Oswego

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Anti-poverty programs are up and running in Oswego thanks to nearly $400,000 in state funding through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. Last year, officials selected programs from local organizations to receive the funding.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said they wanted to create programs that would help get people out of poverty and be self-sustaining.

“Our programs are developed around workforce development situations where we can help people get the skills they need to get a job and keep a job,” Barlow said. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed its first tax cut in 20 years last night. The 2019 budget reduces property taxes by 2.4 percent without dipping into the city’s fund balance.

Council President Robert Corradino said it is the result of fiscal responsibility on the part of the council and Mayor Billy Barlow. But he said an increase in sales tax revenue from new businesses and more visitors to Oswego is also playing a part.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is presenting his administration's first proposed tax cut tonight to the city's common council. Barlow says if passed, it would be the first tax cut for the city's residents in 20 years. 

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

In addition to tax cuts, the recently passed federal tax overhaul includes a measure to encourage the private industry to invest in low-wealth areas. The program offers tax discounts and other incentives for people to put their profits from stocks and other holdings to work in so-called Opportunity Zones. Those resources can then be invested in businesses and other economic development projects in rural and urban districts that are plagued by high levels of poverty.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Sitting on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk is a bill that would change how the state classifies the Oswego River and Lake Neatahwanta in Fulton.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Wednesday morning mass at St. Mary's Catholic church in Oswego never garners a large crowd, but this week it's particularly small. Only six are worshipping. Attendance is much better on Sundays, but it too has dwindled over the years according to Father John Hogan Jr. - just as it has at every other Catholic parish in Oswego.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego City School District students returned to class after the Memorial Day weekend with a police escort. The precautionary measure was taken after a threatening picture of a student with a toy gun was posted on social media. It was later determined to be non-credible.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

During Oswego's Memorial Day parade, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow marched through a downtown that is about to undergo a major transformation. This summer will mark the beginning of construction on Oswego's downtown revitalization plan, part of a $10 million award the city won from the state to fund 12 projects.

As the city of Oswego continues to revitalize itself, four local employers are partnering with the city government to help attract more residents to the area. Oswego Health, SUNY Oswego, Novelis and Exelon will all be giving new employees a pamphlet with information on what the city has to offer.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said if the effort—fittingly titled the “resident recruitment initiative”—is successful, it won’t just help the city grow—it will help the employers, too.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The federal government is filing a lawsuit against an Oswego landlord accusing him of severe, pervasive and unwanted sexual harassment against female tenants and potential tenants. It's the second such suit that the property owner is facing.

The justice department lawsuit alleges a longstanding pattern and practice of sexual harassment from landlord Doug Waterbury, who owns about 50 rental properties in Oswego County and the Sterling Renaissance Festival, Sylvan Beach Amusement Park and Santa's Workshop in North Pole.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is calling on the Oswego Common Council to approve what he says will be the city's most effective code enforcement measure to date - a tool that would target vacant houses. 

The 200 block of West 7th Street in Oswego a quaint neighborhood. The streets are lined with well-kept homes, making the house at 213 stand out like a sore thumb. the vacant property's cement steps are crumbling, the siding is rotting and a bright orange sign on the front window warns neighbors that it's a dangerous building.

City of Oswego

During his state of the city address this week, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow unveiled an agenda for 2018 that he says will build on the progress accomplished in his first term, which is now halfway complete.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When New York tore down the old dirt track at the state fairgrounds as part of the facility's $50 million renovation, fans were promised the Super DIRT Week races would remain in central New York. It was supposed to move to the new Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings, Oswego County.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York economic development boosters are hoping some positive trends from 2017 continue this year. One that CenterState CEO director Rob Simpson expects to hold course in 2018 is a change in something that’s plagued the area for years: brain drain.

"We have seen the latest census department estimates that the population 18-25 in central New York is actually growing at a more rapid rate than we’ve seen in recent memory," Simpson said. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As communities in upstate like Oswego continue to get pounded by the relentless snowfall, some are running out of space to put it. One controversial option for municipalities is disposing some snow into waterways.

Jason Smith / WRVO News

Heavy lake effect snow is nothing new for people who live in Oswego County. But when that snow falls in the city of Oswego, things can grind to a halt. 

That's what happened Wednesday. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

One of the projects that received funding from New York state's economic development grants this week is a renovation of Oswego's city hall. City leaders say the work is long overdue because the building from 1870 is falling apart.

Mayor Billy Barlow said since he assumed office in 2016, it's become a trend for each retiring city employee to ask him to fix the building on their way out. 

"It's important to downtown Oswego and the city's history and we need to preserve it," Barlow said. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

An Oswego Common Councilor is being accused of sexual harassment, and the woman making the allegation is calling on him to resign. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Oswego is moving to change who gets its federal housing subsidies in an effort to propel more locals out of poverty. The city's common council is considering a proposal to prioritize applicants who are working, taking college classes or enrolled job training programs. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says these changes will inspire candidates to improve their applications, and in the process combat generational poverty.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Several seats on Watertown's city council are up for grabs this election, but the outcome of the vote could have more of an impact on the city's mayor.

City council candidate Ryan Henry-Wilkinson says after years of legal battles between the city and its firefighter union, he's campaigning on restoring public trust in city government. Henry-Wilkinson hopes to help accomplish that by changing Watertown's form of government to a strong mayor system replacing the city manager by making the mayor a full-time position.

farnhaminc.org

As the opioid crisis continues across the region, there have been a number of efforts to combat drug use. But some have been more successful than others.

Back in March, Farnham Family Services in Oswego partnered with the Oswego City Police Department for the Rapid Evaluation For Appropriate Placement -- or REAP -- initiative. The program allows addicts to turn themselves and their drugs in to city police, with the guarantee that they won't be arrested as long as they complete a treatment evaluation with Farnham within five days.

WRVO News File Photo

All seven buildings in the Oswego City School District were placed in a lockout Thursday afternoon, after a suspicious image was shared on social media. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Another SuperDIRT Week is in the books at the Oswego Speedway. The track has played host to the annual racing event for the past two years after construction stalled at the Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings. And now that the dust has settled, Oswego officials hope it will return - this time for good.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Oswego is offering new small business loans, funded by outstanding loans that were awarded 20 years ago.

Mayor Billy Barlow says the city received $1 million in the 1990s to establish a commercial loan program. Officials doled out that funding, but several of the loans were never paid back.

“Whether the community development office never followed up or – you know, I’m not sure what happened, but we had 19 outstanding loans in January 1 of 2016,” Barlow said.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego is offering up to $400,000 to individuals, business owners and or organizations that can help the city combat poverty. It's part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), which aims to help 16 cities improve the lives of their lower-income residents.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

 

Hurricanes in the southern U.S. have captured the nation's attention, and the federal funding used to help communities recover. That's concerning some in New York, where state lawmakers are still seeking federal aid for the months-long flooding along Lake Ontario.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) toured the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum in Oswego last week, trying to renew interest and support for making the historic site part of the National Park Service (NPS).

Gino Geruntino / WRVO File Photo

Members of the New York State Inspector General's office searched the Port of Oswego's administrative offices for several hours Wednesday. Terrence Hammill, the port board of directors chairman, says the state seized the director's business cellphone and computer, but he says he's in the dark about why they were there.

"We’re a little bit mystified," Hammill said. "There’s nothing going on that would come across our mind as an issue for the inspector general’s office."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed its 2018 budget proposal Monday, raising property taxes 3.48 percent. Officials blamed the increase on salaries, fringe benefits and health care costs for city employees, which is why they cut city hall staff by 7.5 positions.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News File Photo

An Oswego landlord is accused of asking his tenants for sexual favors in exchange for reduced rent. The sexual harassment allegations against Doug Waterbury are part of a lawsuit filed by a Syracuse fair housing organization. 

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