Common Council members felt reluctant to drastically reduce funding many of the city’s important resources. But as the city faces a 20 percent reduction in state aid, the council is forced to work within a tightened budget.
There is concern among a number of us who support the goals of the city’s Green New Deal but watch the city advance development that is inconsistent with the necessity to reduce — not increase — local greenhouse gas emissions. The latter concern is exacerbated by the comments of several alder persons who voted for the GND but now question even the extraordinarily minor budget commitment to make their pronouncement substantive. Months ago in the wake of the contention over Cornell’s North Campus Residential Expansion, the Planning and Economic Development Board wrote the Common Council asking for training to competently analyze projects for their greenhouse gas and climate change implications — a request which has apparently been ignored. Recently, the director of planning and economic development admitted that she and her current staff could not produce a substantive GND. Moreover, we all know that it has taken existing staff and local consultants three years and running to create a Green Building Policy with codification and implementation still months off.
At the meeting, Tyler, along with officials from the Fire Department and Public Information and Technology Office, had the chance to discuss the city’s nearly $76 million budget’s effect on their departments.
“We don’t have the adequate staffing that is appropriate to serve different stations,” said alderperson Cynthia Brock (D-1st Ward). Alderperson Donna Fleming (D-3rd Ward) added that there is “plenty of need” for these four additional people.
“New growth means the value of land in the city increased by 10 percent last year,” he said. “Some of that is in assessment increases on existing property but most is in the growth from new apartments in Collegetown and Downtown.”