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Ballston, Malta discuss joint projects

"The money coming in from the federal government isn't there," said Valentine. That includes $13.7 million of Department of Transportation funds for Route 67 roadwork that won't arrive until at least 2010. He suggested that the two towns form a joint committee to keep up to date with movements on the corridor, which will be seeing heavy development in the future, and also to keep an eye on funding opportunities. He noted that both towns have studies on record detailing improvements to be made.

"It would be nice for us to see us moving forward with some of these things and actually see a shovel in the ground," said Ballston Councilwoman Kimberly Ireland. Ballston already has a committee meeting with the DOT, and town officials said that they would welcome meeting with a similar entourage from Malta.

"The sooner we discuss with DOT what our vision is for our communities, the better," said Southworth.

The coming development in Ballston could be put to use by securing funds for a new fire station, however. Representatives of the Round Lake Fire Department, which services both towns, noted that a station west of the Northway is badly needed.

Ballston Councilman James Briaddy said that the town was already looking for developers willing to donate an acre or two of land.

"It probably won't happen next week or next month, but I'm sure by the time you're ready, we'll be ready," he said.

Another way the two towns could pull in more funds together would be to pursue shared municipal service grants. Robert Roeckle of the Department of State's Division of Local Government Services said that monies are available for municipalities that coordinate with others to operate more efficiently. Ballston and Malta are embarking on such an endeavor with the Town of Charlton and Village of Ballston Spa to jointly purchase pricey highway equipment already.

Roeckle explained that the grants are competitive, however, and to secure one, the towns would have to commit to measures above and beyond the purchasing of equipment.

"The grants are heavily weighted to the cost-savings for the municipalities," he said.

Ultimately the evening served as an opportunity for the town officials to bounce ideas off of one another and exchange lessons learned. A similar meeting in the future was deemed possible.

"It's important that we open up the lines of communication between our towns," said Southworth.""

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