SARATOGA COUNTY — A $24 million bond approved by the Board of Supervisors will allow for the construction of a public safety facility in Ballston Spa, with groundbreaking to come within two weeks, according to the Building and Grounds Committee chairman.
The facility, set to open by the spring of 2020, will house a 911 emergency response center, as well as county officials involved in public health, emergency management and public safety, along with sheriff’s deputies and probation officers.
The initial proposal, which was made 10 years ago, was reworked several times before Tuesday’s board meeting. According to Bill Peck, Northumberland supervisor and the chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, the initial funding was supposed to come in the form of a 30-year bond, which was later reduced to 20 years before the committee settled on 15 years, which Peck said should save taxpayers $2.9 million in interest payments.
The board passed the resolution unanimously and said there would be no budget impact. Peck said that because the county has paid off bonds on new communications towers, the budget items previously allocated for those payments will stay to pay off the public safety center bonds.
Peck said the project was stalled several times along the way, particularly by the recession at the outset.
“The recession hit, we had other priorities, so it got put on the back burner.”
Beyond the present needs of the county when it comes to emergency preparedness, Peck said that the continued growth in Saratoga County also factored into the plans.
“This fits the needs for the county currently, but also long term,” Peck said. “We’re a growing county at 228,000, but it continues to grow. Usually, you’re seeing a reduction in numbers, but we grow because of the fantastic tax rates, the opportunity to work, and the quality of life. And with that comes outstanding schools.”
The last hurdle, Peck said, will be the arrival of a building permit from the state.
“We’ve been hearing that it’s going to be any day for the last 10 days,” Peck said. “The general contractor has equipment on site, and he’s ready to go as soon as we get the permit.”