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October 30th, 2013

City Council candidate Bello on improving the City of Newburgh

Newburgh City Council candidate Christine Bello

The following is a statement from Newburgh City Council candidate Christine Bello:

Hello, my name is Christine Bello and I am a Newburgh City Council candidate for the 4th Ward. I was born on Bay View Terrace and have been a lifelong Newburgh resident. I am a graduate of Newburgh schools, a cum laude graduate of SUNY Farmingdale with an Associate’s Degree in Dental Hygiene, and a graduate of the NY School of Floral Design.

In 1979, my mother Thomasina Bello and I took a chance on a dream, rented a little storefront at 279 Broadway, and established Chris-Dian Florist. The early years were tough going, so in order to get my business off the ground I worked as a florist by day and a Dental Hygienist in the evenings. Nine years later in 1988, I purchased the building. I currently operate the business as the sole proprietor since the untimely loss of my Mom in 1995.

Chris-Dian Florist has been open for 35 years. My business is not only a retail florist but also a Western Union and bill payment agency. Although times have changed, my work ethic, great customer service and my dedication to commitment have remained constant. I believe that these are the qualities that have been a key to my success.

I served on the Newburgh City Council from 2008 through 2011. During my tenure on the council I sponsored many pieces of legislation that were beneficial to the taxpayers. I am a dedicated advocate for the people committed to supporting positive and well thought out ideas that will benefit the city as we move into the future. Some of my accomplishments on the City Council include:

• Sponsored legislation to increase tax installments from 3 to 4 making each payment less and easier to pay.

• Saved the city over 2 million dollars through my oversight and by identifying the misuse of city funds.

• Sponsored the legislation to accept partial payments on the water and sanitation bills.

• Sponsored the legislation that allowed alternate side of the street parking on Broadway.

• Got rid of the answering machine in the Police Dept.

• Sponsored legislation to give tax incentives to homeowners on improvements to their properties.

Looking forward:

• We need a council that can work together with dignity for the city.

• I would add a business perspective to the council.

• Taxes and fees need to be made more affordable so people don’t lose their homes.

• We need improved Public Safety and Code Enforcement

• Restore the once a month bulk garbage pick-up.

• Parking permits for business owners with metered parking in front of their stores.

The City of Newburgh has to seriously address the issue of crime. With a high crime rate it’s difficult to attract new homeowners and keep existing homeowners. New businesses are reluctant to locate to an unsafe city, leaving a shortage of jobs. Without a solid tax base we can’t afford the best quality of essential services. It is a vicious cycle. We need more police officers on the street interacting with our residents, building trust between them.

Driving through our city one can see unsightly garbage strewn throughout. One of the most costly mistakes made by our city government was eliminating the once a month bulk garbage pick-up. For the most part this is a low-income community - folks here can’t afford to be paying $10.00 per item for bulk pick-up. As a result people dump in the dark of night to get rid of the old mattresses and other junk. The current city council raised the sanitation fees by 10%. There is no longer a reason that we can’t afford once a month bulk pick-up.

We need to identify the abandoned buildings that are currently occupied by squatters and drug dealers and make sure that they get boarded up. Having an abandoned building on your block is an attraction to criminals as well as an eye sore. We need to hold the absentee landlords or the banks that own these properties accountable.

My Mom use to say, "An idle mind is the devil’s workshop". I have always been a supporter of the youth activities. Pop Warner, Little League, Boxing club, Soccer Leagues and others. We get quite a bit of money from community development block grants. It needs to be used wisely and there needs to be accountability within each group that applies for these funds. Unfortunately we lost the 21st Century Grant money by not applying in a timely manner. We need to reapply next year for these funds as the money from this grant enabled us to have many more activities for the children at the Activity Center.

A big thank you to Mr. Chuck Stewart, Sr. for giving me the opportunity to share some of my views. Being elected to the city council would not be on the job training for me. I am an experienced legislator with a reputation for having a fierce allegiance to the people. I spent four very successful years on the council with numerous accomplishments under my belt. With your support on November 5th I look forward to serving our great city of Newburgh once again.

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