1) A professional Town Manager in addition to the Town SupervisorTo make his point, he states:
2) A Town Comptroller
3) A Staff Attorney
4) Additional clerical staff for the codes, engineering and planning department
5) More office space for said departments
6) A new Town Courthouse
Does anyone honestly believe that New Hartford — the largest town in the county with a population of 21,000 and the retail hub with a budget of $15 million — should be governed using the same model as the town of Ava, population 750?I don't know about Ava's "model," but a more apt comparison would be the "New Hartford" model -- circa 1990 -- when New Hartford had almost 1,000 more residents. How can fewer residents now require so much more government?
The ready answer is that it is the price of New Hartford's recent "development" -- the price associated with being "the retail hub" for the region -- and the price of all the newer neighborhoods sprouting all over the hillsides. However, since the number of residents is declining, exactly who is benefiting from and who is driving the development?
Some insights are offered by an article from Chris Leo, U. Winnipeg: "If Cities Can't Regulate Urban Growth, Urbanizing Municipalities Certainly Can't."
Mr. Leo discusses how city councils, which make the decisions that determine growth of cities,
"frequently lack the political will to resist the blandishments of developers, in practice, we are allowing the cost accounting of individual development companies to play a major role in determining the growth of cities.Mr. Leo goes on to explain that the situation is even worse in communities which are in the process of urbanizing, where numerous individual residents can make fortunes by subdividing farmland for development. The objectives of even the best intended plans get forgotten under pressures from those who hope to gain.
The question of whether the location and design of a new development responds to environmental concerns, and maximizes the city's ability to maintain the viability of its network of infrastructure and services, is unlikely to be high on an individual developer's list of concerns. The developer's responsibility is to shareholders, not the city as a whole."
This certainly describes New Hartford, where the objective of the business park district to create manufacturing sites (that was stated in the district's Environmental Impact Statement) was overlooked by the Planning Board (along with other things) when it gave Final Site Plan Approval to an office park instead.
The Town has set its course in response to pressures exerted by those residents who would profit from Town actions, or who would seek to build monuments to themselves or their families. These persons pander to the pride of local officials when they tout, e.g., the Town's new status as "the regional retail hub" -- but that status has not helped the average Town resident, and, arguably, has adversely impacted the average resident's quality of life. These persons have insisted on growing New Hartford to be a competitor of Utica instead of being a bedroom community suburb of Utica.
Eventually the Town will need what Utica has: a formal engineering department, a legal department, a professional fire department (with EMTs) and - of course - a courthouse -- all duplicative of what is already available in Utica just a couple miles away.
Duplicating Utica won't improve things. More government won't improve things. These will only increase fixed costs so much that the entire region will become more non-competitive than it already is.
New Hartfordians are going to have to decide just how much they are willing to pay for private profit and pride.