Meet Bill Boland

"As a native of Corning, I am proud to call this city my home. In my time on City Council and as the Deputy Mayor, I have used my experience as a small businessman to improve the day to day life of our citizens. By focusing on economic development, I have worked to manage the tax burden on residents, but I know more can be done. I plan to continue the progress our city has made by focusing on the dynamic culture and experiences that are unique to this area."

My Story

In 2009 I moved back to Corning, my hometown. My son had gone off to college and I had the opportunity to choose anew where I wanted to live. I chose Corning.  That choice reflects my life-long love affair with our Crystal City. Moving back was a dream come true.

Shortly after coming home, I entered public service in 2011, running for and being elected as the City Councilman for the 4th Ward. In running for office I had one thing in mind, to contribute to improving our quality of life in Corning. I felt with my business background and experience in owning a small business I had something to offer, and I wanted to give back.

One of the issues I ran on in my first election was to continue developing Corning as a world-class destination community. The combination of the natural beauty that surrounds us be it the hills or the lakes, historic Market Street, with all its charm and accessibility and the cultural opportunities offered by the museums and arts, make us a place where people love to spend a weekend…and come back again, and again. The economic benefit of destination travelers to our city is essential to our health as a community and individual way of life. In addition, the things that make Corning enjoyable for visitors are also for us as Corning residents to enjoy. Not many cities our size has that to offer.

An issue I heard often as I knocked on doors during my City Council campaign was that property taxes were too high. Once in office, I dug into that issue and found what you would expect, that keeping our property taxes under control is a yearly challenge. As a politician, I am advised not to talk about taxes that go up. As a public servant, I consider it my duty to speak to it. The reality is that each year the City faces expenses it does not control that go up substantially, city employee retirement funding and employee health care being the most difficult. Combine that with a flat tax base over which to spread the taxes. In that circumstance, taxes go up. The key to stabilizing property taxes is to grow the tax base. This means attracting new businesses and people to Corning who will share in the tax burden. I am working on both of those pieces of the solution.

Not only do I believe in the power of the arts, I am an artist myself. 

I serve on City’s newly founded Economic Development Committee, as well as on the Housing Strategy Committee, where I am Chairman.  The Economic Development Committee is currently funding a study to identify ways that we can bring new business activity to our city. That study will result in a strategy we can use to take action to attract new businesses. The Housing Strategy Committee did a similar study. Out of that the City Council adopted a long-term strategy to revitalize housing, with one of its aims to attract new people to our community. The centerpiece of the housing strategy is the creation of a public-private partnership to tackle the housing issues we face. That partnership has been formed and is at work on a demonstration project to get us rolling. There is nothing easy about taking on our housing issues but I believe it is vital to Corning attracting new people, increasing our tax base, and thereby keeping our property taxes under control.

Another issue I heard a great deal about during my first campaign was the condition of the city’s streets. Folks made it clear to me that this is an important quality of life matter.  Each year in the City’s budget there’s an amount designated to repair our streets. The City Council has voted in each of the last 5 years to put an additional $100,000 into that amount as a clear statement that improving our streets is a high priority.  It’s paying off. Throughout the City people are remarking that the streets are being repaired more quickly than in the past. From the comments I get people are enthusiastic about this progress and feel the additional money is well spent. I will continue to advocate for improvement of our streets.

As an artist myself I appreciate the extensive arts ‘scene’ we have in Corning; everything from galleries to dance classes to concerts in Centerway Square during the summer.  The arts are a major part of the tourism offering our community makes, so strongly contributes to our economic health. Just as importantly all the activities that make up the arts are available to us as citizens. For a city our size you just don’t see the level of artistic activity we have in Corning. As the Chairman of the Public Art Committee I get the opportunity to advocate for art, and the richness it makes available to us.     

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