Saratoga Springs

Meetings planned, on both sides, ahead of Saratoga charter vote

Charter change would eliminate commissioners and deputy commissioners in Spa City

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A group of residents who oppose a proposed change to the city’s form of government will host a public meeting on the topic next week.

Meetings have also been planned by the 15-member Charter Review Commission, which proposed replacing the city’s century-old commission form of government with a council-manager system.

SUCCESS, the non-partisan organization that opposes the change, will meet at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7, at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. 

They plan to “discuss the proposed changes to our city charter and what it means for Saratogians, including the risk of discarding our successful commission form of government,” according to a prepared statement from group member Richard Sellers.

The Charter Review Commission, appointed by the mayor in May of 2016 to review the city’s constitution, last week finalized the language that will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. According to the 15-member group, the ballot question will read: Shall the new city charter proposed by the city charter commission be adopted?

The commission has set meetings for noon on Sept. 17 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Broadway and 7 p.m. on Sept. 21 as part of the League of Women Voters’ meeting at the city library. There will also be two “Meet a City Manager” nights, one on Oct. 2 and one on Oct. 18.

The group also plans to send all registered voters in the city informational mailings with a summary of the charter change, a financial analysis and the proposal’s full text, commission members said in a prepared statement.

The proposal would eliminate four deputy commissioner positions and the deputy mayor, replacing them with a professional city manager who could be hired and fired by the council.

Instead of having four commissioners and the mayor make up the City Council, the board would consist of the mayor and six council members.

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