There ended up being more public hearings than speakers combined, as the sessions regarding taxi stands, load zones and designating Lena Lane as a pedestrian thoroughfare generated little discussion. The hearings regarding amendments to the 2012 Capital Budget heard comments from two supporters, with one man asking that they do whatever is necessary to open the waterfront property at Saratoga Lake to provide relief for the overcrowded Victoria Pools. Later in the evening, Mayor Scott Johnson’s discussion and subsequent vote regarding the pursuit of the grant money to complete the project passed without a problem.
As the meeting began, the public comment period offered some troubling opinions regarding the questionable condition of buildings under the management of the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority (SSHA.) The SSHA has been a recurring topic with the council in 2012, with the residents at Stonequist Manor coming to the council to alert them to a bedbug infestation that continued to be ignored. A resident of Jefferson Terrace claimed there is mold in the basement which was caused by a sewer backing up that was never cleaned up. She added that she is routinely disturbed by people buying, selling and smoking marijuana and that the police won’t investigate any further. Another woman from Vanderbilt Terrace echoed her sentiments, saying she does not feel safe and that the police are not doing enough to stop drug dealers in her neighborhood.
While Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen was mum following the comments critical of the police department, he was quick to agree with a frequent commenter who felt the city’s 30 mph speed limit should be reconsidered, and lowered to 25 mph. The city cannot change this, however, as 30 mph is a New York State mandate. The commenter urged the council to advocate nonetheless.
Mayor Johnson took a few minutes to address the Woodlawn Avenue parking garage, mentioning that the recent accident involving a concrete slab falling was the result of human error and not an indictment of the facility’s structural integrity.
Public Works Commissioner Skip Scirocco addressed the matter of the recently-determined pedestrian thoroughfare known as Lena Lane, and brought forth a lease agreement between the city and the two businesses along Lena Lane, Hattie’s Restaurant and The Seven Horse Pub. The restaurants and the city entered into a five-year lease agreement, which was approved by a vote of 4-1. Commissioner Mathiesen said he did not support a five-year lease agreement and suggested they consider a shorter term.
Commissioner John Franck had a minimal agenda heading into Tuesday’s meeting, but offered his suggestion of naming a street or alley in the city after the longtime Accounts Commissioner Donald Connolly. Connolly served in the position Franck currently holds from 1970 to 1981. Among the possibilities for being renamed were: Long Alley, which runs parallel to Broadway; Gardner Lane, which is between Uncommon Grounds and N. Fox Jewelers perpendicular to Broadway; and Huestis Court, between the Holiday Inn and Community Court Motel. Franck acknowledged he’d prefer to change a street with minimal impact on people’s addresses as to avoid confusion.
The subject of the city’s attempt to change last call was brought up, as Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan said that she “was not surprised, but it would have been nice” to know that the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors intended to vote on the matter earlier this week, and allowed sitting city council members to make presentations supporting their cause. The board voted not to pursue the matter. An earlier ruling by the New York State Liquor Authority determined that a change in the city’s last call hour would require a countywide change. The city council passed the resolution on to the county after they determined it to be the only way to resolve the matter.