North Country leaders talk finances and growth

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Thursday marked the third annual County, City and Town State of the State address in Plattsburgh. Local leaders spoke about finances; taxes; successes and downfalls; and, most importantly, how to grow. And no matter where you live, these talks give an idea of where our neighboring communities are moving.

Clinton County Legislator Harry McManus spoke about economic development, changes we've seen take off at the airport and development coming to the region.

"We will continue to market and develop the former airport property and therefore increase job opportunities and economic development," McManus said.

Another announcement from the county-- the proposal to help maintain the Webb Island Footbridge if it were to reopen.

"After discussing this matter with my legislative colleagues, the county believes that the footbridge is an important county asset," McManus said.

The footbridge has caused a lot of commotion in Plattsburgh. Mayor Colin Read, D-Plattsburgh, says the city just doesn't have the funds to maintain it. That was Read's focus in his speech-- the financial stress of the city and the high tax burden.

"The city of Plattsburgh is the second-most stressed financially stressed city in the state of New York," Read said.

He also focused on the importance of keeping the population up in the city, and he thinks new developments like the multi-mixed-use building for the Durkee Street lot will do that.

Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman says future planning is what keeps the town successful.

"We put in the sweat equity, we put in the time and energy to address the challenges of today, but more importantly think about the region's future of tomorrow, as well," Cashman said.

Cashman spoke about the different initiatives, like becoming a Purple Heart town and the first green community north of Troy. He also spoke about new developments coming to the area.

"You folks coming here today and demonstrating an interest in knowing what's going on between the county and the city and the town and beyond is what is going to allow us the elevate Plattsburgh," Cashman said.

And they say in a few years, all that development will change the face of the North Country.