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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

abuse of services...

It's always a tough call to ask non-profits and charities to pay some taxes, but in the case of.Union college and the city of Schenectady, I'm in favor:
Union College cost the city almost $500,000 in emergency services last year -- and Mayor Brian U. Stratton wants the school to start footing the bill. In an hour-long meeting Friday with outgoing Union President Roger Hull and James Underwood, his interim successor, Stratton presented figures detailing the frequency and expense of police, fire and paramedic calls to Union's campus. He'd like Union to pay a public safety fee to defray the costs.

The meeting was held as some Schenectady politicians want the school, which is tax-exempt, to pay money voluntarily to the city. Hull has resisted the payments in lieu of taxes, saying Union's investments on and off campus have strengthened the city even if the school doesn't pay taxes. Stratton agreed the investments are a benefit. But the public-safety commitment, he said, "is a quantifiable expense. It's directly supported by the statistics we have."

In 2004 and 2005 to date, the Fire Department and paramedics responded to 372 calls. The price tag for the calls in 2004 was $240,000.

The Police Department responded to 312 calls in 2004 and 2005 to date, with a $250,000 cost for 2004.
That's a lot of public services.
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