Category Archives: Featured Stories

Lockwood runs for re-election to county legislature

Oswego County Legislator Linda Lockwood is running for re-election in the 11th district, serving the town of Volney and parts of Fulton

Lockwood serves as chair of the Public Safety and Emergency Services committee, which oversees the Sheriff’s Department, 911 Emergency Services and the Probation Department.

This committee has been instrumental in developing and designing a new radio communication network that will be an asset to all of Oswego County.

Lockwood also serves on the infrastructure committee as a representative to the solid waste management board, while acting as director on the Soil and Water committee.

She also served on the airport advisory committee, the protocol committee for E-911 and several other committees.

The major issue at this time for the legislature are state mandates and trying to maintain no increase in taxes without cutting employment or cutting services.

Lockwood is always available to constituents or anyone in Oswego County who needs help. She prides herself on being levelheaded and a good listener. She asked for your vote on Nov. 5.

3 Oswego County area men graduate from DEC Training Academy

On Friday, Oct. 18, 47 uniformed officers who successfully completed the basic police academy for state Department of Environmental Conservation Police and Forest Rangers graduated at the Training Academy in Pulaski.

New officers and rangers from the Oswego County area are:

Officer Waldemar Auguscinski, Pulaski; Officer Edward J. Piwko, Parish; and Officer Geoffrey A. Younglove, Red Creek.

Oswego County receiving nearly $600,000 for brownfield development

Oswego County is receiving $597,540 in state money to complete a strategic plan for the Oswego Canal Corridor.

The plan includes the Oswego River, the Oswego Canal and Lake Ontario. This strategy will foster redevelopment on strategic sites for mixed use development, professional offices, niche retail/service, hotels, housing, public waterfront amenities and open space.

This was part of a $10 million announcement Gov. Andrew Cuomo made Thursday for the cleanup and development of brownfields in the state. Brownfields are dormant properties where the presence or potential presence of contamination has impeded site redevelopment, turning the properties into economic and environmental drains on localities.

These grants provide money to help municipalities implement revitalization strategies that are necessary in order to redevelop impacted sites. Once redeveloped, brownfield sites become community assets that can attract businesses, jobs, and ultimately expand the local tax base.

LeClair graduates from Dennis A. Pelletier County Government Institute

Louella LeClair, Oswego County Legislator representing Fulton, was honored Sept. 26 by the New York State Association of Counties  for graduating from the NYSAC Dennis A. Pelletier County Government Institute.

The NYSAC Pelletier County Government Institute is an educational program established by association of counties in conjunction with Cornell University.

The institute provides an educational program for county elected and appointed officials, to enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of county officials. The Institute allows the public officials to engage in informed, constructive and civil discussions on the current challenges they face as public servants. For more information, visit www.nysac.org.

“The Pelletier Institute’s vigorous curriculum prepares county leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the intense demands of local government leadership today,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.

Ed Diana, President of NYSAC and Orange County Executive agrees. “County officials who graduate from the Pelletier Institute are equipped with the tools necessary to make the most of the challenges and opportunities of leadership, and are more effective in serving the public.”

Louella LeClair is an Oswego County Legislator serving constituents in the City of Fulton. She is the chairwoman of the Economic Development, Tourism and Planning committee.  LeClair is passionate about seeing the county’s resources developed to grow its economy and bring tourists to fish, hunt, experience our rich history, snowmobile, and enjoy the beauty of Lake Ontario. LeClair also serves on Finance and Personnel, the last committee before legislation is sent to the floor.  Her main concerns are giving the departments what they need while keeping the taxes low to help the residents.

“The Dennis Pelletier County Government Institute courses have been an invaluable resource to learn all aspects of county government.  I will continue to take advantage of the courses offered in the future.”

The Institute’s comprehensive curriculum includes extensive course work on government ethics, building consensus in a political environment, principles of county budget and finance, and public sector labor/management relations. The courses are supplemented with electives, training sessions, and continuing education courses designed to support county leaders in serving their constituents to the absolute best of their ability.

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for Member Counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.

Assemblyman Will Barclay: Cell phone fees high in NY

Recently, the Tax Foundation released a map showing the combined local, state, and federal cell phone rates.

The map showed, not surprisingly, that New York residents pay the third highest cell phone tax rate in the country.  Our state and local cell phone tax is 17.85 percent.  When those taxes are combined with the federal tax rate, New Yorker’s cell tax rate is 23.67 percent.

Most cell phone customers get a breakdown of costs.  Service providers often line-item out these taxes on your bill.  In New York, cell phone users are charged $1.20 every month.  This surcharge is known as the “New York Public Safety Commission Surcharge.”

In addition to this state surcharge, many of state’s 62 counties charge an additional 30 cents a month.  (Fourteen counties, Bronx, Delaware, Hamilton, Jefferson, Kings, Lewis, New York, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, Queens, Richmond, Schoharie and St. Lawrence counties, do not charge the additional $.30.) Some of this $1.20 surcharge is earmarked for sensible emergency spending through the Public Service Commission while other dollars are placed, unfortunately, in the state’s general fund.

Here is a cost breakdown with some history.  In 1991, the state began charging the New York Public Safety Commission Surcharge, which was set at 70 cents a month.  This 70 cents was used to establish the federally-mandated Emergency 911 Centers with the state Public Service Commission.  These centers save lives.  This was a sensible way to raise revenue to enable our state to implement new technology and connect emergency services so that New York residents would be able to call 911. These call centers dispatch local units and police, ambulance or fire personnel to respond to emergencies.

However, as New York has faced several budgetary challenges since 1991, that surcharge has been increased and not all of it goes to the E911 or emergency responders.  As mentioned, the state surcharge is now $1.20.  Out of that $1.20 collected, 50 cents gets placed in the state’s general fund.  That means that New York collected $84 million from cell phone users to put into the general fund.  This does not include the 4 percent sales tax. Sales tax paid on an $80 monthly “smart phone” bill is $1.80 or $21.60 a year. New York also imposes gross receipt taxes on wireless companies. That is passed down to the consumer as well.

As can been seen, when government (especially in NYS) gets a tax stream, it is never temporary and inevitably over the years it increases.  For illustration, one simply has to look at the tolls on the New York thruway.  The number of cell phone users has grown significantly.  In 1997, there were 48.7 million cell phones in the United States.  In 2012, there were 321.7 million nationwide, according to the Tax Foundation.

Because of additional users, revenues from these taxes continues to increase.  For government, this revenue is addicting.  While establishing a dedicated funding source for projects very often makes sense, too often these taxes are diverted to the general fund and the taxes never seem to go away even after the original project for which the tax was initially established is completed. Our state should use taxes for their dedicated purpose. If that purpose no longer exists, it should give the public back its money.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office.  My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185.

 

Talk about patron of Oswego Public Library set for Nov. 6

Norman Dann, an author of many books about Oswego Public Library benefactor Gerrit Smith, will talk at the library at 6 p.m. Nov. 6.

Dann lives in Peterboro in Madison County on the Gerrit Smith Estate and is the author of “Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith & the Crusade for Social Reform” and “When We Get to Heaven: Runaway Slaves on the Road to Peterboro.”

His latest book is “Cousins of Reform: Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Gerrit Smith.”

Gerrit Smith was known worldwide as a compassionate, generous and empathetic man who tirelessly pursued a better world for all.

In 1853, Smith began the Oswego City Library with a letter to prominent Oswego citizens promising $25,000 for the building and collection. These men became the first board of trustees and opened our “castle on the hill” in the spring of 1857 where we still serve Oswego today.

According to the National Abolitionist Hall of Fame and Museum, “Much of Smith’s philanthropy concentrated on liberating slaves. He complemented individuals’ efforts to buy freedom. He purchased individuals and families directly from slaveholders. He sent agents into the south to negotiate financial terms for freedom.”

“Smith was criticized by some of his colleagues for giving funds directly to individual persons as opposed to donating larger sums to organizations and societies with missions.

“Smith gave money to the abolitionists for traveling expenses and publications. By the mid 1840s, Smith had contributed over fifty thousand dollars (equivalent to five million dollars in 2002) to the antislavery movement.”

First cousins Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Gerrit Smith radically changed the social landscape of America in the 1800s.  Elizabeth spent her summers at Gerrit’s estate in Peterboro learning of social reforms and meeting the reformers.

Here she met her future husband, abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton, and here he proposed marriage. Discussions with her elder cousin Gerrit “about the nature of reform and the social and political implications of gender, sex, race, and religion helped each to refine their causes,” says GerritSmith.org.

Dann is professor emeritus Morrisville State College, a founder and member of the Cabinet of Freedom for the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro, a Steward of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark in Peterboro, a member of the Madison County Historical Society and treasurer of the Peterboro Area Museum.

Oswego County students receive SUNY Potsdam scholarships

SUNY Postdam has awarded scholarships, grants and awards to 1,047 students for the 2013-14 academic year.

These SUNY Potsdam undergraduate and graduate students were recognized for their achievements with support for their educational experience.

The scholarship recipients from Oswego County are:

Lauren Carlisle of Central Square,  music education major, awarded the Crane School of Music Scholarship.

Cassandra Chase of Central Square,  liberal arts major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Morgan Frederick of Parish, English and creative writing major, awarded the Max W. Templeton Memorial Scholarship.

Christopher Halsey of Mexico, math major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Marissa Johnson of Pulaski, special education major (Master of Science in Education), awarded the SUNY Potsdam Graduate Scholarship.

Joseph Locci of Parish, environmental studies major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Victoria Metcalf of Lacona, psychology major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Transfer Scholarship.

Haley Noel of Fulton, art studio major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Karly Rieth of Phoenix, music education major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Transfer Scholarship.

Jordan Smith of Richland, biology major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Transfer Scholarship.

Stephanie Warner of Sandy Creek, childhood/early childhood education major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Hayley Webb of Central Square, liberal arts major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Gina Weston of Central Square, curriculum and instruction major (Master of Science in Education), awarded the SUNY Potsdam Graduate Scholarship.

Chloe Grab of Fair Haven, childhood/early childhood education major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Playground at Franklin Park refurbished

The playground at Franklin Park in Oswego has been refurbished.

The Oswego Renaissance Association (ORA) coordinated a community based project to powerwash, repair and re-stain the Playground Area in Franklin Park. The work took place Oct. 5.

“The playground is used by hundreds of children each week from all over our city,” said Paul Stewart, the Oswego Renaissance Association dircetor.

“Responding to citizens’ concerns the ORA contact Mayor Gillen who instructed the Oswego DPW to assess what repairs were needed and could be done,” he said.  “The DPW agreed to make all the needed repairs and to supply the necessary stain. The ORA agreed to form a team of volunteers to do the rest of the work.”

More than 30 people have volunteered to help. Many of the volunteers are local neighbors and parents of children who use the playground but a surprisingly large number of the volunteers are SUNY students.

“The outpouring has been wonderful!”  said Steven Phillips; project coordinator. “I knew we would have local neighbors and parents but I was surprised at the large number of SUNY students who stepped forward. Even one of the local fraternities pledged 10 of their brothers to work the entire day.”

The ORA is a community based organization that works to build on Oswego’s strengths through the “Healthy Neighborhood Approach”; a middle market approach to community revitalization that has been successfully tested in scores of similar cities across the country.

To get involved or for more information contact The Oswego Renaissance Association via their website; www.Oswegonyonline.com  or by calling 439-2040.