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Council addresses Linden Street, public comment, more (video)

On Wednesday, the Geneva City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting, which was a packed multi-hour session that left some asking “Where do we rank?” One of the biggest issues brought up during the meeting was the movement of the public speaking portion to the end. Last night, the first public speaker delivered his message to City Council just a few moments before 10 o’clock — nearly three hours after the meeting had started. The first speaker explained that the movement caused many to go home, which was evident by the constant stream of shuffling spectators — entering and exiting the meeting room.One of those speakers pointed out that the message sent by City Council, for moving the public speaking portion of the meeting to the end, was opposite of the message most of last year’s candidates for council ran on. “The vehicle of transparency, which you all ran on — needs to be driven back,” he said in part of his message.Multiple speakers suggested a variety of ways City Council could address the concerns, which had been posed by Mayor Ron Alcock. Whether it be creating a signup for potential speakers, which is a common practice throughout the region — or it be breaking down public comment to the issues as they come up in the meeting — residents were not only open to engaging City Council on this matter, but seemed eager to help address the concerns everyone has.Another problem many of the speakers expressed with the public comment section was that the new policy created an emphasis on city employees, while making residents who came out to speak to council “less important.” One speaker even bluntly pointed out that the policy says the “Opinion and voice of the citizens is less important than the comfort of city employees or representatives.” That speaker concluded, “Everyone that came up here is city business.”Linden Street was another hot topic on Wednesday. While many residents had shown up to speak publicly on the matter — the closure had already been voted on by City Council. The resolution, which was proposed last night — was passed nearly-unanimously — as Ken Camera, 4th Ward Councilman, was the only individual in opposition. His opposition highlighted by the treatment of Sunday in the resolution, which was debated heavily before being passed. There was plenty of wiggle room built into the resolution, Geneva City Manager Matt Horn pointed out that all of these measures would be “based on positive performance.” Meaning, the city could take further action moving forward — if things did not move forward in a way that took into account business owners, residents, and the city as a whole. Horn said that the city reached out to residents and business owners alike in Geneva for feedback on the Linden Street closure — pointing out that roughly 80 percent of the feedback was positive.The third major piece of business, which was handled in form of a resolution on Wednesday was the creation of a task force to deal with the problems around Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The College Area Livability Task Force, which was approved by the council will address concerns residents have with living in close proximity to college students. Off-campus housing for Hobart and William Smith students in the City of Geneva has received mixed reviews, with some neighbors complaining about various factors associated with college students living in these traditionally residential neighborhoods. One resident, who delivered his message to City Council asked what exactly the new task force would accomplish. While it was created to include college students, members of City Council, as well as including public speakers for task force meetings — Horn said that the process would likely be one that could take months, or years to see come to fruition.Check out the full-video below to see the Geneva City Council meeting in it’s entirety.

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