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New Saratoga facilities would carry thousands in annual operating costs

Assistant fire chief John Betor told the Saratoga Springs City Council and assembled residents Tuesday, Sept. 4, that an emergency services and fire station would cost the city $883,059 in annual operating costs more than 15 times the annual cost of the facility itself.

More than 100 people turned out for a public hearing on the capital programs budget. So many people were in attendance that the meeting had to be moved from the first-floor City Council chambers to the larger music hall on the third floor.

The operating costs would bring about a 21 percent increase in the fire department's current budget, most of which would go toward the salary of 16 additional firefighters needed to man the facility. The annual cost of the building itself was estimated at $57,173, according to Betor's presentation.

This project is in addition to a proposed new police station and court facility. Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim estimated a new police station would include a one-time cost of about $350,000 to cover new furnishings like desks and computers. The annual operating cost would be about $96,000-$128,000 for increased energy costs and a housekeeper salaried at $32,000, Kim said.

The city police headquarters is located in the basement of City Hall with an entrance off Lake Avenue. Prisoners are currently transported upstairs to the court facility by way of a public stairwell that is used by residents and City Hall employees.

We've been waiting way too long," Police Chief Edward Moore said during the public hearing. "One hundred and twenty years in the same building is way too long."

Moore presented the City Council with a petition of 500 signatures from taxpayers he collected over the Labor Day weekend. The petition urges the city to take action now to build a new police headquarters as well as an eastside emergency services facility.

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