GF’s on-again, off-again push for $$ to pursue new plan is on again

Chronicle reporter Zander Frost writes: A night that started with a testy Glens Falls Common Council Workshop Tuesday ended with the Council and mayor coming to a revived former agreement.

On June 13, the Council unanimously approved a resolution brought by Ward 3 Councilwoman Diana Palmer to pursue a grant to pay up to 90% of the cost of creating a new city comprehensive plan.

The city’s current comprehensive plan dates back to 2003.

But this week’s Council meeting had an item on the agenda to rescind Ms. Palmer’s resolution and set a more long-term approach to create a new city plan.

Mayor Bill Collins said Chris Round, the LaBella consultant who had recommended they apply for the grant, changed course after meetings with the Mayor and staff and said applying for the planning grant put other city grants in jeopardy.

The workshop in the cramped Mayor’s Conference Room was tense — particularly on the subject of the meetings between the Mayor, staff and Mr. Round.

“I didn’t have the opportunity to be part of how the minds were changed,” Ms. Palmer said.

“You were told when I was meeting with him on Thursday…” Mayor Collins said.

“You’re implying that I brought up some sort of obstacles to make Chris change his mind,” the mayor said at one point.

“I think I was the one who said that…” Councilman Ben Lapham interjected.

“I don’t like your implication either,” Mayor Collins responded. “You get plenty of meetings all the time.”

Mr. Lapham and Ms. Palmer said that they had spoken with state officials who said that applying for this grant would not put other grants at risk. The Mayor said Mr. Round advised him otherwise.

Other topics for discussion were the plan’s estimated $150,000 price tag.

The Mayor said he was informed it would, in reality, come in much higher.

Ms. Palmer said she was frustrated because the lost time since the June resolution meant the grant application deadline is now roughly just two weeks away.

Council members were not sure if that is enough time to prepare the application.

At the meeting later, Mr. Round took questions from the City Council.

Ultimately, the council all asked Mr. Round to return to his team to see if submission is possible within two weeks.

“The goal is to have you do it. If you decide that you can’t, then the resolution can still stand and then we can work toward” 2024, Mayor Collins said.

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