Amsterdam council holds first virtual meeting

AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam Common Council on Tuesday held its first virtual meeting using Zoom that only included city officials and several resolutions were passed. Mayor Michael Cinquanti said with it being their first virtual meeting, it went well and hopes to soon possibly include members of the public in the meeting, so the city can conduct other business such as public hearings and ordinances. Until the city has a better understanding of how their virtual meetings work, the meetings will be closed to the public and the video will be posted afterwards.

One of the many resolutions passed during the virtual meeting on Tuesday was the resolution to waive interest payments for April.

The resolution states, “Whereas, the fourth quarter of the City Tax bill is normally due by April 30; and whereas, the city recognizes the difficult times that currently exist for many residents due to complications from COVID-19, therefore be it resolved, the city of Amsterdam is waiving any interest or penalties associated with the fourth quarter of the current year’s tax bill if payment is received by June 30, 2020.”

City Controller Matthew Agresta said this is limited to the city tax and does not include county and school tax bills. He said it is also only for the April installment, and does not pertain to anything that has been outstanding already that may have interest penalties on them.

“This is so people who can’t make the payment that would be due by end of the month have an extra two months to do so, ”Agresta said.

Fifth Ward Alderperson James Martuscello said he thinks this is a “good idea.”

“In times where people are unemployed, they’re laid off, to give them an opportunity to save some money,” Martuscello said.

In other news, city officials discussed the opening of the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course which opened on Monday.

Third Ward Alderperson Irene Collins questioned why the golf course opened if everyone should be staying home, and asked what precautions they’re taking to keep golf players safe.

“We’re following the governor’s guidelines in terms of being able to open the golf course. We are following the governor’s guidelines regarding safe distancing rules at the golf course,” Cinquanti said. “There are a whole list of those rules which golfers are required to follow. If there had been a banishment on golf courses, we would close ours.”

Cinquanti said playing golf is an outdoor activity and is usually an individual sport.

“The judgment was made by myself that it would be a safe activity to participate in,” Cinquanti said. “If the guidelines change we will immediately comply with whatever those guidelines are.”

Some guidelines include that there is only one person in a golf cart and the cart gets sanitized after each use; tee times must be paid in advance and can be made online at www.golfmuni.com; no buildings will be open including the pro shop and bathrooms, so golfers must plan accordingly. Since the pro shop will be closed they’re asking anyone looking to join to print a membership application from the website and mail it with a check to 158 Upper Van Dyke Ave. or place it in the mailbox at the course to uphold social distancing guidelines.

“There are all kinds of new rules that will keep people socially distant,” Cinquanti said.

By Patricia Older

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