Saratoga Springs has decided to pursue "smart city" status, seeking to bring more broadband Internet and WiFi communications connections to the city.
Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan on Tuesday night named a 12-member "Smart City Commission." The goal is to develop a plan to better-wire the city, which has a significant number of residents who work in or have connections to high-tech industries.
"It's important to our economic vitality and will position Saratoga Springs to remain at the forefront for the next 10, 20, 30 years," Madigan said at a City Council meeting.
-- John Mangona, VP and chief information officer at Saratoga Hospital
-- David L'hommedieu, Saratoga Springs School District's assistant superintendent for information technology
-- Matthew Veitch, Saratoga County Supervisor
-- Martin Vanags, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership
-- Kevin Kling, the city's information technology manager
-- Donald Flinton, computer services manager at Saratoga Springs Public Library
-- Christopher Markam, chief technology officer at Empire State College
-- Art Ware, New York State Dormitory Authority
-- Tim Holmes, restaurant owner
-- Michele Madigan, Saratoga Springs finance commissioner
-- Lynn Bachner, Saratoga Springs deputy finance commissioner
-- TBA from the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce's technology committee.
Other cities — including Schenectady — recently have launched a similar initiative, believing that convenient access to high-speed Internet services is essential to the community's economic future.
"Basically, every city is trying to get itself wired," Madigan said. "I see it like water and sewer; it's the utility of the future."
According to a mission statement for the new committee: "Broadband and Internet access at globally competitive speeds are no longer optional luxuries, but have become essential resources for residents, businesses, service providers and government."
Madigan said the committee's goal will be to develop a specific, detailed pathway for the city to achieve wider and faster Internet access.
The committee is expected to meet once or twice a month.
"I would say within nine months to a year we should have a plan for how we might be able to move forward," Madigan said Wednesday.
Madigan said the committee anticipates hiring NYSTEC, an independent technology consultant with an office in Albany.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.