Glenville has a long list of things it wants to do in 2014.
It wants to get on “The Cloud,” upgrade its buildings, set up self-service kiosks in Town Hall and maybe even build its own regional sewer plant. More importantly, it wants to do all this in a year when nearly a quarter of its workforce is eligible for retirement.
The Town Board approved its strategic plan for the year at its meeting last week. Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle admitted the plan was lengthy, but said the idea was to at least begin thinking about the many issues facing the town, even if there isn’t time to get it all done in one year.
“There are some things in there that we may not get to,” he said. “But there are things we have to talk about. I think it’s important that residents understand that if they want an idea of where this board is looking to go it’s all in this plan.”
The plan identifies three areas of focus for the town: implementing new technology, operational changes and infrastructure improvements.
Koetzle said town departments have long dealt with unnecessary duplication of efforts because of their antiquated data entry system. Oftentimes, multiple departments will have to enter long lists of the same data. The town is considering moving to off-site data storage to address that. Cloud computing would allow a remote machine to handle everything from email and word processing to data entry software and analytical programs, and make it all easily accessible from multiple computers in the various town departments.
Additionally, town officials are discussing how to keep their transition from paper records to digital going after a recent state grant runs out. The records management grant allowed the town to bring in a professional who has been scanning print documents — town maps, project blueprints and old records — into electronic format for easier access.
“We really need to address how to keep this going once this person leaves,” said Koetzle. “The grant only covers a fraction of our archives, so our goal is to get as much scanned as we can now. But going forward, we want to manage all of our records electronically so that anybody can pull those records up without having to go to physical archives somewhere.”
With about 18 of the town’s 91 employees eligible for retirement in 2014, Koetzle and the Town Board are also attempting to think big picture when it comes to staffing.
“When somebody leaves, we’re not going to be able to replace them right away,” he said. “So we will look at staffing in a bigger picture and think of how we can organize and structure departments beyond just filling positions as they empty.”
Glenville is also losing 11 of its dispatchers to the new countywide Unified Communications Center, which is expected to go live sometime this year. Because dispatchers interact frequently with the public, the town is considering purchasing a computer kiosk system for the lobby that would let the public request much of the same information, like accident reports, they can now get from a dispatcher.
Lastly, a new committee was created to address any capital improvements needed for the town’s aging buildings, grounds and infrastructure. The Town of Glenville Capital Improvement and Strategic Initiatives Committee will act in an advisory capacity to the Town Board on these projects.
Koetzle said the highest priority is wrapping up a feasibility study of a new regional sewer plant for Scotia and Glenville. The town currently sends all of its wastewater to the city of Schenectady sewer system, but all of Glenville’s new development in recent years have strained this arrangement. With its own regional sewer plant, Koetzle said, the town could eventually bring on Ballston Spa, Clifton Park and some other Saratoga County towns to its system.
“I don’t know if we would break ground on this in 2014,” he said, “but we’re far down the road with our feasibility study. I think 2014 will bring clarity to our decision. It would be a two to two-and-a-half year project.”