually updates, refines and fulfills the Comprehensive plan. Mixed use business development opportunities being added along major commercial corridors throughout the Town.
• Jamesville Hamlet Master Plan: Developed by and for the residents and businesses; set goals and future improvements.
• Architectural design zoning overlay district: for the hamlet of Jamesville; vision to promote cottage industry business and the look of a New England mill town.
• Long-term plans for reclamation and redevelopment: Working with property owners of blighted commercial and industrial facilities at Shoppingtown, New Venture Gear, Thompson Rd Corridor, Alpha-Portland Cement and Carrier Circle; continue to pursue opportunities to develop green industries, businesses, and residential communities.
• Energy Committee: Established to explore alternate energy systems and the possibility of establishing a public power entity in DeWitt to lower long-term electricity costs.
• Conservation overlay district: To protect wetlands and flood plains from encroachment and further development.

Parks
• Town Park System: Aggressively pursuing expansion of parks and green space to improve the quality of life, preserve and increase property values.
• Willis Carrier Park: Negotiated land donation from the Carrier Corporation; Home of the Syracuse Challenger Baseball Program, completed Phase 1 construction.
• Fiddlers Green Park: Helped to establish on Butternut Creek; serve as founding Director of Fiddlers Green Park Association; expanded Park by acquiring two neighboring properties in 2016 and 2017.
• Cedar Bay Park: Acquired from NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation; performed extensive cleanup and re-organized Canal Day to focus on the canal and its history.
• Maxwell Park: Improved softball diamonds, upgraded Pavillons, and added three parcels of land in 2016.
• Butternut Creek Park: Trail between Wegman’s and Kinne Rd; added picnic area, raised wetland walk, vernal pool, signage, and connections to East Genesee St and the NYS Canal Park via bridge over the canal along the Gazebo.
• Green Space: Acquired 30 acres between Maple Dr and Rt 481; several acres at end of Buffington Rd; improved Avery Park.
• Pocket Parks: Established at Waldorf Parkway and Buffington Rd.

Business Development
• Howard Johnson’s on Carrier Circle: Brokered agreements between multiple parties for road access, property acquisition, brownfield reclamation, demolition, and redevelopment; new hotel construction scheduled for next Spring.
• Carrier Corp: Working to maintain a long-term local presence of important Engineering and Research jobs.
• Verizon: Negotiated contract allowing FIOS television and internet service providing an equal playing field and competition with Spectrum, opportunity for third-party vendors, and lower prices.
• New Venture Gear: Negotiated a step-down tax settlement with Magna that saved hundreds of thousands in tax dollars and tens of thousands in legal fees.
• City of Syracuse – Hancock Airport: Settled 8 year dispute, established framework for creating a Regional Airport Authority; protected long term taxpayer interests by: 1) retaining the right to set pilot tax agreements with any enterprise conducting for-profit business unrelated to public transportation such as that of an office park or shipping industry, 2) maintaining revenue via current PILOT agreements to the Town ($150,000 for 7 years, and $120,000 thereafter) and ESM ($270,000 for 7 years, then annual payment of $240,000, and $220,000 thereafter), and 3) the Town will appoint one Authority Board of Director.
• Small Business Aid: Navigating the bureaucracy for site modification and redevelopment.

Infrastructure
• Eruv Project: Supported on behalf of the Jewish Community.
• Senior Aging in Place: Established policy (see Sustainability); modified building code for inclusive design.
• Road Improvements: To preclude commercialization of residential strips, protect neighborhoods, increase pedestrian and traffic safety, including brick pavers, curbs, narrow shoulders, safe turning lanes, benches, ornate lighting, school crossings and speed zones, sidewalks, bike lanes, street trees, green space, fishing access, and parking (where appropriate) for projects such as Rt 173, Jamesville Rd, North St, Genesee St, Bridge St, Thompson Rd and Collamer Rd.
• Utilities: Established policy of reconstructing water, sewer, gas, and electric utilities (along with sidewalks, street trees and ornamental lighting) with major road projects. Infrastructure investments reduces the need for emergency repairs, lowers long-term costs, improves aesthetics, and increases property values.
• Park Hill Revitalization Project: Completed Phase 1 improving old infrastructure and enhancing property values into the future; developing plans for Phase 2.
• Jamesville Sewer Project: Applied, lobbied, and obtained multiple grants that lowered the average homeowner costs by more than $350 per year; added sidewalks and street trees.
• Nottingham Gas Station: Acquired and demolished the dilapidated eyesore after more than a decade of abandonment and neglect; providing green space will uphold nearby neighborhood property values and prevent property decay.
• Community Room at East Syracuse Fire Department Station No 2: Responsible for existence and fought for the right of volunteers to use the community room at no cost as a means to help promote volunteerism.
• North Town Ambulance District: Created to provide safe reliable emergency services at low cost, and to secure the future of East Area Volunteer Emergency Service (EAVES); also provided financing for the new EAVES Fly Road facility.
• East Syracuse Fire Department: Working with Village of East Syracuse officials to provide proper trucks, equipment, and staffing to maintain the highest standards in fire protection services.
• Jamesville Train Station: Remodeled and re-landscaped.
• Honorable Judge Jack Schultz Court Room: Remodeled and dedicated to our most beloved and longest serving Justice of 36 years.

Storm Water Management
• Ley Creek Watershed Ordinance: To require that the rate of storm water runoff from a site after a 100 storm event cannot exceed the amount of runoff from the same site after a 10 year storm event pre-development. This will mitigate flooding affects of future development on nearby neighborhoods.
• French Drain Systems: Established policy of constructing new or replacing old storm drains with perforated pipes that increase ground water infiltration, thereby lowering runoff, discharge to streams, and the potential for flooding.
• Porous Pavement: Advocated for use along street gutters to increase percolation and help drain streets.
• Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens: Installed at Town Hall, Jamesville Train Station, and Klim Center; established free rain barrel public outreach program.
• Storm Water Management Plan: Includes improvements to Ley Creek, a system of retention and detention basins to accommodate larger volumes from neighborhoods and slow water release to natural waterways, thereby reducing the threat of flooding; along with implementing a strategy to increase property owner installation of rain barrels, rain gardens, and trees plantings, and other amenities such as disconnect gutters to sewers, sump pumps, and sewer back check valves.