On November 5th, people went to polling stations in Amsterdam to determine who the mayor of the city should be. The election was between the incumbent Republican mayor Mike Villa, and the Democratic challenger Mike Cinquanti. The elections results were 43% to 57% in favor of Cinquanti, ousting the current mayor, Mike Villa.
What can we expect to see from Cinqunati as he takes on the issues of Amsterdam? After sitting down with him for an interview when I asked him this question, he says that Amsterdam’s biggest problem is its financial status. This was his main focus on the campaign trail due to the city being in $8 million worth of debt. How he will take this issue head on is beginning with monitoring and examining the revenue and expenses more thoroughly than they currently are by examining them on a once a month basis, which is currently not happening. He will also begin putting a budget committee together of people from outside the city to bring in more opinions. As well as this, each of the twelve departments in the city, the employees will begin looking at the budget frequently instead of finding budget deficits at the end of the year when there is less time to deal with the issue. His previous job experiences show that he should be capable to take this issue head on, from his hands-on experience of running his own business and not running a deficit at all, with this he has worked on the school board twice, in the 1980’s and early 2000’s, working with a budget that is larger than the city’s, and as well as working on Liberty ARC board showing that he has experience working with large budgets.
An important area that needs to be looked at that ties into Amsterdam’s budget is the Amsterdam downtown area. Currently Amsterdam has a $10 million grant to help revitalize Amsterdam’s downtown, but the challenge that comes from this is that this is a larger $35 million project, where the remaining $25 million has to come somewhere else to complete all the projects. Some of these projects include a rec center for the downtown area with an in-door soccer field to improvements on the Amsterdam Free Library and new pathway from main street to Riverfront Park, all this with the goal of making the downtown attractive for people to go to and bring new people and businesses into the city for the revitalization. In terms of the Amsterdam mall, Cinquanti hopes to make it more of an asset than it being an obstacle to the city and he hopes to implement one of a few plans he has for the mall within his four year term. The issue is that it is privately owned, so the city can only suggest things to do with it.
While working on fixing the budget deficit that Amsterdam is currently affected by, Cinqunati has other plans that will be implemented at the same time, such as attempting to clean up environmental issues that are in Amsterdam. He plans on attempting to bring in people to assess the situation in “blighted” areas and locate the source of the issue and attempt to fix it. Another plan he hopes to bring into action is “citizen committees” to get more people involved in the government and make it so that they do not have to go to the Town Hall to get involved, and have citizens help with the blight and the roads.
We will have to see in the years following to see if Cinquanti’s policies are effective in solving some of Amsterdam’s issues such as the budget, but it looks promising. Finishing off the interview he suggested for students once they graduate to look into public service to work together and issues that we are facing, and to stay in Amsterdam.