The coming year will be an interesting one in Jamestown if Mayor Sam Teresi's State of the City address is any indication.
During Monday's City Council meeting, Teresi unveiled several worthy and achievable proposals.
A new development director will be hired soon, and Teresi plans to task the new official with being more aggressive in dealing with neighborhood issues. The Department of Development will initiate a 48-hour rule for citizen complaints. While a resolution may not be completed within two days, complaints will be logged, responded to and necessary processes started to rectify the situation within 48 hours. It is a necessary step and a sign the mayor is serious about protecting neighborhoods.
Development initiatives will also take a prime position in the 2013 agenda. Teresi said the city will work in greater partnership with existing partners like the Jamestown Renaissance Corp., area foundations, private lenders and developers to bring even more investment into the city's west side, bring private tenants to buildings including the Gateway Station, the Federal Building on Third Street and the M&T Bank building on Second and Main streets and increase activity along the city's main commercial corridors. While it is important to do everything within his power to make sure existing businesses continue to survive in Jamestown, Teresi is right to put a renewed emphasis on filling vacant buildings and expanding what the city has to offer.
Finally, 2013 should bring completion of a regional policing study involving the Jamestown Police Department and Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department. Completion of the report will kick off a much-needed discussion about policing in the Jamestown area. It is high time for area residents to figure out how much police protection they want and how much they can afford - and it looks like this may be the year to start talking.
With three years left in his fourth term as mayor, it would be easy for Teresi to be beaten down by the increasingly difficult job of leading a small city through the trials and tribulations of the 21st century. Teresi's 13th State of the City address suggests otherwise. With so much taken out of his control by state mandates and previously negotiated contracts, it's comforting to see Teresi give policy recommendations that could benefit city residents for years to come.