Making Democracy Work

Observer Corps Committee

September Observer Corp Report

We would like to assign additional League Observer Corps volunteers to participate in observing the operations of our local government organizations. This is a hands-on opportunity to learn more about local issues and how our local government functions. This activity involves attendance at meetings held by various local public bodies.

The following organization meetings are observed:

  • The Schenectady County Legislature which meets the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 7pm., on the 6th floor of the County Office Bldg. at 620 State St.
  • The Glenville Town Board which meets at the Glenville Municipal Center, 18 Glenridge Rd. on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 7;30 pm.
  • The Niskayuna Town Board which meets on various Tuesdays at 7 pm in the Niskayuna Town Hall.
  • The Rotterdam Town Board which meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 7 the Kirvin Govt. Center on Sunrise Blvd.
  • The Schenectady City Council which meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays, 7pm. City Hall.
  • The Schenectady Metroplex Authority which will meet at 6pm in the Metroplex Office at 433 State St.,4th floor. on September 13.
  • The Schenectady City School Board which will meet on September 20 at 7 pm at Mt Pleasant Middle School.
  • The Niskayuna School Board which will meet on September 12 and September 26 at 6 pm in the District Office Board Room.
Quarterly reports of our observations may appear in the League Bulletin and sometimes League action is recommended (as in the case last year regarding required Metroplex reporting to municipalities).

Information about municipal bodies is found in the League of Women Voters' Who's Who and in the case of the school boards on the school district websites. If you would like to officially be a League Observer, contact Betsy Chase at 518-399-9070 or email .

Metroplex Reporting to Schenectady County, City and Towns

New York Authorities law 2655-C requires Metroplex to provide reports of their five year capital plan to municipalities and New York Authorities Law 2655-D requires Metroplex to deliver reports of details of projects undertaken during the year. These laws require oral and written reports to be delivered in the February/March time frame each year.

Observer Corps members have contacted the Niskayuna Town Board, the Glenville Town Board, the Schenectady City Council, the Duanesburg Town Board, Rotterdam Town Board and Metroplex to assess compliance with the laws.

Schenectady City Council and County Legislature - Kay Ackerman reports that Leesa Perazzo (City Council President) said that Ray Gillen (Metroplex Chair) has been invited to the City Council City and County Development Committee meeting in late February or March after his report to the Legislature. Dates can be confirmed with the City Clerk and with the Clerk to the County.

Niskayuna Town Board - Johanna Petersen reports that Joe Landry (Town Supervisor) gets updates from Ray Gillen regularly. Paul Webster ( Niskayuna representative to Metroplex) gives regular reports to the board as well. Metroplex is presently funding 20% of a grant to reconfigure the parking lot and side walk in front of the Niskayuna Co-op.

Glenville Town Board - Betsy Chase reports that Chris Koetzle (Town Superviser) has spoken with Ray Gillen to schedule a presentation to the town board sometime in March or April. The presentation date will be announced on the Town web site. The Glenville representative to Metroplex is Bob Dietrick (CFO of First National Bank of Scotia). It does not appear that Glenville has been previously getting the required Metroplex presentations.

Duanesburg Town Board - Betsy Chase has spoken with Roger Tidball (DuanesburgTown Supervisor). He is going to ask Todd Edwards (Duanesburg and Princetown representative to Metroplex) to schedule a report from Metroplex. Metroplex just approved more than $150,000 for the Duanesburg sewer project. We are waiting for additional feedback. It does not appear that they have previously been receiving the required presentations.

Rotterdam Town Board - Ray Gillen told Betsy Chase that he is scheduled to give his report to the Rotterdam Town Board on March 22nd.

Metroplex - Johanna Petersen spoke with Sharon Jordan (Metroplex Board Member) who mentioned that Ray Gillen gives an annual report to the County Legislature, usually in late February or March. The public is invited. Metroplex feels this is sufficient since the report is on the website.

Submitted by Betsy Chase, Observer Corps Coordinator

Schenectady City Council Observer Corps

Members of the Schenectady City Council - after much discussion - passed the 2017 Schenectady city budget, which included several new positions and tax deductions for home owners.

Mayor Gary McCarthy thanked the Capital Region Economic Development Council for selecting the city of Schenectady for funding to create jobs and continue the city's redevelopment.

The Schenectady Community "Needs Assessment Survey" was released.

Mayor Gary McCarthy joined Rivers Casino and Clancy Real Estate in announcing housing opportunities for Casino employees as part of the Walk-to-Work initiative.

Members of the city council announced the "Breathing Lights" project which illuminated numerous empty homes in the Capital Region. By raising awareness about the issue, and putting people back in these homes, it could help stabilize the communities plagued by blighted properties.

Richard Homenick, chair of the Civilian Police Review Board, presented the quarterly CPRB report before the city council committee. Dick Shave (member of LWV) was nominated to the CPRB committee to replace Flora Ramonowski, who stepped down from the position.

Submitted by Flora Ramonowski

Observer Corps Report on Rotterdam Town Board

The New York State Department of Transportation is undertaking a large traffic improvement project along Route 146. Therefore, the Town of Rotterdam has a unique opportunity to install a sewer main under Route 146.

In February of 2016, the Rotterdam Town Board issued a resolution requesting permission to create the Hamburg Street Sewer District. A bond of $4,167,000 has been issued over a 30 year period for this project. The initial cost for each homeowner will be $1,738 with a yearly cost of $1,204 per homeowner.

Doug Cole, Director of Wastewater Systems for John M. McDonald Engineering, spoke at the March 23rd Rotterdam Town Board meeting about the needs of the wastewater treatment plant. The treatment plant is located on Campbell Avenue, near the Viaport Rotterdam Mall, and is in need of many urgent repairs. Too many repairs have been neglected over the years. Another bond will have to be submitted to address these issues. Supervisor Steven Tommasone stated, "We have to take care of what we have, if we want further development of our town".

Eunice Chouffi, LWV observer