Saratoga County

Public weighs in on Saratoga Springs capital budget

The city has included $4.2 million in its 2013 capital projects budget, but city residents wanted so

The city has included $4.2 million in its 2013 capital projects budget, but city residents wanted some other projects added to the list Tuesday.

Two residents living on the city’s far east side, east of the Northway, asked the City Council to consider putting in money for a public safety building in their part of the city.

On the other side of the city, Palma Burke, president of the Southwest Neighborhood Association, asked that money be included for a long-sought, 2.8-mile, off-road walking and bicycle trail along the north side of Geyser Road.

“We have an emergency need on the eastern plateau,” said John Wilson of Waterview Drive at the public hearing Tuesday in City Hall. “You say you agree there is a need.”

But Wilson said there is no funding in the city’s 2013 capital budget for the purchase of property for such an emergency building on the east side.

Nancy Goldberg of Interlaken said a public safety building with an ambulance and fire truck on the far east side, in the Route 9P-Gilbert Road area, has been discussed for years without any action.

The 2013 capital budget includes $800,000 for recreation-related projects, but nothing for the purchase of property for a far east side emergency station, she said.

Mayor Scott Johnson outlined the capital projects before opening the hearing on this phase of the 2013 city budget. Another hearing on the capital programs will be held before the Sept. 4 City Council meeting.

The council has to approve a capital program budget by Sept. 15. The city’s 2013 comprehensive budget, which includes the capital budget, will be presented by Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan in October.

A capital program committee has been meeting the past two months to discuss what should be included in the 2013 capital program. This committee, which includes one person from each of the city’s departments, ranked the projects from one to 32.

The project with the highest rating is $410,000 for renovations and improvements to the police station in the basement of City Hall. Phil Diamond, a city resident and regular at council meetings, said the city should consider moving the Public Works Department offices out of the basement of City Hall so the Police Department can take over the needed additional space.

The third highest-ranking project is $63,250 for the continued renovation of the Lake Avenue fire station.

Last on the list of 32 projects is $600,000 for a parking lot at 41 Jefferson St. for the city’s indoor recreation building on nearby Vanderbilt Avenue.

The city Public Works Department includes $2 million in projects and equipment purchases in the capital budget. These projects have rankings from two ($100,000 for a Wedgewood Avenue storm sewer) to 31 (a skid loader for $31,256). One of the bigger ticket items on the DPW capital budget is $300,000 for the ongoing Canfield Casino rehabilitation program.

Of the $4.2 million in capital projects, $3.36 million would be bonded and increase the city’s debt. A total of $300,000 in projects are funded by water and sewer money and are not part of the bonded debt, while $625,000 of the program money comes from other sources, according to city officials.

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