Rotterdam’s elected overseer wants city “a nice place to live” again – The Daily Gazette


On the roads leading to Rotterdam, motorists can spot a Dutch windmill on a blue background – a nod to the city’s early settlers and its namesake in the Netherlands.

Take a closer look on a second time, and underneath that reminder of Rotterdam’s roots is its slogan. His goal for himself, “Rotterdam: A nice place to live.”

However, the city’s changing landscape has drawn many locals to city council meetings, where they often wonder whether or not the city is a great place to live.

As the new year approaches, these residents can expect more transparency on the path to what elected supervisor Mollie Collins sees as a step towards improving the situation in Rotterdam.

More open lines of communication between the city and its residents will help ease the schism between residents and the board of directors, Collins said.

“I think transparency will go a long way in this because I think if people know their voices are being heard and they see what’s going on, I think it will restore more trust in our government,” he said. she declared. “You have to have a forum where people can come and talk.

“It’s not always negative, sometimes they have great ideas that you can follow along with.”

While there may be a lot of issues to work out in town, Collins said she doesn’t plan on doing the full-time supervisor job or extending terms from two to four years.

“I think having a part-time supervisor is enough and I like term limits,” she said. “If you do a good job, I guess people will want to re-elect you. We have full-time department heads, so if those department heads are good, and you trust them, and you have good communication with them, then they should be able to handle a lot of the business that comes up. take place from day to day.

Collins hopes to have a good working relationship with all of the city council members so the city can do whatever it wants.

“We have to work together as a team,” she said. “Politics should end the minute you are elected and especially in a small town like Rotterdam. There must be five people setting there who care about their city, I don’t care what political party they’re affiliated with.

The new town leader, born and raised in the community that first settled 350 years ago, graduated from Mohonasen High School in 1973, where her parents enrolled her in elective courses. rather than in study rooms.

“In fact, on top of all that, my mom wanted me to learn how to cut my hair so that I had a job on top of having everything else,” she said.

She did not become a hairdresser. Instead, she did what many in the Capital Region have done for generations: work for the state and General Electric. She was secretary to the government and then to the company based in Schenectady until 1980, when she stopped working full time to take care of her daughter Kenna.

Over the past four decades, Collins has held a number of part-time jobs, eventually entering the public service. In 2005, she became the main coordinator of Rotterdam services. The position became full-time after two years and she remained in the role until 2017.

But, her community service continued for another two years, working as needed in the city comptroller’s office.

Her brief retirement ends at the start of the year when she takes the reins of the city in which she lives.

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During his tenure, Collins plans to focus on several city issues that have become controversial, such as:

Transparency:

Residents of several town halls criticized the city for its inability to circulate agendas and additional documents ahead of town halls.

Going forward, Collins said she plans to post meeting agendas and related documents on the city’s website on Friday before a meeting is scheduled.

“I need the residents to come to the meetings so that I can hear and all of council can hear their position on some of the issues and they can’t do that if they don’t read what we’re doing at this meeting,” ” she said.

Collins also said she was against retaining public relations firm The Martin Group, which city council hired in April for $ 36,000. The contract with the company is due to expire in March.

Relocation of the city offices to the former Kmart:

Collins is wholeheartedly against the city’s decision to move the city’s offices from Sunrise Boulevard to 50,000 square feet of space in the old Kmart building at Rotterdam ViaPort. She said she intends to pursue the city’s legal options regarding the lease that was signed earlier this month.

“I don’t understand how this can be a fiscally responsible decision,” she said. The cost of renovating the building and She said that $ 400,000 a year plus the money to renovate the building is a lot to pay.

Infrastructure:

In recent years, the city council has discussed the need to build its sewer lines to allow more businesses to enter, set a schedule to adequately repair the roads, and modernize the station. treatment of the city’s wastewater to efficiently serve the city.

But all of that work will cost millions, not hundreds of thousands of dollars, Collins said.

This is why before starting the work, she wants to organize a referendum to see what the residents feel. On top of that, real numbers need to be provided to residents so that they understand what their taxpayers’ money will be used for, she said.

Housing and apartment complexes:

A proposed apartment complex for Curry Road has sparked sentiment in Rotterdam in recent times, with many residents opposing the construction and looking for single-family homes in large housing units. Collins wants to put in place a moratorium on apartment complexes until the city decides what it wants its housing to look like in the future. To do that, she said, the city must wait until its comprehensive plan, which outlines what residents want the city to look like over the next few years, is completed.

“Once we get the compensation plan from the committee, all residents will have the right to see it,” she said.

High taxes:

In the proposed budget of $ 26 million for 2022, residential taxes are only expected to increase by 1 cent per $ 1,000 of assessed property value. However, the non-residential or commercial property tax is expected to increase by 24%.

Collins said there’s not much she can do for next year’s budget. However, she said once in office she and the other two new board members – Joe Mastroianni and Charles “Jack” Dodson – will need to carefully review the budget to “reallocate funds and hopefully reallocate funds. make a better budget in the future ”

Cannabis dispensaries and places of consumption on site:

The city has until December 31 to refuse to have dispensaries or drinking facilities on site. Collins has said the city should step back, so when her administration takes control of the city, she will have time to determine if she wants these types of businesses in the city.

“If we step down, it means that we will have time to hold a public hearing to see what the residents are feeling, we can speak to the two superintendents of our school districts to see their opinion and we can then decide,” he said. she declared. “We can always re-register without any penalty. “

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Some of Collins’ favorites in Rotterdam:

Favorite place to eat:

When Collins eats out, she likes to go to Italian and American restaurant Canali for their lasagna.

Visit of the favorite place:

She enjoys hiking the part of the Empire State Trail that crosses town.

A hidden gem:

She said Lock 8 is an amazing place to visit if you want to relax. In the spring she said it was cool to watch the boats go through the lock and see all the people fishing.

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