Saratoga County

Water, sewer work priority for Ballston Spa mayor

Addressing issues with century-old underground water and sewer infrastructure will be high on Ballst
Abner Doubleday Little League field in Ballston Spa.
Abner Doubleday Little League field in Ballston Spa.

Addressing issues with century-old underground water and sewer infrastructure will be high on Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano’s to-do list in the next four years.

“We will continue to make infrastructure improvements over the next four years,” said Romano, who was re-elected to a sixth four-year term without opposition in Wednesday’s village elections.

Romano, 70, recently returned to the part-time job after recovering from a heart attack he suffered in December.

After 20 years in office, he said he has no plans to make this his last term, despite the health issue. “I enjoy what I do,” he said.

He acknowledged most of the village’s water and sewer lines are more than a century old. In the past three years, the village has spent $938,000 repairing sewer main breaks, borrowing money each time a new break was needed.

Village engineers Clough Harbour & Associates are examining where the most vulnerable spots in the water and sewer system are. Once that is determined, Romano said the plan is talk with consultants who might be able to help the village get grant money.

With a population of about 5,600, Ballston Spa is Saratoga County’s largest village, and it’s also the county seat. Romano has been mayor since 1995.

Romano said he also hopes to find a tenant for the empty Angelica Healthcare Linen building, an 80,000-square-foot former leather tannery on Bath Street. Angelica closed the operation in 2010, and last year conducted an environmental cleanup.

He said he’s also working on finding ways to increase parking in the downtown area, which has become more of a problem in recent years because of the popularity of downtown restaurants and antiques centers.

In a contested village trustee race, incumbent Robert Cavanaugh received 294 votes, and Trustee Stuart Hodsell, 255, while challenger Shawn Raymond, a member of the Smart Growth Ballston group opposed to a Walmart store being planned in the town of Ballston just outside the village, received 195 votes.

Despite the loss the first time they fielded a candidate for political office, members of Smart Growth Ballston said they believe they’ve helped make village politics more involved in the matter, and they’re not going away.

Walmart representatives contend the impacts have been addressed in previous and current environmental-impact studies at the site site at state routes 67 and 50 south of the village.

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