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Amsterdam mayor seeks to confront debt, revitalization

Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinqaunti gave his first State of the City Address on Tuesday highlighting the city's debt and upcoming DRI projects. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

AMSTERDAM — Mayor Michael Cinquanti gave his first State of the City address on Tuesday, highlighting the city’s debt with ways he plans to get solvent, other issues he plans to tackle during his administration and upcoming Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects expected to break ground this year.

“Amsterdam is approximately $8.3 million in debt. We have no surplus. We have a rather precarious cashflow situation,” Cinquanti said. “Although we have millions of dollars in grant funding available for a multitude of much needed capital projects, there’s still much to do before we can begin to break down and move forward on many of them.”

He said city representatives have been in the process of straightening out situations and deficiencies causing the financial distress by complying with mandates placed by the state comptroller’s office.

Officials will review the city’s financial management and record keeping procedures, bonding strategies and borrowing decisions with the state comptroller’s office.

“The deficit has had severe consequences on our credit rating and our cash flow situation, making it extremely difficult to move forward on any capital projects,” Cinquanti said.

Cinquanti anticipates the cost to repay the debt over a 10-year period to be between $1 million and $1.5 million per year. The money will come from generating more revenue and cutting existing expenses.

“I, as your mayor, must lead the way not just by example but also by action and most importantly by results,” Cinquanti said. “During my first 21 days in office, I have attempted to follow a strategy and a philosophy I feel is necessary for every department in the city.”

In the next 100 days as mayor, Cinquanti said he would like to implement a new budget development format that complies with the state comptroller’s mandate; implement a new financial performance monitoring and reporting format that complies with the state comptroller’s mandate; integrate the mayor’s new budget committee; efficiently bond the myriad of projects that are ready to bid including the DRI projects; rebuild Church Street with waste water and sewage system fixes and enhancements; hire a new fire chief after Michael Whitty’s resignation; and more.

A lot more is to come to the city of Amsterdam as it was awarded the DRI grant in September 2018.

“The community [recreation] center is my personal favorite of approved DRI projects,” Cinquanti said. “This will be a unique and dynamic resource for our community. The services that will be provided from this two-piece component are critically needed by our citizens, especially our youngsters.”

Also to come is the major reconstruction of Church Street, restoring Guy Park Manor, efforts to stop the spread of blight and an initiative to be kinder to hometown landlords who are trying to improve their properties.

“I actually feel all of the components necessary to make this a reality are pretty much in place, they just need to be assembled into a plan and we will get this done during my administration,” Cinquanti said.

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