Plattsburgh’s mayor recently reconvened a public safety council, asking it to find innovative solutions to 21st century challenges within the city’s budget constraints. Mayor Colin Read explains that the panel was originally created in January to search for a new police chief and review code enforcement. With rural towns and cities facing challenges such as the opioid epidemic and related crimes, zombie properties and street safety, the mayor says it’s a good time to refocus on the panel’s work now that the city budget is complete.
"One of the recommendations upon hiring the police chief was to move towards a model of having a public safety director that would really unite and knit together the three heads of public safety in different ways: code enforcement, police and fire. But we quickly realized once we were confronted the dismal fiscal situation for the city that there’s just no room for adding positions. As you know we ended up having to reduce a number of departments, department heads and managers. So it didn’t seem like continuing on with that discussion of having a public safety director was going to be fruitful. However it occurred to me just recently that it doesn’t mean that that work could not continue with a volunteers and a council that can help with ideas and bring the chiefs together to meet with experts who may be right already in our own community for some really good discussions. And those discussions have been excellent. All kinds of really good ideas are coming out of it.”
Plattsburgh’s public safety council meets weekly and the mayor hopes to produce an annual report card of its priorities and accomplishments.