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 toward a public safety building.
The budget change was unexpected, especially considering the city is considering putting out a request for proposals 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, the line item was added in hopes of complementing the gains of the RFP, which the city hopes to put out by Friday, Sept. 19.
The 2009 budget passed totaled $7.89 million after the Friday, Sept. 12, adjustments. That's up from the $5.14 million budget proposed by a committee chaired by the mayor.
There was a whirlwind of discussion before the unanimous vote 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.
The Gilbert Road water line would also create a second loop for the water system east of the Northway. Commissioner of Public Works Anthony Scirocco noted that a break in the aging water line could currently leave many in jeopardy.
If there were to be a break in the pipe that goes under the Northway there is no redundancy in the system for those on the east side of the Northway, he said.
Ten homes would be able to buy water from the new line, and their hookup fees and other charges could also help offset the cost of the water line.