SARATOGA SPRINGS - Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino said he is putting “the finishing touches" on a draft copy for a potential ordinance to implement a Civilian Police Review Board, or CRB.
“One of the things causing me some difficulty is getting in place the method for selecting the people for the board - one that will leave us with a review board that is a fair cross-section of the community,‚ Montagnino told the City Council during its meeting this week. “I’m trying to come up with a fair selection process that would allow the City Council to ratify the selection." A specific timeline for the public release of a draft copy was not announced.
Approximately 50 people attended the meeting, staged at Saratoga Music Hall on April 5. Nearly half of those in attendance spoke during the periods allotted for public comment, the large majority of whom discussed matters related to a variety of policing and public safety issues.
• Mayor Ron Kim announced the city is currently preparing proposals for U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Paul Tonko that requests funding for community-based projects in Saratoga Springs, as part of the infrastructure bill. Those projects include: East Side Fire Station #3; upgrades at Saratoga Arts Center; upgrades to the city’s water infrastructure, and a potential public-private partnership with RISE Housing and Support Services to build a social center for the homeless.
• Mayor Kim also requested a public hearing take place in advance of the council’s next meeting on April 19 to solicit public opinion regarding Saratoga Springs’ relationship with its long-standing “Sister City" relationship with Chekhov Russia, in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“This is about a letter we received recently from the Consulate General from New York City of Ukraine that asked us to stop or suspend our relationship with the sister city of Chekov."‚ Kim said. “Rather than just take that step as a City Council, I thought we would ask the public to weigh in, and we’ll do that at the next City Council meeting."
• Accounts Commissioner Dillon Moran proposed a temporary outdoor dining fee schedule in a resolution the council unanimously approved. “The intent of these fees is to turn the money back in to support the program,‚ Moran said.
There are three fee schedule levels:
$100 for businesses utilizing their own private property.
$500 for seating area and public property/sidewalks.
$1,000 for public property ﬁ sidewalks and installation and removal of barriers/blocks.
Supervisor Tara Gaston reported that the state had released a Climate Action Draft Scoping Plan and that public comments submitted regarding that plan are due by June 10.
The Draft Scoping Plan serves as an initial framework for how N.Y. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net-zero emissions, increase renewable energy usage, and ensure climate justice. A public forum will take place 4 p.m. Thursday, April 14 at Empire State Plaza in Albany, and a virtual forum takes place May 11. The plan as well as the submission of comments regarding the plan may be found HERE.
Gaston will be staging her own Public Forum virtually via Live Stream April 13, 6 p.m. Gaston.
COVID-19 update. “We continue to do better than we were before, but unfortunately we are seeing a rise. Many places in New York State have seen an increase of 50% in cases over the past few weeks. Right now, the (Saratoga County) rolling average is 4.0%," Gaston said.
“This is a significant increase of where we were before. Fortunately, our hospitalizations are staying relatively stable - but we also know those are lagging indicators," she said. “The most important thing to realize is that right now about 60% of the cases in New York State are classified as variant BA.2 (stealth) omicron. This means you may take several rapid tests and be negative, have symptoms, and it will take awhile for you to test positive. This is the importance of making sure that if you are sick at all, you stay home, you test."