Saratoga Springs mayor defends committee for comprehensive plan
SARATOGA SPRINGS Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson said Tuesday that it’s very important to update the city’s comprehensive plan, which he described as “a vision for the city’s future and a road map to get there.”
He also made a new offer to those City Council members who were upset that the mayor appointed a 13-member community-based committee without their input earlier this year.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting Johnson offered each of his four fellow council members a chance to appoint a person of their choice to the committee.
During earlier discussions about the comprehensive plan update, three of the council members who are Democrats and have the voting majority said they were offended that Johnson, a Republican, didn’t ask them for their advice when developing the comprehensive plan committee.
The comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated for a decade. The City Charter requires the plan be reviewed every five years. A key element in developing the updated comprehensive plan is hiring a consultant to coordinate the work, plan public workshops and craft proposed changes.
The Democrats on the council, including city Accounts Commissioner John Franck and city Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, said earlier this year they would not approve a consultant because they did not have a say in naming the committee.
Johnson defended his committee appointments during an extensive presentation to the council on Tuesday. He said each of the 13 people represent a different area of expertise and segment of the community.
Johnson, however, did not request the council to approve hiring a consultant at the meeting. The other council members did not comment on his presentation during the meeting.
Johnson’s current committee includes Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Superintendent Michael Piccirillo of the Saratoga Springs City School District, Samantha Bosshart, executive director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, Sonny Bonacio of Bonacio Construction, Charles Wait, president of Adirondack Adirondack Trust Co., Michael West of Skidmore College, Casey Holzorth of Sustainable Saratoga, as well as members of the city Planning Board, city Design Review Commission, and city Zoning Board of Appeals.
The council also agreed to move the voting location for five city voting districts (3,4,8,9 and 25) from the Lincoln Bathhouse on South Broadway to the Saratoga Springs City Center on Broadway. The polling place for these districts had been at the city center but was moved about five years ago during renovation and expansion construction at the center.
Many city residents were unhappy with the parking and accessibility at the Lincoln Bathhouse building, according to city officials. The City Center Authority has endorsed the proposal to move the polling places back to the City Center in November.