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SARATOGA SPRINGS: Public safety plan nixed

A proposal to build a public safety facility on a city-owned lot on Woodlawn Avenue was defeated at the Tuesday, Oct. 2 meeting of the Saratoga Springs City Council by a vote of 3-to-2.

Commissioner of Public Safety Ron Kim called for the vote on a proposal to have BBL Corporation construct a public safety building on the lot. The lot would also include a parking garage with approximately 300 parking spaces and subdivisions for private business. The facility would have been paid for over 30 years at $1.4 million a year through lease buyback financing.

Kim and Mayor Valerie Keehn voted for the project. Commissioner of Accounts John Franck, Commissioner of Finance Matthew McCabe and Commissioner of Public Works Thomas McTygue voted against.

The defeat prompted Kim to pull the rest of the agenda, pack up his paperwork and leave the City Council chambers.

I don't need to spend any more time with this City Council, he said before walking out.

Many of the assembled residents applauded Kim as he left and followed him out. Some made remarks to the rest of the council.

"November's coming fast," said one resident.

The vote was preceded by McCabe's presentation of the 2008 general fund budget. He estimated that a homeowner with a home assessed at $250,000 can expect to pay $200 more next year in taxes if the city goes forward with the proposed capital budget, including operating costs for a new public safety building and an increase in the general fund budget. In 2009, McCabe said, that same resident would pay $100 on top of the 2008 increase.

McCabe said there simply wasn't enough revenue for the public safety proposal, but said the city could begin building a scaled-down facility in 2009 if it comes up with a revenue stream.

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