Other than having the job of running City Council meetings and preparing the agendas, the mayor’s position in the city of Saratoga Springs is officially just one equal division of the commission form of government.
The non-executive definition of the position places limits on the mayor’s authority and ability to effect change.
So one would think with those restraints, the mayor of Saratoga Springs couldn’t get much done beyond her strictly defined little fiefdom.
But that’s not true of Mayor Meg Kelly, a non-nonsense leader driven to make positive changes for the city despite the institutional restraints of her job description.
Her list of accomplishments and initiatives during her first two years in office — achieved by working cooperatively with her fellow council members in the face of political disarray in her political party and pushing a full agenda to address the city’s needs — is impressive.
And for that reason, voters should return Kelly to the mayor’s office on Election Day.
Under her leadership, the city is finally getting a new parking garage. She helped end litigation regarding the Geyser Road trails and was instrumental in getting a temporarily location for the Code Blue shelter while working on a permanent solution. She just announced, with other city leaders, plans for a long-needed new fire/EMS station on the eastern ridge. She’s helped secure millions in grants for the city and is pushing for more solutions to parking and the threat of overdevelopment.
Kelly’s opponent in the race is Tim Holmes, a businessman, author and community volunteer who’s served on the city’s Open Space Advisory Committee and the Smart City Broadband Commission, as well as held public office in New Jersey.
He has advocated for more responsive, transparent, efficient government.
He chastised the mayor for her proposal to raise the salaries of the City Council, an idea she recently abandoned, and for failing to secure a fire station for the city’s eastern ridge, noting wryly the timing of the announcement for a new station just a week before Election Day.
But while Holmes has made good points, he hasn’t made a strong case for ousting Kelly from her post, nor has he offered much in the way of new initiatives for his own term.
Of course, Kelly can’t take full credit for everything that’s been accomplished in the city during her tenure.
But her focus and attention to detail, along with her forceful personality and drive, is a major reason why the city has been able to move forward in the past two years that she’s been mayor.
Meg Kelly has earned a second term as mayor of Saratoga Springs.