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Record staffers bring you information on the comings and goings of New York's Collar City.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday shopping hours in Troy

City shop owners want your business this holiday season and are offering extended hours as an incentive.

The Troy Downtown Collaborative announced last week that 27 shops, boutiques, galleries, and antique stores in downtown Troy will stay open until 7 p.m. every Friday until Christmas.

Traditionally, most stores in downtown shut their doors by 5 p.m. on weekdays, with the exception of Troy Night Out, making it difficult for local customers to hunt locally for holiday gifts after work. The extended hours began taking effect on Black Friday.

“Downtown Troy has a host of shops that offer gifts you simply can’t find anywhere else” said Elizabeth Young, executive director of the TDC and owner of Living Room, a River Street antiques shop. “From hand crafted jewelry, to antiques, to eco-friendly items and boutique fashions, Troy is the place to find something unique this holiday season”.

Participating shops include: the Antiques Warehouse, Artcentric Gift Gallery, Aurora’s Boutique, Bournebrook Antiques Center, Broken Mold Pottery, Cathedral Music, Clement Framing and Art Gallery, Cobblestone Collectibles, Counties of Ireland, Daily Grind, Francesca’s, JK Bloom Jewelry, Living Room Antiques, Market Block Books, Minion Vintage Jewelry, The Paper Sparrow, Pfeil Hardware, Pigment Art Supply, River Rocks, Romanation Jewelry, Segel Violins and A Place for Art, Some Girls Boutique, The Photography Center, The Spinning Seed, Trojan Horse Antiques, Truly Rhe, Urban Bazaar, Vintage Chic, Vintage Options Jewelry and Accessories, and more.

Young said that she and other members of the TDC hope the extra shopping hours will make it easer for Capital Region residents to spend their money locally this year to support the local economy rather than the big box stores found in area malls.

Troy Night Out, an arts and culture event held on the last Friday of each month, regularly invites individuals from across the area to experience what the city has to offer with extended hours at retail stores, as well as open galleries, live music, and specials at area restaurants.

A similar message was stressed by Capital District Local First during their annual Buy Local Bash on Nov. 21, where organizers pointed out that millions of dollars could stay in the area if residents shopped at local, independent stores rather than retail chains.

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Public meeting on City Hall Redevelopment

The following is a news release about the meeting:

Mayor Harry Tutunjian announced the first of several public meetings regarding the future of City Hall, the redevelopment of current City Hall site, and the relocation of City Hall will be held on Wednesday December 2, 2009 at Christ Church United Methodist.

“The redevelopment of the current City Hall site is a transformative event that will bring more residents, jobs, and economic development investment to Troy,” said Mayor Tutunjian. “Public participation is an integral factor for making this project a success. Specifically, at this meeting we will be looking for input from residents as to what they believe will be the best alternatives for developments at this site.”

Sasaki Associates was chosen earlier this year from a list of more than 25 consultants from around the country to help with the redevelopment of this site. They’ve been working with City Staff since then and are examining eight sites in the downtown area as potential places for a future City Hall.

Christ Church welcomes the City of Troy for this important meeting and is privileged to be able to offer our space as a community resource,” said Pastor Nina Nichols. “We are glad to play a part in envisioning the future of our city.”

The public meeting will consist of power point presentations, a breakdown of all the separate parts of the project being looked at, and potential uses for the current City Hall site. Discussion will be led by Sasaki Associates

What: City Hall Redevelopment Meeting

When: Wednesday December 2, 2009

6 PM to 9 PM

Who: Sasaki Associates and the City of Troy

Where: Christ Church United Methodist on the corner of 5th Avenue and State Street

NOTE: Parking available in the 5th Avenue Parking Garage.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fleur De Lis open as usual

While some readers have raised concerns that Fleur De Lis, the popular Second St. flower shop, had closed after its doors were recently locked for a few days, the shop is indeed open and geared up for the holiday season.

Owner Mary Genevieve said that the store had been closed simply so she could get her store ready for Christmas.

The shop is located at 15 Second St. in downtown Troy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Final public hearings on budget Thursday

TROY – The City Council will hold its final public hearings Thursday on the proposed 2010 budget, which is estimated to carry a 2.2 percent tax increase after the council’s recent cuts.

While the meetings are designed to provide residents with a chance to speak their mind regarding both the budget and the council’s changes, Mayor Harry Tutunjian believed that most individuals will not have had enough time to understand the situation beforehand.

In a Tuesday meeting, the council planned to cut more than $426,000 from Tutunjian’s proposed $63.7 million budget by cutting overtime costs and consultant fees, eliminating the positions of employees expected to retire, and eliminating an employee of Tutunjian’s office while adding a position to their own budget.

Tutunjian’s budget would carry a tax increase of 4.25 on its own without the changes.

“They (residents) need to be included in these discussions,” said Tutunjian.

“The council is delusional if they think that the city is overstaffed and that our budget has room for cutting in it,” he continued. “Adopting budgets that are cut this deeply will put us back in the dark ages.”

Council members believed that making the cuts would reduce the burden on city taxpayers while leaving revenue sources and city services intact.

City Comptroller Deborah Witkowski warned the council during their meeting that the city could be forced to add an additional $1 million expense to the budget if the state Legislature does not pass a bill allowing municipalities to spread out increased pension costs over several years.

That alone could raise the tax increase to 7 or 8 percent, said Tutunjian, who is expected to veto the elimination of the positions of spokesman Jeff Pirro and Department of Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch, who is retiring, if they are included in the budget the council ultimately adopts by Dec. 1.

While the council can override the mayor’s veto, Tutunjian said he would take the council to court once again on the issue of usurping his powers if he had to.

The public hearings will be held in the City Council chambers at City Hall on the capital budget at 7 p.m. and on the general fund budget at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Council to discuss budget cuts with mayor tonight

The City Council is expected review their proposed changes to the 2010 budget with the mayor this evening at City Hall.

Mayor Harry Tutunjian presented a $63.7 million proposed budget in October which would carry a 4.25 percent tax increase in January if no changes are made.

While preliminary changes suggested by the council were revealed last weekend in a Record article, the amounts are expected to vary this evening.

The council's Democratic majority gained an At-Large seat in last week's general election for a 7-2 majority once new members are seated in January.

The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Another meeting on Doyle Middle School project

The Board of education has scheduled a special meeting of its Facilities Committee for Tuesday, Nov. 10 to discuss the proposed nearly $50 million re-construction project at Doyle Middle School. 

The meeting is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Based on the way the district plans to structure the repayment of its debt, officials are anticipating only a “minor tax impact, if any,” according to Board of Education Vice President Anne Wager-Rounds. Proposed financing for the project is currently dependent on annual state building aid as well as a $3.4 million state EXCEL grant.

The board must decide between options to move students to one of the district’s elementary schools, move some of them to the high school, or to contrast modular classrooms for at least half of the student body.

However, leaving even half of the students in the building during partial construction could extend the project time from 19 to 30 months, according to consultants working on the project.

Public input is encouraged.