Barbara Blanchard

for Schenectady City Council

 

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Preservationist seeks council seat

Times Union Oct. 11, 2005

Democrat Barbara Blanchard known to many for appearances on public access TV

     
By  Mike Goodwin, Staff writer
First published: Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 

SCHENECTADY - Barbara Blanchard has never run for election, but voters still recognize her when she is campaigning.


The chairwoman of Schenectady Heritage Foundation, Blanchard has appeared periodically over the years to speak about historic preservation during City Council meetings televised on the city's public access station, SACC-TV Ch. 16. Voters regularly recall seeing her on broadcasts.       
       
       
"Everybody watches that program," the 57-year-old University Place resident said.
Blanchard, a former social worker who is now a stay-at-home mother, is one of three Democrats running for three City Council seats up for re-election this year. But unlike her running mates, City Council President Mark Blanchfield, and former council member and mayoral candidate Gary McCarthy, Blanchard is a newcomer to the campaign trail.

But she has ideas she wants to see implemented and not surprisingly a plan to confront the problem of outdated two-family homes that line the streets of some of Schenectady most-troubled neighborhoods.

"The two-family home neighborhoods have been taken over by absentee landlords," Blanchard said. The cheap rents on such buildings in Hamilton Hill and other neighborhoods have made them popular with drug dealers and other criminals.

But Blanchard said such buildings could be made attractive to young homeowners, and tax incentives should be offered to owners who convert the buildings into single-family homes. The continued high price of gas could also make homes in the city more attractive to buyers.

Blanchard is running in a year when Schenectady Republicans have seized on the implementation last year of a trash fee to cover some of the cost of sanitation service. Democratic Mayor Brian U. Stratton and the City Council implemented the trash fee over the complaints of some residents and rental property owners. The GOP contends the trash fee is an unfair extra tax.

Blanchard said she believes voters understand the trash fee -- which costs $131, $262, or $363 for one-, two- and three-family homes, respectively -- was needed to stabilize finances in the city, which had run deficits for years.

She said the creation of the fee and other efforts to reform city finances have enabled the city to reduce what had once been feared would be a deficit of $10 million.

"I think the administration has done a good job digging out from the deficit," she said. 

 

 
 

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Updated Oct. 14, 2005