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Don’t mess with Spa City’s financial health

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion The Charter Review Commission has repeatedly praised the financial section of Saratoga Springs’ current commission form of government.In fact, the committee decided to lift this section word-for-word and put it into its proposed new city manager form of government.Bob Batson, the committee’s expert lawyer from SUNY Albany, said that he would recommend our financial controls be used by all other New York state cities. Impartial experts agree.* The state comptroller reports that Saratoga Springs is financially healthy, including having a very positive forecast for future financial health, unlike many upstate cities run by city managers.* Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s bond rating agencies each gave the city very high ratings with positive outlooks. The Moody’s rating was an increase. They even praised Saratoga Springs’ financial management. * Saratoga Springs already has an effective and efficient financial system working for taxpayers delivering great services and the second lowest city tax rate in New York state.There’s no financial rationale to change our government. Taxes are flat, while taxes in others like Watertown, which they want us to imitate, have gone up 32 percent in only six years.As finance commissioner for three terms, I watched over Saratoga Springs residents’ money very carefully, the same high standards our commissioners have today. Vote no.Remigia FoySaratoga SpringsThe writer is chair of SUCCESS.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

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Unlink police overtime, pension benefits

first_imgWhy isn’t something done about this flagrant and unfair practice? OT should be eliminated from the retirement benefit calculation.Who’s responsible for oversight, approval and management of the contracts for municipal employees? Is it the mayor, the City Council, the finance department, the police chief, the fire chief?They all need to do a much better job of managing these departments in an ethical and moral manner, including the compensation, overtime and retirement benefits. They owe it to be fair to all their employees, but also to the citizens/taxpayers that they represent. Hopefully, this practice of excessive overtime being manipulated by design to inflate retirement benefits will be looked at and corrected. Taxpayers deserve nothing less.Bernard BurnsRotterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:Rotterdam convenience store operator feels results of having Stewart’s as new neighborFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Car hits garage in Rotterdam Sunday morning; Garage, car burnEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionEvery year, The Gazette reports on the highest-paid employees in the city. Every year it’s certain to be police officers and firefighters. It raises the same questions that never seem to be addressed:1) How many of these employees are within three years of retirement? Why, because this overtime is included in their retirement package and of course, it significantly inflates their retirement benefit. We the taxpayers have to pay for the inflated benefits over the next 20 to 30 years. This practice continues and it’s extremely unfair to taxpayers. The retirement benefits without overtime (OT) are already very generous.2) Police Chief Eric Clifford claims no one else wants to work OT? Hard to believe — out of 147 officers — only the officers that will significantly enhance their pensions are willing to work OT? The word on the street is that young officers that want to work OT to help with their finances and growing young families are told to wait their turn when they are close to retirement. Clearly that’s what happens by design every year — the evidence is in the paper for all to see.last_img read more

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Time to shut down the United Nations

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion One can only hope that Trump’s greatest accomplishment will be closing the cesspool known as the United Nations. Instead of giving voice to all nations, large all small, they have taken on the task of eliminating Israel. Syria gases innocent citizens, silence — drinks and dinners as usual. Israel bombs a military site — emergency meeting. Please, President Trump, hang a closed sign on the United Nations. Geraldine KrawitzSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Saturday, Nov. 23

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionGenerous benefits, pay are owed to vetsThe Constitution Party of New York respects the difficult and selfless contributions of our active servicemen and women and all veterans for defending and preserving freedom in America.Only by offering equitable pay and benefits to those in active service and a generous benefits package to veterans for health, education and other important benefits can we truly recognize their efforts to the national welfare.We strongly resist the means of any government agency to lower or invalidate the earned benefits of veterans and their survivors, including compensation, pensions, health care, education and any other benefits.William D. WildaySchenectadyThe writer is chairman of the Constitution Party of New York.Democrats going down socialist roadA son-in-law of mine has a grandfather who escaped Venezuela along with 4 million others. Why? You won’t read too much about the catastrophe in Venezuela because the mainstream media wants to prevent us from reading or hearing too much about a socialist disaster.Many Venezuelans are starving. The inflation rate is 1 million percent, which means, for example, that a dozen eggs would cost 150 U.S. dollars.How did this happen to one of the richest, most prosperous countries in the world 20 years ago? It started with Chavez and is now continuing with Nicolas Maduro. Maduro came to power  six years ago promising to get rid of crime by confiscating all guns.He also promised free health care. After he was elected, he gave the guns back and health care only to those who voted for him. He can’t be ousted because those who oppose him have no guns, and many are dying of disease and starvation.I write this because I see the current Democratic Party going down a similar socialist road.Richard ColyerSchoharieRepublicans, tell us what you’re afterPeople that think I would believe implicitly that a verdict of “innocent” was fitting regarding the woman-scorned found holding a smoking pistol over the body of her ex-lover are essentially insulting their own intelligence.Republicans expecting me to believe that Trump’s interaction with Ukraine’s president was an innocent effort to look after the interest of both nations, and not a substantial effort to fabricate a false narrative for personal gain and vengeance, are also insulting their own intelligence.If the Republicans who are vehemently defending Trump were honest, they would drop the pretense that makes them look intellectually like they asked God for trains instead of brains. They would be up front about their real concerns.What are their real concerns?Is it the fear of not being elected? Is it the fear of a socio-economic platform that is not in agreement with them? Or is it both? I suspect both.However, many of the Republicans defending Trump seem to righteously feel there are no rules for them when it comes to how they achieve their goal. I find this attitude very disturbing.Why? If for no other reason, than cheating is in the set of rules of war. And you can’t have much of a nation comprised of two encampments that treat the other as they treat their enemy when at war. If left unchecked, this attitude is the beginning of the end.R. Michael BoyerGilboaMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

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Retail

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Driving forward

To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters

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BPF conference: why you should take notice

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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China car sales slump 92 percent in first half of February on virus

first_imgChina car sales plunged 92 percent during the first two weeks of February as the coronavirus outbreak kept buyers away from showrooms.It was even worse in the first week, when nationwide sales tumbled 96 percent to a daily average of only 811 units, the China Passenger Car Association said in a report released earlier this week. Deliveries this month may slide by about 70 percent, resulting in a roughly 40 percent drop in the first two months of 2020, the association said. The figures exclude minivans.“There was barely anybody at car dealers in the first week of February as most people stayed at home,” PCA Secretary General Cui Dongshu wrote in the report. Dealers gradually restarted operations in the second week of February, when daily sales of passenger cars stood at 4,098 units, still a decline of 89 percent from a year earlier, he said. The situation is expected to improve in the third week of February, Cui said in an interview Friday.The numbers underscore the extent by which sales have been affected in the world’s largest market for automobiles. Even before the outbreak, auto sales in China were heading for an unprecedented third straight annual decline because of a slowing economy and trade tensions with the US.China’s commerce ministry said Thursday it will work with other government departments on more measures to stabilize auto sales and reduce the impact of the epidemic on demand. Separately, Chinese policy makers have been discussing extending subsidies for electric-vehicle purchases beyond this year to revive sales, people familiar with the matter have said.Topics :last_img read more

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Soldier trampled to death by wild elephant in South Sumatra

first_imgThe head of the South Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Geinman Hasibuan, confirmed that the elephant that entered Belanti hamlet was a wild one. He added that the hamlet was within the elephant’s natural habitat and at least 120 elephants regularly roamed the area.According to the BKSDA, there were at least 37 conflicts between humans and elephants between 2013 and 2019. The number is higher than the conflicts involving other animals, such as tigers (26 cases), sun bears (20) and crocodiles (14).The Sumatran elephant was declared an endangered species by both the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which called the species “critically endangered” on its red list, and the government, which included the species on the list of a 2018 environment and forestry ministerial regulation on protected flora and fauna.According to the Indonesia Elephant Conservation Forum, the population of elephants was from 2,800 to 4,800 in 1980. However, it said only 1,720 remained in the wild by 2014.Read also: Innovation needed to end human-elephant conflict in Sumatra, says WWF IndonesiaDuring a discussion on human-wildlife conflict in Palembang in February, Way Kambas Landscape coordinator Sugiyo said the authorities should implement a participative approach involving villagers for managing conflicts with elephants.Conflict between humans and elephants has been considered a factor contributing to the decrease of the Sumatran elephant population. “It is a territorial conflict. Their forest area has been reduced significantly because it has been turned into plantations. Poaching, hunting and the wildlife trade had also worsened the conflict,” Sugiyo said. (dpk) “The incident occurred near the Padang Sugihan wildlife sanctuary,” South Sumatra governor Herman Deru said during a visit to the hamlet on Thursday.The TNI promoted Iskandar posthumously to chief sergeant. He was buried during a ceremonial military funeral at the Bawah Kabung Public Cemetery in Banyuasin regency on Thursday.Read also: Elephant in the village: Jambi villagers struggle to keep giant animals awayIskandar had been advising villagers to protect the elephant, which is considered an endangered species, as well as prevent similar human-wildlife conflicts in the future. A soldier was trampled to death by a wild elephant that wandered into Belanti hamlet in Ogan Komering Ilir regency, South Sumatra.The soldier, identified as First Sgt. Iskandar Zulkarnain, 49, was a member of the Indonesian Military’s (TNI) village supervisory noncommissioned officers (Babinsa) assigned to the hamlet. He died while trying to protect villagers from the elephant.When Iskandar and some villagers tried to scare the animal back into the forest, the elephant attacked them instead. Iskandar failed to escape from the animal, which trampled him to death. Villagers retrieved his body after finally succeeding in driving off the elephant.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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‘We didn’t know’: Bali authorities in the dark as COVID-19 patient dies on resort island

first_imgA 53-year-old foreign woman holidaying in Bali became Indonesia’s first COVID-19 fatality on Wednesday, but local authorities were only informed after her death that she had tested positive for the disease.The Health Ministry had identified the woman as Case 25 in a press conference on Tuesday evening but neglected to inform Bali’s provincial administration.”Today, early in the morning, at 2:45 a.m., a foreign national under observation at Sanglah Hospital died,” the chairman of Bali’s COVID-19 task force, Dewa Made Indra, said at a press conference in Denpasar on Wednesday. Yurianto previously said the ministry would stick with its policy of not announcing where confirmed cases were being treated or what country foreign patients were from.Both the Health Ministry and the Bali administration declined to reveal the patient’s nationality, but British media have reported that she was from the United Kingdom. A British Foreign Office statement received by The Jakarta Post said the office was “supporting the family of a British woman who has died in Indonesia” but stopped short of confirming that the woman was Case 25.A Flourish survey visualizationDewa said that Case 25 had a history of chronic illness, including diabetes, high blood pressure as well as pulmonary disease. He said that, despite not knowing that the patient had tested positive for COVID-19, she had received the same treatment a COVID-19 patient would have received. “[She was treated like a COVID-19] patient because her symptoms were similar to those of the disease and she was under observation,” he said.Dewa said the patient had been cremated at around 12:30 p.m. local time in Mumbul, Badung.”Because the patient was under observation for COVID-19, her body was handled according to the procedures for handling infectious diseases,” he added.According to the Bali Health Agency, Case 25 arrived on the island on Feb. 29 and was admitted to a private hospital after complaining of fever on March 3. After her condition failed to improve, she was taken to Sanglah Hospital on March 9.The Health Ministry said Case 25 was an imported case – meaning she is not believed to have contracted the virus in Indonesia – but has declined to say where she arrived from.Dewa said his task force had traced the 21 people who had close contact with her and told them to go into self-imposed quarantine. The husband of the deceased, who accompanied her on the trip, is under observation.So far, according the Bali Health Agency, 48 people have been observed for COVID-19 in the province. Thirty-eight have tested negative and been discharged, while nine others, all foreigners, are still under observation and waiting for their test results.As of Wednesday, Indonesia has confirmed 34 COVID-19 cases in the country. Topics : Dewa, who is also the secretary of the Bali administration, said the administration had not received any information on the patient’s test result until local officials called the Health Ministry themselves after the patient’s death.”Because this patient died in the isolation room, under observation, we tried to get confirmation from Jakarta. We hadn’t received her laboratory test results yet,” he said. “[After calling the ministry,] we were told that the patient who died was Case 25, who was announced as COVID-19 positive yesterday.”Health Ministry Disease Control and Prevention Director General Achmad Yurianto explained that, once a patient’s test result came back, the ministry would inform the doctor in charge.“Once the lab says the test is positive, the doctor is immediately informed and the doctor informs the patient,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “Whether the doctor communicates [the results] to the regional administration is another matter.”last_img read more