Gazette Letter by Raymond Watkin, former Mayor

Need charter

change to break up

fiefdoms

Vote ‘yes’ on Charter

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.

Raymond Watkin

Saratoga Springs

The writer is the former mayor.

Agenda for June 26

The Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission will meet in the Music Hall on June 26, 2017.

7:00-7:15pm          Public Comment

7:15-7:20pm          Approval of Minutes, Chair Report

7:20-7:40pm         Discussion of Finance Analysis of Proposed Charter

7:40-8:00pm         Discussion and vote on proposed amendments

8:20-9:00pm          Discussion and vote on Proposed Charter

9:00pm                   Adjourn

Agenda for June 13, 2017

Meeting of the Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission

June 13, City Hall

7:00-7:15           Public Comment

7:15-7:20           Approval of Minutes, Chair Report

7:20-7:40           Discussion of May 30th Outreach meeting and subsequent education efforts

7:40-8:40          Discussion of Education Outreach Material

9 pm                 Adjourn

Inquiries: Pat Kane, 518-857-6129

Agenda for May 23

Meeting of the Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission

City Hall

6:30-6:45pm        Public Comment

6:45-6:50pm       Approval of Minutes, Chair Report

6:50-7:20pm      Financial Analysis Report

7:20-8:30pm      Discussion of Proposed Charter

8:30-8:45pm       Vote on Final Draft to be reviewed by Bob Batson and Public on May 30th

8:45- 9pm          Discussion of May 30th Outreach meeting

9 pm                  Adjourn

Agenda For May 9

The Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission will meet at City Hall on Tuesday, May 9th.

7-7:15pm Public Comment

7:15-20 Approval of Minutes

7:20-7:50 Interview with former City Attorney and Judge Wait

8:00-8:30pm Discussion of Proposed Charter

8:30-9pm Discussion of May 30th Outreach

9pm Adjourn

Agenda for April 25

The Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission will meet at City Hall on Tuesday, April 25.

7-7:15pm Public Comment

7:15-8:00  Discussion of Financial Analysis of Proposed Charter

8:00-8:30pm Discussion of Transition Plans for Proposed Charter

8:30-9pm  Discussion of Audit provisions of proposed charter

9 pm Adjourn

Agenda for April 6

Meeting of the Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission

City Hall Council Chambers

7:00-7:15     Public Comment

7:15- 7:30    Discussion of Current Charter Review subcommittee report by BK Keramati

7:30-8:30    Discussion of Comments and Issues raised at Public Forum and from Community Emails and contacts

8:30 -9:00 Discussion of Outreach

9:00            Adjourn

Agenda for March 23, 2017

Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission
to meet in the Saratoga Music Hall

7:00 PM    Public Comment

7:15 PM    Discussion of public outreach, public forum on March 29th

8:15 PM    Discussion of remaining charter provisions

  • Supervisors—election: (Method needs to be decided)
  • Budget Provisions
  • Staggered Terms methods of elections for City Council- head to head or top 3
  • Term Limits – lifetime or 12 consecutive, review for clarity and agreement
    Tax Districts? Recitation of Charity, health and schools?
  • Schedule (For transition) Have we addressed adequately the mechanism for the transition, including funding?

9:00 PM     Adjourn