It took many meetings, public hearings and debates both cordial and standoffish between council members, but the Saratoga Springs City Council passed a 2009 capital projects budget that included $3 million towards a public safety building.
The budget change was unexpected, especially considering the city is considering putting out a request for proposals (RFP) to allow a private investor to develop the High Rock parking lot near City Hall in exchange for help building the police station. In the end, a $3 million line item was added in hopes of complementing the gains of the RFP, which the city hopes to put out next week.
There was a whirlwind of discussion before the unanimous vote on Friday, Sept. 12 that brought about several changes to the proposal. Before an initial failed vote it was agreed that the construction of a Gilbert Road water line originally scheduled for 2010 would be moved ahead. The project was moved up with a $700,000 cost, and to make room $100,000 was removed from a fund to repair and upgrade city-owned buildings and a $225,000 compost facility expansion was nixed.
Still, Finance Commissioner Kenneth Ivins, Accounts Commissioner John Franck and Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim voted in the negative, saying they would not support a budget without some funding for a public safety building.
If the RFPs don't come back properly, we're going to have to put a number in anyways, said Ivins.
Even though a new station will cost far more than $3 million, it will not be spent all at once. By adding money now, the city hopes to stay ahead of the curve.
To compromise and keep the 2009 budget as low as possible, the $1.3 million proposed development of waterfront property off of Crescent Avenue was cut to $700,000, which will hopefully be enough to give the public safe access to the lake.