March City Council Preview

City Counselors

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, so you know what that means…another installment of Geneva’s City Council!  Check out the information below to see what’s on the agenda tonight, and stop by to watch Geneva advance toward our vision!

Here’s what’s up this month:

Presentation–Energy Benchmarking and PACE Financing Programs

What it is:  The City of Geneva is a participant in New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program, which charges us with promoting energy efficiency and climate care strategies in our municipal operations and community development initiatives.  Tonight, Council will hear a presentation on two programs that will support our energy efficiency goals.  The Municipal Building Benchmarking program challenges us to track energy performance in our municipal facilities, and gauge our efforts against other participating communities.  The PACE energy financing program utilizes assessments on participating properties to finance energy upgrades, including solar projects, window replacement, HVAC improvements etc.  The financing instrument is tied to the property, and annual payments are billed as part of property taxes.  This program is intended to help property owners bring their buildings in line with the latest in energy saving technology.

Why it’s important:  The Comprehensive Plan charges us with taking measures to ensure solid environmental stewardship, and has specific performance targets relative to energy and carbon footprint reductions.  Before passage, Council will need to determine whether these programs address these goals.

What action is Council taking:  Tonight’s presentation is for information only.  These changes must be addressed through local laws.  Council will consider scheduling public hearings on the programs, to be held in April, and may formally take up the measures in May.

Authorization of Linden Street Seasonal Closures

What it is:  For the past two summers, property owner and merchants along Linden Street have requested closure of the street for outdoor entertainment and dining on weekends throughout the summer.  City Council is again being asked to support this closure program.  Merchants and owners are requesting that the street be closed from 5p to 3a on Friday night, and from 5p Saturday through midnight on Sunday.  The group is proposing to provide a dedicated phone number and contact person for each closure, and to conclude any outdoor entertainment at 10p.  Closures are proposed from May 1st through Columbus Day.

Why it’s important:  The Comprehensive Plan charges us with maintaining urban vibrancy and sustaining downtown as a center of activity.  Council will determine whether the proposed closures address these goals.

What action is Council taking:  Council is being asked to approve the proposed closure schedule.  They may consider amendments before determining the final schedule.

Discussion Regarding Appointments to Boards and Commissions

What it is:  The City Charter calls for City Council to appoint members to most City Boards and Commissions.  Three years ago, City Council modified the manner in which members were recommended for appointment; charging Council liaisons with reviewing candidate qualifications and making recommendations to the full Council for appointments.  Council will review that policy tonight to determine if it is meeting their engagement goals.

Why it’s important:  The Comprehensive Plan calls for us to take actions that capitalize on the talent and contribution of our residents.  Council will determine whether the current process addresses this need.

What action is Council taking:  Council may consider changes to the way that appointments are made.   No defined action is under consideration at this time.

Actions Regarding Lakefront Boat Trailer Parking

What it is:  Based upon feedback from Lakefront Park users, staff is working to manage parking considerations for all vehicles at the park.  Staff is proposing a parking permit system, which would provide for no-cost permits for residents and daily permit fees for non-residents for boat trailers at the City’s boat launch.  Trailers parked with no permit would be levied a fine under the City’s vehicle and traffic ordinance.

Why it’s important:  The Comprehensive Plan charges us with enhancing recreational opportunities in the City.  Council will determine whether the proposed changes address this goal.

What action is City Council taking:  An ordinance providing for permitted parking of boat trailers will be considered for first reading.  A resolution is under consideration that sets fees for non-resident trailer parking at $10 per day.

Discussion Regarding Gateway Parcel Redevelopment

What it is:  As part of the City’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Redevelopment Plan, the City has partnered with the Industrial Development Agency and the Local Development Corporation to acquire parcels at the corner of North Exchange Street and East North Street.  A request for proposals is currently under consideration by multiple developers, interested in pursuing mixed-use opportunities at the site.  The partners have not identified a preferred purchaser.  As part of development planning, staff is proposing to consolidate the parcels into a single unit to support shovel readiness.

Why it’s important:  The Comprehensive Plan charges us with taking actions to support our urban vibrancy and financial position.  Prior to approval of a redevelopment plan, Council must determine that proposed actions will advance these goals.

What action is Council taking:  This item is on the agenda for discussion purposes only.  Any future action relative to sale or transfer of these parcels will require a public hearing and super-majority vote of Council.

Amendments to the Solid Waste Ordinance

What it is:  The City’s Green Committee has completed an extensive review of the City’s solid waste ordinance, as it relates to the licensing of haulers collecting waste from City residences and businesses.  Proposed amendments include changes to collection days and times, transparency of rates, and a focus on recycling.

Why it’s important:  The Comprehensive Plan charges us with increasing recycling and landfill diversion rates, in addition to overall environmental stewardship and sustainability.  City Council must determine whether proposed changes address these goals.

What action is Council taking:  City Council is considering first reading of the ordinance changes.  Final approval requires two affirmative votes of a majority of the Council.  If approved, the second reading will be held in April.

Resolution Declaring Certain Items as Surplus

What it is:  From time to time, City equipment is of such an age or condition that it is no longer useful for municipal services.  In order to dispose of it, City Council must determine that no continued public value can be derived from use.

Why it’s important:  The Comprehensive Plan charges us with protecting the financial position of the City.  City Council must determine whether the proposed action will advance this goal.

What action Council is taking:  City Council will consider a resolution determining that the equipment has no further public value, and authorizing staff to dispose of it.

Resolution Ratifying Appointment of Zoning Board of Appeals Chair

What it is:  The Zoning Board of Appeals is charged with considering exceptions to the City’s zoning code.  The City Charter charges Council with appointment of the Chair.  The Board has recommended Joe Commesso of Geneva as Chairman.

Why it’s important:  The Comprehensive Plan calls for us to take actions that capitalize on the talent and contribution of our residents.  Council will determine whether the proposed appointment addresses this need.

The full agenda can be found here.  The meeting begins at 7p at the Public Safety Building, at 255 Exchange Street.  Don’t forget that all regular Council meetings are broadcast live on Finger Lakes Television. so if you can’t make it in person, get your popcorn and settle in for the show!

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