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March 19, 2013

Long: Address to focus on fiscal issues

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — Michael Long, Oneonta’s first city manager, said his State of the City address to the Common Council tonight will report on fiscal matters.

“It’s a good opportunity to spend time with the entire council and focus on these issues,’’ Long said Monday night. 

Long’s report and other business will be presented during a 7 p.m. meeting in council chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 258 Main St.

Long was hired Oct. 1 as city manager at a salary of $115,000. The position was created by the revised city charter, which was approved by voters in November 2011 and took effect Jan. 1, 2012.

Long said his address will focus on finances and offer data on trends. The report also includes summaries from department heads, Long said, but his address will focus on money matters because council members are familiar with city programs.

Long said he doesn’t have specific recommendations to announce tonight, but soon the council’s Finance Committee will meet, and five-year projections will be considered. Of 61 cities in the state, Oneonta is among the nine that isn’t financially “distressed,’’ he said.

The charter outlines powers and duties of the city manager, who is responsible for day-to-day operations in order to allow the eight-member council and mayor to focus on policy.

The charter also requires the city manager to “communicate a general statement of the affairs of the city, in relation to its finances, government and improvement, to the Common Council as soon after the start of the fiscal year and as often thereafter as he considers expedient.’’

Long said his address follows the charter’s demand for an accounting focusing on finances.

In early February, Long and Mayor Dick Miller reviewed city projects and needs during a meeting.

In January 2012, Miller presented a State of the City addressed that warned of possible layoffs as the city dealt with fiscal challenges and reported successes, including a strengthened code-enforcement office; a revised zoning code; a reorganized public works department; and a re-energized police department.

No layoffs were made last year. Last month, Miller said the city has managed personnel ranks though attrition, which has resulted in a decrease of about 10 employees in the past three years.