JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — Mayor Eddie Sundquist delivered the 2023 State of the City address Monday, which highlighted the achievements Jamestown has made within the past year.
After inheriting a city on the verge of financial collapse, Mayor Sunquist says the city now has the largest fund balance in decades, all without raising taxes.
“We have settled every single union contract, something that hasn’t been achieved in years. Saddled with legacy healthcare costs, we worked with unions and retirees on a new healthcare option, resulting in personal savings for retirees and millions of dollars in savings to our taxpayers,” says Sundquist.
The Mayor also cited new cybersecurity technology, improvements to school zones, investment in parks, and creating a municipal broadband network as some of the city’s biggest accomplishments.
Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, however, will have the most effect on Jamestown. The city secured over $28 million in federal funding, of which $23 has already been allocated.
“From these funds, we helped over 300 senior households with needed home improvement projects, replaced over 100 heavily damaged roofs across Jamestown, cost-free to working-class and middle class homeowners. We have given businesses affected by the pandemic resources and investments to hire more people locally, and a substantial amount of funds to demolish blighted buildings and redevelop properties for first time, low income, home
buyers,” boasts Sundquist.
Funds will also go towards needed capital spending for every city department, more public safety officers, cleaning up the Chadakoin River with the removal of invasive species, investments into the parks system, and programs for homeowners and businesses.
Public safety came to the forefront in the past year, which the mayor says the city addressed by hiring new police officers, and approving a new gun task force and a quality of life officer. New School Resource Officers were also added to the elementary and middle school.
“We welcome an increase in firefighters through Rescue Plan funding, allowing the City to increase fire protection and EMS coverage. In the Fire Department, we have seen the continued successful implementation of a new EMS billing system. During our first full year, we have exceeded revenue projections, allowing us to invest in much needed equipment for our firefighters to save lives,” explains Sundquist.
The Department of Public Works worked on record miles of roads, renovations of city parking garages, stormwater retention ponds, and many more infrastructure projects. The city also began construction of the new Fleet Maintenance Facility, which will be completed in 2023.
Jamestown is also working to develop its cannabis industry, assuring all operations are legal. The mayor is also working to improve transportation around the city as well as to and from it.
“We are working to secure federal rail investment to bring back rail service to Buffalo, New York City, and all points east and west. We continue to work with the Department of Transportation for not just trains, but planes as well,” says Sundquist.
The city has also secured $200,000 in funding to address the growing homeless population and have opened two new emergency shelters.