Work required to beat blight

Talking about blight will not clean up Gloversville; real work needs to be done to straighten up certain properties in the city.

Sadly, many local politicians talk a lot about stopping blight, but they hesitate to actually address the problem.

The Gloversville Common Council voted 4-3 last month against adding a DPW employee whose job would be to help reduce blight by maintaining properties owned by the city and county, including unmaintained homes and businesses seized through nonpayment of taxes.

Initially, the job was classified as a working supervisor position, which would have paid $38,834 under the union contract. That was later changed to a laborer who would have made $28,808 – which is what the council shot down.

While we have called for the city to cut spending where possible, the reality is the city – in some cases – will have to spend money to make money.

As 2nd Ward Councilman Arthur Simonds noted, the city Blight Committee presented its final report to the Common Council in October, suggesting the city hire a new DPW worker to tackle blight issues by performing exterior maintenance on city- and county-owned properties.

DPW employees currently perform maintenance on properties owned by the city but not county-owned properties.

Simonds, who presented the resolution to hire the laborer, seemed to assess the situation correctly.

“I think, generally speaking, a lot of the council members don’t get it. They don’t understand that blight is the center of our problem in the community. It impacts the police, the amount of money you can sell your home for and also amounts on whether people want to buy a home in the area,” he said.

We agree. Simonds said he may pursue the issue again in the spring, and we hope he does.

If the city and county will not take care of the properties they own, why should anyone else?