Thursday, November 18, 2010

Embracing Decline

Didn't want to let this article go by without commenting about it.
Utica officials adapting to declining population, jobs
After decades of failing to push back against a decline in jobs and population, city officials are saying it might be time to embrace it.
"Embrace" decline? These officials lost me there.

Certainly Utica is like other declining Upstate NY cities where the manufacturing base has been totally decimated by New York State's high taxation, high regulation, big union ways.

That said, what has Utica done to drive people away? People do not feel safe. Streets and sidewalks are decrepit. The schools are low performing. And taxation has gotten way too high.

Utica has adopted policies and gotten help from the State and regional agencies that have contributed to it becoming a high-cost unattractive area. . . such as selling its water works which forces Utica residents to subsidize suburban services . . . such as participating in the Oneida County Part County Sewer District . . . which again forces Utica residents to subsidize suburban services . . . such as encouraging the State to take more properties and businesses for arterial highway expansion.

Utica leaders need to stop embracing the causes of its decline instead of embracing decline.


Anonymous said...

Driving thru East Utica today I could not believe the condition of the roadways. Absolutely depolrable. Unless city officials find a way to address Utica's aging infrastructure, this city is doomed. And city officials want to spend $100,000 to finish the Matt Petroluem cleanup because the State DEC has run out of money? Tough. Where are our local representatives in Albany {who just got reelected} & why aren't they demanding that the State of N.Y. finish the project instead of leaving Utica taxpayers holding the bag? And why doesn't Mayor Roefaro show some backbone & demand that Albany find the money? It's also high time that our reps in Albany started doing their jobs, which is to ensure that city taxpayers don't get stuck with $100,000 cleanup bills. And the site will sit empty anyway, so why should city taxpayers have to shell out for a lot that will sit empty?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the city ought to issue more rain barrels.

Anonymous said...

You left out the part about the suburban areas subsidizing the City of Utica Zoo.

More rain barrels ...... ha!

Strikeslip said...

While I would not want to see the Utica Zoo close, Utica can survive without it. The suburbs, however, could not survive without city residents supporting the sewer and water systems.

Proportionally there are probably more suburban users of the Utica Zoo than city residents . . . . just like there are probably more Utica shoppers dropping their $$$ in New Hartford than New Hartfordans.

What this comes down to is that regionally we have become ungovernable. The people have no effective means of controlling where their infrastructure goes and who it will subsidize because we have too many jurisdictions living off the same population base (centered on Utica, but spilling all around it) and no government that just covers all of it.

We have far too much government and infrastructure for our Greater Utica needs . . . which is why taxes everywhere are too high to attract jobs.

No one wants to talk about it, but ultimately, we must . . .

Merge . . . or Die.

Anonymous said...

The rain barrels were a joke. But, they didn't cost city of Utica taxpayers a dime. However, what has cost city taxpayers plenty was the takeover of Utica's water system to the tune of millions of dollars a year in lost revenue. What has the MVWA accomplished? They have mishandled the system from day one, with sky high water rates, endless litigation costing ratepayers millions of dollars, poor water quality, etc., etc. It's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

We are ex-Uticans but the scenarios you describe fir equally well up here in Ogdensburg NY along the magnificent St Lawrence River .

Our city official brought in 2 prisons, A Sexually Violent PredATOR facility and located it ON the St Lawrence River near a beach and the International Bridge from Ottawa . So the first thing a visitor to the USA sees is this Pervert Palace

Moreover our enlightened leaders have allowed MULTIPLE government subsidized SINGLE Room Occupany facilities in town which are housing Level 3 Sex offenders ,

And the fools call ALL of this social detritis ECONOMIC development !! Our streets are a mess , drugs and dealers are a very serious issue . Industry and the best of our youth have all left and to top it off 27 % of the assessed valuation pays for 100 % of the property taxes -- Yep you read it right 73% do not pay taxes >

So Maybe Utica ain't alone -

Dave said...

I expect smart politicians will figure out Decline is inevitable and therefore begin to sell it as their own idea.

Decline is great! we'll be told. We can cut all those services when everyone leaves. We'll be told we can run "lean and mean," with no pesky traffic jams in the morning and no jobs to go to. But think of the low taxes, we'll be told. And if you can make it in the Decline ... shoot rabbits out your back door for food or commute weekly to Nebraska to work in a feed lot, or try your hand or whatever at Internet porn, you'll survive to continue to pay the same taxes when the pols refuse to fire their friends and relatives.

Anonymous said...

Well, in Utica they stole our water system out from under us as the people who were supposed to look out for the best interests of Utica's citizenry played ball. Economic development officials encouraged development in the suburbs while ignoring Utica. In fact they encoraged {& continue to do so} businesses to leave Utica to move to Rome's Griffis Park & elsewhere in the County. So Utica's tax base continues to shrink, people leave, & the city continues to deteriorate. We have 2 reps in Albany, both from Rome who ignore Utica's plight & pay lip service to it except when it's election time. Get the picture?

Dave said...

Well, that's part and parcel of the Decline System ... everyone trying to save theirs by taking yours. BTW, you probably know this, but you DON'T have 2 reps in Albany. The political parties have 2 reps in Albany. If they're like legislators across the state, they are owned and paid-for lower echelon puppets of their state and national organizations, those big guys and girls who control the money that gets people elected. The very same ones who have sacrificed this state (and our money) to their political and personal power goals.

Anonymous said...

Utica's Mayor says he will try to keep the annual property tax hike below 35-40%. Gee, thanx. If Oneida County can keep it's annual tax hike below 4% as they just did, why can't Utica? Because we're doing things like shelling out $100,000 to clean a toxic waste site that will sit empty for years to come. The State walked away from completing the job, so Utica's taxpayers get stuck with the remainder of the bill. The Mayor should be suing the state on behalf of his constituents instead of bowing to their negligence.