Fair and Balanced

2019 Newsletter

Dear Residents of the 6th Ward in the Great Town of Camillus,

This is the annual mailed newsletter to all 6th ward residents. If you are new to the area or have not sent me your email address, please send it on as I put many announcements out by email during the year that you will find helpful. Your email address is kept secure and not shared with anyone else. In fact, I changed emails last year and as a result of the new carrier I may have lost some of your email addresses so please take a moment to email me your email address so I can rebuild my address book in order to send more news on a regular basis.

A reminder:
Camillus is blessed to have a great sewer dept. If you ever have a backup of your sewer in your basement DO NOT call a plumber until you have called Camillus Sewer Dept. at 315- 487-0920 first. Nine times out of ten your line can be cleared by this awesome dept. and it won’t cost you a penny.

Streetlights – By now you must have noticed the Town has replaced all streetlights with LED lighting. The lights are brighter giving you more coverage and the cost to the town after a $79K grant was only $56,000.00. For the 1500 streetlights in the town we will recoup that cost in 12-14 months through reduced energy costs. After that, we will be saving a significant amount each year

What’s new in town?
1. Tumble Rock Apartments- The property at the corner of Whedon Rd. and West Genesee St. is about to be transformed into a mixed use of two office buildings and two upscale apartment buildings. The one building, at the corner, will be housing Hunt Real Estate who will be moving from its current location next to Mavis Tire & Muffler. The developer committed to keep as many of the big beautiful trees as well as the deep tree and shrubbery line at the south of the property line. There will be 84 one and two bedroom apartments, each with two baths, in two buildings all with underground parking. Also, there will be two ponds to add to the beauty of the parcel. 2. By now you have seen the new Verizon store next to the old Pizza Hut.
Unfortunately all plans for the demolition of the Pizza Hit and Pool Supply store are on hold. No further information is available.
3. Core Eatery has now committed to taking a portion of one of the stores in Fairmount Fair. Core is a healthy eating establishment offering all organic salads and such. No opening date has been announced.
4. You may have noticed the closing of Panda Express last fall. The rumor mill has it that Starbucks is interested in the site.
5. Moving west – have you seen Camillus Park recently? Two years ago a Splash Pad opened and this past year an outdoor exercise pad was installed with 12 new machines that can be used year around. This coming spring a new Bocce Ball Court will be built on the north side of the parking lot. The Friends of Camillus Park along with our great Parks and Recreation Dept. are doing a great job making the park a great place to visit whether it is for walking the new and improved trails, picnicking or playing “pickle ball. If you have time and would like to join the friends as a volunteer, give Mary Flynn a call at 315-491-8702.
6. At Township 5 - there is a new restaurant called the Indian Grill offering lunch buffets and a full dinner menu in the evening. It has take out service (315-991-4344) for its fine Indian cuisine and is located next to The Brasserie. –Soon to be built next to the Movie Tavern will be a satellite office of Upstate Hospital in which there will be 25 offices offering various medical specialties. Also next to Metro mattress The Deep Stop Scuba Store has moved from its former location in the village. Witty Wicks, a candle & gift shop, has recently opened next to the frozen yogurt store
7. The Second Chance Diner has recently opened in the former Moe’s Pit Barbeque place on Bennett Rd. They serve outstanding breakfasts and lunches from 6am to 3 pm Tuesdays thru Sundays. Stop in- you won’t be disappointed.
8. The former Jreck Sub shop At the corner of Kasson Rd. and W. Genesee St. will be getting a complete makeover squaring it up with a whole new look. No tenant announced yet.
9. The Village of Camillus is looking quite good with all of the new store fronts. New to the village is Witty Wicks Candles at 69 Genesee St. Freedom of Expresso is a new coffee shop that is doing extremely well. It is located in the former Camillus Cutlery- now upscale apartments. There is a sign in the window at the former pizza shop at the corner of North St. and Genesee St. advertising the soon to open Kiki’s Greek Restaurant.
10. The Vietnamese Noodle House is soon to open at Elm Hill Plaza.

Legal Assistance – Beginning February 11th The Legal Aid Society will be meeting with seniors to assist in legal matter such as Medicaid denial, wills, health care proxies power of attorney, and public and veterans benefits, etc. These meetings will be held at the Senior Center in the Village of Camillus. If you are interested call the center at 315-672-5820 for an appointment.

Aviation Historical Society – Before there was Hancock Airport our little hamlet of Amboy was the main airport for Syracuse. Such notables as Charles Lindberg, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Doolittle, and Kate Smith all flew in and out of that airport during its lifespan of 1927 to 1951. The society wants to build a museum dedicated to the preservation of aviation history in the Town of Camillus. Visit the fundraising site for this organization

If and when we get some snow, The Camillus Ski Hill site will be open for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. The lifts are in great working order and if you are interested in volunteering to help with the operation, you and your family can enjoy free use of the facilities. Call Andy @315-569-5566 or go to Visit the ski hill website

Congratulations are in order to our Police Chief, Tom Winn, who received the 2018 Citizen of the Year award from the Camillus Chamber of Commerce. Well deserved, Chief Winn!

Last but not least, you just received the 2019 tax bills in the mail. Your Town Board has worked hard for the past 10 years keeping the rates low with little or no increases. This year it caught up to us and there was a small increase (just over 12cents per thousand).

It could not be helped what with increased minimum hourly wage rate, increased contractual salaries and benefits including ever escalating health insurance costs for our employees. The total of all increases equates to a $26.36 increase on a house assessed at $102,600.00. As mentioned earlier, this is the first increase in ten years.

Once again, don’t forget to email me if you are not on my email list and you would like to receive updates during the year. We are only allowed one printed and mailed newsletter per year. Email is faster and less expensive but not everyone has email so I find it helpful for everyone to be updated the old fashion way as well as email blasts announcing new things going on.

As always, please never hesitate to contact me by phone or email with any questions or concerns. I always get back to you even if it is an answer you may not like.

Dave Callahan

Background

I have been a Camillus resident since 1965, along with my wife of 48 years, Suellen. Together we have raised 5 children, Sean, Anastasia, Brendan, Joseph, and Michael, and are proud grandparents to 9 grandchildren.

I possess a B.S. from The College of the Holy Cross and was a self-employed businessman for 23 years, retiring in 2009. I have a long history of community involvement, including 10 years on the West Genesee School Board, a past trustee of Maxwell Library, former Boy Scout Leader, former WOYSA soccer coach, former Co-director of the RCIA program at Holy Family Church and a past trustee of Holy Family Church. Camillus is a great place to live and raise a family!

Making a Positive Impact in Camillus

Track Record Facts...

Now, I would like you to consider a few of the issues and programs I have worked diligently on to improve the Town of Camillus and the lives of our residents and business owners.

1. As Chairman of the Finance Committee, I implemented improved reporting and more understandable statements by which we monitor income and expenses. In addition I helped secure a new health insurance plan for employees that will save the Town more than $250,000.00 annually.

2. I also was instrumental in implementing shared services with Van Buren for the Animal Control Officer and shared services soon to be enacted for the Assessor with Elbridge. This was accomplished without additional personnel, and the revenues from those two towns will offset expenses for Camillus.

3. I have worked tirelessly to keep the Camillus Park Pool open and to initiate plans to make it an even more enjoyable place for your children and grandchildren.

4. I was one of three members of a special committee formed to bring the Fairmount and Camillus Fire Departments into the improved working relationship that exists today.

5. I continue to explore improved systems for leaf pick-up and circulate reminders for residents on how to keep brush from encroaching on the streets thus preventing possible accidents.

6. I have worked to get more street paving in the 6th ward in the past four years than any other ward.

7. I continually keep you up-dated with newsletters and email announcements.

8. I always respond to your calls and either complete the task you request or tell you why it can not be accomplished. This includes alerting the codes enforcement officer to address all issues you bring to my attention.


Vision For the Future

While local government can't dictate what happens in a town, you can help move things along with a vision to the future. Would our two large malls be what they are today without the vision of the West Genesee St. streetscape project that is inviting people to come to Camillus? And the upcoming Township 5 project is another indication that additional merchants want to join the Camillus business sector. Working together with the West Genesee School District with shared services makes Camillus a great place to raise a family. Funding our two libraries fulfills a need and keeps that "community" feeling. Maintaining roads and keeping our water and sewer lines in proper service is essential so residents will come and stay.

The economic climate at the national and state level poses the problem of how do we maintain services and keep the tax rate from rising. Last year in the face of rising gas and petroleum prices we were able to keep a tax rate with no increase. This was done by all department heads working together with our Town Board to budget their departments with little or no increases (other than contractual) over the previous year. This year will be no different, but with mandates from governmentt agencies above us they will be pushing these down and we will be faced to go very lean and mean.

We have already consolidated Van Buren's Dog Control Office into Camillus'. The Town of Van Buren pays Camillus and it helps reduce that department's expenses. We have also consolidated the Town of Elbridge Assessor's office into Camillus'. Camillus is be paid to do the work for Elbridge, and we do not have to add personnel to accomplish this. We are looking at other avenues for shared service and other areas to reduce expenses. Earlier this year we changed health insurances carriers, which netted us an overall savings of $250K. That alone will make a positive impact on our budget this coming year. Our community's greatest asset is our residents. My involvement over the years has shown me the great pride and hope the people have for this community. I don't think government can say they will take advantage of that but rather work along side of them to help foster even greater pride and hope.

We have an inviting climate for both business and residential growth. This doesn't just happen. We have a Planning Board to see that development is done according to codes and reflects our long range plan. Our Zoning Board of Appeals helps those residents who have special circumstances get things done when possible.

Camillus is a residential and business friendly community, and although the West Genesee School District is its own taxing authority separate from the Town, they have worked hard to give our residents a school district to be proud of and where they can have their children and grandchildren attend.