Mayor King enters 3rd term

Dayton King, right, gives his annual "state of the city address" during Monday's organizational meeting of the Gloversville Common Council at city hall as Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis listens in. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

GLOVERSVILLE — A new year in city government kicked off on Monday with the annual organizational meeting.

Five people were sworn in during the meeting — incumbent Mayor Dayton King, new Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis, incumbent First Ward Councilwoman Marcia Weiss, new Third Ward Councilwoman Elizabeth Batchelor and incumbent Fifth Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli.

King also gave his state of the city address as well, focusing on the successes the city saw in 2017, and what he would like to see in the new year.

King told the crowd at city hall that he plan on spending a lot more time in Albany with DeSantis, meeting with legislators and people in the governor’s office.

“It is very important that people in the Capital know that Gloversville is a small city on the rise and we are open to new initiatives,” King said.

Mayor Dayton King, left, is sworn in by City Court Judge Cory Dalmata during Monday's Organizational Meeting of the Common Council at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

King said he will do his part in 2018 for the community and recognizes that as the mayor, “the buck stops with me.”

“Everything that goes wrong in our city is my fault. I take responsibility. I will be the mayor for the next four years and at the end of my term, I will have no regrets,” King said.

King said that in the new year, he will continue to explore avenues for less government, lower taxes, more private sector jobs and more people living in Gloversville and Fulton County.

“I will focus on the problems and not the person. I will take responsibility to reach out and to engage a communication channel that will enable everyone to have a say. Let’s understand that even in the best partnership, disagreements and conflicts will arise. Being able to relate the conflict to specific issues, and not people, and not make it personal will be essential,” King said.

He said the city has tackled a number of issues over the past eight years, but some of the same problems exist going into 2018.

“I recognize yesterday’s trophies don’t win tomorrow’s games, and there is no limit to what a person can do, or where they can go, if they don’t care who gets the credit,” King said.

He said it important to be open with communication and to let people know where the city is headed.

“Our team needs to know the vision. The public needs to know what is going on. Our business leaders need to know we’ll be responsive to all issues,” King said.

King said the city has a lot of good people who live, work and raise families in both the city and in Fulton County. He said however, that until those who want to see change step up into leadership positions, the county will continue to have many of the same issues.

“We will continue to have a county board meeting that meets at 1 p.m. on Monday. We’ll continue to be over governed and over taxed. We will continue to have 300 full-time private sector jobs available in Fulton County, while people who are physically and mentally capable of work decide to stay home and live off the government,” King said. “We need to wake up very quickly and understand that politics is not about Republican versus Democrat or Conservatives or the Libertarian Party. It’s about finding people to do the right thing among screaming voices of people, or snide comments on Facebook, or a handful of protesters who are afraid we’re taking away their entitlements. Let me be very clear, some of those entitlements are political leadership positions, or elected government positions that have become people’s identities.”

King said he has come to a point in his quest in the city where he “is no longer afraid of failure.” He said he fears being in the same place at this time next year that the city is in at the end of 2021.

“We have a great team of people in the city of Gloversville, and I am confident that this group will lead the political revolution in Fulton County and we’ll focus on progress and projects and we’ll keep moving forward,” King said.

A look back

King also highlighted a number of new business success, event and changes the city has had over the past year.

He spoke about the city’s Department of Public Works addition of GPS navigation to plows, salt trucks and garbage trucks, a move he said is to hold people accountable and improve transparency.

He spoke about a number of grants the city has been awarded in 2017, including a $750,000 community development block grant from the Housing Trust Corporation.

“Our grant writer Nick Zabawsky and many council members and CDBA board members have a lot to do with this, and I am very appreciative about this,” King said.

His speech included a section on building developments in the city including the ongoing work at the Estee Senior Housing building, renovations at the Gloversville Public Library, work at the Glove Performing Arts Center and improvements at the City National Commons Building.

The openings of several new city businesses was spotlighted in the speech including Arcadian Pastures, Romano Acro Dance Academy, Dollar Tree, Shoe Dept. Encore and Cravings Bakery.

“I’m most impressed however with the many small businesses that continue to stay, decades over decades, and some over a century here in our city; spending their money locally and employing local people,” King said.

King highlighted the city’s police department reaccreditation process that occurred in 2017, thanking the leadership of Chief Marc Porter, Capt. Michael Scott and others who saw the process through in the last 12 months. He also spoke about the new technology the department has gotten in the last year, including body cameras and Tasers. The city police department also became the first in the state to have emergency diapers thanks to a donation from No Bottom Left Behind Diaper Bank in Johnstown.

“We push all of our officers to be the best they can be and provide training whenever possible,” he said. “We have also increased the number of armed men and women on the streets each shift.”

King said he likes the city’s chances of winning the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative in 2017. The city has previously applied for the grant in 2016 and 2017. The state program sees one winning city from each of the state’s 10 regions get $10 million for downtown plans.

Work on the Rail Trail and parks, including new gazebos, water fountains and workout station was also featured in the speech. Bacon Jam and many other events that happened in the city were on King’s list as well.

“So thank you to [Downtown Development Specialist] Jennifer Jennings and all of your team for your hard work all year downtown,” King said.

King thanked the council for passing its seven consecutive budget with no increase in taxes.

“We have a long ways to go, but we are headed in the right direction,” he said.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

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