Spa City residents to reshape how government operates

Roughly 15 city residents recently were selected to reshape the document that outlines how Saratoga Springs’ government operates.

saratoga springs city hallThose who will form the city’s Charter Review Commission will take their oath of office 7 p.m. Tuesday in City Council Chambers. The appointments were selected by Mayor Joanne Yepsen as well as one each by the four commissioners in Saratoga Springs.

The city charter outlines the functions and responsibilities of the mayor as well as the four commissioners of public safety, public works, finance and accounts, and provides the tools to guide them.

“I’m confident that the group of citizens will be able to put together a great product to mold our city government for the next 100 years,” Yepsen said during a recent City Council meeting. “The primary reason for putting a charter commission together is to review and update the charter.”

Twelve residents had been appointed as of Friday, and the mayor said she anticipated appointing two or three more. The 12 appointed volunteers are: Robert Turner, Mike Los, Laura Chodos, Barbara Thomas, Gordon Boyd, Beth Wurtman, Jeff Altamari, Pat Kane, Robert Kuczynski, Elio DelSette, BK Kermati and Matt Jones.

As outlined in the current city charter, the mayor is responsible for initiating a review of the document every 10 years. The charter hasn’t been updated since 2001.

Yepsen said in 2006 a new form of government was recommended in the charter update, however it failed to gain the needed votes at the polls. Changes in the city charter must be voted on and approved by the residents.

The commission includes people from different sectors and neighborhoods as well as ages and gender, Yepsen said.

Regular meetings of the Charter Review Commission will be decided upon during the oath of office, and the mayor said they will be open to the public.