It’s the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it’s time for another City Council session. Here’s what’s on tap for tonight:
What it is: City Council has charged staff with providing an update to the community on matters related to the environmental remediation of the neighborhoods surrounding the former Geneva Foundry, and the Foundry site itself, each month as part of the regular course of business on the agenda.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with being good stewards to the environment and engaging and providing a voice to all community members. Staff will be providing critical information each month on activities underway by the DEC and their contractors, as well as progress reports toward critical project milestones. This information will also be published on the City’s website each month, with interim information distributed via our E-Newsletter.
What action is Council taking: This item is intended to provide information, and doesn’t have any specific Council action. See below for an action item on the Foundry project.
Public Hearings–Geneva Gateway Project (7/11 East North Street, 14 N. Exchange St.)
What it is: The City acquired properties located at 7 and 11 East North Street, and 14 North Exchange Street for the purposes of redevelopment. City Council is considering transfer of those properties to the Geneva Industrial Development Agency and Local Development Corporation, who have acquired several adjacent parcels. This hearing is to determine if there is any further municipal use for the properties.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with building Geneva’s economy. The Brownfield Opportunity Area Plan and Comprehensive Plan both identify the corner of North and Exchange Streets as a key corridor into Geneva. Consolidation of these parcels and marketing of the site to appropriately designed and programmed projects will be impactful to our corridor goals.
What action is Council taking: This is an opportunity for Council to hear from the public on the continued municipal use at this site. There is no action contemplated at this meeting.
Discussion Regarding Rules of Procedure
What it is: Several years ago, City Council adopted a set of rules of procedure for the conduct of Council meetings. This item is set to review those rules and determine if they remain appropriate. Of particular interest to Council is the conduct of public comment.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with creating and maintaining processes to give a voice to all community members. Productive and orderly meetings provide for the best results. Council must balance the need to advance agenda items with the critical nature of public feedback. That is the goal of the rules of procedure.
What action is Council taking: No formal action is anticipated for tonight. Council may charge staff with drafting revisions for future consideration.
Resolution Addressing Public Concerns Regarding the Former Geneva Foundry
What it is: The remediation of the neighborhoods surrounding the former Geneva Foundry property, as well as the Foundry site itself represents a set of complex issues pursuant to over a century of activity in the area. City Council is seeking via this resolution, to provide a factual history of the acquisition of the Foundry site, and City and State activity relative to environmental investigation. In addition, Council is seeking to address constituent concerns by developing multiple avenues for information sharing and feedback from the public, and to pressure the State to accelerate cleanup efforts.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with being good stewards to the environment and engaging and providing a voice to all community members. The City is seeking to hear resident concerns and quickly and effectively address them. This resolution provides information on the history of the project, clarifies existing rules of procedure relative to formal public comment, and develops multiple avenues for information sharing and feedback on project activities.
What action is Council taking: Council is considering adoption of a resolution that provides history on the project, clarifies rules of procedure for public comment, and directs staff to develop feedback loops.
Solid Waste Hauler Licensing Ordinance–2nd Reading and Adoption
What it is: The City’s Green Committee has worked to refine the licensing regulations for solid waste haulers in Geneva. The ordinance amends a decades-old program by modernizing fees and insurance requirements, bolstering recycling efforts, and limiting traffic by haulers on City streets.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with conserving and protecting our natural resources. Landfill diversion and the effective collection of solid waste contribute to the City’s quality of life strategies. This ordinance addresses these issues, while preserving the current hauling program in Geneva.
What action is Council taking: Council is holding second reading on this ordinance, which if passed, will result in its implementation.
Discussion Regarding Keeping of Hens
What it is: Earlier this year, City Council received a presentation from a resident seeking to change the current regulations regarding the keeping of animals in the City. The current law, found in Chapter 77 of the City Code prohibits the keeping of fowl except in two zoning districts. Council is reviewing the proposal to determine if a change in the law is warranted.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with reducing our environmental footprint. The keeping of chickens, in particular, in urban areas has expanded in recent years. City Council is seeking to weigh the environmental benefits of henkeeping against the potential quality of life issues for neighboring property owners.
What action is Council taking: This item is set for discussion at this meeting. City Council may direct staff to develop the necessary ordinance changes to support a shift in current regulations.
Discussion Regarding Board and Commission Appointment Process
What it is: City Council has established a policy that charges staff with a broad outreach effort to build interest in serving on Boards and Commissions. Using information generated in this effort, Council liaisons to Boards and Commissions are charged with conducting interviews and selecting the best candidates for the available seats. City Council is considering an evaluation of this approach to see how improvements may be made.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with leveraging the talent and creativity of our residents. Participation on Boards and Commissions is a critical element of leveraging this talent.
What action is Council taking: This item is set for discussion only. Council may elect to modify its approach for upcoming appointments.
Resolution Ratifying Public Art Committee Recommendation–Lakefront Shade Structures
What it is: The City is completing work on Phases II and III of the lakefront amenities program. The final elements of these phases are the installation of shade structures at the end of East Castle Street. A design competition was hosted by the Public Art Committee, and submissions from around the world were received. The Committee held public input sessions and sought feedback from constituents. Based on this feedback, a recommendation has been developed to select the final design.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with preservation and enhancement of our lakefront. This project will provide a much needed amenity to support recreational and leisure activities at the site.
What action is Council taking: Council is considering ratification of the Committee’s recommendation, which would result in awarding of the contract for installation. If awarded, installation would occur prior to the 2018 spring/summer season.
Resolutions Establishing Public Hearings–Grant Program Feedback/Sale of Public Property
What it is: Three separate resolutions are being considered to schedule public hearings on various activities. The first is to establish a public hearing on projects executed under the Community Development Block Grant program. These include the Microenterprise Assistance Program and business expansion efforts. Hearings are also being scheduled to solicit feedback on continued municipal use of 121 North Genesee Street and 39 North Exchange Street.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with creating and maintaining a process that engages the community and provides a voice to its members. Public hearings are one opportunity to gauge public interest in a project.
What action is Council taking: Council is considering scheduling hearings on these matters for their June session.
Resolution Authorizing Labor Agreement–Firefighters
What it is: The City is host to six labor units, representing the majority of City employees. The Geneva Firefighters Union is seeking a new labor agreement, to replace their last contract, which expired on December 31st.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with being fiscally responsible and aligning investments with our vision. City Council must balance management of financial resources with providing a competitive environment that attracts the best talent.
What action is Council taking: Council is considering approval of the agreement, which would extend firefighter benefits through 2019.
Resolution Amending Street Inventory
What it is: The City provides the State with an inventory of all City-owned streets. This serves as the basis for state aid associated with street maintenance.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with paying for infrastructure via City resources or funding sources that align with the plan. An accurate street inventory ensures that state resources are appropriately deployed.
What action is Council taking: Council is considering amendment of the current inventory to include two small segments of streets inadvertently omitted from the current list.
Discussion Regarding Equitable Hiring Policy
What it is: A member of City Council is seeking to formalize policies to ensure that hiring practices are equitable and appropriate.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with improving the growth of economic status of Geneva residents and valuing the talents and contribution of all residents. Appropriate hiring practices will ensure that talent acquisition is optimal.
What action is Council taking: This item is for discussion only. Council will determine the best next steps toward addressing the issue.
Discussion Regarding State Park Land Swap
What it is: The City of Geneva owns approximately 7 acres at the northeast corner of the entrance to the Seneca Lake State Park. The Park owns several acres of waterfront inside the City limits. The state has suggested a swap of the two parcels to advance each agency’s goals.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with protecting and enhancing our lakefront. This proposal will enhance contiguous acreage of lake frontage immediately adjacent to our lakefront property.
What action is Council taking: This item is for discussion only. Council will determine whether staff should pursue terms of an agreement, and make a final determination at a later date.
Discussion Regarding Site Proposal–Skate Park
What it is: As part of its 2017 budget, City Council provided funding to support design of a skate park in or around downtown. The Finger Lakes Skateboard Club has developed a conceptual design and is seeking site location opportunities.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with enhancing our recreational amenities, as well as leveraging the talent of our residents. This effort is a grass roots approach toward amenity design and financing, and supports expansion of recreational offerings
What action is Council taking: This item is for discussion only. Council may direct staff to develop analyses for proposed sites.
Appointments–Human Rights Commission
What it is: The Geneva Human Rights Commission is charged with executing strategies to provide for equal opportunity for all residents. Council is considering filling of a vacancy on the Board.
Why it’s important: The Comprehensive Plan charges us with leveraging the talent and contributions of all residents. Service on a Board or Commission is a critical vehicle for addressing this charge.
What action is Council taking: Council will consider qualifications of the applicant and determine if an appointment is appropriate.
Plenty of great information and discussion to be had tonight! If you can’t make it (or can’t stay for the whole thing!) check us out live and in replay all month on Finger Lakes TV.