Some members of the Saratoga Springs City Council are showing their true colors behind a smokescreen of phony concern for the taxpayer.
The city’s Charter Review Commission has developed a thoughtful approach to reforming city government. Development, failing infrastructure, overdue public safety facilities, and spot-zoning in residential areas are affecting the city. The petty disputes that are daily business on the City Council have prevented a coordinated response to a host of needs. Recently, two council member/commissioners spent more than 45 minutes disputing each other about dog licenses. Professional management is needed.
The Charter Commission’s fiscal estimate is a reasonable and reliable benchmark for voters to evaluate the cost of change. Moreover, the commission is required by state law to provide this information to the voters, no matter what the incumbent council members might say. If we voters approve the new charter on Nov. 7, the next administration will have clear sailing to save the taxpayer more than $400,000 a year.
How did it come about that Commissioners John Franck (D), Skip Scirocco (R) and Michele Madigan (D) — all of whom are unopposed for re-election — are taking the same negative position on the charter? They are in a state of distress that their fiefdoms, and the rigged elections they have arranged for each other, will all come to an end with a new form of government.
Mr. Franck promised last winter that if the charter referendum was moved from May to November, he would remain “neutral.” Now that he has broken his word on that, how can his views be trusted on the fiscal estimate?
The proposed city council/manager charter will break up the politics at City Hall, assure competitive elections, and open the door for greater participation by motivated citizens of all parties. The Madigan-Scirocco-Franck monopoly on political power will end.
I urge my fellow Saratoga Springs residents to vote yes for a new charter and a more Democratic way of doing the public’s business in City Hall.
The writer is the former mayor.