SARATOGA COUNTY — Saratoga County and the Saratoga Economic Development (SEDC) announced a new report looking at infrastructure resiliency in the county Thursday.
The report was aimed at giving the county insight on the business community’s resiliency concerns and to assess the government’s role in helping to buffer residents and businesses against future events and regional impacts relating to infrastructure and energy needs.
“This very important project and final report serves as the beginning of enhanced communication and planning amongst all entities responsible for critical infrastructure serving Saratoga County,” Phil Barrett, Clifton Park supervisor and chairman of the project, said in a statement issued Thursday. “The report also identifies the challenges and cost of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and the effects all residents and businesses face in the future.”
The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on residents and local businesses made the Resilient Infrastructure for Saratoga County (RISC) project and its findings a high priority planning effort, according to the report. Having improved infrastructure resiliency will help to strengthen the county’s ability to buffer residents and local businesses from future regional shocks and events.
SEDC presented the report’s findings to the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors at the July 19 board meeting.
“This is a project that was funded through federal monies coming through the Capital District Regional Planning commission into the county during COVID talking about resiliency and how it affects business or our residents,”” SEDC President and one of the report’s authors Dennis Brobston said during the presentation.
The report looked at different areas of infrastructure, such as electricity, water, internet, natural gas etc. and assessed the risks and major aspects that might impact the business community Fosterra LLC President and one of the report’s authors, Benjamin Foster said at the presentation.
“Ultimately when the business community goes down under major issues as we’ve seen over the last couple of years,” Foster said in the presentation. “It affects us all as members of the community in terms of the jobs that we have or the services that we use.”
The report also includes recommendations for Saratoga County to consider when it assesses future infrastructure needs, such as prioritizing infrastructure investments in areas with medium and high economic impacts; building out capacity for future development to reduce risks and coordinating efforts across the region; ongoing planning and emergency coordination; and continuing the County’s forward-looking, proactive attention to potential risks and opportunities.
The report also recognizes the county’s successful track record of proactive attention to potential risks and provides a path forward to improve on its strong foundation, citing a collaborative and involved business community and the county’s robust growth of economic activity, population, and average income.
The last two pages of the report include an addendum, Barrett explained. The addendum discusses the challenges that have only begun to be faced concerning energy supply. According to the report, businesses in the county are concerned about energy availability and energy costs.