Mayor Eddie Sundquist released the following statement on 2021 achievements by City of Jamestown Departments:
“As we end and reflect on 2021 and head into 2022, I want to acknowledge the great work all of our departments have done over the past year. It has been trying in many of the same ways 2020 was, as we continued dealing with the effects of the pandemic. However, our City departments and workers rose to the challenge of the year and did great work. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge all of that great work.
In our Police Department, we have seen an increase in community service detail and beat walking assignments. According to our latest estimates, both property and violent crime has dropped in the City year over year. The Police department has also seized more firearms and drugs in the City, showing the effectiveness of our drug task force. We also added a number of new officers this year including K-9 Hope, who has assisted in more than 70 details as a comfort dog for victims of domestic violence. I also commend the SWAT Team for receiving its certification from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, making the SWAT team one of only 27 teams in the state to meet this standard. The continued work of our officers as members of our community, keeping the public safe and being responsive is certainly recognized by City residents and we thank all of our officers for their hard work and diligence.
In the Jamestown Fire Department, we have seen the successful implementation of a new EMS billing system and the acquisition of new fire reporting software. I applaud the hard work of our firefighters in working through the transition from a paper operation to an electronic format with incredible speed and accuracy.
Our finance department, in partnership with City retirees, members of City Council, and other City Staff, formed a Healthcare Committee, which rolled out a Medicare Advantage Plan to City retirees. In an enormous success, 136 individuals have signed up, which will allow the City to save over $200,000 a year and each retiree to save over $1,500 a year in premium costs. The finance department also successfully implemented internal monthly budget review meetings City wide to improve communication and financial coordination with all City departments as well as rolled out the ability for retirees to pay their monthly health insurance premiums electronically.
Our Department of Public Work also had had a record year, and dealt with an influx of work from more state roads funds that included, over 5,800 ft of new sidewalk, 8,100 ft of new curbs, 90 new handicap ramps,18,300 ft of new blacktop pavement, 57,000 ft of pavement surface treatment and maintenance coating, 2,300 gallons of liquid asphalt crack seal applied, 7,900 square ft of repaired brick pavement, 65 new driveway aprons, 1,400 ft new storm sewer pipe, and 30 new and reconstructed Catch Basins and Drain Inlets.
Our Department of Development continued to deal with housing related issues, and has taken a more active role in holding absentee landlords to account through 19A and Zombie Property Law lawsuits. The development office has also done more to connect with more businesses in all industries by holding roundtables with various business sectors and non-profits in Jamestown, in addition to beginning a project to map resources available to businesses in the area to encourage entrepreneurship. The DOD also helped to bring in more than $2 million in grants to facilitate local development projects.
In other departments, our Assessor’s office updated all pictures for properties in the City. The City Clerk’s and Treasurer’s office transitioned many of their functions online, including successfully rolling out the option for online property tax payments. Our Corporation Counsel’s office successfully negotiated 3 of 5 contracts for City bargaining units, ensuring that the majority of our employees will continue to operate on a current contract. Our Parks department completed a new playground at Lilian Dickson Park, as well as a myriad of other projects that continue to improve our world-class parks system.
Across all City departments, the City has worked to transition onto a City-wide software system that will allow departments to be more organized and responsive, and allow the public ease of access for information, submitting issues they see, and apply for permits. While many processes, including constituent issue tracking and FOIL requests have already transitioned onto the new software, we anticipate much more in 2022.
The City brought in more than $28 million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act Local Recovery Plans. The Master Plan created to help organize and direct spending of these funds was created through a collaborative process with the Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation in listening sessions held with non-profits, businesses, and residents. As we continue into 2022, it is the City’s priority to spend in a transparent and transformational way.
I thank all City employees for their hard work and dedication to public service. The transition to a more efficient and effective City government for all Jamestown residents isn’t always easy, but their hard work is invaluable to the effort.”