Billy Barlow

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to hammer the organization that controls water levels on Lake Ontario as water levels continue to rise.

Cuomo was in Oswego Sunday to tour the Oswego harbor, which like other parts of the shoreline, is seeing higher water. The International Joint Commission has increased the amount of water its letting out of the lake and into the St. Lawrence River, but it can't release too much because of flooding downstream across parts of Canada.

Cuomo said it should never get to this point.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Fourteen Friendly’s restaurants across upstate New York closed abruptly over the weekend, including locations in Oswego and Syracuse. It was part of an overall 23 closings in the Northeast. Elected officials are responding to the closures.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said the Friendly’s in Oswego has been around for decades. 

“I know I visited Friendly’s as a kid after sporting events," Barlow said. "We would have band concerts and go to Friendly’s after. It’s just a popular place.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The city of Oswego may start notifying residents when there are issues affecting city services around where they live. The city has received a number of complaints from people regarding a lack of notification.  

After three years in office, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said the issue is one the city continually has to address.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego residents could soon see a $200 decrease in their annual sewer and water bill. The proposed rollback was announced during Mayor Billy Barlow's State of the City address last week.

It was almost three years ago that the council raised those rates as a way to pay for a federally mandated sewer and water separation project. Council President Rob Corradino, who took office with Barlow after those rates were increased, remembers the public outrage at his first meeting.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow took office, city residents had seen four consecutive tax increases and then a major spike in their sewer and water rates to help pay for a federally mandated sewer and water separation project. And things were about to get worse as a contract that provided Oswego with $1 million in revenue each year was coming to an end.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Many communities in central New York are reaping the benefits of the region's top-place prize at the state's annual regional economic development awards. That includes Oswego and Fulton where plans that have been in the works for years are finally receiving state funding.

City of Oswego

After two years of research and field testing, the Oswego Police Department is ready to implement body cameras into its operation.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says it was a priority he set out when he assumed office in 2016 after hearing several national stories about police aggression and brutality. Although Barlow says there have been no incidents during his tenure where the absence of these body cameras has presented an issue, he says it's important to have this technology to keep both police officers and city residents who encounter them safe.

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. 

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 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.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

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.

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

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

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.

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 Horning / WRVO News File Photo

For the second year in a row, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is looking to reduce the city's payroll as a way to keep taxes down. His proposed budget would eliminate 7.5 positions, saving an estimated $500,000. That's a loss of about 1/5 of city hall staff, but Barlow says there are some efficiencies that can be realized.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

This year's flooding along Lake Ontario has taken a toll on municipalities, exhausting their resources and threatening their infrastructure. That's the case in Oswego where the city recently took an inventory of the destruction caused by the unprecedented water levels.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

New York state has announced what projects it will fund as part of the $10 million prize Oswego won last year in the state's Downtown Revitalization Competition.

Oswego Stampede

A junior hockey team from Morrisville is relocating to Oswego.

Since it was formed in 2011, the Syracuse Stampede have called Baldwinsville and later Morrisville home. Now the North American 3 Junior Hockey League team is coming to the Anthony Crisafulli Rink, or "The Fort," in Oswego.

General Manager and Coach Mike Beavis says the new location is a better fit for their 25 players.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

The level of poverty in Oswego is more than double the national rate with 29 percent of residents living below the federal threshold.

That's the finding of a study the city recently commissioned as part of its poverty reduction initiative. And, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says that's only the tip of the iceberg.

"It shows another 18 percent may be above that threshold but struggle to make ends meet," Barlow said. "So if you combine those two numbers you’re almost near 50 percent, and that’s a problem."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As people continue to die from heroin and opioid addiction in central and northern New York, communities like Oswego County are offering new treatment programs to combat the crisis. 

David Sommerstein / NCPR file photo

The New York State Assembly held a hearing Monday on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to spend $8 billion in subsidies to keep three upstate nuclear power plants operating for the next 12 years. But no one from the Cuomo administration showed up.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow has hired a new chief for the city's fire department. The change in leadership comes at a tumultuous time for the Oswego Fire Department.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego officials are putting the final touches on their plan to transform the city's downtown with a $10 million state grant. It includes a mix of commercial, residential and aesthetic additions that city officials think will make downtown Oswego a destination place for residents and tourists.

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