Saratoga Springs comprehensive plan update stalls over questions about committee
SARATOGA SPRINGS The awarding of a contract to a Clifton Park engineering firm to help Saratoga Springs update its comprehensive land use plan was tabled Tuesday over the objection of Mayor Scott Johnson.
The Democratic majority on the five-member City Council had questions about who would select a community-based comprehensive plan committee.
“We need to find out who is on the [committee] and how it is constituted,” said city Accounts Commissioner John Franck. Johnson apparently was planning to appoint all the committee members.
Franck asked that a proposed contract for as much as $65,000 to M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying PC of Clifton Park be tabled for at least two weeks.
Franck, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan and Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, all Democrats, took turns asking if City Council members would have a say in naming people to the committee.
“I have no issue with the contract, but the issue is how the board will be chosen,” Madigan said.
She said it appeared individual council members were given the opportunity to nominate people to past comprehensive plan committees.
Johnson, a Republican, said council members have known for months that the city would be updating its comprehensive plan in 2013. He said their objection to the appointment of the community-based committee surfaced only in recent days.
The mayor said he would honor Franck’s request to table the awarding of the consultant contract until a later date. No vote was taken. However, Johnson said it was “bordering on blackmail” that the vote on the consultant contract was delayed over questions about the committee appointments.
Bradley Birge, the city’s administrator of planning and economic development, said a city-based selection committee reviewed four bids on the comprehensive plan update and recommended a team-based bid from M.J. Engineering, a firm that includes Jackie Hakes, a former city planner.
During the public comment portion of the council meeting, 12 people discussed an upcoming gun show at the Saratoga Springs City Center. Three of these were in favor of the center hosting the March 16-17 show, while the rest were against the show.
Mark Baker, president of the Saratoga Springs City Center, said the past weekend’s gun show featured the “largest single attendance days in our history.”
Baker added that show organizer David Petronis has made a $1,000 voluntary contribution to the city for costs associated with hosting the show and the City Center Authority has matched this contribution, for a total of $2,000 paid to the city, which maintained a heavy police presence outside the City Center during the show.