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September 4, 2013

Council looks at laws to revitalize housing

The Oneonta Common Council approved two resolutions in a housing-revitalization program but postponed acting on proposed local laws Tuesday night.

The approved resolutions seek home rule legislation from the state. One resolution pertains to a conversion of multiple housing to a single-family unit, and the other pertains to new construction of an owner-occupied single-family house, according to a summary document. Both measures would allow added assessment values to be phased in during a multi-year period.

The resolutions will go on to the state Senate and Assembly for consideration.

“These laws are in place in other communities,” Mayor Dick Miller said. Miller reviewed the resolutions and planned local laws during an informational session before the regular council meeting, and he thanked Edmond Overbey for researching and presenting the measures designed to revitalize housing in the city.

The council considered five proposed local laws that would adopt tax-abatement provisions for housing, but city officials said some language needed adjustment before the measures are laid on council’s table this month.

Once enacted, the effectiveness of the measures depends on how well they are promoted among real-estate agents, developers, property owners and other potential users, Miller and Overbey said.

Also Tuesday night, the council recognized city assessor Mario Arevalo, who is retiring Friday, thanked him for 27 years of service and gave him a standing ovation.

The council appointed Richard Maxwell as assessor at $3,000 per month, starting Sept. 9. To meet state law, he will serve until Sept. 30, then begin a term from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2019, city officials said.

City Manager Michael Long said contracting for assessor services instead of hiring a civil servant will save the city money. Long said he consulted with Arevalo, who agreed part-time services would meet the city’s needs. Maxwell is an assessor for the town of Oneonta, Long said.

In other business, the council:

• The council authorized $76,500 for road repairs to damages from flooding July 22.

• The council approved the purchase of two Stryker model ambulance cots to be purchased from Stryker Sales for $30,432.

• Long said the state retirement system has informed the city that its contribution for 2014 will increase $122,848.

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