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SARATOGA SPRINGS: Council OKs oil cleanup

Discussion of funds approved to clean up an oil spill devolved into a heated exchange among Mayor Valerie Keehn, Commissioner of Public Works Thomas McTygue and Commissioner of Accounts John Franck.

Keehn questioned the Saratoga Springs City Council's vote at the Tuesday, April 17, meeting to pay $205,000 from the capital budget to clean up an oil spill at the public works garage.

According to Public Works Director Bill McTygue, the in-ground lift system in the garage malfunctioned and leaked 55 gallons of hydraulic fluid.

He said the lift was nearly 30 years old and would be replaced by a more modern floor-mounted system, which will cost $95,000, with the remainder of the $205,000 to be used for remediation and contingency costs.

Bill McTygue and Franck said Keehn should have aired her concerns the previous day, at the Monday morning agenda meeting.

Franck said the mayor's decision to wait until the regular meeting to bring this up was ridiculous. We should cancel the agenda meeting. I could sleep in Monday morning, he said.

Keehn said the Department of Environmental Conservation had notified her that there had been a previous spill from the lift years ago. She said she wanted to discuss the matter in front of the public.

"The city needs one voice to talk to DEC," said Bill McTygue, who said he had no knowledge of an earlier spill. "We can't do business this way."

"You make every attempt to make it look like we're hiding something," said Thomas McTygue to Keehn.

Keehn reiterated that her goal was to get information out to the public, but the commissioners reminded her that the agenda meetings were also open to the public.

The mayor also brought up what she considered a possible conflict of interest in the city's new electric contract with Energetix/NYSEG solutions. The company is owned and operated by Gordon Boyd, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor this fall.

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