After many years, Utica resumes sending email newsletter to residents

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 26, 2021

 In an effort to improve transparency and help keep residents informed, the city of Utica has implemented an email newsletter. Residents may subscribe to it on the city’s homepage.

In an effort to improve transparency and help keep residents informed, the city of Utica has implemented an email newsletter. Residents may subscribe to it on the city’s homepage.

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UTICA — The city of Utica has decided that it will resume the sending of the occasional informational newsletter in the form of an email to residents.

The idea arose when Gus Calandrino took the mayor’s seat earlier this year.

Calandrino said that the idea for the email newsletters originated from feedback he had received from several residents, including Nancy Kort. Kort mentioned that it would be nice to have, and Calandrino agreed.

The first edition of the email newsletter was sent out Feb. 6.

“For many years the city mailed out a newsletter to keep residents updated; however, more recently, due to budget cuts, the newsletter had been eliminated. It is important for residents to receive direct communications when there is a change to city-provided services or programs. While social media is a great communications vehicle, it should not be the only resource used to talk to residents. I think is it wonderful that Mayor Calandrino has decided to publish a digital newsletter. Any resident, if they sign up, can once again receive city news delivered directly to them,” Kort said in an email.

Calandrino said the newsletter was also a part of his promise to be more transparent when he ran for mayor.

In past years, Utica produced and mailed a printed newsletter to all residents. However, the city found it costly.

“Several residents contacted me and said they’d like the city to reinstitute the printed newsletter. The cost of printing and postage was prohibitive, and I decided we needed a different, more economical method of communicating the city’s information,” Calandrino said in an email.

With many people on social media, the city had been sharing much of its updates and information via social media for many years. However, not all residents are on social media, so Calandrino thought it would be a good idea to reinstate the email newsletter.

“Email is used by most people these days, even those who do not like social media. I did some research and found an application that would help us gather and organize large numbers of email accounts. I found another application for producing email newsletters. Both of these applications are free and will not cost the city any money,” Calandrino said.

Some residents may not use social media, making it less effective for updates.

“Another resident approached me and said she understood that much of the news for the city was communicated through social media. Her family does not use social media and she believed other residents also chose to avoid social media,” said Calandrino.

The email newsletter will be used for things like traffic studies, new hires, trash updates and more.

“My intention is to use this new method for communicating important information such as city office closures or changes to garbage pickup days. I will also use the email newsletters to inform residents when something important is going to be discussed and voted on at council meetings. I want to keep the frequency of the emails to one or fewer a week. Residents may unsubscribe from the email newsletters at any time,” he said.

Calandrino said the newsletters bring forward what he hopes to be able to provide to the residents of the city.

“When I ran for mayor, my three main promises were 1) accountability, 2) responsible spending, and 3) transparency. I hope this new mode of communication is an example of my commitment to those three ideals,” he said.

For those who are interested in receiving the emails to stay up to date with the city happenings, there is a form at the bottom of the city of Utica homepage.

If people sign up and then don’t want the newsletter, they may unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the link at the bottom of the email.

Lori Cooke, the new Utica clerk, said via email that the city is excited to bring back this resource to the residents.

“We are very excited to be implementing the email newsletter for our residents. We have been using Facebook to communicate with the public but have realized not all our residents are using social media. We will continue to post updates on our city webpage, which is also where residents can sign up to receive the newsletters,” she said.