Tag Archives: Fulton Common Council

Fulton mayor says Aldi project still a go

By Ashley M. Casey

Mayor Ron Woodward dispelled rumors that Aldi’s plan to develop the former Nestlé property on Fourth and Fay streets had fallen through at the May 6 meeting of the Fulton Common Council. Demolition activity at the site has ceased to allow for asbestos abatement in the buildings.

Ralph Stacy Jr. of the city’s planning commission addressed the mayor and the council during the public forum, saying that several people had approached him after hearing that Aldi’s proposal was “in jeopardy.”

“People have noticed that the demo activity has halted at the plant and people are concerned and they want to know what’s going on,” Stacy said. Continue reading

Fulton ups fines for rental violations

By Ashley M. Casey

Fulton landlords will have to be a little more diligent in caring for their properties.

The Fulton Common Council amended the law concerning housing maintenance and rental permits to include steeper fines for property owners who skip out on inspections and a $500 fee to renew a revoked rental permit.

“It adds fees to multiple inspections and ‘no-shows’ to help offset our costs and entice owners to come into compliance in a more timely manner,” Brace Tallents of the code enforcement office told The Valley News. “We think that the $500 per unit fee will provide some incentive to the owners to pay a little more attention to their properties.”

The law amends the City Charter’s Subsection C 152(J), “Housing maintenance; rental permits.” The fee for a rental permit is $30 per unit, which includes one code inspection and one follow-up re-inspection to correct any code violations.

That fee doubles to $60 for a second re-inspection, and increases by $30 for each subsequent re-inspection, up to $180 for a sixth re-inspection. If a unit is occupied, the cutoff is the third re-inspection and the code enforcement officer files charges against the property owner.

There are also cancellation and “no-show” fees: $25 if the owner fails to appear within 15 minutes of a scheduled inspection, $25 if the owner cancels within 24 hours of the inspection and $35 for a second cancellation.

“This is not going to hurt landlords that take care of their properties,” Fourth Ward Councilor Jim Myers said. “This is basically recouping our costs for landlords that don’t fix up their properties in a timely manner.”

Fulton resident Dennis Merlino asked the council about “checks and balances” in terms of this amendment’s financial incentive to the city.

“What mechanisms does the city have in place to prevent this from being abused?” Merlino asked.

Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said the fees mainly act as a deterrent to delinquent landlords and the city spends a lot of time in court battling with such property owners.

“We’re not going to waste our time … on people who don’t want to do simple housing maintenance,” Woodward said.

Tallents said property owners usually have 30 days to correct code violations. Woodward said landlords who are making improvements or need more time to correct violations can apply for an administrative hearing through the code enforcement office without incurring extra penalties.

 

2 Fulton grocers oppose plan for new Aldi store

By Ashley M. Casey

Despite the dissent of two local grocers, the city of Fulton is going forward with Aldi’s plan to build a 17,651-square-foot grocery store on the former Nestlé site.

If all goes as planned, the Nestlé buildings will be demolished by the end of June and construction of the Aldi store will begin in July with an anticipated opening in December. Continue reading

City adopts 2013 budget with 3.1 percent tax increase

by Andrew Henderson

The Fulton Common Council adopted a 2013 budget Thursday night that contains a 3.167 percent tax increase.

Overall, the $15.4 million budget includes an increase in spending of $292,000.

Mayor Ron Woodward said that the increase in spending is for items the city does not have control over: health insurance costs, pension costs, and other state and federal mandates.

No services were cut, but a few positions, including some in the fire department, will be eliminated through attrition in 2013.

The tax rate for 2013 is $17.06 per $1,000 of assessed value. The increase equates to about $25 on a $50,000 home.

Prior to the budget hearing, the council adopted a resolution to override the New York State property tax cap limit.

The primary reason the council did so was because of the uncertainty with the assessments of the hydro plants along the Oswego River.

“They were lowered in Minetto and they were lowered in Oswego,” Woodward said about the hydro plants’ assessments. “I have no reason to believe that Fulton will be different. If we don’t (override the state tax cap), it’ll come back to haunt us.”

The State of New York — not the city — sets the assessments of all utilities, including the hydro plants.

In addition, Oswego County Supreme Court Judge Norman Seiter Jr. reduced the assessment of the former Birds Eye plant from $7.7 million to $3.9 million. Seiter signed the order Dec. 20, which was too late to be included in the budget.

Third Ward Councilor Pete Franco said that the state and federal government pushing mandates on local communities.

“We don’t control our destiny,” Franco said. “We are pawns of the state and federal governments.”

Woodward agreed. “It’s a bunch of politics,” he said about the state tax cap. “Nevertheless, it’s a reality that we have to deal with.”

Sixth Ward Councilor Larry Macner said there is at least a silver lining. “The city is not bankrupt yet,” he noted. “Some of the cities in New York State are.”

The biggest impact to the $15.4 million budget are the reduced assessments, a $250,000 increase in health insurance, and an $100,000 increase in pension costs. The city has also used $300,000 from the reserve fund to offset a higher tax increase, leaving $20,000 in the reserve fund balance.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

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New parking for Fay Street block

parkingby Nicole Reitz

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Fulton Common Council approved a resolution that allows parking on one side of the street in the 100 block of Fay Street.

Lt. Jason Delano of the Fulton Police Department and Fourth Ward Councilor Carm Cavallaro conducted the traffic study, narrowing their focus on the entire 100 block of Fay Street between South First and South Second Street.

Previously, on-street parking was prohibited on both the north and south sides of that block.

The 100 block of Fay Street is a two-way residential street that accommodates both east and west traffic.

Fay Street at the intersection of South First Street is regulated with a stop sign for westbound traffic. Fay Street at the intersection of State Route 481 is regulated with a traffic signal.

Empower Federal Credit Union and Muskie’s Bar is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of South First and Fay streets.

Michelle Baker, new owner of Muskie’s bar, questioned if on-street parking could be allowed in any portion of the 100 block of Fay Street. The request had been for the purpose of allowing on-street parking for patrons of the business.

It was found that no parking signs on both sides of the street approaching State Route 481 were somewhat sporadic and not initially clear where parking was allowed.

Measurements of the roadway are narrower than the standard 24 feet width of a city street and therefore would not be recommended for parking on both sides as it could hinder of block fire and ambulance vehicle response.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Lawsuit filed against Fulton business owner

by Carol Thompson

A former member of the Fulton Common Council has been accused of stealing more than $300,000 from the revocable trust of a woman who entrusted him to oversee her finances.

A lawsuit was recently filed in Oswego County Supreme Court against Harley Thompson, owner of Empire Advisors, Inc.

The plaintiffs, Lisa Taylor-Guy and the Vivian Walts Revocable Trust, are suing both Thompson and his company.

The lawsuit alleges that Thompson became the trustee of the Walts estate June 6, 2007. Court documents further allege that Thompson mismanaged the estate and misappropriated more than $300,000 to himself and his company.

When Walts passed away Oct. 18, 2008, Thompson did not distribute the trust assets as directed, the lawsuit alleges. Thompson notified Taylor-Guy in January 2011 that the trust had no more assets. Thompson never provided an accounting of the trust.

“As I set out in my original affirmation, I learned two days ago- when we received the copies of the checks from the Vivian R. Walts Revocable Trust — that Harley Thompson stole more than $300,000 from that trust,” states the lawsuit filed by Bond, Schoeneck and King. “He abused his position as both trustee and broker to write checks directly to himself and his company.”

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Mayor Ron Woodward and the Fulton Common Council honored the Fulton girls lacrosse team Tuesday night. The team won the Class B Quarterfinals and the Class B Semifinals in overtime before losing in the championship game. Team members include Erika Johnson, Hannah Dunsmoor, Katelyn Caza, Amelia Coakley, Andrea Gould, Jenna Hudson, Erica Knaub, Dallas Lamb, Julia Ludington, Alanah McClellan, Jordan Rizzo, Kate Rothrock, Casey Shannon, Julia Spier, Alise Tallents, Torrie Whelsky, Emma Whitemore, and Kara Yakel and are coached by Drew White and Andy Karpinko.

City Hall honors Fulton girls lacrosse team

Mayor Ron Woodward and the Fulton Common Council honored the Fulton girls lacrosse team Tuesday night. The team won the Class B Quarterfinals and the Class B Semifinals in overtime before losing in the championship game. Team members include Erika Johnson, Hannah Dunsmoor, Katelyn Caza, Amelia Coakley, Andrea Gould, Jenna Hudson, Erica Knaub, Dallas Lamb, Julia Ludington, Alanah McClellan, Jordan Rizzo, Kate Rothrock, Casey Shannon, Julia Spier, Alise Tallents, Torrie Whelsky, Emma Whitemore, and Kara Yakel and are coached by Drew White and Andy Karpinko.

by Andrew Henderson

The greatest Fulton girls lacrosse team in the program’s history was honored  by members of the Fulton Common Council Tuesday night.

Mayor Ron Woodward said the council was not planning to meet Tuesday, but did so in honor of the players.

“Believe me, it is our pleasure to recognize you,” Woodward told the players. “We are very proud of you and your athletic accomplishments.”

The Lady Raiders, which recently finished the season 15-4, won the Class B Quarterfinals and the Class B Semifinals in overtime before losing in the championship game.

Fulton was also crowned the 2012 OHSL Freedom League champions.

Continue reading

City looks to annex land from Granby

by Nicole Reitz

During Tuesday’s meeting, members of the Fulton Common Council voted to hold a series of public hearings on the annexation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant’s land.

Located off Route 48, the Wastewater Treatment Plan is positioned in the Town of Granby.

The City of Fulton paid $78,324 to the Fulton City School District and $37,859.32 in taxes to the Town of Granby last year. Out of the $37,859.32, Granby receives $7,478.62, with the rest of the tax monies going towards the County and First Fire District.

A state agency recently raised the assessment of the plant to be worth more than $3.9 million, a $900,000 raise. The city and Mayor Ron Woodward dispute the validity of the assessment and fear the possibility of a higher tax bill.

The city is currently spending $2.5 million to upgrade the treatment plant to comply with a consent order given last year under the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397