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Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center

Public Policy Projects 2007



For the 2006-2007 academic year, 10 student conducted public policy projects, nine of them for the major, and one as part of an independent study course.
 
Local Projects
 
Dan Hewitt, The Wireless Otsego Initiative: The Plan to Bring Wireless Telecommunications to Otsego County
Community Sponsor/Supervisor: Carolyn Lewis, Economic Development Specialist, Otsego County Department of Economic Development, Otsego County, N.Y.
Otsego County’s emergency communication system is old and outmoded. A group of community leaders has proposed updating this system by installing a wireless system that would also provide Internet access to all county residents. Dan was asked to provide a cost-benefit analysis of this proposal. His report provides a thorough description of the planned system, a description of its benefits, an estimate of its costs, and suggestions for financing the system. 
 
Dan Carroll, The Village of St. Johnsville Marina and Campground: Past, Present, and Future
Community Sponsor/Supervisor: Karen Crouse, clerk/treasurer, Village of St. Johnsville.
New York State is working to develop the Erie Canal as a recreation and tourist resource. As a part of this effort, the Village of St. Johnsville is planning to improve its marina and adjoining campground. One of the impediments to future development is the location of a Department of Public Works facility on the banks of the canal. Dan provided a cost-benefit analysis for alternative sites for relocation of the public works facility. He also made suggestions for the improvement of the harbor and campground.
 
Eileen Starrett, Should the New York Mills Union Free School District Expand Existing Educational Facilities?
Community Sponsor/Supervisor: David Langone, Superintendet, New York Mills Union Free School District.
Due to recent redevelopment in the area, the New York Mills School District became concerned that additional capital investment might be required. Eileen conducted a mail survey/census in which survey forms were mailed to one-half of the households in the district. She also provided an analysis in which the results of this survey were compared to those of the 2000 US Census, and pointed out the the demographic trends in the community. Finally, she made recommendations for the district’s future capital improvements.
 
Jessica Lewis, The Effect of Crime on the Tourist Economy of Glens Falls, New York: A Statistical Analysis and Policy Proposal
Community Sponsor/Supervisor: Kathleen Hogan, District Attorney, Warren County, N.Y.
Warren County is attempting to secure funds for police officers under the federal government’s Weed and Seed program. The county is in the Adirondack Mountains, and depends on tourism for a good part of its economy. In order to bolster its case for funding, the county asked for an analysis of the effect of crime on the economy of Glens Falls, its largest town. Using a database of 187 cities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York, Jessica performed a statistical analysis which estimated the effect of crime and police on tourism revenue. She then provided a simulation which demonstrated the effect of crime and police on the economy of the town, and analyzed the question of where to place additional police officers in the community. 
 
Projects for State Agencies
 
Brian Hannon, An Examination of Non-Structural Measure for Preventing Damage from Coastal Hazards, as Implemented by the State of Coastal Management Policies of New York State and North Carolina
State Sponsor/Supervisor: Barry Pendergrass, Coastal Resources Specialist, Coastal Resources Division, New York Department of State.    
Hurricane Katrina has provided an impetus for states to re-examine their policies on coastal development and protection. Structural methods for combating coastal damage include dikes, levees, and breakwaters, but these methods are very expensive and tend to degrade over time. Brian provided an overview of non-structural methods for handling such damage, including beach nourishment, wetland conservation, dune restoration, setback laws, construction and zoning regulations, and open-space acquisition. He also provided an analysis of the effectiveness of these measures in protecting the coastlines of North Carolina and Long Island, N.Y.
 
John Moore and Noah Fisher, Green Building in New York State: Creating Incentives for Small Commercial Buildings in New York State to Build Green
State Sponsor/Supervisor: Jeff Sama, Director, Division of Environmental Permits and Pollution Prevention, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
New York State currently operates the Green Building Tax Credit, a tax credit for firms that build green commercial buildings. However, the stringent bureaucratic requirements and high standards under this program restrict it to just a few very large buildings in the state. How could the state encourage green construction in smaller commercial buildings? John and Noah investigated other green building programs, at the national, state, and local levels, from around the nation. They then made specific recommendations for creating a workable program for small commercial buildings in New York State. 
 
Inga Stots, Integrated Domestic Violence Courts: An Examination of the Relationship Between Judges and Probation           
State Sponsor/Supervisor: Bill Schaefer, Domestic Violence Program Administrator, New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.   
Currently, twenty-seven counties in New York State have integrated domestic violence courts. In these courts, family, criminal, and matrimonial matters that relate to domestic violence are all handled by one court. Each family in court is assigned to one judge, who gains a more complete view of that family’s needs and problems. Also, these courts integrate the probation department with the courts, so that more comprehensive supervision of domestic violence offenders is possible. But how well do judges and probation departments actually work together? Through a survey and interviews with judges and probation officers, Inga investigated the strengths and weaknesses of the judge-probation relationship in these courts, and made recommendations to improve cooperation. 
           
Mitchell O’Connor, Noise Pollution in New York      
State Sponsor/Supervisor: Jeff Sama, Director, Division of Environmental Permits and Pollution Prevention, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation asked for a review of the state’s noise pollution laws. Mitchell examined the health and quality of life impacts of noise pollution, explained the different noise measurement standards currently used, discussed the noise laws in 38 states and 18 New York cities, and made recommendations for improving New York State’s laws and regulations.
 
Project for Independent Study Course
 
Meredith Falzone, A Program Evaluation of the Artists-in-Residence Program at Sculpture Space  
Community Sponsor/Supervisor: Sydney L. Waller, Executive Director, Sculpture Space.
Each year, Sculpture Space offers 20 promising sculptors two-month residencies that allow these artists to concentrate on their craft. For several years, the agency has been surveying artists about their satisfaction with the program, but it has not had the time or expertise to analyze the data. Meredith used these surveys to do an evaluation of the program from the point of view of the artists,