Saratoga County

Saratoga Springs to limit 2010 capital spending

The city’s capital budget committee is recommending a lower amount of capital project bonding next y

The city’s capital budget committee is recommending a lower amount of capital project bonding next year than it has in recent years.

The economic recession has pushed officials to whittle down the list of city projects to the six most crucial, costing an estimated total of $1.65 million.

By comparison, the city spent $2.15 million on capital programs this year and $13.29 million in 2007.

Mayor Scott Johnson presented the capital program Friday in a special City Council meeting.

The proposed projects are: renovations at Canfield Casino for $400,000; fixing structural problems at the Visitor Center for $175,000; $300,000 for a new sewer vacuum truck; $200,000 for general city building repairs; $400,000 to continue to replace outdated four-inch water mains throughout the city; and $175,000 to buy a new sewer jet, which cleans out clogged sewer lines.

“These are projects that, if we do not undertake them in 2010, there is great risk to the city in providing essential services,” Johnson said.

Three public hearings are scheduled on the proposed projects: at 7 p.m. Aug. 24, 1 p.m. Aug. 28 and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 1.

After the public hearings and council discussion, the capital program will be incorporated into the 2010 comprehensive budget, which must be approved by Nov. 30.

The Casino has some foundation issues that need to be fixed, as well as a problem with the ceiling in the ballroom, Johnson said.

“There are a lot of structural issues, both interior and exterior,” said Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, commissioner of public works.

More repairs are planned in the coming years, as well.

The Visitor Center needs a new roof, and part of the facade on the northeast side of the building is crumbling, Johnson said.

Both the Canfield Casino and the Visitor Center are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The recommended projects would require borrowing $1.25 million. The remaining $400,000 for the water main project comes out of the water fund, so it won’t affect the city’s self-imposed bonding limit. Of the total $64 million bond limit, the city is allowed to borrow $38 million.

The capital program lists projects recommended for the next six years, although Johnson said the city won’t commit to anything beyond next year.

The mayor also isn’t committing to do other projects that would require grant, state or federal funding to complete. Those projects will only get done if the monies are secured.

The proposed new city police station is on that list for $11.7 million, as is a $4.4 million fire station on the city’s east side and $442,180 worth of development of the city’s waterfront property on Saratoga Lake.

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