October 3, 2017

The Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission mailed its charter education materials to 10,000 households today.  The information packet contains a summary of the new charter, the complete text of the proposed Charter, and a financial analysis of the impact of the proposed change on the city budget.

Bob Turner, the chair of the Commission, said, “We are an independent citizen commission whose only goal is to provide voters with the information necessary for them to make an informed decision. We are legally required by the state under New York Municipal Home Rule Law Section 36 to ‘provide for such publication or other publicity in respect to the provisions of the proposed charter or amendments as it may deem proper’.”

The Commission voted 8-0 at their most recent meeting to include a financial disclosure summary.  “With all the public attention to our proposal and its fiscal impact, we are pleased to get this information to the voters so they can see for themselves the estimated fiscal savings (about $400,000 annually) that will come from a change to a City Council/Manager form of government,” said Jeff Altamari, who was the primary author of the financial disclosure document.

Gordon Boyd, who is the Commission Treasurer, said, “Members of commission have paid for the mailing themselves and will request reimbursement from the city for our personal out-of-pocket costs. This mailing is a legitimate and legally required obligation of the Commission under State law.”

Ann Bullock, a commission member and attorney, said, “NY Municipal Home Rule Law Section 36 establishes the procedures for how the city charter review process is governed.  At its core is the principle that the commission should be independent from political interference from the City Council.”   On February 21, 2017, the City Council voted 5-0 to approve a $20,000 budget for public education and outreach.

On November 7th, city voters will be asked to vote Yes or No on the ballot question “Shall the new city charter proposed by the city charter commission be adopted?”

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