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City and Town-Bassett 2-5-11

We are mid-winter but, so far, the good news is that we are not knee-deep in snow! It has been another winter with limited snow storms that have mostly gone to the south and east of the Champlain Valley. Depending on your perspective this could be good or bad news but it has made travel and the expense of managing snow covered roads more bearable.

This January, we continued to work with many projects that have been in the works and continue to move forward as well as new ones in the making. Though sales tax was down in 2010 the town anticipated a flat situation and budget accordingly. I'm pleased to report our sales tax revenue for 2010 will meet our budgeted values.

This year, we must focus on future infrastructure needs and plan now for those expenses. The success of the town is based on a number of factors including our ability to provide public water, sewer, natural gas, fiber, etc. for home owners and business. Development and investment provides the tax base to help keep services affordable and provide new jobs. This year, we will begin to develop a number of plans to systemically address our operational needs and avoid unanticipated improvements with costs that were not budgeted for.

In February, we will welcome Scott Stoddard, our new WWW director. I'm excited about the skills and expertise he will bring to that very important department. With the completion of the Comprehensive Master Plan, we will begin to work on our zoning and zoning codes. Given the current trends and the vision set down by the master plan, it is important to revisit our current zoning and make adjustments where appropriate. We must begin to anticipate an increased demand for housing that is expected to be stimulated by the Laurentian project. We continue to have conversations with others who have become interested in the town as a place for them to invest and do business.

I am more than optimistic 2011 will be the beginning of economic stability and a period of growth and development. So, let's continue to focus our energy on the really important issues and work hard to find our place in the new economy.

Bernie Bassett is supervisor of the town of Plattsburgh.

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