BALLSTON SPA — Town of Moreau Supervisor Theodore Kusnierz, Jr. was re-elected as chairman of the 2022 county board at the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors organizational meeting Jan. 5. Clifton Park Supervisor Jonathan Schopf was elected as vice-chair.
“Last year at this time, I stood before you and committed to assuring that we would hone our focus on the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and put forth an action plan that would mobilize all aspects of county government. Not only did we do that, but our employees rose to the occasion and they have done an incredible job,” Kusnierz read from a prepared statement, immediately following the 20-1 vote. Tara Gaston, one of Saratoga Springs’ two supervisors at the county level, cast the lone vote against.
Kusnierz added that he had affirmed to then-new Commissioner Saratoga County Public Health Services Commissioner Dr. Daniel Kuhles that he would receive the manpower, financial assistance and tools to best protect residents and meet public health challenges that would arise in 2021.
One year ago, on Jan. 4., then- Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the first confirmed case of the “UK strain” of COVID-19 virus in New York State was detected in Saratoga Springs.
On Feb. 1, 2021, the SCPHS reported 10,604 confirmed COVID-19 Saratoga County cases in all, and 120 total deaths. A little less than 12 months later, on Jan. 6, 2022, that tally according SCPHS is 33,850 cumulative cases and 275 total deaths.
“True to form, Saratoga County became a leader in the public health arena in New York State,” Kusnierz said. Over the past year, Saratoga County has held 262 vaccine clinics across the county and has provided over 40,000 vaccines to county residents, he added. “As a result, we’re now in the top three counties in New York State with the highest percentage of individuals that are fully vaccinated and have received a booster vaccine.”
One year ago, the state announced it had received 950,000 dosages of vaccine and was targeting for vaccination at-high-risk healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff. By Jan. 12 2021, approximately 9,600 Saratoga County residents, or 4.5% of the county’s population, had received either the first or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Today, approximately 168,000 of the county’s 230,000 overall population – nearly three-fourths of all residents - are counted as having completed the vaccine series (not including boosters), according to the state Department of Health. Approximately half of those fully vaccinated county residents have received a booster shot, reports the Saratoga County Department of Health Services.
On other topics, Kusnierz said Saratoga is the fastest growing county in upstate New York, with a 53% population increase since 1980, and it has for 2022 adopted a $381 million spending budget.
At its organizational meeting, the Board adopted its “2022 Rules of The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors.”
The 2022 measure include rules of decorum and order for both the supervisors and the public. Regarding Public Input: each regular meeting of the board of supervisors will have 15 minutes set aside for public input. Anyone wishing to speak must sign their name and address on a sign-up sheet prior to the start of the meeting. Speakers are limited to 3 minutes. Written public comments can be sent to the Clerk of the Board at any time by mail or electronic mail. Similar rules apply to anyone wishing to speak specifically at a Public Hearing.
The Chair of each of the county’s twelve standing committees – each committee will have 5 to 7 members - will be appointed by Kusnierz. Those respective chairpersons had not yet been named as of the county board’s organizational meeting.