Crumbling infrastructure fixes, removing blight, and lower taxes on Schenectady 2020 agenda

Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Councilwoman Leesa Parazzo assures NEWS10 that both Mayor McCarthy and the Schenectady City Council have big plans for 2020. A Monday announcement from the Mayor’s Office says his State of the City Address includes fixing blighted areas across the city and putting grant money to good use.

Among the issues on the 2020 agenda — crumbling infrastructure. The latest hazard includes the Cotton Factory Hollow Bridge over Interstate 890. Police shut the bridge down this weekend after noticing a deteriorating expansion joint.

“We have received grant money to redo that bridge, the surface of that bridge, and I know right now they are reinforcing the surface until we can go out to bid and start the actual project,” Parazzo explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Legislation on aged sidewalks may also need to go back to the drawing board. Councilwoman Parazzo voted “no” on a 2019 sidewalk replacement program proposal she says got passed “half baked”. Despite initial estimates, homeowners who took part in the program ended up with bills around twice what they were expecting.

“The city certainly admitted that they made a mistake, but maybe if we had taken more precaution those mistakes wouldn’t happen,” she says.

She adds the city has taken on the extra costs, at the cost of over stretching the budget.

Mayor McCarthy’s State of the City announcement says he also plans to address lower property taxes and getting blighted properties left sad and empty across the region back on the tax rolls.

“We didn’t get here quickly, we won’t get out of the situation we are in quickly, but we’ve sold millions and millions [of dollars] in properties back to people who are rehabbing them,” Parazzo says.

She concludes the new Schenectady City Council has a lot to focus on, but she believes the root of it all — transparency.

“We are all now a Democratic City Council, so to continue to work on transparency issues to ensure our taxpayers that the City Council is serving as their checks and balance,” she says.

NEWS10 reached out to Mayor McCarthy‘s office for comment. We were told he was busy preparing his speech for his State of the City Address coming up at 6 p.m.

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