Archive for June, 2010

On 6/29/10 10:35 AM, “Bill Wills” wrote:

…I am requesting for our meeting on July 6th a report on what, in the absence of a roads program, is DPW working on. Thanks!

Alderman Wills

Date: June 29, 2010 5:13:08 PM EDT
To: Bill Wills

Hello Bill,

Of course, I have requested that we schedule one-on-one meetings repeatedly to discuss operations of all city departments, but haven’t heard back from you. Carol will send out the request again today.

As far as DPW, we just completed our meeting this morning. Over the past month, DPW has attended to the following:

Church Street:
• a section of compromised sewer main at the top of the hill has been replaced, so the residents at 307 will no longer have a problem in their basement. The crews will be by next week to shoot the main and clear it of gravel.

• milling will start next week on the sections we identified that have settled. The job is expected to take about a week to complete, with considerations given to weather, traffic control, etc.

Federal Stimulus Road Program completion:
Excavations, storm line repair, rubble fill, blacktop and sidewalks poured to finish off hydrant work on Guy Park Av. Work has also been performed at Edson & James, Clizbe and Florida Av.

Water lateral leaks have been addressed at: 42 Wilkes Av, 33 McClellan Av, 50 Green St, 52 Crane St, 298 East Main St, 104 Broome Av, 269 Division St, and 6 Vrooman Av. Situations still need to be addressed at: 310 East Main St, 9 Jay St, 303 Division St.

Water laterals have been reamed at: 15 William St, 324-326 Locust Av, and 416 Locust Av. Situations still need to be addressed at: 302 Locust Av.

Water Main Repairs have been addressed at: RT 30S by the Coastal Mart., East Main St, Lark St, and Broadway.

Fire Hydrants
• have been replaced at: Guy St, Wall St, and Garden St. We have fifteen other spots to attend to.
• McDonald Engineering working up a plan to test flow. We hope to implement the second half of July.

Shuttleworth Park: Millings spread for parking, concrete base poured for the flagpole

Sewer/Storm repairs:
• Excavations and repairs made a Vrooman & Hibbard, and at Academy St.
• Regular maintenance (flushing sanitary & storm mains, vacuuming out catch basins) continues around the city.
• Situations still need to be addressed at: Saratoga Horseworks on Edson St, Thomas St to Market St, on Academy St and Florida Av (egg-shaped clay tile piping replacement requires capital investment).

Additional scheduled work:
• Sink holes at Brandt Pl and McDowell St need repair
• Road work because of erosion at Steadwell Av as well as Daniel St.
• Valves must be replaced for flow testing at Mechanic & Garden Sts, Garden & Union Sts, and Union & Clayton St.
• Water Main Dead Ends need addressing at 10 separate sites because of dirty water
• Fire hydrants will be flushed next month
• A main on Northampton needs repaired, but is more complicated than anticipated as concrete was poured around the structure years ago. We will need to rent a pounder to excavate.
• A property on Clayton St is in need of attention, as there is potential for collapse after the demolition of an adjoining property. The County will be assisting us in this venture.

Forty-five men are being offered confined space training over a three day period (starting today) to satisfy PESH mandates. We will need to purchase equipment and AFD will need to be certified as the rescue team.

As far as the road program goes, Roseanne and Ray will visit the roads suggested for repair and make a recommendation next month as to which roads we will prepare for resurfacing, based on cost/need. We will have to transfer funds (which will be reimbursed by the state) by resolution in August to make funds available for the project. This is standard practice.

Other DPW/Engineering areas of interest:

• Unidentified smell at top of Broadway is being investigated. Has been discussed with McDonald Engineering – possible source: South Side pump station by Alpin Haus. We will have AFD monitor air quality at site before talking to Beechnut and Bill Strevy for remedy (possible solution may be the addition of a chemical feed pump to system to neutralize odor.)
• Catch basins that had been improperly installed by Cranbrook are being replaced by contractor at their expense.

Windswept Drive:
Improvements to water distribution system will result in greater water pressure on the hill. McDonald Engineering will notify the neighborhood of the change and make constituents aware that PRV’s (pressure regulating valves) are available for free upon request (paid for by the County).

Public Safety Building:
• HVAC system air quality survey complete. Air quality found to be below danger threshold, but staff is still concerned as some are exposed for 24-hours at a pop while on duty. The $20K estimate for cleaning has now ballooned to $30-40K (this cleaning was not allocated for in 2005 when improvements were made to the building).
• ADA access is an issue. Cuts in curbing and some ramping necessary at APD entrance. Erwin to contact Jim Burroughs to see if there is grant funding available for compliance. Liberty may be approached as well, as they paid for improvements here at City Hall in the past.

Tank replacements at DPW:
• Ray has been working closely with the state. They are impressed with our proactive response, stating we have “gone over and above” their expectations (please note that NYMIR was similarly impressed with our response to PESH concerns which netted us better rates)
• We are getting quotes to purchase replacement tanks.

Bridge Street:
• Final revisions to bid specs are back from state and we are giving them one last review here. We will be able to advertise on the 8th or 9th, with the bid opening slated for July 29th at the State’s request. Reconstruction to follow in August.
• Should bids come in low enough, we should consider purchasing property on Bridge Street for parking. We will request that the State reallocate the $393K granted for utility burials for construction of an city-owned, treed parking area.

Chalmers Demo:
Final bid specs have been dropped off. We will be meeting with the State Rep next week and advertise the following week. Demo will occur in the fall as anticipated.

City Hall Asbestos Removal:
Walk-thru completed last week. Bids were opened today. I haven’t received a report as to where they came in yet.

Trees Removal:
Quotes have come in around $3,500. We will need to wait until the new budget to implement.

City staff will be meeting to discuss a course of action. We will discuss how much is left in our coffers, prioritize our list of properties and figure out a schedule of work. We will follow up with the County the following week. We’d like to do abatements this summer to prepare properties for rapid demolition in the fall. We will need additional funding for this initiative. This goes beyond cosmetics, this is a health and safety issue.

• Upgrades proceeding nicely
• Potential sale of pellet plant materials being considered. We have the interest of a buyer from NJ.

Water Filtration:
• Upgrades at plant proceeding nicely
• Stratification project at source completed

Scrap Metal at quary: Interest in purchase by 18 entities. Bids to be opened July 6th at 11am

Grieme Av Bridge: Bid specs being put together by CT Male

With the many retirements in the department, we continue to have personnel concerns. This should be discussed in light of the hiring freeze.

I hope you find this informative. This is only one department that I track, which is why I would prefer to sit down with each alderman/supervisor personally to discuss operations. The closer you work with me and the more educated you become as to daily affairs, the better our decision-making process will be as a Council. I hope that each of you will respond to my request to schedule regular meetings with me to facilitate a healthy working relationship.

Hope to see you all on the East End this weekend.

Thanks, A.

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WordPress is completely fussy tonight and will not allow me to align photos or print captions. So, the following are “before” and “after” photos of the new City of Amsterdam signs, starting on the West End, followed by the East End, and finishing up with the Northern Entrance on RT 67 (the Rotary medallion was stolen and will be replaced.) I’ll have to tend to the layout issues tomorrow.

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This weekend I am planning an East End Attack (Clean-up) that will be the start of a community mural project. Our focus will be on the many derelict properties, city owned and not, that line the corridor that serves as the eastern entrance to the City. I am asking for your assistance in volunteering, lining up volunteers (by calling friends and relatives directly and asking them to show up), or by offering material donations.

The following is a proposed plan of attack. I will be posting more detailed information tomorrow and in the coming days.

Friday, July 2: 9am – 4pm Front Line Invasion. Cutting vegetation, cleaning windows, picking up trash, and painting sills, doors and boarded up establishments. Also taking measurements; coordinating all volunteers in teams/dividing tasks.

Saturday, July 3: 9am – 4pm Superior Force Campaign. PAINT! Ready areas for murals. Initial artistic expression. 🙂

We need PEOPLE, brushes, rollers, trays, drop clothes, rags, buckets, sponges, rakes, brooms, clippers, weed-wackers, garbage bags and gloves. Bring what you can. Wear sensible shoes and aprons.

Please spread the word. Take a drive down East Main Street. If you are an artist, think about what you’d like to create and where. Contact me with your thoughts.

We’re looking for at least 50 volunteers. We’ll make this initial attack and then pair down to smaller groups on consecutive weekends over the summer to tackle longer-term projects (larger murals.)

The project will be ongoing this summer (and probably year) as we obviously won’t be able to eat the whole elephant in one sitting. Forward interested folks to me at: athane@amsterdamny.gov. This will have a great, immediate and dramatic effect on the east end,

and will be very cool.

To see what other communities have achieved, please see the following sites:

City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Chicago Public Arts Group

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Anyone that grabs a cup of joe in the morning at Dunkin Donuts knows how bad this property had gotten. I’m sorry I didn’t get a “before” shot, but Debbie and Karin have been at it again and we now have one more property that has benefited from their kindness. They fetched eleven bags of grass and trash, one box of detritus, and four mangled cushions. Because of the actions of these two women, the next door neighbor has agreed to keep a small patch mowed in front of the house. Imagine what would happen if we all pitched in and adopted one abandoned structure in our neighborhood?

Thank you so much, lovely ladies of Division Street, for spreading your magic around the City.

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Dorothy Elizabeth Volk Thane, 90 years young followed by Ian D. Thane, 2010 AHS Graduate.

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The following are photos of City Hall.
May its beauty spread to the 5-1/2 miles of city that surround it.

Ask yourself, “What would Saratoga do?”

City of Amsterdam City Hall

Controller's Office

Mantle: Clerk's Office

Treasurer's office

Assessor Cal Cline in his office.

Congressman Tonko's suite

My office

New Conference Suite

Community Garden or Rose Garden?

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