Failure to execute

A failure to execute is not any political statement about the death penalty but rather pertains to a couple of Geneva-related issues.

The first one regards the city’s winter parking restrictions.

For me, this story begins 20 year ago, when I moved to Geneva. I rented an apartment overlooking Pulteney Park. Come Dec. 1 — and until April — parking was a nightmare for those living in that area.

It was alternate side of the street parking, depending on the day, and quite simply, there were not enough spots for the number of cars. One William Smith College student often parked illegally in front of her place on the corner of Washington Street and Park Place. For safety reasons, her father felt it was too difficult trying to find a spot downtown, and who knew how far she would have to walk at night, so he was willing to pay the fines rather than have her take the risk.

I went to a City Council meeting to wage a complaint about parking there. Nothing was done. A year or so later, I went to a meeting in the summertime and suggested then would be a good time to think about winter parking downtown.

The solution? Change the parking to both sides of the street on Washington Street — but for only one block. I think it may have been just to shut me up.

I have since moved, but I was pleasantly surprised in 2018 when the city got rid of alternate side of the street parking restrictions except for “snow emergencies.” If vehicles are parked during such an emergency they are supposed to be ticketed and towed.

Well, on Feb. 5, the city announced “Winter Parking Enforced Until Further Notice! Please move car by 2am. There will be tickets issued and you could get towed if necessary.”

Nine days later, on Feb. 14, the restrictions were lifted. Most of those nine days were far from any kind of snow emergency. When I drove home at night on the 15th, few apparently knew about the change because one side of the street remained empty. That’s no surprise when it is communicated in such a haphazard way.

The winter parking situation is, I feel, a result of the city’s failure to execute.

It is true that when a storm hits, there can be problems with vehicles that are not moved. But the failure comes from the city never towing any of the cars. It’s harsh, I realize, but if they are ticketed and towed, I am quite sure word would get around and people would take the parking restrictions more seriously. No one needs to be told when a snow emergency exists. Everyone is aware of incoming storms (accompanying photo was taken last year).

Issue No. 2 deals with the dog park adjacent to the Geneva Recreation Center. I don’t know of any other dog park that requires a paid membership. The purpose of a dog park is for dog lovers like myself to have our pets enjoy and play with lots of other pooches. This particular park rarely has a lot of dogs there at the same time.

Shortsville is an example of a local park that is open to all, free of charge. One fundraiser a year is held to support the park. On days when the place is muddy, etc., it simply is closed.

The Geneva dog park should be included in the city’s budget. There is very little cost, but it is a good quality-of-life element for residents and visitors.

Unfortunately, the city’s most recent budget showed a lack of desire for such low-cost but valuable assets that might be beneficial to Genevans. For example, Port 100, a coworking space for entrepreneurs downtown, received no funding after city staff previously recommended it receive $9,000. BluePrint Geneva received nothing from the city this year. The non-profit, which, among other initiatives, was providing free tax return preparation for low-income city residents. It was hoping to get additional funding for a summer gardening program for teens.

Other agencies that lost all city funding included the Center of the Finger Lakes, Colony Caregivers (recommendation $1,500); and Ontario County Justice Coalition (recommendation $1,150).

To cut funding and potentially jeopardize the existence of some of these smaller, wonderful organizations seems absurd when the city increased funding for a select few. The Geneva Family YMCA received an increase of about $6,000. The Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce received an increase of $5,000. It would have been more reasonable to give these organizations the same as last year, which could have satisfied some if not all of the other 2020 budget neglected organizations.

City Councilor Ken Camera seemed to agree in an article in the Finger Lakes Times about the situation. He said: “We made minor cuts to little things, like the paltry sums dedicated to organizations that work on the quality of life in our city. But we never fully debated questionable spending already embedded in the budget plan, including the $80,000 per year we are saddling future Genevans with by bonding a new, unneeded lakefront marina.”

He also questioned the city subsidizing ice skating for Hobart and William Smith hockey to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars a year.

In other words, a failure to execute in a fair and equitable distribution.


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