SARATOGA SPRINGS: Fallout after walkout

One way or another, says Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim, the city of Saratoga Springs will have a new public safety facility.

Unfortunately, I think that what we're going to need is a change in the City Council to get this through, said the commissioner in a Friday, Oct. 5, interview. "All I need is another vote."

Kim said he's confident that the upcoming general elections will show that the people of the Spa City want his plan for a new police station and court facility. He accuses fellow council members John Franck, Matthew McCabe and Thomas McTygue of delay tactics and "myth mongering" in their opposition to his proposed $17 million public safety facility.

At the Tuesday, Oct. 2, meeting of the City Council, Kim pressed a vote on a proposal to have BBL Corp. construct a public safety building on a Woodlawn Avenue 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.

It was defeated 3-to-2, with Kim and Mayor Valerie Keehn voting for the lease-buyback proposal.

The defeat prompted Kim and about half the assembled public to walk out of the meeting.

"To me, I think the City Council walked away from a very favorable proposition," he said later.

According to McCabe, the city's commissioner of finance, the resulting tax increase, if the proposal should go through, would be devastating to taxpayers.

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 more.

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